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This Day in Horror History: Rick Rosenthal’s HALLOWEEN II Opened in 1981

On this day in horror history, Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II with Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, and Dick Warlock as Michael Myers was unleashed in 1981.

Written and produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, Carpenter refused to direct, and instead appointed first-time filmmaker Rosenthal to take the helm.

Sporting a budget of $2.5M, Rosenthal shot the flick at Morningside Hospital in Los Angeles, California in the spring of 1981. Halloween II was distributed by Universal Pictures and was a box office success, grossing over $25M domestically.

The second installment in the series serves as a direct sequel to John Carpenter’s Halloween with Curtis and Pleasence reprising their roles as Laurie and Loomis.

It introduces the plot twist of Laurie being Michael Myers’ sister, a twist that even though even Carpenter himself hated it, would be used in subsequent films, including Rob Zombie’s, before being dropped by Blumhouse’s 2018 reboot.

Originally, Halloween II was to be the last chapter of the Halloween series to revolve around Haddonfield and was intended to finish the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. But after Halloween III: Season of the Witch bombed, Myers was brought back six years later in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

The sequel centers on Michael Myers who has followed Laurie to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital and cuts, stabs and slashes his way through hospital staff and former psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis to reach his favorite victim / little sister.

The film sports a 32% on Rotten Tomatoes with a Critics Consensus that reads: Halloween II picks up where its predecessor left off – and quickly wanders into a dead end that the franchise would spend decades struggling to find its way out of.

HALLOWEEN II poster - This Day in Horror History: Rick Rosenthal’s HALLOWEEN II Opened in 1981

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Written by Mike Sprague

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