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

Discuss Halloween II in the Dread Central forums!
Planning to see Halloween II? Guarantee your seat before you go and avoid a sold-out show.
Buy your tickets at Fandango.com.


Nomad's picture

I don't disagree with Andrew enough to write a counter point review, but did want to say some things. Minor spoilers below!!

First, the movie I was jazzed to see after talking to Rob Zombie on a couple of occasions wasn't really what I got. I expected Laurie to be popping anti hallucinogenics and pain killers for her extensive battle scars but if she was, they didn't play that up at all. They displayed her new "fucked up" attitude through wall graffiti and an urgency to get drunk. Not exactly the mess of a woman I expected. Sure she was tired from all the nightmares and seeing a therapist, but if they wanted to suggest a shattered mind and maybe even someone capable of snapping and eventually turning into a myers type, they didn't pull the trigger.

Totally agree I'd watch an entire movie of the sheriff taking the threat of Myers seriously and mounting a defense for the oncoming juggernaut making his way to town. Loomis was funny in spots but you almost could have cut him from the story as well. he was useless.

As for the violence, it felt like there was a kill every 5 minutes and that cheapens the event for me. I didn't mind the brutality and thought it was actually on target with past films..even the grunting! It just felt like there were unnecessary moments done just to show that violence. the scene in the strip bar and the hicks could have been cut completely as they added nothing to the story.

The dream sequences were a bit laughable at times. Whenever I saw the horse I couldn't help but think of a Duran Duran video, or any 80's video for that matter, where a horse would stride through the background of a shot at any given moment, for no apparent reason. There may have been a way to make the dream characters creepier but that didn't seem to be the point. On that note, I guess I didn't get what the point actually was.

I saw a few things in the FX trailer that were bloody as all hell and didn't see them in the movie. No building of tension..maybe 2 semi decent jump scares and not one super creepy visual from my own POV...so while I didn't HATE the movie, I wouldn't recommend it to friends looking for a great saturday night spook fest. On the other hand, if you liked the first Zombie Halloween, you'll probably really dig this.

Submitted by Nomad on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 8:19pm.

Are we surprised Brad is the only highlight of this film?? Dude is the shit and waiting for his other film Fading of the Cries to come out! Disappointed though cuz Malcom's pretty good too normally.

Submitted by jarhead on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:40pm.
Raider Redux's picture

And hilarity ensues.

Haven't seen this movie and have no intention of giving the Weinsteins any of my money to do so. If I can get in free, then maybe. Otherwise, I'll save my money for the Grindhouse Film Festival Screening of Lucio Fulci's ZOMBIE this Saturday in Portland, OR. They scored an actual 35 MM print!

However, Dread Central's integrity has been questioned and I take serious issue with that.

I praise Andrew for not doing the leg humping I've seen on display on a few other sites. In fact one site that shall remain nameless, whose been in bed with the production for a while now, hasn't even posted a review as of this writing, yet posted a very negative review of HALLOWEEN II's main competition this weekend. And you question OUR integrity?

UC is correct in that giving a film a negative review does us no favors. Like all sites and news organizations, Dread Central requires "access" in order to get interviews, access to the set for coverage, etc. Running a negative review always risks putting you on bad terms with studios and Prod Cos, which can have a negative effect on said access, which is why some sites never run negative reviews, but merely "pan" movies; meaning they don't say it's a good movie, but they sure as hell don't say it's a bad one either.

Kudos to Andrew for giving HIS honest opinion of the film.

And, in the end, it's just that, a freaking opinion. If you RZ fans have a different one -- awesome. Good for you. Go see the movie several times, buy the multiple DVD releases and support the genre.

Submitted by Raider Redux on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 7:36pm.
Teen-Idol's picture

I'm not even going to read any reviews trying to defend this film (?). When I tried doing that for the first remake all it lead to was pain from the uncontrollable laughter of the asinine comments being left by people.

Rob only had one goal to achieve with this cinematic abortion and Andrew's review could all be summed up with this sentence, "..serves no purpose other than to vocalize Zombie’s anger towards fans and critics".

Rob didn't care about making a good movie. He did it for the money. Can you blame the guy? Of course not. But don't go around defending Rob as a great filmmaker cause you'll only make a retard out of yourself to people who actually know what they're talking about. Just because the Halloween franchise -has- been shit for years now, doesn't give Rob an excuse to make his own shit entry.

The only people who will enjoy this movie is the same teenage crowd who still pays for Saw 74 and other garbage like the "Meet the Spartans".

Rob fanboys - suck it.

Submitted by Teen-Idol on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 6:04pm.

Well, the guys over at Reverse Shot (reverseshot.com) were pretty fond of Rob's first Halloween, and they're pretty serious and thoughtful critics.

Which isn't to suggest that Reverse Shot is the be-all end-all of discussion, but it pokes a hole in your absurd generalization which, quite frankly, is no better than the mindless ranting of the grammatically-challenged user to whom you're responding; you just happen to be more articulate in your thoughtlessness.

I find Rob to be an interesting filmmaker. I enjoyed House of 1000 Corpses, I loved The Devil's Rejects, and I thought Halloween wasn't half bad, saddled as he was with the obligation to remake a classic while telling his own story. If I like Halloween II, does that make me a dumb teenager? My opinion does not match yours, and so I'm relegated to a lower standing? How does this empty elitism accomplish anything? What makes you so sure that you understand so much, and that anyone who disagrees on this particular topic is a retard.

The best way to combat a troll is either through ignorance or by crafting a decent argument against him/her. There are plenty of intelligent people who enjoy Zombie's work without being mindless drones. But then perhaps its my own fault for expecting a decent discussion on a comment board. I just keep hoping against hope.

Submitted by mansuave on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 6:56pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

"I thought Halloween wasn't half bad, saddled as he was with the obligation to remake a classic while telling his own story."

Zombie wasn't "saddled" with anything, the man's freely admitted that the decision to make the latter-half of his "reimagining" a retelling of the Carpenter stuff was his and his alone. He could have told any story he wished to, but he didn't.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 8:13am.
Mephistopheles's picture

I was under the impression that Rob Zombie's initial plan was for the entire film to be what ended up as the first half of the remake, ending with Myers putting on the Shatner mask (and the second film would be the more conventional remake of him stalking Laurie), but Dimension told him not to.

Submitted by Mephistopheles on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 4:25pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

About halfway down the page, Zombie says that the idea to remake Carpenter's film was his: "I watched the first movie again and came up with the idea of remaking it".


Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 11:11am.
Mephistopheles's picture

Yes, and the initial plan in remaking Halloween was different than how it ended up. He's said this a number of times in interviews, the most recent being a video interview in Arrow in the Head. It would have been considered a remake either way as it's not in continuity with the past films.

Submitted by Mephistopheles on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 12:44pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

If his first film had consisted entirely of the Smith's Grove stuff, ending with Myers escaping and donning the mask, it wouldn't have been a remake.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 5:58am.
Mephistopheles's picture

Not necessarily. Nothing says that a remake has to follow the original film 100%.

Submitted by Mephistopheles on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 9:22am.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

By that logic the forthcoming 'Alien' prequel could be considered a remake of 'Alien' if it ends with a shot of the Nostromo picking up a distress signal and heading for LV-426.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 10:55am.
Mephistopheles's picture

Even if Rob just released the first half of his Halloween film, there's no way that it could be considered a prequel to the original film as it pretty much reboots the entire origin. I would imagine that the Alien prequel will more or less fit into the canon of the first film.

Either way, it doesn't change the fact that Rob's said that his initial plan at one point for the remake was to split the story into two different films.

Submitted by Mephistopheles on Tue, 09/01/2009 - 11:14am.

I'm sure you're right. Friends have mentioned the same thing to me when I've had the argument with them. But I don't think you can discount the enormous pressure the man must've been under to remake (let's just ignore bullshit terms like "reimagine") a classic. Of course he felt the need to retell the Carpenter story; he'd've been torn to shreds if he hadn't, given the way the film was marketed (and given the recent success of horror remakes). As it is, he was (mostly) torn to shreds anyway, so he likely would've been better off simply telling his own story, hindsight being 20/20 and all that. I just don't believe that he didn't feel pressured in some way, even if it was by himself.

That's the problem with origin stories/first in a series/etc. The first X-Men movie had problems because it was attached to a mythology. The first Spider-Man movie, too. Hell, (and I know I'm in the minority here), BATMAN BEGINS was a thoroughly mediocre affair, hampered by cluttered (and often poor) writing, and it wasn't until THE DARK KNIGHT that Nolan knocked it out of the park. The pressure for the director to please himself, the fans, and the moneymen is crazy, and it seems you have to prove you can score a hit with a middling film before you're free to do what you like. Creative freedom only goes as far as the author allows himself to take it.

I realize it sounds like I'm just making excuses here (and maybe I am), but I really don't think Rob Zombie is getting a fair shake in all this. He deserves more credit.

Submitted by mansuave on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 12:48pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

"But I don't think you can discount the enormous pressure the man must've been under to remake a classic. Of course he felt the need to retell the Carpenter story; he'd've been torn to shreds if he hadn't"

He brought the pressure on himself - he said he was free to do anything he wanted with the series and he decided to do a remake. TBH, I think he would've faired slightly better if he hadn't gone the remake route.

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 11:15am.
Didn't See It Coming's picture

You're defending Rob Zombie while in the same breath saying Batman Begins is mediocre? Nothing you have to say is worth reading beyond that point.

Submitted by Didn't See It Coming on Sun, 08/30/2009 - 10:35am.
Sandstonesoft's picture

Responding to imbeciles by calling them imbeciles isn't thoughtless, it's sane. He's not responding to any particular post here, he's just addressing a group of people that seem to be predominately incapable of answering anything negative about a work of Rob Zombie's with an actual rebuttal that contains opinions that refute the veracity of the original reviewer's take on the film. If you'd actually like to offer your opinions on why Zombie's films are interesting, i for one would be happy to listen to your ideas and have an honest debate.

For my end, the reasons i don't particularly care for anything he's done is because, IMO, he's very lazy as an artist, both in his directing and his writing. He never really makes an effort to create any characters that are anything more than cardboard cut-outs with bad dialogue, and most of them are the same cardboard cut-out ... not only is there no depth there, which keeps me from caring about them, often there is not much substantive difference character-to-character, which is just mindlessly boring. Also, most of his visual style and artistic direction are born from an obvious adulation of movies like LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT and THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, but something gets lost in the translation where he tries to replicate the raw terror and shock those movies' scenes produced artificially by shaking the camera and overusing jump cuts and making the peak scenes as noisy as possible, and then drenching the scene in gore, as opposed to keeping the audience off-balance with creative story structuring and framing the shots in interesting ways.

Submitted by Sandstonesoft on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 8:48pm.
moderator There's nothing like a sound
Steve Barton's picture

There's nothing like a sound voice of reason amidst a sea of insanity. Kudos.

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 8:51pm.
PelusaMG's picture

I'm not surprised that this was a negative review, but I'm still intrigued by what I've seen so far to go and see it. If anything, at least I'll be able to say I saw the "Hostel 2" of Zombie's directing career...

Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:46pm.
frank_dracman's picture

Pelusa, I saw Hostel 2 and I have no intentions of seeing this thing. Ever. I don't even have the slightest bit of morbid curiosity. I'd rather shove a can of Red Bull up my butt.

Submitted by frank_dracman on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 5:48pm.
The Unknown Murderer's picture

I would rather pay to see you do that than to see Halloween II in the theater.

Submitted by The Unknown Murderer on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 9:36pm.
PelusaMG's picture

Yeah... actually, I'm tempted to save my money to see you do that as well!

Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 10:17pm.

uncle creepy and andrew your full of shit in fact fuck you. i read this site all the time and you obviously dont like rob and thats the basis of your hateful retarded "review" and anyone with half a brain can see that. you either A) didnt see the film yourself and go filled in by one of ur trusty co wokers or b) didnt pay much attention because your review is fucking bullshit. wow to think i thought you were a credible critic haha what a joke your just another hack at rotten tomatoes... i think you lost site on exactly what your job means perez hilton, your paid to judge the art not the artist. this film was half decent and it would have been nice to hear you be honest but whatever ill stick to bd from now on.

Submitted by tray128 on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 3:53pm.

2 knifes out of 5. That sounds like "half decent" to me.

Submitted by RadianceofShadows on Fri, 09/04/2009 - 11:34pm.
Shambling_in_Bandages's picture

"ill stick to bd from now on."

Do you mean Bloody Disgusting, where the majority of site users loathe what Rob Zombie did with 'H1' and 'H2' with a passion hot enough to scorch the surface of a sun? Good choice!

Submitted by Shambling_in_Ba... on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 4:56am.
Sandstonesoft's picture

Yeah, Uncle Creepy and Andrew, how dare you judge a movie based on it's merits and then articulate the many reasons it sucked in your review. You're (yes, that's with an apostrophe and an "e", dickbag) paid to agree with hostile 10-year-old's to make them feel less depressed about their own dogshit taste in movies. Get it right next time, please.

Submitted by Sandstonesoft on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 6:35pm.
PelusaMG's picture

i wont stand bye and allow you you to diss uncle creepy and andrew for this reveiw. i read this site all the time and thats a fact and thats why i will always will always so there. it is a shame that siome people whomcome to this site do not appreceate the work they do becauis they are ther they are and thats my opion and thats it so there.

Submitted by PelusaMG on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:50pm.
Rottenjesus's picture

BD is the perfect place for such a literate and well spoken person like yourself.

Submitted by Rottenjesus on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:42pm.
moderator If you read the rest of the
Steve Barton's picture

If you read the rest of the comments, tray, you'll see that I said I'm reserving judgment until the weekend when I see the film. You'll also see that I said I am a fan of Zombie's.

But let me get this straight because Andrew and a myriad of other critics didn't like the movie then they are all retarded, hateful and don't like Rob? Really, dude? Really? LOL

How about your offer reasons why this review is bullshit. You know, discuss your issues. Why is Andrew wrong about what he said? What did he miss?

Submitted by Steve Barton on Fri, 08/28/2009 - 4:05pm.
Mr. Gray's picture

Excellent comments, Tray.

Or should I call you ... SHERI MOON ZOMBIE!

Submitted by Mr. Gray on Sat, 08/29/2009 - 10:32pm.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.