I’ve already ranted on my distaste for Halloween 2 at length, but I thought I would give it another shake. Besides, I figured the added footage would clear up a lot of my earlier complaints about characterization and continuity.
The initial hospital scene has a really great moment added where Laurie falls into a dumpster full of dead bodies. It’s a very surreal visual, but I can tell why Zombie cut it, because it would have given away that the whole scene was a dream very early on. I probably would have cut it, too.
There’s a lot more footage added involving Laurie and her strained relationship with fellow survivor Annie. In the theatrical cut, Laurie seemed much more confused and irrationally fearful, plagued by nightmares of Michael coming for her. Here, these visions are much darker and more violent, clearly featuring Laurie as the one inflicting violence on people. She starts having fits of rage so severe they manifest as completely dissociative episodes. It scares her enough that she starts asking for stronger meds, saying she’s unable to control feelings of rage against Annie (and she doesn’t really know why she feels this anger). Again, this is valuable characterization that is necessary for the ending to feel like anything but a lame twist. On the other hand, you can tell why these scenes were cut, because it all but telegraphs Laurie’s dark turn at the end. Hell, when Laurie looks up at a Rorschach painting on her psychiatrist’s wall and notes that it looks like white horses, you might as well hang a neon sign around her neck reading “SHE’S GOT THE DEVIL IN HER.”
But really, how much time did that buy the twist ending? It’s fairly obvious when Laurie starts seeing a spectral Myers Mother about two-thirds of the way through the movie. You could argue that these scenes make Laurie less sympathetic (because she really does come across as a bitch in comparison to Annie), but what confuses me more is the message this movie raises about nature vs. nurture in the creation of the Shape. In fact, in one restored scene, a journalist even asks Dr. Loomis which factor he thinks was responsible for Michael, and Loomis gives a waffling, prickish answer. The first movie makes a heavy argument– a bullshit one, to be sure– but a heavy one that Michael Myers was created by a hideously abusive and fucked-up family and childhood environment. His dad was a mean drunk, his mom a stripper, and his sister the town bicycle. Kids tormented him at school, and nobody really picked up on the warning signs before it erupted into violence.
This movie, however, throws all of that away in the case of Laurie, who had a great childhood for as long as she had conscious memory. Sure, a seven-foot, three hundred pound motherfucker tried to ram a kitchen knife into her brain when she was 17, but even after that she couldn’t have asked for a more supportive circle of friends and family to help her through such a traumatic time. And yet this movie’s final judgment is that this evil is apparently the inescapable Myers legacy. You just can’t have it both ways, Rob.
Anyway, there’s also a lot more of Dr. Loomis, which I thought would be a good thing but it all turns out to be pretty redundant. The notion that Loomis’ publicist is the one with moral qualms about profiteering on the Myers victims still slays me. The restored footage is way, way too much Loomis, though. The theatrical version was just enough to make him look like an uncaring prick, but in this cut he’s just weird, throwing out quotes from George Bernard Shaw with a “Loomis twist” and basically doing a stand-up routine about Michael’s victims at a book signing.
Michael still manages to teleport around Haddonfield quite a bit, most notably when he’s at a party one moment, and in the next garroting a cop in front of Laurie’s house across town the next.
I complained a while back about seeing too much of Tyler Mane’s face before without his mask. Even so, Zombie showed some restraint by having his face mostly in shadow, or only showing his eyes or isolated features. Forget that. Here, you see his full face, in direct light, snarling and squinting and grunting in all his caveman glory. Once again I’m struck at how much Rob fails to understand the Shape, who is meant to be cold, emotionless, expressionless evil. A blank expression of destruction, as manifested by the mask.
I was so not expecting the ending, though, which is completely different from the theatrical cut. It’s freaking hilarious. The setup is the same: Michael takes Laurie to a shack and barricades himself inside as the cops surround it. Dr. Loomis sees the standoff on television and runs into the shack, where he finds Laurie struggling against her phantasmal mother, to which Loomis starts yelling “Come with me! It’s all in your mind!” Well, maybe, but the big damn gorilla with a knife isn’t. Anyway, Mike’s mom tells him to finish the job.
Cut to the outside. Loomis is suddenly hurled through the shack wall, Michael close behind. Michael picks him up (again, no mask), looks him up and down, bares his teeth and yells “DIE!!!” proceeding to hate-fuck him with a knife. Yes, Michael Myers just spoke in his role as the Shape, and I die a little inside. Anyway, the cops finally wake up and proceed to give Michael a Peckinpah-style hail of bullets, killing him D-E-A-D for really real this time.
But it gets better. A bloodied and battered Laurie shambles out of the shack, picks up Michael’s knife, and starts walking over to where Loomis is laying. The sheriff shouts at her to drop the knife when suddenly the cops open fire and blow her skinny ass away! And just as you’re starting to process the stupidity of what’s happening on screen, she starts to fall in a bloody pile in slow motion to the strains of “Love Hurts.” I literally had to rewind this scene because I realized I had facepalmed for about three minutes straight, and by the time I looked up, the credits were rolling. When I looked again, it shows Laurie in the hospital grinning like a maniac, so I guess she survived this as well. That woman’s got some sand, I tell you what.
I guess I just don’t get it. I don’t understand why Michael is so driven to kill his family aside from the obvious reason that he has an untreated gunshot wound to the head. I guess if I survived a bullet to the head I’d be seeing ghosts and white horses, too. I don’t know how Michael finds Laurie or knows they’re related, but it certainly doesn’t help that Laurie never leaves fucking Haddonfield.
Nah, you know what? Rob Zombie’s the one who doesn’t get it.