Starring Scout Taylor-Compton, Tyler Mane and Malcolm McDowell

Written and directed by Rob Zombie

Alliance Home Entertainment

Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode

Thank Satan I did not see Halloween 2 in theatres. Every friend and fiend I know shat on it, not entirely surprising given the enmity that met writer/director Rob Zombie’s ill-advised first Halloween film – an enmity I wholly endorsed. Zombie’s rethink of the John Carpenter classic seemed a travesty, from its attempts to explain Michael Myers’ madness to his clumsy telescoping of the original’s plot into his film’s final act. I rarely boo a film, but I did that night in that theatre back in 2007.

But Halloween 2… It’s a good horror movie. Hell, it’s a good movie. Let’s be straight: this is the “unrated director’s cut” of which I speak. Even Zombie, on his commentary track, bemoans his truncated filming and editing schedule, and the studio’s insistence on an ending that left room for a sequel – a sequel of which, I might add, Zombie has washed his hands. This is Rob Zombie’s preferred version, and it’s both bloody and bloody good.

As to plot, Michael (Tyler Mane) is dead… except of course he’s not, and the body has disappeared. Two years later, we find his sister Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) is scarred and traumatized. So is her best friend Annie (Danielle Harris). Instead of bringing them together, Michael’s assault has created a rift which is pulling them apart, despite their living under the same roof with Annie’s dad, Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif), whose life is unravelling.

Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell), meanwhile, has written a tell-all book that exploits his association with Michael – a book that also reveals Laurie’s family relation to Michael and sends her further down a path towards self-destruction. Always moving closer is Michael himself, prompted by visions of his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie). A family reunion is inevitable.

Tyler Mane as Michael Myers

Watching Halloween II with Mrs. DLB, I asked her thoughts about the film. “Slow and stupid” was her comment, half an hour in. By the end, though, we turned to each other and agreed that Zombie’s attempts to build both suspense and character had worked. The relationship between Annie and Laurie is given room to breathe, and its decay is wrenching. Taylor-Compton is especially convincing as a regular girl whose life has been completely shattered. Even Zombie’s controversial decision to unmask Michael (and give him a word of dialogue) makes sense within the idea that this is a totally different version of the Halloween world. John Carpenter’s movie is still there up on my shelf, safe and sound.

The key extra on this disc is Zombie’s commentary. A lucid, smart man, he explains the differences between the theatrical version and this, his preferred version. Even he has reservations about the version that the studio put out, and while that may be self-serving apology, it makes me grateful that I never saw it.

Deborah Myers (Sheri Moon Zombie) and son Michael (Chase Varek)

Overall, this version is haunted, emotionally true and far more intimate (apparently) than what audiences have previously seen. Rather than being Rob Zombie’s worst film (at least as rated on the IMDb), Halloween 2 turns out to be his best.

Rating: 3.5/5

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