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To Halloween II... Or to not Halloween II
on 15 May 2010
I recall watching this puppy at the flicks with my mouth agape at the absurdity of what unspooled before me: A scruffy lookin' hobo Michael Myers, a totally unlikeable Dr Loomis, a wasted Brad Dourif and a ripe old finger to the fans from director Rob Zombie were just a few choice nuggets that made up my initial reaction. However, upon second viewing - maybe, just maybe, I got it all wrong...
Beginning mere moments after the 2007 remake ended, we find Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) walking the streets in a daze following her stabby dispatch of series psychopath Michael Myers (Tyler Mane). Here she is rescued by Sheriff Brackett (Dourif) and sent to the hospital, where 'ol Mikey pops up (Piff! Paff! Puff!) out of nowhere and begins his daily business of murderizing everyone in sight. From here on in, the movie leaves no horror cliche stone unturned as we are treated to fake dream sequences, half baked pretentious symbolism, horny teen hijinx and a whole host of ugly characters that would rather spew profanity than you know, talk normally to each other.
This movie hasn't had the kindest reviews and I can see why: The screenplay isn't tight and as a sequel, it bears no relation to what has gone before in terms of aesthetic style. On the surface, its as if director Rob Zombie lost interest in his characters (sorry, John Carpenter's characters) and was only here due to some contractual obligation, rather than a creative impulse to continue with 'his vision'. However, even with all of that said - upon second viewing (and especially the US released directors cut), I got a different feeling from the film: Okay, its never going to be mistaken for a good movie, but at least it feels ''different''. I enjoyed the subversive turns that Michael takes and Brad Dourif, although wasted makes for a very impressive 'real Dr Loomis' substitute. The movie is quite artful and dare I say, striking in terms of its visuals - even in the darkness, everything feels rich and textured. I've grown to enjoy the characters and highly brutal nature of the film which was initially off-putting - I guess you just have to understand the vibe the filmmakers were going for. Yeah, its hard to get in sync with such degrading characters - but if you look beyond the surface vulgarity, there is real beauty beneath the dirt.
Entertainment's blu ray holds a strong vibrant picture with strong audio. As usual, the extras are more filler than thriller and fans looking for an exhaustive documentary that Mr Zombie is usually noted for, will be disappointed. To sum up, I'm still not certain I'm making a positive case for this movie - it really is a divider between fans. However I must admit, I prefer this to Zombie's original remake as this one doesn't feel hampered by studio suits and maybe that finger I mentioned in the opening of my review wasn't directed to me after all - maybe it was Hollywood. All in all, a strange brew which won't suit many tastes. I've grown to appreciate it, but I'm old and my faculties aren't what they once were - I have trouble remembering my own name. Approach with caution and you maybe rewarded. I was.