Halloween II (1981)

(On TV, November 2016) Slicker, gorier but ultimately less interesting than its predecessor, Halloween II at least has the distinction of picking up moments after the original, making for a surprisingly integrated sequel from a narrative point of view. Of course, the match isn’t perfect: Having disposed of much of the cast in the first movie, the follow-up has to reintroduce new characters to kill by moving the action to a nearby hospital. Audience expectations being what they were in 1981 at the height of the slasher craze, the sequel is also significantly gorier, with bigger hints of nudity than the original. Then, of course, is the nature of the antagonist, here even more mysterious and invincible than in the original. There’s also a generally useless revelation regarding the link between heroine and psycho-killer that is best forgotten. But in “improving” upon the original in this way, the sequel also moves closer to the average eighties slasher. As a result, the things that still make the first Halloween remarkable aren’t to be found in the sequel. At least Jamie Lee Curtis isn’t bad as the heroine. Still, the best argument for watching Halloween II is that it closely continues and completes the first film’s story—if you get it in the same DVD series pack, then why not watch it as well? It’s barely more than 90 minutes long, so you can actually watch the two films one after another in the same evening.

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