Halloween 2 (1981)

Rick Rosenthal directs Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance and Dick Warlock in this direct continuation of Halloween… will a hospitalised Laurie Strode survive until dawn with the invincible Micheal Myers still on the hunt?

As with Rocky II, the producers / writers (Carpenter and Debra Hill) weren’t overly confident the returning audience would remember where the principals were left in 1978, so cheaply just rerun the final five minutes again at the top. There are tweaks… that clumsy peek at Michael’s face when he adjusts his mask is trimmed out and the lawn he falls down on and disappears from is now a verdant green rather than patchy late October soil. Then we get an hour of idling -new characters we don’t care about being introduced and old survivors having their screentime diminished to a minimum of shooting days. Jamie Lee doesn’t wake up until the final act, by which time Myers has offed a group of nobody nurses and candy stripers with seemingly anything but his trademark big knife. He’s evolving, bless his soul. It is a cheap-ish cash-in sequel with all the compromises and reheating such a production entails. But the final 20 minutes when Laurie Strode is back in final girl mode are pretty effective and explosive. Pudding worth waiting for. There’s also some garbled guff about pagan evil and hidden family histories that the series latched on to but has never really made work… For a stock slasher sequel, I kinda appreciate its unashamed utilitarianism. Roll on Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, a true underrated gem.

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