Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Halloween II poster

The Skeletal Spotlight shines this time on:
The"Halloween II" poster
(Click on images to view full size.)

"How about if I carve you up this Halloween? How would you like that, huh?"

It's been noted by other bloggers better than I that Halloween is in the air, or at least in the aisles of the stores now. Decorations and candy are moving up toward the front from the back, and by the end of the month will have migrated to the main aisles. So, since October is such as short month, only having a scant 31 days in which to celebrate Halloween, I'm starting now on this blog (and on Monster Memories) in order to squeeze in as much as possible. And what better way then with a movie named for the holiday, which features one of the coolest posters ever? Combining a skull with a pumpkin was a great idea.

When we last saw Michael Myers in the classic film, he had been shot six times by Dr. Loomis (without so much as a "put your hands up!" warning) and taken a nasty tumble from the second-story balcony of the Wallace house where he had attacked Laurie Strode. But that hardly slowed him down, and within only a few seconds he had gotten up and vanished, to finish out the entire Halloween night in the sequel, "Halloween II."

The closing scene of the first movie described above was re-shot for the opening scene of the second, probably because there were subtle differences between the Shapes of the two films. It's somewhat humorous to note how obvious it is that the stuntman is backing up a ramp installed on the balcony as he is "shot," to better help him to fall straight back onto the airbag. And the outline of his body left in the grass is almost cartoon-like, to make sure the viewer gets the fact that he is no longer where he fell. The place where his body lay looks like a flat wooden cutout was pressed down on the grass and stepped on by five or six heavy men, to make such an even impression. Michaels' body would have had to have been perfectly flat on the bottom to leave such an imprint.

Lacking the atmospheric buildup of the first film, and Carpenter's direction, the second film directed by Rick Rosenthal is more workman-like and by-the-numbers. It's not as good as the original by any means, but I still watch it after the first one every October at least once or twice. The credits are cooler, the music gets some added themes, some gorier wince-inducing kills (the one with the naughty nurse in the hothothot tub was especially memorable) we learn that Laurie is Michael's sister, and that they trick-or-treated a lot later back then than they do now. It's not a bad follow-up at all, and notable in that it takes up directly after the first one without a moment lost between them. It really does continue the story and for that reason it's part of a whole. Now, I never cared for any of the later sequels, and felt them to be a cheat. Dr. Loomis got blowed up real good, and shows up again later with only a slight scarring on his face? Michael was reduced to a smoldering husk and then he's good again? I don't buy it. It ended with "II" as far as I'm concerned; it was made with the intention of concluding the story of Michael and Laurie and that's good enough for me.

However, all of Michael's toughness and ability to weather six bullets ("I shot him six times! I shot him six times!") and overall badness I attribute to the fact that he was wearing an altered Captain Kirk mask. Yes, The Face of the Almighty Shat imparted his powers and mere knitting needles, knives, coat hangers and bullets were no match for him. If only he had used those powers for good!


Patrick said...

I love Halloween II- I can remember watching it at a high school drama class party (what was the teacher thinking???) and I still love watching it. I cringe every time when Michael impales the nurse in the hallway with the scalpel and lifts her out of her shoes. Great stuff, and you are correct Fred, it is time to start watching films like this one again!!!

Karswell said...

Halloween 2 is great, and very underrated... hell, I think Halloween 3 Season of the Witch is awesome too. For whatever reason people can't get passed the fact that it ain't gots Michael in it, which to me is what's best about it. Sure it's a ludicrous Nigel Kneale concept, but it's so wonderfully inspired and over the top like all his great stuff: "Crazy inventor plots to murder all the children in the world with ghoulish masks on Halloween..." I mean, if this was a pre-code horror comic story everyone would be doing back flips of joy over it.

Personally I wish Carpenter and crew had show a little more balls and and continued to make different Halloween films instead of dragging Meyers out over and over... I guess there's still hope if that new Trick 'r Treat anthology film ever finally gets a theatrical release.