Friday, August 28, 2009

Halloween Two

Michael Myers is dead. Laurie Strode, Annie Brackett and Doctor Loomis are being carted off to the hospital, battered but alive. Myers' body is loaded into a coroner's truck and taken away, down a dark country road. Where it turns out Michael wasn't so dead after all.
Thus begins Halloween Two.
One year later, Laurie is trying to move on with her life. She's living with Annie and her father now, going to therapy, working at a coffee shop and having graphic nightmares on a regular basis.
Doctor Loomis is shilling yet another book he's written about Michael Myers.
And Michael is heading back to Haddonfield at the urging of the spectre of his dead mother, slaughtering everybody he encounters along the way.
The three of them will meet again on Halloween night.
Rob Zombie has a visual style that I can only describe as "pretty grime," a style that for one reason or another really appeals to me. Everything in the movie looks dirty and maybe a little sticky, but the shots he sets up can be beautiful to look at (for example, a blindingly bright moon shining through the trees, Laurie's silhouette running and stumbling across the screen).
A lot of the movie relies on dreams and symbolism (Myers' mom, all in white, with a white horse is the most prominent; the movie opens with the definition of white horse dreams), and for once the "it was all a dream" moments didn't feel like a cop out. In fact, the dream sequences are some of the most effective in the film.
After seeing the first Halloween (well, the first Rob Zombie one) I was convinced that Doctor Loomis could not possibly become more of a money hungry, sensationalist douchecanoe. Turns out I was wrong. Props to Malcolm McDowell for playing him as well as he does, but I'm starting to wonder about him. He plays assholes to perfection, and I don't know if I've ever seen him play a character I actually liked.
Scout Taylor-Compton did a damn good job playing Laurie in this movie. There didn't seem to be much to the character in the first one. She was just the least slutty of her friends. Laurie Strode's got quite a bit of character depth now and she nearly brought me to tears a few times. It nicely balanced out the moments I didn't think worked so well (standing on a table, ranting about how she wants to party and get drunk, for instance).
Rob Zombie is probably the only director in history to think "You know what Michael Myers needs? A great big mountain man beard!" And he pulls it off. Almost every scene Michael is in ends with an act of unimaginable violence, and none of it is shied away from. Decapitation by glass shard, face stomped in, impaled on antlers, you want it, Halloween Two's got it. It's all grisly and it's all on screen for your disgust or delight, depending on your taste.
As far as I'm concerned, Halloween Two is quite an improvement over the first one. I'm hoping more directors take a cue from Rob Zombie and start trying their damndest to make sequals equal to or greater than their originals. 'Cause, while I prefer House Of 1000 Corpses to The Devil's Rejects, Rejects is a better movie (it's just a hell of a lot less fun). And Halloween Two blows Halloween right out of the water.

End of line.

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