“More of the night he came home” (lamest tagline ever)
Utterly unnecessary, Halloween II is best viewed as another example of early 80s Hollywood-horror-sequelitis-avarice (see Jaws 2, Psycho 2, Friday the 13th 2, etc). According to my research John Carpenter agreed to help out on Halloween II only after stipulating that he would not direct. Instead Rick Rosenthal was handed the reins. Nerd rumor suggests that Carpenter actually ended up directing a few sequences after viewing Rosenthal’s initial cut of the film.
Although filmed 3 years after Halloween, Halloween II picks up immediately after the original. In fact, as the film begins we’re shown the ending of the original (in case we forgot), with Michael falling from the second story of Tommy Doyle’s home. For reasons unknown, Rosenthal actually re-shot this scene. We now see Michael hit the ground from a new angle, accompanied by that cartoon sound that’s used whenever something heavy hits the ground. Perhaps he was attempting to better mesh this scene with new footage of Loomis running out of the house to look at the imprint of Michael’s body in the grass? Halloween II follows Michael as he slowly works his way to the hospital where Laurie Strode is now being cared for. Along the way he makes the requisite kills and we learn that Laurie is his sister. Meanwhile Loomis is still being yelled at for “letting him out”, which never made any sense to me. Halloween II climaxes with Michael stalking Laurie through the empty halls of the hospital.
Given that the original is a stand-alone horror masterpiece, I know I’m not supposed to like Halloween II, yet I can’t deny that I’ve always found it to be a solid sequel. The first half of the film is completely forgettable, mostly plagiarizing its predecessor; however the latter part of the film, which focuses on Michael-stalking-Laurie through the halls of the empty hospital to Carpenter’s chilly score manages to evoke some of the terror replete in the original. One notable shot, Michael walking through a glass door as if it does not exist, is particularly effective. Carpenter has been quoted as saying, “I had made that film once and I really didn't want to do it again.” Although this sequel offers nothing new, it still manages to suggest the spirit of the original, something none of the other sequels in the franchise have been able to do. Also, for those demanding an “ending” (or at least a happy one), Halloween II does complete the story, although it effectively neuters the terrifying conclusion of the original.
One final note, I found this small blurb during my research,
“A small controversy surrounded the film after its release. Richard Delmer Boyer, of Fullerton, CA, murdered an elderly couple while on drugs. In court, he claimed that the drugs caused him to flashback to HALLOWEEN II, and thus commit the murder. It became known around Fullerton as the "HALLOWEEN II" murders, according to TNT Monstervision host Joe Bob Briggs.”