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Hal MacDermot [Celluloid 08.28.09] movie review horror



Year: 2009
Directors: Rob Zombie
Writers: Rob Zombie
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: Hal MacDermot
Rating: 6 out of 10

[Editor's note: We would like to point out that Zombie said H2 was in turnaround "ridiculously fast". You can read Hal's interview with Zombie and MacDowell here.]

Halloween II is Rob Zombie unleashed from the cinematic baggage of the Halloween franchise and bathing in his own blood. It’s visually dirty, gritty, and a total slash-fest. You’ll recognize the director who made the classic Devil’s Rejects. Aside from the look, I was left somewhat disappointed. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) spends the whole movie stumbling around screaming. I didn’t buy into Michael Myers’ “white horse plus dead mother visions” either, I mean yes he’s a deranged killer living in a fantasy world but it’s not Hallmark Land. Health warning: some hardcore Halloween fans will be fatally injured by Dr. Loomis’s (Malcolm McDowell) character evolution.


When Rob Zombie reimagined John Carpenter’s classic 1978 movie Halloween, Carpenter gave his blessing as long as Zombie made the movie “his own.” A tough order with a much loved horror franchise. In Zombie’s Halloween I, probably the main innovation was that he added a back story to serial psycho killer Michael Myers. Young Myers’s childhood sucks so much that he murders his bothersome big sister and his mother’s abusive boyfriend. He’s banged up in a mental institution, where for the next 17 years, his shrink Dr. Loomis completely fails to talk him out of being psychotic. Then Michael escapes, returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois, and launches into blood soaked rampage. No one is safe from the knife, but his main target is Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton).

Halloween II starts up where Rob’s Halloween I ended. Laurie Strode and Dr. Loomis have shot Michael (the awesome hulk that is Taylor Mane) down. Laurie is in hospital recovering from her wounds. Zombie made it a point always to have real life medical staff advising on how the gash should bleed, and it’s really effective. Michael’s body is on the way to the hospital too, transported by medical staff, but guess what? He’s not quite as dead as they thought.

As in all the Halloween movies, psychotic killing machine Myers, all 6”9’ of him is intent on killing everyone in his path. He especially wants to kill young Laurie Strode and Sheriff Brackett’s out to stop him. That’s the standard Halloween cookie cutter, but this time we get to delve even deeper into Michael’s psyche, and this mostly involves Michael’s dead Mom (Sheri Zombie, yes that’s Rob’s Mrs.) appearing to him in kitsch visions, accompanied by a white horse. Excuse me? Yes, I know, that’s what I thought too. When a film audience laughs when it’s not supposed to, BAD SIGN, ALERT, ALERT. Another story innovation is the character evolution of Loomis. As McDowell and Zombie explain it, Loomis has let Celebrity go to his head. He’s published a bestselling book about a serial killer, and has forgotten that real people have been hurt. I’m not sure I buy it. Loomis has spent all the other Halloween movies, including Rob’s first, trying to protect the world from Michael, and now all he wants is the money? Hmmm.

The whole look of Halloween II is truly fantastic. Dirty, dark and down. I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Rob Zombie a few days ago, and I asked him about this. He said that for him, the look of his first Halloween was way too “clean.” He spent many hours in post production trying to knock off the polish, but with only limited success. For Halloween II, he shot the whole movie on 16mm, so that when a character was dirty and bloody, they looked that way on film. In terms of lighting, they would light a scene once, at the set up, so that when a character moved into the shadow, they would be filmed in the shadows. This is contrary to many movies where the characters are generally fully lit whatever the circumstances. Many scenes were also shot at night, with minimal light. Brandon Trost (Crank: High Voltage) has done a fine job of capturing Michael’s violence and dirty kills. The twisted/inspired special effects artist is Wayne Toth, who also worked with Zombie on the entirely messed up House of 1000 Corpses and whacked but brilliant Devil’s Rejects. All this set to the music of everything from honky tonk guitar band to Motorhead by way of the Moody Blues.

With Halloween II, Rob Zombie certainly delivers on the promise of making the film his own, but I’m wondering at what price. Loomis is now a money-grabber, Michael’s seeing Hallmark card characters masquerading as his dead family, and the director’s making very questionable use of Laurie’s dream sequences. Oh and then I woke up, phew, thank God that was an unreliable narrative or I might have actually enjoyed the story development more. It’s not enough for a movie to look great, it also needs… well I’ll let you guys fill in the dots.

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soma (8 years ago) Reply

when they gonna put this franchise to rest. tedious now

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allen_idaho (8 years ago) Reply

+1 to that. It really never should have been "reimagined" in the first place.

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FICTIS (8 years ago) Reply

Yup. Add my vote there, we are way too much into remakes to my taste, seems the originality pool is running dry...

Also, Rob is way too graphic for a remake of Halloween, it was never about blood carnage in the first place

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Wilcoy (8 years ago) Reply

I never understood why they even remade 'Halloween' John Carpenter's original and H2 are a superior piece of horror movie making. Rob Zombie make something real original then come back.

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zyi (8 years ago) Reply

i read that zombie's next flick is gonna be a remake of the blob.

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PR2589 (8 years ago) Reply

the original halloween is by far the best in series but his new idea for the series is great look at the first one he did it follows Myers and its not all about his sister like original and it gives u a reason on why he kills people not this whole i live in a perfect family lifestyle i think im gonna go kill my sister
honestly i havent seen the new one yet but i still think the remake is much better than the other movies that hav been released from H2O and Resurrection i mean come on if ur gonna say its the worst in the series then u people are dumbasses cause does anyone remember Halloween 3??

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PR2589 (8 years ago) Reply

hey Wilcoy the original Halloween 2 sucked ass ok if u look at how many stars the first one got which was 3 and u look at the sequel which got 1.5 there is no way in h*ll Halloween 2 is superior, the only good thing bout Halloween 2 was that it took place exactly where the first one left off same night and everything other than that sucked

PS
Rob Zombie is done with Halloween he feels as those his work is done so for all the lil b*tches who cant handle a new interpretation of a classic film can stop crying like a little baby

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Total Joke (8 years ago) Reply

I won't be seeing this film, neither will I see anything Rob Zombie makes. The reason is because after seeing "House of 1000 corpses" I realized that Rob Zombie is not a film director, so I do not know what business he has even making films.

It seems that this 're-imagining' series is simply there to exploit and make money from Generaion Z who have no attention span whatsoever and have never heard of atmosphere in a film. Zombie clearly has no other use in movie making - his work is laughable beyond reason.

Real movie fans from Generation X and Y sit here bemused wondering what the hell Weinstein is playing at financing morons like Rob Zombie. My advice to them is to find more REAL directors like Tarantino and make an ORIGINAL film.

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Ryan (8 years ago) Reply

Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph, ...But at what price...Zombie did indeed make the film his own, and in doing so completely destroyed the Mythology of Loomis and the character that so many true "Halloween" fans loved. Not to mention, completely contradicting the character that McDowell played in Zombie's first butchering of the film. And great point about the unreliable narrative, it's such a cheap trick that has become a staple in low budget horrors directed by first time directors who aren't clever enough to come up with real scares. Not something you'd expect to see a seasoned director use in multiple scenes.

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Pat (8 years ago) Reply

user "pjowens75" just brought this really nice quote over @liveforfilms.com

“I feel it’s the worst thing any filmmaker can do – you’re only going to make yourself look like an asshole by remaking them.”
- Rob Zombie in 2003 after being asked his opinion on the current trend of remakes.

'nuff said ;)

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tammydu (8 years ago) Reply

enough of the zombie shit, intelligent sci-fi please!

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Hal (8 years ago) Reply

Looks like he caught himself out this time. But I do think in general he's a talented director. Devil's Rejects, I mean hey Captain Spaulding is brilliant.

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Wilcoy (8 years ago) Reply

PR2589, We can agree to disagree that H2 was or was not a superior film to the original Halloween but I saw both at the theaters when they were released and H2 was as scary or scarier than the first. Anyhow, 1.5 stars by whom a bunch of yahoos polling on a social network that weren't even born when H2 was released at the theaters in the mid eighties. I just think that the Halloween series has been done by one of the greatest horror movie directors in hollywood John Carpenter. Rob Zombie should find something original I dont see any special reason to go see a remake on a movie that was already great and still is.

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PR2589 (8 years ago) Reply

Wilcoy ill agree to disagree but the 1.5 star rating isnt from imdb or punch of ppl who never saw it, it is the official star rating that every movie gets if u hav comcast or some sort of tv guide that shows info on ur tv they show how many stars the movie got so many out of 4 and the original halloween 2 got 1.5 it wasnt given by bunch of kids it was given by people whose job it is to watch movies and give rating ppl who went to school for it so they kno what they are talking about and Carpenter didnt direct the 2nd one he only wrote it so thats the reason why it sucked b/c he didnt direct it so next time u say somebody directed something make sure u kno what u are talkin about cause he was only the cause of 1 not the rest all the other movies were directed and wrote by other ppl

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Wilcoy (8 years ago) Reply

1.5 stars from professionials at tv guide? PR2589, if your standard of judging a movie comes from a tv guide rating system then I feel very sorry for you and hopefully you'll open your eyes someday. As for the direction of the movie yes it was directed by Rick Rosenthal but Carpenter redirected and reshot some scenses and his influence and the writing are all over H2. As for the series H2 was a success when it premiered in 1981 and is still thought as a true continuation of the original Halloween movie.Enough said and I hope PR2589 you arent permanently brainwashed from tv guide the rest of your life.

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PR2589 (8 years ago) Reply

Wilcoy i get where u are coming from and i have seen H2 not the new one yet but the original granted it has its moments but what hurt that movie the most was the setting and didnt really add on to the story all it was, was myers tryin to kill his sister all over again thats it there wasnt any character development or anything like that and only reason why it was a success was because it was a sequel to a masterpiece other than that it wasnt all that great that it and im not brainwashed from a tv guide i do know a good movie form a bad one and that one failed in comparison to the first one just like all the other sequels from the horror movies of its time the second film was never as good as the first for example Nightmare on Elm St, amazing movie second and rest sucked, Friday the 13th first one was good introducing Jason sucked, and like many others the second one never matched up to the first and H2 is no exception there was no story behind it, it was him tryin to kill his sister in a hospital thats it unlike the first one where there was more to it than some serial killer going around killing people and its not professionals from TV guide its professionals in the area of film respected critics that know what they are talking about more than what u do that gave that movie the rating not the TV Guide company and just b/c Carpenter wrote doesnt mean anything b/c i could write a great movie but in the hands of someone else it could end up becoming a failure and thats what H2's biggest problem was it wasnt completely done by Carpenter and the other problem it had was like u said it was a continuation of the original Halloween like an other hour and half add on nothing new or anything that could have taken the original to the next level of greatness
by the way i was wondering while i was writing this what ur thoughts were wit the remake of Friday the 13th if u saw it or not

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kenneth vangorden (8 years ago) Reply

i think rob zombie is so cool keep making more holloween music

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Talon2 (8 years ago) Reply

Zombie is complete fraud whose crafted public images belies a self-centered, self-promoting, talentless clown. He boasts about his wealth, screams like a little girl at his crews and musicians, wears lifts in his shoes, and whose only real talent in the end is crowing about himself.

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default (8 years ago) Reply

I honestly think that Rob Zombie did a good job. Fuck all the people that think he didn't.

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alisha (7 years ago) Reply

hey rob halloween 2 was soooooo awsome i loved it i wished i was in halloween 2 and the other one u mayde it u make a other halloween can i be in it i would love woking with u and taylor mane oohh and i am awsome at acting i mean good so ya peace out:)

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annoyed (7 years ago) Reply

I just watched that piece of sh** H2...Rob Zombie destroyed Dr.Loomis's character and Laurie...she was an idiot....what the hell was he thinking???? Im going to go burn my dvd that i just wasted twenty bucks on...

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andrew (7 years ago) Reply

this is the worst rob zombie movie evr made it really sucked the first was better!

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Jack (7 years ago) Reply

The original Rob's Halloween remake was great, but his Halloween 2 was a piece of crap. He should have followed the hospital theme from the original. He should also cut the million dream sequences and stop using his dumb ass wife in his films. She couldn't act her way out of a wet paper bag. She played a believable stripper only til she opened her mouth. In my opinion Zombie should get off the heroin before making his next film. He completely ruined what could have been a great movie. Also, who the hell wants to see Micheal's face? Keep the goddamn mask on ! His Micheal looked like a homeless guy and grunted like he was raping a horse. Nice Job Zombie..you drug induced moron !

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Sean (6 years ago) Reply

i though rob zombie frist halloween remake was good but the 2nd one sucked i agree i think he should of stuck with hospital scene like the orignal one . they destroyed laurie's character by making laurie a annoying emo chick in this one aslo the plot to this was just like frist movie's by having micheal escape from hospital and stalking laurie i think rob zombie is good director with good flims like house of 1000 corpes devils rejects and the frist halloween remake but this flim sucked if hes planning on making a 3rd halloween please dont make suck

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Derrick (5 years ago) Reply

H2 was fucking AWSOME!!!!!!He made Michael Myers a fucking beast

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1,000,000,000 (5 years ago) Reply

No other movie is better than Rob Zombies H2.Wait....I think its a tye between the 2010 version of Nightmare on Elm Street and H2


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