Sunday, April 3, 2011

Day 3 of the 30 Day Horror Challenge: Halloween II (1981)

Day 03 - Your favorite slasher –


Halloween II which is subtitled “More of the Night He Came Home” has the kills to back up my selection for favorite slasher flick. The first Halloween is a perfect movie that has pretty much everything I love. P.J. Soles (crush crush crush). The classic tombstone over the bed scene. The theme from The Thing from another Planet and RKO’s intro playing out during the Halloween movie marathon. The infamous pumpkin smash scene early in the film. I may have watched this movie more than any other with the exception of Jaws.

The first thing I think about with this entry is the Mr. Garrett gets the claw end of a hammer put through his skull. The sound of Michael Myers delicately imbedding this tool of carpentry into Security Officer Garrett’s skull will haunt me for all time. I still cringe. I still jump even though I know it’s coming. It’s the sound folks.

Second we’ve got a therapeutic bath gone scaldingly bad. Hot nurse. Hot tub. No face. You’d feel bad for Budd who gets it right before Karen does in this sequence, but he gets off easy. Always wondered how Michael’s hand faired in that encounter. Maybe he moisturizes? Karen does suck/nibble on at least one if not two of his fingers, so he must be doing something to attract the ladies.

Third, Dr. Mixter gets a needle in the eyeball. Nuff said. What really gets my goat is Jimmy. Jimmy discovers this whole thing is happening when he finds Mrs. Alves drained of all her blood. In an effort to warn the town that Timmy is in trouble he runs full bore out the door only to slip on Mrs. Alves blood and plant the back of his head on hard hospital linoleum. He seems like such a nice boy too. Eventually he makes it into the parking lot with a pretty nasty concussion and finds Laurie in his car where he passes out. I say passes out, but my question is, “Does Jimmy die in the car next to Laurie Strode?” Does his wound actually kill him? I’ve never really received confirmation on this. Frustrating.

Maybe it’s the opening sequence where Michael Myers walks through the recently terrified neighborhood, stealing a butcher knife (what a sin), scaring housewives in their own kitchens, listening to Dr. Loomis hysterically rant about the accuracy of his shooting (hey, maybe you only hit him five times). I always enjoy hearing Night of the Living Dead in the background as Myers steals the knife out of Mrs. Elrod’s kitchen. Her scream is equally entertaining.

I know it isn’t John Carpenter’s classic, but it was written by Carpenter and Debra Hill with some liberties taken for sure. They set it in a hospital which is just about as creepy a place at night as you ever hope to be. Year’s after watching this one during Halloween week sometime in the 80’s and after countless reruns I had to stay several nights in a hospital. As the floor began to descend into slumber, the halls were only filled with the echoes of beeps and machines and silence. That silence brought me straight into Halloween II and had me asking myself if I should hide in the bed next to me and stack pillows in my bed to resemble a faux me and wait for a man in mask with a pretty serious scalpel in hand. Having realized that I did not have an older brother who wanted me dead made the choice obvious (hide in the next bed anyway because who knows when you’ll discover said older brother and his homicidal tendencies).

Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis kill the bad guy by blinding him with bullets and then blowing him up with oxygen tanks. Filling his mask with fire at the end is genius and still unsettles me about the mere existence of Halloween IV and the sequels beyond. I love it when Dr. Loomis fires his “warning shot” in the back of the marshal’s car to get him to do the right thing. Love it more that the Marshall gets his ass good and killed for being a fucking moron. Is that wrong? The killer is never dead and the law is pretty much always useless in these pictures. This guy might as well have had a sign on his back that said Dead Idiot Walking.

Go like your Freddy Kruger and Jason Voorhees (who I will also like as well). Michael Myers is my Mr. Sandman and the first sequel to the groundbreaking film where “He Came Home” and its updating synth score, original, non-Shatner mask and Sam Loomis’s inaccurate explanation of Samhain make it my favorite.

-Dr. Terror

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