Halloween II (2009)

Rob Zombie's Halloween IIReviewed by Andrew Kasch

Starring Scout Taylor Compton, Tyler Mane, Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris

Directed by Rob Zombie

Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!

That’s an average line spoken in Halloween II, sometimes – and I’m not kidding – for minutes at a time. From the overuse of profanity, trailer trash stereotypes, gratuitous use of cameos and angelic images of Sheri Moon, it's as though Rob Zombie listened to every complaint about his remake and amped it up for this badly self-indulgent sequel. Is it out of spite for his critics, or is it because the man just can’t do anything else? Regardless, Halloween II is every bit as pointless a sequel to the first as that film was a pointless remake of the John Carpenter classic.

It’s pretty clear in the first twenty minutes that Zombie has already run out of story ideas and is simply stringing his characters along just for the sake of making a sequel. Things start off okay enough with a near-catatonic Laurie Strode rushed to Haddonfield Hospital in the bloody aftermath of Michael Myers’ rampage. Unfortunately the coroners didn’t think to remove the “dead” Myers’ mask and check for a pulse, and he quickly rises to go after his kid sister. There’s an abridged version of the original Halloween II hospital rampage as Myers stalks Laurie that’s well shot and ratchets up some decent tension. But it’s all for naught because Zombie decides to make the first act an elaborate dream sequence. So much for stakes.

We catch up with Laurie a year later. She’s traumatized, morphed into a grunge chick and Margot Kidder is her therapist (so you know she’s really fucked). She lives in the secluded backwoods with surviving pal Annie (Danielle Harris) and even has slutty replacement friends to fill out the body count portion. But Michael Myers, now dressed head-to-toe in homeless rags and sporting a ZZ Top beard, has spent the past year living in the wild somewhere far away and decides it's time to go after his sister once again. Tis the season…

Rob Zombie's Halloween IIThe maskless Hobo Myers spends about half the film walking through barren fields like we’re watching some Werner Herzog nature documentary. He randomly kills any cameo actor who crosses his path and dons a tattered version of The Shape mask whenever he gets really pissed. In the second half Myers finally shows back up in town and begins systematically knocking off Laurie’s friends all over again. How does he know where she’s hiding? And why does he continue to stealthily bump off everyone around her when he can just go straight for the prize kill? I have no idea.

Meanwhile, Dr, Loomis (a returning Malcolm McDowell) has reached celebrity status with his latest tell-all Myers book and has turned into a cartoonish ego-maniac who hurls insults at journalists and throws diva tantrums (“I’m the NEW Loomis!” he screams when he sees an old photo of himself dressed in Donald Pleasence’s signature trenchcoat). The return of Loomis really serves no purpose other than to vocalize Zombie’s anger towards fans and critics, but McDowell is clearly having fun with the character, and his scenery chewing is the only thing that breaks up the boredom of the Laurie/Michael storyline.

It's no surprise the most embarrassing moments belong to Sheri Moon Zombie, who appears alongside a giant white horse (!) in several bad David Lynch-wannabe dream sequences. For reasons unknown both Michael and Laurie are having the same dreams and even witness visions of Young Michael, horrendously played by a new kid actor (Zombie would’ve been better off re-casting an older Daeg Faerch). These rapid-fire music video sequences are so mind-scathingly awful, they border on unintentional hilarity. Everything else in this film is a bloody bore of ancient slasher cliches. Every kill is painfully telegraphed and executed in Zombie’s typical shaky-cam fashion.

The high point of Halloween II is Brad Dourif, who is the only cast member delivering something beyond a two-dimensional performance. He gives a genuinely likable, sympathetic portrayal of Sherriff Brackett, and every time he’s on screen, you can’t help but dream of a better film where a gun-toting Dourif leads a Michael Myers manhunt without the rest of these annoying hick characters.

Of all the films in the Michael Myers franchise, this Halloween II may be the most plodding and thin entry to date. It should also be noted that the classic Halloween theme doesn’t appear once in this film except during the end credits where it is paired with a reprisal of “Love Hurts”. Thanks, Rob.


2 out of 5

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Halloween2:ElectricBooglaloo is such a terrible film that has officially ruined Rob Zombie's street cred. He needs to get rid of that skank Sherrie Moon, or at least stop putting her in all of his films!!! Whenever I hear that someone is presenting a "re-imagining" of a movie this translates as follows: "The makers of this film are going to fuck up the story but still try to sell it with the brand name of the original". The SyFy channel makes a living off of doing this (e.g. Battlestar Galatica, which rapes the original name but changed and therefore ruined everything else). Rob Zombie made up a stupid role for his girlfriend could be in his movie, which is self-indulgent and disrespectful to those who loved the original work. All they ended up with was a piece of crap.

Submitted by horror_heights on Fri, 07/02/2010 - 12:13pm.

I finally saw this film last night, and at the risk of drawing ire from DC readers (but who cares about that anyway), I thought this was a half descent film - not the train wreck I was led to believe it was by the reviews. Okay, it is a film with problems - about 10/15 minutes too long and far too much ghost mom/son imagery - but that aside I thought it was Zombie's best film to date, and a SIGNIFICANT improvement over his first Halloween film.

*** Spoilers ***

It is clear that Zombie has tried to add a level of intelligence to this film. This is not a by-the-numbers hack and slash sequel. I liked the gradual re-awakening of Michael and his three day return back to Haddonfield. I thought he did a good job showing us how characters had been affected by the events of the first film, although Angel/Laurie's character was not as developed in this respect as I would have liked (although it seems from interviews with RZ that he wanted to do something different with Laurie, but was over-ridden). I liked Loomis' character, and it seemed he logically became what he was in this film. Loomis in all the other Halloween sequels was just a rehash of what he was in the first, and there was never any attempt to move him on. I thought the final scene with him and Michael was a little forced/rushed, but logically saw no other place for it to go unless we rehashed things ad nauseum.

I also thought Tyler Mane did a great job as Michael... just wish he'd killed the kid who says, "Are you a giaaaaant?" - Ah well, can't have everything!

The kills in this film are brutal, and not since the head-smashing scene in "American History X" have I felt affected by such (and being a parent and watching this film made me really empathise with Brackett's situation). I thought there was a bit too much Myers' grunting in the kills, but as I thought about this he also grunts in other Halloween films, so I guess that's okay then (!?).

For me this was a beautifully shot film, and I totally loved the decision to shoot on a format that brought out the grain. If lacking in some story/plot/character respects, for me this film was definitely not lacking technically.

I tried to think about why this film was not well-received and did not do as well at the box office, and I think it's because Zombie has tried to move the story beyond that of a mere by-the-numbers Michael-hack-slash film. He has clearly tried to engage in the idea of what might have happened to these people over the course of a year. That's why I think "FD4" did so well - because it pure mindless spectacle! I also think this is a film that requires repeat viewing to 'get it'. Once you know what it's all about, it is a good film and one I will definitely buy on DVD and watch again and again.

In terms of the Halloween franchise, there is no way this can be or should be compared to "Halloween: Resurrection". IMO, I would actually say this is the second best Halloween film, after the original of course. It is different, but deliberately so. I think Zombie has exhausted his take on the franchise, but this is not a bad way to go out. I look forward to someone else's take on things, but I applaud this film for what it is, and tried to be.

Submitted by PelusaMG on Wed, 09/09/2009 - 8:57am.
Rorschach's picture

Why am I not surprised to read that this turned out to be one big, fat, giant FUCK YOU from Zombie to the people who hated his first effort?

From merely seeing the trailers, I had gleaned that the inclusion of Sheri Moon, the kid mocking how big Myers is, and the "Incredible Myers" flipping over a car were ALL giant raised middle fingers stuck in the faces of the people who bitched about his first movie.

So yeah...not surprised he torpedoed this film, though I am disappointed to hear it. I for one was HOPING that the trailers were just Rob fucking around, and that I'd come on here and read how the trailers were misleading, and that HALLOWEEN 2 fixed all the bad shit Rob did in the first movie.

Instead, I see that not only did he fix nothing, he threw shit in JUST to further piss off those who disliked his first effort. Instead of taking that criticism and learning from it, and trying to tone DOWN the profanity, and trying to give us a HALLOWEEN that we could enjoy with Loomis hunting Myers hunting Laurie....he does this bizarre shit, and cranks up the F-Bomb meter to 11.

If I were a Hollywood executive...I'd not let Zombie anywhere NEAR the proposed "BLOB" remake. He has proven himself unworthy of that honor twice now. In fact, before I'd ever let him DIRECT anything again, I'd insist he spend some time as an assistant director, or even just directing minor stuff written by other people.

Submitted by Rorschach on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 10:02pm.
andyse7en2000's picture

It seems out of all the main reviews knocking around at the moment only 'Arrow In The Head' seemed to like this movie.
The problem is that when people see 'Halloween' in the title they expect it to be a 'Halloween' type movie.
But Zombie seems not to want to make a movie for fans of the franchise-his self-indulgence has no bounds.
Rob Zombie makes movies that he wants to watch and doesn't give a fuck about the critics,professional or armchair.
As a Director his budgets may have risen over the years but he is anything but mainstream and never will be.
It makes me laugh every time I see a message posted complaining that 'THIS IS NOTHING LIKE A HALLOWEEN MOVIE!
This is a Rob Zombie film for fuck sake.What did you expect?

Submitted by andyse7en2000 on Thu, 09/03/2009 - 4:25pm.
jesstro's picture

I totally agree w/ this assesment, I appreciate to see the new vision Rob Zombie has on Michael Meyers. The original of course is an all-time great, but if all that everyone wanted was a simple rehash, then they should have hired any director and told them to make Halloween again... no thanks. Rob Zombie is a sick dude, and I like to partake in a little disturbing visuals every once in a while :)
But I will say this in regards to taking on the task of doing a remake of Halloween... IT HAS TO BE SCARY or CREEPY. Rob Zombie missed those marks GREATLY! Since that is what made the original so great; the music, the tension, and the lighting. Oh well, at least we still got the originals on DVD :)

Submitted by jesstro on Sun, 11/29/2009 - 5:38pm.

Rob Zombie completely butchered one of the best classic horror movies. I'm not a Rob Zombie fan, I personally don't like any of his movies or style. I understand this was his remake and point of view on the movie but I think he just ruined it, if he was going to change it that much from the original, why not make a totally different movie. A remake is a remake and i think it should be as close to the original as possible only better, not a white trash version mockery like the rest of his movies. The only thing he's good at is the gore, but then again someone else probably does that for him?

Submitted by m0nica_09 on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 2:01pm.
Cash Bailey's picture

i thought it was hilarious that Zombie has so little faith in what he's putting on the screen that he actually puts a title card up explaining the half-assed symbolism he uses.

Or maybe it was just the result of poor test screenings.

Submitted by Cash Bailey on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 8:42pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

More likely that he guessed the IQ of his average fan.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 6:04am.
Matt Serafini's picture

While this was a *slight* improvement upon Zombieween, it's still an awful film. And that doesn't just stem from Rob's writing, either (which is horrible).

While Zombie does have an eye for visuals, he can't gel them together into something cohesive. This is a very violent film, but nothing matters. There's zero suspense, the kills are exactly the same and the ending anticlimactic.

Just a miserable cinematic experience. Not fun. Not scary. Not interesting. Just a disaster.

Submitted by Matt Serafini on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 7:15pm.
Permafrost's picture

I'll say this.

I have no problem with H2... It actually felt a little more focused that the first movie and Rob did a great job in a short period of time. I know and appreciate why people hate what he has done. Lots of excellent opinions from people who are very passionate about their movies.

Submitted by Permafrost on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 6:29pm.
moderator Although I do have a few
Debi Moore's picture

Although I do have a few problems with it -- like too much Sheri and not enough Danielle -- I tend to agree it's better than the first. Nowhere near the disaster I was expecting, especially after seeing it panned by just about every reviewer out there, including those who did like the first. But then again, I typically go against the grain of the majority. Not the best movie of the year (or of Rob's career) certainly, but nowhere near the worst either. As for comparing it to FD4, I'd have to give the edge to H2 (by maybe 1/4 of a knife) since it was brutal as hell and just felt more like a "real" movie.

Submitted by Debi Moore on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 6:40pm.

as im reading all these comments i can tell just by reading each and everyone's comment that none of you like stories or truths behind the movies that you watch or have seen. I love what Rob Zombie is doing with the Halloween movies. unlike the originals he makes the truth clear on why michael meyers is who he is and why he does what he does, clearly that was what the original movies were lacking. Maybe saying that he is remaking them is really what he is not trying to do, that would be to easy....maybe take into consideration that he is remaking them to an extent but in the same process of making a new story for the movie and showing the facts behind Micheal's psychotic sensibilies. MAYBE PAY A LITTLE MORE ATTENTION !!!!! In Rob's honor i hope that his story of the Halloween legacy continues.....I would love to see more of what he can do with it. Rob Zombie's Halloween 1 and 2 kicked major ass and they fucking rocked!!! i loved them both.

Submitted by anginewlon on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 2:09am.

Ok first off this might not have lived up to the hype of what everbody thought it was going to be but it was still a pretty good little flick for what it was. What I don't get is that everybody was on here bitching about how they wanted Rob to do his own thing with this movie and now there on here bitching about how it was to much of his own idea.Are we at the point where we just write mindless bullshit on here just to be doing it.As far as the review goes it was about as fair as it could be but I know that FD4 wasn't any better than what we had with this one so I don't agree with the review that was put on that fucking stupid movie.If anything they both did as well as the other and that at this point isn't that great.So if Rob got a 2 I think FD4 should get one too.I mean how many movies about teenagers getting killed off by the wind do we really need at this point in life.

Submitted by Carrion Filth on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 11:26am.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

"everybody was on here bitching about how they wanted Rob to do his own thing and now there on here bitching about how it was to much of his own idea"

The people who make up the former group aren't necessarily the very same people who are in the latter group.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 12:06pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

"I love what Rob Zombie is doing with the Halloween movies"

Wrong tense. The Weinsteins are already looking for "a new direction" for 'Halloween'. Sanest decision they've made for a while.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 11:20am.

I think my wife and I are in the minority where we really liked this movie. The first one left me with a meh, didn't love it, didn't hate it feeling.

I don't think Zombie's movies tarnish the near-perfection that is Carpenter's original vision any more than countless shitty sequels do.

I get the feeling that Zombie was much more interested in telling Laurie's story of someone trying to survive a fucked up experience but slowly sliding into madness instead of another Michael Myers story. I'd have been interested in seeing that story as something original as pposed to another Halloween entry with the burden and baggge the expectations bring.

Someone does need to pull Zombie aside and tell him not every small town is populated with rednecks and strippers.

shameless plug: my own review here:

Submitted by mikesnoonian on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 11:43pm.
shaneg's picture

Saw it Saturday morning. Abysmal. My expectations were low going in, and I was still disappointed. I didn't hate or love the first one. It was just kind of there for me. This on the other hand? I was actually kind of angry when I left the theater. Pointlessly violent in a bad way, mommy visions, and the white horse symbolism were the main things that ruined it for me. The only parts of it I liked were Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif. I'm sure somebody out there liked it, and that's OK. Their opinion, not mine.

Submitted by shaneg on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 9:36pm.
Sirand's picture

For those still claiming bias, Halloween II is now officially the most critically-panned entry in the series just behind Halloween: Resurrection.

Submitted by Sirand on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 7:28pm.
Raider Redux's picture

#1) FINAL DESTINATION $28.3 Million

#2) INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (Week Two) $20 Million

#3) HOBOWEEN $17.4 -- which includes grosses from an EXTRA midnight show. Fail.

Submitted by Raider Redux on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 1:57pm.
Didn't See It Coming's picture

"Rob may have lost popularity within the horror community but we are the minority. The average movie going person cares little about horror, however, at the moment I can't think of a more generally popular or widely known horror director than him. I didn't even realize he was as popular as he was when House came out. I was shocked at the amount of people in the theatre day after day. I don't think there's going to even be a contest this weekend. I don't think FD has a prayer."

Yep. Not a prayer. Funny how it's the little insignificant things that can bring a smile to one's face.

Submitted by Didn't See It Coming on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 2:46pm.
Ultimo Franco's picture

Source the quote, I beg you!

*edit* Never mind. I found it. Nice catch! I love it when words come back to haunt people.

Submitted by Ultimo Franco on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 6:33pm.
Floydian Trip's picture

I think the majority of people on messages boards and web sites are going to be bitching about this movie without having seen it themselves.

Submitted by Floydian Trip on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 2:24pm.
The Unknown Murderer's picture

Remember Devin Feraci's infamous "Fuck You Out of 10" given to the remake of Halloween?

You should read his review at Chud for this one. He didn't hate the film, but he didn't entirely like it, either.

In fact, he mentions what many of us have thought about Zombie's skills as a screenwriter in that he really needs someone to help him with his writing, and he may then be able to show everyone that he can be a really, really good director.

P.S. I love Danielle Harris. She's the bees knees.

Submitted by The Unknown Murderer on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 1:04pm.
mycho's picture

Rob Zombie?

Man that guys Horrible.

Submitted by mycho on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 6:43am.

I thought about seeing this with my Brother, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

Here's Why.

I love many of Carpenter's Original movies. But I was willing to give the remakes/revisions a try and what did I get?

Dear Jesus they raped, pillaged, plundered, & disemboweled my beloved.... The Fog. How do you go from Zombie Leppars to flame throwing ghosts?

And then there was Halloween. Dear Lord, after seeing that one I ran home and washed my eyes out with mouthwash. There was only three things I liked about Zombie's remake.

1) Danny Trejo - I love this guy....such a cool dude and have been hooked on him since, From Dusk Til Dawn.

2) Big Joe Grizzly - Probably the most realistic scene in the whole movie.

3) Daniel Harris - Great to see her back in the Franchise and her skin suit.

The rest was just horrid. He took Jason's reason for killing and gave it to Michael. That was the scariest thing about Meyers in the Originals, he didn't have a reason, he just was the beast.

So I'll wait til my brother buys the DVD and sit through it. Hopefully it'll be better. I'm not closed minded to Zombie's movies.

I hated House of a 1000 Corpses, but loved The Devil's Rejects. So maybe it'll be the same with his Haloween.

Submitted by JoeDarkfall on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 1:23am.

This reviewer was brutally honest too - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPpEmNEGFeE - but I also got the feeling that this guy has not sat through "Halloween: Resurrection" in a movie theater either...

Submitted by PelusaMG on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 12:13am.
Foywonder's picture

Ever notice it's always the 2/5 knife reviews that bring about the most ire?

Submitted by Foywonder on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 10:59pm.
Cash Bailey's picture

Hold the Press!! Rob Zombie makes another shitty HALLOWEEN movie!!

Fuck you all who actually liked the first one.

Submitted by Cash Bailey on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 10:00pm.
AriesofPitt's picture

NO!!! A HALLOWEEN movie without the classic HALLOWEEN music? WTF!

Submitted by AriesofPitt on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 9:12pm.
moderator All this back and forth is a
Steve Barton's picture

All this back and forth is a great thing and has actually got me jazzed to see this flick. Zombie's got a blank slate from me right now, as do all filmmakers when I see their stuff -- except those Taurus people who can go and fuck themselves with their Day of the Dead cash-ins.

When I do see it, expect me to be mixing it up with you guys, and, I can tell already -- look forward to one hell of a Dinner for Fiends.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 8:30pm.

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