Drive-In Review: HALLOWEEN II (Blu-Ray/DVD)

This is a review that I have been waiting to do since Halloween II was announced to get a re-release. Read on for the goods.

HALLOWEEN II (1981)

Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lance Guest, Leo Rossi, Dick Warlock

Directed by: Rick Rosenthal

Distributed by: Scream Factory

Format: Blu-Ray

 

Halloween II starts just as  Halloween finishes. Many people love this aspect of the two films. You can just eject one and pop in the other and bam, it’s almost seamless.

To be honest, Halloween II is a solid sequel and Rick Rosenthal’s directing is as best as he ever did. Yet with saying that, I m a bigger fan of Carpenter’s Halloween. It flows in a way that Halloween II just doesn’t. Carpenter made you feel the suspense or anxiety of the character. Rosenthal just sort of said “yeah they’re gonna die so don’t get to comfortable with them.”

A lonely hospital with only a skeleton crew staff  that receives the one survivor from a murder spree that happened earlier and NOBODY LOCKS THE DAMN DOORS! This made me so mad when I was younger. Now it just seems silly but do you get where I am coming from? No? Oh well.

I will say this about Halloween II, the opening sequences of Michael making a stealthy escape from Loomis and the rest of Haddonfield PD are rich, shadowy and just majestic to look at. The cinematography by Dean Cundey is superb. The musical score(which some will say is better than Carpenter’s original) is rich and really makes you feel on edge.

Now time for those Drive-In Totals!

Drive-In Totals

8 Dead Bodies

2 Breasts

1 Ruined Ham Sandwich

Knife Fu

Gun Fu

Car Fu

Jacuzzi Fu

Scalpel Fu

Syringe to Eye

Razor Blade in Candy Apple

Scalpel to Back

Explosions

And a ending that makes you breath a sigh of relief for poor Jamie.

 

The cast is superb even though Jamie Lee is only in the film a total of 20min or so. The performance given by Curtis is believable and at times down right torturous to watch her be in such fear. This does not mean there are not some clunkier parts to the film though. At times the film can go at a snails pace then pick up to a marathon of fear. Some like this others say it’s too non linear(whatever that means).

Shout’s Halloween II actually looks better than last year’s offering (if you can believe it). Colors are amazing, skin tones looks natural and grain structure has been perfectly preserved. Dean Cundey’s camera work is showcased perfectly, delivering a nearly flawless presentation. Seriously, folks, this is the kind of movie that Blu-ray was made for. You’ll never see a better representation of this on home video.

The DTS 5.1 track is nothing if not the highest quality. Background noises are effective without being overbearing as Michael strolls through Haddonfield.  Dialogue is perfectly represented with crystal clarity.  Shout did some incredible work on the 5.1 surround here. It’s really quite an amazing viewing experience.

The 45 minute documentary on Halloween II is a must see for any fan and the rare TV cut of the film is also something you MUST watch to believe. The set is capped by some great little featurettes: A 13-minute look at the filming locations hosted by Horror Hound’s Sean Clark. There’s an alternate ending and deleted scenes (with optional Rosenthal commentary), a large still gallery and a collection of trailers and TV spots.

If you end up getting Halloween II from the folks at Scream Factory, you can bet on an amazing night of fright. Halloween II will engulf you and make you remember why you feared the Bogeyman in the first place.

Special Features

  • Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi
  • Audio commentary with stunt coordinator / actor Dick Warlock, moderated by Icons of Fright’s Rob Galluzzo
  • The Nightmare Isn’t Over – The Making of HALLOWEEN II, featuring Rick Rosenthal, Lance Guest, Dick Warlock, Alan Howarth, Dean Cundey and more…
  • Halloween II TV cut
  • Shooting script
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds- Revisiting the original shooting locations
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer, TV and Radio Spots

 

 

 

 

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