Oct. 31st: Halloween II (1981)

halloween-2-ii-poster-1981Outside of the hugely underrated and insanely Halloweeny Season of the Witch, Halloween II is really the only other Halloween installment I can recommend in good conscience. Plus, it’s the sequel, so we gotta give props to that this season.

I don’t love Halloween II and I rather blame its existence on why the franchise wasn’t able to continue and expand the way John Carpenter wished. If Halloween II was Halloween III, we could have had a different Halloween themed story with every outing for who knows how many years.

Had they simply ended Michael’s tale with part 1, it would have been more haunting, more powerful and had prepped fans straight away that this was not going to be “Michael’s Series.” Who was that masked man murdering teens on Halloween? I dunno, guess he’s just wandering around now. Moving on with some other tales.

As it stands, II continued “the night he came home” and forever sealed the fate of this franchise as “The Michael Myers Story” With each new installment removing more of what made Michael great in the first damn place…ambiguity.

It’s also the film that introduced the whole extended Myers family angle to the story, an aspect in which I couldn’t be less interested. I like the fact the Laurie and her friends were chosen by almost complete chance and that their murders are the random outbursts of some mysterious, masked maniac.

All that being said, Halloween II is still Michael’s best sequel. It still features the original mask (a huge plus when considering the awful, awful resculpts), maintains the general feel of the original and literally picks up right where the first one left off, thus taking place on the same night. You could have ended Michaels story here successfully, no doubt, but fans just wanted more and they were eventually given just that.

It’s pretty Halloweeny and the hospital setting is an interesting location and leads to some unnerving sequences and kills. It also gives an expanded glimpse into Haddonfield as it reels from the previous film’s mayhem. Everyone in town is starting to hear about the horrible things that have happened just a block or two over. It’s neat to see the night just continue.

Poor Ben Tramer gets straight plowed by a police cruiser and goes out in a blaze of Halloween glory, though. Poor Michael gets both of his eyes shot out, which never really seems to pose him too much difficultly on any of his further adventures. And poor Laurie has to find out she’s that guys fucking sister. Samhain bummers all around.

This year was a celebration not just of other Halloween themed movies, but also of the Halloween Sequel. While Halloween II may be cheating just slightly, is a mere shadow of its forebear’s glory, and sets this entire franchise on many of its awful roads, it’s still the greatest Halloween Sequel there is.

Double it up with the original for one extended “night he came home” this year.

I give 2 bloody eyes and a burning Ben Tramer up!

Designation: Treat!

Happy Halloween, weeners. Thanks for joining us through Return of the 31 Days of Halloween Horror 2: Revenge of the Halloween Sequels: Trick or Treat?

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Oct. 31st: Halloween (1978)

halloween1978Though over listed and a decidedly cliched choice, for the purpose of this list, of course, John Carpenter’s classic has to take the pole position.

Though I give much love and respect to it’s Yuletide predecessor and inspiration Black Christmas, I still feel Halloween does it better. It is hands down my favorite slasher film and one of my favorite horror films period.

Effectively and methodically paced, Michael’s rookie outing is awash in strange glows and Halloween energy. And the music, not simply the theme (which is great) but all the incidental scoring throughout is eerie and seminal horror business.

The Shape had many sequels and imitators, but nothing holds a jack-o-lantern’s candle to this true American original. And it’s all on Halloween.

Many years have I watched this film on Halloween night and it’s never been a bad decision. Simply watching this film any night is never a bad decision, but from a young age, into my teenage and adult years, Halloween still makes Halloween feel like Halloween.

So, Happy Halloween tumblr.