The Not-So-Gruesome Halloween II Death You’ve Never Seen

When Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II premiered on basic cable in the mid-to-late ’80s, fans of the film couldn’t help but take notice. To make up for the censorship of more violent scenes, the version seen on TV featured a handful of deleted scenes and alternate takes not present in the theatrical cut. Only a few of these scenes are particularly substantial — the ones that flesh out the supporting characters of Janet and Dr. Mixter would’ve been welcome additions to the film as we know.

For Halloween fans, though, this TV cut would become one of the “holy grails” of the series. In the pre-internet days, your only chance to catch this version was by, naturally, tuning in during annual showings of the film on AMC and the USA Network — and/or, if you were lucky enough to be prepared, to have recorded a version on VHS tape. My, how far we’ve come…

These scenes were finaaally featured on Universal’s Blu-Ray release back in 2011 — and again, in 2012, with Scream Factory’s deluxe edition — but only after years of fan demand. So much demand, in fact, it is a miracle to know the collective ‘we’ do not have to pester for this material anymore. What the hell are we supposed to bitch about now?!

The film as we know features a number of grisly deaths, orchestrated by use of scalpels, stethoscopes, hypodermic needles, and even a “jacuzzi” therapy tub… However, there is one death that fans have not seen — one that was actually shot, but can only be found within the original script pages (as well as the novelization penned by Dennis Etchison).

Because of her limited screen time, one might mistake the blonde, WWAR news producer as a throwaway character — but originally, Catherine Bergstrom was intended to have a meatier role. We reached out to the former actress (who also made appearances in “M*A*S*H” and Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie) to pique her brain on this scene.

“Other than remembering that my murder scene was cut from the film, I am blank on the actual scene. Apparently it was cut because it was not gruesome enough, although my throat was slit! I am still in touch with Rick Rosenthal and will check with him one of these days so that he can help me remember what exactly was deleted.”

In the original screenplay and novelization, the producer is referred to as Debra (a reference to Halloween producer Debra Hill). After witnessing Dr. Loomis’ heated speech outside the Wallace house, Debra informs her assistant (a pre-SNL Dana Carvey) to rally the crew and head to the hospital to get a statement from Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis).

Not long after driving away from the crime scene, Debra experiences a bit of car trouble due to a flat tire. Struggling to fix the issue herself, a “burly” man in a pick-up truck stops to assist her. After brushing off the driver’s advances, Debra is alone — or so she thinks.

Most likely, this sequence was one of the casualties of John Carpenter’s re-shoots. Unimpressed with the cut of the film that Rick Rosenthal had assembled, Carpenter took over the picture and shot additional scenes, including an explanation for how The Shape/Michael Myers would learn of Laurie Strode’s whereabouts.

Rosenthal couldn’t be reached for comment, but back in 2013, I attended the Halloween: 35 Years of Terror event — and during the Halloween II Q&A panel, I quizzed the director on this scene. Unfortunately, I can hardly recall his response, aside from mentioning that it was actually he who played the supporting role of the truck driver!

If memory serves, I believe he may have chucked up the scene’s deletion to pacing issues… or perhaps a joke regarding his acting abilities? I wish I could remember — I feel like a hack of sharing this half-baked info, but it’s really the only semi-public acknowledgement from Rosenthal that this scene was, in fact, shot and discarded.

In any case, the deletion of this sequence caused a domino effect, leading to other scenes being cut, including…

…a scene that featured reporter Robert Mundy and the WWAR news crew arriving at the hospital. Like the aforementioned death, this scene hasn’t been released either, but it is known that the crew’s entrance causes a bit of a commotion as Mrs. Alves promptly dismisses them — but not before Mundy lets slip to Jimmy that Michael Myers has reportedly perished in a car explosion…

…which would lead into another deleted scene that actually DID make it into the TV cut, in which Jimmy tries to console Laurie by assuring her of Myers’ death… but with the prior scenes having been cut, it wouldn’t make much sense for this scene to remain…

…except for the fact this scene gives explanation as to why the hospital remains shrouded in the dark for the remainder of the film. As someone who is somewhat interested in the editing process, it is intriguing to see how one deleted scene can unravel a sequence of events.

That’s not all, though. Ever wonder why Dennis Holahan is credited in the film as Laurie’s father? That’s because this character was to make an appearance during Laurie’s sedated dream, in which she vaguely remembers visiting Myers as a child; while Laurie’s mother appears in the scene, her father is nowhere to be found. No footage. No continuity/publicity shots.

It’s a wonder why this footage wasn’t included in the TV cut or on any DVD/Blu-Ray release. Assuming it still exists, perhaps the footage is hidden within the Universal archives — possibly under a misleading title or serial numbers? Or maybe with the Dino De Laurentiis estate… or in a crew member’s garage? Maybe even housed within Halloween fan Billy Kirkus’ unseen footage? Sadly, we’ll probably never know.



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