When you’re rebooting a film franchise you obviously run the risk of not pleasing the fans. Disappointment is one thing, but the absolute disgust I felt after seeing Rob Zombie’s Halloween II is inexcusable. At one point in the film, a character is accused of “profiteering off the miseries of others” and that is exactly what Zombie will do to you if you see this movie.
The movie has a promising start. A young Michael Myers (Chase Wright Vanek) is visited by his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) at a mental facility and the two have an engaging and almost touching interaction. Then the audience is forcefully hurled back to where Zombie’s 2007 film left off with a bloody and hysterical Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) roaming the streets after putting a bullet through Michael’s head. She’s picked up by Sheriff Brackett (Brad Dourif) and taken to the hospital while Michael (Tyler Mane) is loaded into the coroner’s van.
The two men in charge of transporting Michael’s body are so unbearably inane and irritating you’ll be begging for Michael to wake up whether or not it’s sensible. Sure enough, Michael hops out of the back of the van and begins another relentless killing spree. Michael goes to pay Laurie a visit at the hospital and kills everyone in sight. Forget any suspense or uncertainty; if you’re in his way he is going to hack you up and continue to do so even after you’re already dead. By the end of the hospital sequence you’ll be so exhausted by the immense about of unnecessary and utterly tasteless screaming and gore, you’ll be begging for Michael to kill Laurie once and for all. Sadly, by the time the hospital massacre is over you’ve only gotten through 20 minutes of the film.
Laurie is extremely traumatized by the events of her past, but not too traumatized that she can’t enjoy her new life as a laughable rocker chick with some 80s flare. She’s living with Sheriff Brackett and his daughter Annie (Danielle Harris), the movie’s only engaging characters, and Zombie adds some new agonizingly trite and obnoxious friends for Laurie, probably just to up the body count. Meanwhile Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) is alive and using his near-death experience to pull in some extra cash by writing a new book about Michael and going on tour to promote it.
While all of this is going on Michael is making his way back to Haddonfield chopping up everyone in his path. Of course you’d expect this infamous slasher to remorselessly murder as many people as he can get his hands on, but at least throw some originality into the mix. Not one of Michael’s kills is clever or novel, just uncomfortably brutal. There is no element of surprise in this film because you know just about everyone is going to die.
Ultimately Laurie finds out that she is Michael’s sister. She addresses the issue with an insoluble number of expletives and a sob session with her weirdo friends. The ludicrousness of the movie hits a high when Laurie does a complete 180, going from deep devastation over the revelation to a raging party girl desperate for a drunken night out. You just found out you’re related to a sadistic murderer so what do you do? Party, of course!
Wait, I’ve gotten ahead of myself. In my anxious attempt to point fingers at the most ridiculous parts of the movie, I’ve overlooked the most absurd of all, Sheri Moon Zombie as Michael’s mother. Throughout Halloween II, a ghost version of Deborah pays Michael visits instructing him of the proper time to bring Laurie home. Not only is Zombie butchering the franchise by throwing in this supernatural element, he’s asking to be mocked for desperately trying to incorporate his wife in the film. The urge to giggle at every instance she’s on screen completely disconnects you from the film leaving you incapable of taking anything she says seriously.
I consider myself to be an avid horror fan, especially when it comes to the slasher film sub-genre. I walked out of Halloween II downright angry and feeling as though I was mocked for loving the Halloween franchise to begin with. Zombie took one of the greatest psychopaths of cinema and turned him into a preposterous murderer with no motif. If Zombie wants to do things like House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, fine by me, but he should be banned from touching any material as respectable and iconic as that of John Carpenter’s.
Reviewed By: Perri Nemiroff