Halloween II (2009)

Family is forever.

Year of Release: 2009
Genre: Horror
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 119 minutes (1:19)
Director: Rob Zombie


Scout Taylor-Compton ... Laurie Strode
Brad Dourif ... Sheriff Lee Brackett
Danielle Harris ... Annie Brackett
Tyler Mane ... Michael Myers
Malcolm McDowell ... Dr. Samuel Loomis
Sheri Moon Zombie ... Deborah Myers
Chase Wright Vanek ... Young Michael
Brea Grant ... Mya Rockwell
Angela Trimbur ... Harley David
Margot Kidder ... Barbara Collier
Caroline Williams ... Dr. Maple
Richard Brake ... Gary Scott
Howard Hesseman ... Uncle Meat
Duane Whitaker ... Sherman Benny
'Weird Al' Yankovic ... Weird Al Yankovic


Rob Zombie's Halloween II picks up at the exact moment that 2007's box-office smash Halloween stopped and follows the aftermath of Michael Myers' murderous rampage through the eyes of heroine Laurie Strode.

Evil has a new destiny. Michael Myers is back in this terrifying sequel to Rob Zombie's visionary re-imagining of Halloween. It is that time of year again, and Michael Myers has returned home to sleepy Haddonfield, Illinois to take care of some unfinished family business. Unleashing a trail of terror that only horror master Zombie can, Myers will stop at nothing to bring closure to the secrets of his twisted past. But the town's got an unlikely new hero, if they can only stay alive long enough to stop the unstoppable.


Halloween II (2009 version), remindin' us that HIPAA agreements ensure doctor/patient confidentiality and forbid the disclosure of personal information to any and all public entities... unless the person's a real jerk.

And speakin' of coastin' by on the misery of others, I'm real sorry it's taken me so long to get this published, and I just wanna assure everyone that I'm not runnin' some half-assed operation like the Fox network where they can't be bothered to move the Simpsons outta their regular time slot to ensure the Halloween special actually airs in October. I am not the kinda guy who expects people to get into the Halloween spirit a week after Walmart starts playin' Wham!'s "Last Christmas" on loop and restockin' the shelves with unsold fruitcakes from 2006. I blew it, and I'm sorry - it's just tough to make your deadline from the ICU, is all.

Let my guard down, that was the problem. See, this was supposed to be the year the Sage Maze came off with no criminal negligence charges filed against us after Duke Tankersley managed to broker an armistice treaty between Skunky Hernandez and the feral stockbroker squatters that live on the south end of his land. Maybe it's just me, but I feel like those poor guys never were the same after they hooked up with them broads from the Soggy Valley Women's Correctional Institution who escaped their work detail back in '17. Ever since they've all had this look about 'em like a goat that managed to chew through the rubber band around his gondolas before they fell off and now lives in constant fear that the rancher's gonna notice.

Anyway, like I was sayin', Duke talked 'em into neanderin' around the maze scarin' people in an officially sanctioned capacity in exchange for squirrel trappin' rights on Skunky's land, and so for the first time since year one (when they originally got lost and turned caveman on us), we didn't have to worry about the Band of the Lost turnin' up to sacrifice folks to their jackalope god.

All the same, we're still talkin' Halloween at the Grime Time, so Billy Hilliard, Tetnis, Duke, and I were all packed together on the deck of the projection booth waitin' for the inevitable crash landin' of radioactive space invaders, an uprising of vengeful, snowbound cannibal pioneer spirits, or worst of all - City Council members on the campaign trail, but nothin' happened.

I mean, okay, Buzz McCulloch did shove Val Winthrop's head into his tackle box (Buzz's tackle box, not Val's) after he spilled a bowl of Juanita's patented blood nachos down the back of Buzz's flannel shirt, resultin' in 16 unrequested facial piercings. And yes, several people did take tire tools to the headlights of Clem Glignit's brand new Nissan Z after he couldn't figure out how to turn 'em off and the light bouncin' off the reflectors of half the cars on the lot resulted in a Cessna confusin' the drive-in for a landin' strip, but other'n that it was downright tranquil. All the screamin' comin' outta the maze suggested ordinary Halloween spookage, unauthorized nookie, or understandable Halloween spookage resulting from the discovery of unauthorized nookie.

By the time I'd finished my hockey mask patterned cheeseburger patty the credits were rollin' on Messiah of Evil and folks were startin' to pack it in for the night, and I'da been out the gate right behind 'em if Mrs. Sadie hadn't shown up in 'er Elvira costume with 'er own set of high beams.

"Hi! I just wanted to stop and tell you what a great time Sadie and me had tonight," she squealed.

"Told ya it was them. Pay up, Billy," I gloated.

"Wheow ith Thadie?" Billy asked, obviously tryna change the subject.

"Oh, she's talking to the nice man wearing the coyote skin pullover. The last time they saw each other was six years ago when she slammed him onto that old car in your maze - they're catching up I think," she explained.

"He's certainly a good sport. She buried his face deep enough into the hood of that Model T that a forensics examiner could use it to identify his dental records," I recalled.

"He's very nice. He said I looked 'scrumptious' in my costume, isn't that sweet?" she beamed.

"Provided he wasn't holding a skillet at the time, I suppose so," I agreed as I waited for 'er to build up the courage to ask for whatever it was she'd really come over for.

"Hey, uh, I don't mean to be a bother, but would you mind terribly going back in there to get my 'Mistress of the Dark' sash? I must have lost it in all the, um... excitement," she giggled.

"Uh huh. And just where did all his 'excitement' take place?" I grumbled.

"Next to the old well. I think it's... hmm... that way?" she pointed, seemingly at random.

"Never mind. I can triangulate the point of origin on an orgasm well enough. I'll drop it off tomorrow," I muttered before headin' in.

The well really isn't that far once you get in there, but I was takin' my time so's the Sadies'd be gone when I came out 'cause obnoxiousness aside, when a woman with torpedoes like that dons an Elvira costume a guy's liable to try findin' a dry spot in the ocean if she asks 'im to, and I didn't have time for any additional mammary manipulation.

Sure enough, the sash was stuck on a 6' piece of brush just behind the well, 'cept when I reached up to grab it, outta goddamn nowhere comes this 2x4, and before I knew what hit me I was tumblin' through pitch-black space. Whoever dug that thing musta given up pretty quickly, 'cause there's no way they hit any water after drillin' 15' in that scrub desert - that said, that's plenty far enough to separate your shoulder on impact, as I discovered when I reached the bottom.

"Cold down there, isn't it?" came a voice from above.

"Oh, it ain't so bad," I groaned, clutching my shoulder.

"You're lying. I've been down there," it replied emotionlessly.

It took a little while to shake the cobwebs loose, but eventually, I got the picture.

"Norman, you little twerp, when your mama gets ahold of you she's gonna--"

"Believe me. She's going to believe me when I tell her you're making the whole thing up. If you can get out to tell her, that is," he asserted.

"Listen, kid, assaultin' a pervert in a Santa Claus suit don't hafta follow ya forever. You can still come away with a fresh start after somethin' like that - but if you do-in the drive-in projectionist in a town with nothin' to do these people'll have you swappin' pictures of prison groupies with Scott Peterson for the rest of your natural life," I tried explainin'.

"Consider this your warning shot. Show up at my next release hearing and you'll wind up a case study on an episode of CSI: Podunk," he warned before vanishin' into the night.

That was the last I saw of 'im. I hollered for two days until Skunky finally saw fit to take down the Halloween decorations, found me, and winched me up outta there. They kept me in the hospital for five days after that tryna get my pneumonia under control, but when I finally got out and called Bambi Mastrude to tell 'er what her fruit of the loon'd done she just asked if I'd landed on my head. Apparently she'd gone to visit Norman in kiddie prison a coupla days before I called and, in addition to nothin' bein' out of the ordinary with 'im he was, ya know, actually there.

I dunno how he did it, but there hasta be some serious Hogan's Heroes bullstuff goin' on in that place if he was able to sneak out, find a way over here from The Dalles, and then sneak back before bed check the followin' mornin'. So anyway, yeah, my review's late, but I have a doctor's excuse.

Ya know, I was thinkin' this mornin', as I shoo'd Shankles away from the chicken I was thawin' in the sink, how it's a durn good thing I've got my act together - 'cause if I hadn't checked out the flick before I went to the drive-in we may've been talkin' about Halloween on Thanksgivin', and if there's one thing worse than talkin' politics on turkey day it's tryin' to have a civil discussion about the works of Rob Zombie. Eli Roth probably owes the second half of his career to 'im, 'cause before Rob went and remade Halloween, Eli was perfectly poised to bear the brunt of impotent internet rage for the rest of his life, so I hope Eli at least sends Rob a nice Christmas card every year thankin' 'im for soakin' up the collective ire of embittered, middle-aged men who trace all their problems back to that bitch Stacy Bowens who rejected their prom proposal in front of the high school cheerleadin' squad. Rob may not be a great filmmaker, but he ain't a bad one either, and to prove it I've selected three cinematic musings from this highly unnecessary sequel that I found to be not only topical, but also pretty danged insightful to boot. First, if you find yourself dancin' topless at a no cover charge barn rave, it may be time to hire representation that doesn't address you as: "Yo, bitch." Second, when the sheriff's bathroom is indistinguishable from the setting of a Saw trap, you've taken that whole "defund the police" slogan a tad too literally. And third, if you experience dream sequences lasting more than 20 minutes please consult your editor.

The movie begins where the reboot left off with Laurie walkin' down the middle of the street until Sheriff Brad Dourif finds 'er, takes 'er gun away, and promises everything'll be okay as long as she includes the words: "I was in fear for my life" in the police report. Meanwhile, medics rush Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Sam Loomis) to the E.R. to try savin' his career after everybody saw 'im in Firestarter: Rekindled, while a second ambulance takes Danielle Harris (Annie) directly to surgery in hopes of restorin' 'er face to pre-Michael Myers condition after he took it upon 'imself to install a coupla extra mouths and left 'er lookin' like somethin' out of a Lovecraft story. Still elsewhere, a coupla carcass cabbies're drivin' Michael's body over to Johns Hopkins so they can uncover the secret of how he managed to evolve an all-natural kevlar coating where his skin oughta be, only the husk haulers start waxin' necrophilic about one of their passengers instead of watchin' the road, and the man in the back says "ya shoulda seen 'er rack" and it turns into a bovine blitz - bovine blitz. They get Bessie as good as she gets them, but the driver's killed instantly and the passenger only survives long enough to use the f-word 76 times before Mike sits up, grabs a chunka windshield, and saws the creep's head off before wanderin' away to join the ghost of his dead mama and Shadowfax under a street light so all the arthouse theaters'll think it's real profound and book the movie for limited screenin' engagements. Next thing, it's two years later and Laurie bolts up screamin' in bed after starrin' in a nightmare involvin' the plot to Chainsaw in the setting of the original Halloween II, and by this point she's developed naturally occurin' dreadlocks and looks like she's been servin' out a prison sentence for crimes against hygiene. She's been livin' with Brad and Danielle ever since Mike turned 'er folks into parent pot pie and they're doin' their best to take care of 'er in the face of ever-increasing schizophrenic outbursts and an irrational, antagonistic attitude towards pizza topped with animal byproducts.

While Laurie battles 'er inner demons and outer tangles, Malcolm's verbally abusin' his personal assistant and generally makin' a case for Samuel becomin' the male equivalent of Karen before makin' a presentation about Mike in advance of his new tell-all book, only it ain't long before the press start drawin' parallels between him and a parasitic tapeworm and he goes apeshit in the middle of his symposium. Mike, meanwhile, is neanderin' around America's heartland takin' orders from Sheri Moon's zombie until a coupla cleftskulls drive up and beat the tar out of 'im with bats for trespassin' on their incestral homeland, and that makes 'im so mad that he hasta put his face on and settle their hashbrowns in spite of the damage it's likely to cause the local fried chicken and ammunition industries. The next mornin' (October 30th), Laurie wakes up early to have a psychological break on the pot where she sees 'erself duct tapin' Danielle to the La-Z-Boy and voidin' the warranty by slicin' 'er into chick fillet, and the day gets progressively worse when she goes to therapy and Margot Kidder refuses to increase the dosage on 'er Fuckitol prescription. While that's goin' on, Mike decides to take a trip down mammary lane and visits the tassel castle where his mama used to wiggle 'er jigglers for drunks with copenhagen dribble on their shirts so he can stomp the bouncer's brains into coronal gorealis and turn the place into a Jimmy Dean sausage factory when he catches Porky's nephew makin' bacon with the talent.

Finally, the big day dawns, and when Brad knocks off early for lunch to skim through his advance copy of Malcolm's new book he can't help but notice a whole lotta off-the-record police intelligence has made its way in - the most startling bit being that Laurie was rescued as an infant from a trailer-trash upbringing likely to result in marriage to a modern-day Chuck Traynor after bein' stripped of the Myers surname. Brad tries to get to Laurie before the spoilers do, but she ends up buyin' a copy of the book and meltin' down like a jar of vegemite in the Northern Territory until she hits rock bottom and goes to this topless rockabilly disco hoedown rave in the sticks with 'er anarchist record store friends (Mya and Harley) so she can get schnozzled and think about which daytime talk show she should go on first. Only after a while the 18 beers she had for dinner catch up with 'er and she starts freakin' out and 'causin' concerns about the quality of the acid circulatin' around the party, while the militantly promiscuous Harley and 'er slightly frightened hookup get slaughtered by Mike in the back of a van that looks like the inside of Barbara Eden's genie bottle if she were workin' the Red Light District in Amsterdam. By this point Laurie's about half pickled, so Mya takes 'er home and the two of 'em arrive around five minutes after Mike does, and needless to say, Mike's still so P.O.'d that Danielle refused to work for scale in Halloween 6 that he slices 'er up into final girl goulash and admires his handiwork while Laurie and Mya sit at the kitchen table debatin' the health benefits of tea vs. coffee without a hint of irony after havin' ingested enough beer to kill Steve Austin.

They eventually find what's left of Danielle upstairs in the can, but while Mya's callin' the cops, Mike puts 'er on 'er back and buries his knife so deep into 'er gutbucket that he throws the termite colony livin' in the house's floorboards into complete chaos. Danielle's one tough cookie given that there's enough blood in the bathroom to refill 'er torso three times over, but she eventually fades out while Laurie's repentin' for 'er recent bitchy behavior. Then Laurie hauls 'er Heineken laden hiney down to the highway where she's picked up by a good samaritan with a fully loaded thrash metal tape deck, only before they can leave Mike catches up to 'em and Black Hole Slams the guy into the windshield of his Volkswagen Golf and rolls the car down the embankment to remind unpatriotic passersby to buy American - or else. After that everything goes full-blown supernatural, as Mike, the ghost of his prepubescence past, and Mama Yaga take Laurie to an old barn where the census takers refuse to stop anymore, only to be set upon by the royally P.O.'d police department, the newly repentant Malcolm McDowell, and, of course, the Eye-5 Newschopper. Unlike the eye-in-the-sky, though, I have no further developments to report 'cause we're gettin' dangerously close to the ambiguously bizarre choose-your-own-interpretive endin', so if you wanna know what happens you're just gonna hafta find another chump with even less integrity than I have.

Alrighty, well, this's probably where most people would put Rob Zombie on trial, call Michael Myers to the stand, and ask him to show the court where Rob touched him... but I think Rob gets way more shit than is justified. Zombie has essentially become the Nickelback of the Horror genre (the guy it's cool to hate for reasons that're not entirely clear), and like Nickelback, the white-hot rage over an unincredible, yet more-or-less competent resume is completely unjustified, and I'm telling you this as someone who fully acknowledges that neither this flick, nor the remake that preceded it should ever have been made. I think there's a lot of double standards where it concerns his flicks, and I often wonder if these people who get so upset over Zombie's callbacks to other films are the same people who rave about modern movies filmed to look as though they were products of the '80s. I've also noticed that when movies borrow from other flicks the audience response to it is dictated entirely by whether or not they liked the movie as a whole - if they did, it's an "homage," if they didn't, it's a "ripoff." This holds true even within the confines of Zombie's own body of work, because even people who normally hate Zombie's movies tend to acknowledge the quality of The Devil's Rejects, and although it borrows just as much as any of his other titles, those particular similarities, while frequently cited, are rarely criticized.

'Course, even if you don't like Rob's style of filmmakin' you'd probably still have to acknowledge that his director's cut of the movie is miles ahead of the theatrical version, whose differences were dictated by studio executive Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault fame. The two versions are strikingly different in the way Laurie Strode is portrayed, with the theatrical cut showing a struggling, yet hopeful character trying to put the past behind her, while the director's cut is much grimmer, and sees Laurie suffering PTSD following the events of the first movie. It probably goes without saying, but the director's cut, while more interesting and much more plausible, would have totally tanked at the box office, and for that reason, several scenes with Laurie were softened to suit the tastes of those in attendance on opening night. The ending in particular is completely different with regard to who lives and who dies, and while it may not be especially uplifting - it feels far more fitting than the feel-good version the studio forced Zombie to film to satisfy the normies. The studio actually approached Zombie to do a third entry on the basis that the theatrical cut was canon as far as they were concerned, but Zombie declined (after already feeling coerced into making this sequel to avoid someone else meddling with his "vision") and the rights reverted back to Universal, who brought back Jamie Lee Curtis for the 2018 film, which was probably for the best.

In any event, let's not get Myered down in the debate over whether Rob Zombie should be horse-whipped in the town square for crimes against cinema, and instead see how his sequel fares against the remake nobody wanted. Truthfully, we probably need look no further than the plot to find out what people think of this one. The supernatural elements are a bit heavy-handed and come across as little more than an excuse to get Sheri Moon back in the flick, although I would argue with anyone who feels they come completely out of nowhere because whether it's spelled out or not, there's obviously *something* supernatural about a guy who can get shot in the face multiple times and come back for another movie. That said, I think the plot deserves the "most improved" award when compared to the remake, and that stems from being a great deal more focused and feeling less rushed (despite, ironically, *being* more rushed when two weeks were cut from the shooting schedule). The remake tried to tell Michael's origin story AND pack the events of the original Halloween into a running time that couldn't possibly accommodate it, while the sequel has only to play out the rest of the story and bring it to a conclusion. It's a much simpler story, but just by virtue of having the time necessary to tell it, it greatly improves upon the plot of its progenitor.

The acting, despite some of the characters being brutally unlikable, is very good, and sees the return of genre stalwarts Brad Dourif, Sheri Moon Zombie, and Danielle Harris, as well as the ever-quirky Malcolm McDowell and the usual host of character actors we've come to expect from Rob Zombie's movies. Scout Taylor-Compton does a nice job evolving the Laurie character from the relatively strait-laced good girl in the first flick, to the unhinged, semi-schizophrenic mess she's become in its aftermath, and she's so far gone that you really end up identifying more with Danielle Harris and Brad Dourif as they try holding the increasingly tenuous living situation together. This hasta be one of Brad Dourif's most unusual roles, and it's strangely entertaining to watch him play the down-to-earth, mild-mannered father who's so mundane and endearingly lame that he regularly embarrasses his daughter with diatribes about the cinematic significance of Lee Marvin and other dad-like subjects. Additionally, Malcolm McDowell's Loomis shifts from mere douchery into a full-blow asshole, having become a self-aggrandizing tool bent on profiting off of the suffering of those killed in the first film, and McDowell does an excellent job of making you thoroughly loathe him. In other words, whatever you may think of the characters, there's no denying that this is an incredibly well-acted movie.

Here's who matters and why (less Brad Dourif, Sheri Moon Zombie, Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris, and Weird Al Yankovic): Scout Taylor-Compton (Halloween 2007, The Lurker, Edge of Insanity, Cynthia, Feral, Ghost House, 247 Degrees Fahrenheit, April Fools Day 2008, Wicked Little Things), Caroline Williams (Seed 2, Hatchet III, Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1, The Unleashed, The Profane, Exhibit, Contracted, Abolition, Sebastian, Leprechaun 3, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, Stepfather II), Tyler Mane (X-Men, Halloween 2007, Abnormal Attraction, Victor Crowley, Devil May Call, 247 Degrees Fahrenheit, The Devil's Rejects, The Scorpion King, How to Make a Monster), Dayton Callie (Abottoir, The Devil's Carnival, Alleluia!: The Devil's Carnival, Space Alien Avenger), Richard Brake (Doom, 31, Hannibal Rising, Offseason, Tremors 7, 3 from Hell, Mandy, Thor: The Dark World, Asylum Blackout, Batman Begins, Death Machine), Octavia Spencer (Encounter, The Shape of Water, Snowpiercer, Drag Me to Hell, Pulse 2006, Spider-Man, What Planet are You From?), Richard Riehle (Digging to Death, 3 from Hell, West of Hell, Dementia 2015, Hellen Keller vs. Nightwolves, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Chillerama, The Last Lovecraft: Relic of Cthulhu, Messengers 2: The Scarecrow, Necessary Evil, Audie & the Wolf, Aaah! Zombies!!, The Darkroom 2006, Hatchet, Mighty Joe Young 1998), Margot Kidder (Superman I - IV, Black Christmas, The Amityville Horror 1979, The Clown at Midnight, Shadow one: My Teacher Ate My Homework), Brea Grant (Lucky, After Midnight, All the Creatures Were Stirring, Bad Apples, Sleep No More, Dead Night, Dead Awake, Beyond the Gates, Holidays, Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival, Smothered, The Devil's Dolls, Looper, Ice Road Terror, Trance, Battle Planet, Midnight Movie), Howard Hesseman (Munchie Strikes Back, Quiet Killer, Tarantulas: The Deadly Cargo), Angela Trimbur (Psychopaths, Brotherhood of Blood).

Additionally: Diane Ayala Goldner (Feast 1 - 3, The Collector, Slay Belles, Valentine DayZ, Children of the Corn 9, Bad Apples, Hellraiser 10, Cabaret of the Dead, Whispers 2015, Shhhh, Zombie Night, Hatchet III, Ashes, Pulse 2 & 3, Satanic), Adam Boyer (Looper, Hell's End), Duane Whitaker (Children of the Corn: Genesis, Dozers, Hobgoblins, Trailer Park of Terror, Urban Decay, Feast, The Devil's Rejects, The Low Budget Time Machine, Groom Lake, From Dusk Till Dawn 2, The Haunted Sea, Within the Rock, Night of the Scarecrow, Tales from the Hood, Puppet Master 5, Deadly Dreams, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 3), Brian Rae (Book of Fire, The Hospital 2, My Bloody Valentine 2009), Mark Boone Junior (30 Days of Night, Batman Begins, Ghost House 2017, Frankenfish, Dead Birds, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, Vampires 1998, Se7en), Michael Deak (The Resonator: Miskatonic U, Gingerdead Man 2, Abominable, Witchhouse 3, Blood Dolls, Deformed Monsters, Le zombi de Cap-Rouge, Beastmaster III, Return of the Living Dead III, Puppet Master III, Bad Channels, The Guyver, The Pit and the Pendulum 1991, Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, Shadowzone, Arena, Spellcaster, Prison, Ghost Writer, Cellar Dweller, Evil Spawn, Ghoulies II, Day of the Dead 1985), Oliver Kasiske (Frankenstein Created Bikers), Jake McKinnon (Land of the Dead, Ginger Snaps 2 & 3, House of 1000 Corpses, Wishmaster, From Dusk Till Dawn, Puppet Master 4 & 5, Trancers 4, Mandroid), Nicky Whelan (Flight 7500), Jeff Daniel Phillips (3 from Hell, The Lords of Salem, Satanic Panic, Psychopaths, 31, Freaks of Nature, Son of Darkness: To Die For II), Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination, 3 From Hell, Dead Night, Phantasm 5, 31, At the Devil's Door, The Lords of Salem, John Dies at the End, The Haunted World of El Superbeasto, Halloween 2007, Trail of the Screaming Forehead, The Devil's Rejects, The Low Budget Time Machine, Dark Walker, Bubba Ho-Tep, Terror Eyes, Cavegirl), Sylvia Jefferies (3 from Hell, Looper, Piranha 3DD).

And the rest: Robert Curtis Brown (Spider-Man 3, Red Dragon), Bill Fagerbakke (The Stand 1994), Greg Travis (Starship Troopers, Savage Creatures, The Possession Experiment, Bornless Ones, Dark Seduction, Lily Grace: A Witch Story, Evolver, Atlantis Down, Mother's Day Massacre, Night of the Living Dead 3D, Mortuary 2005, Toolbox Murders 2004, Humanoids from the Deep 1996, Humanoids from the Deep 1980), Chris Hardwick (Spectres 2004, Terminator 3, House of 1000 Corpses), Matt Lintz (Piranha 3DD, The Crazies 2010, Piranha 3DD), Mark Lynch (Dance of the Dead, The Reaping), Matt Bush (Piranha 3DD), Renae Geerlings (Penance Lane, Compound Fracture, Abnormal Attraction), Mark Christopher Lawrence (The Island 2005, Terminator 2, American Nightmares, West of Hell, Planet of the Apes 2001, Tales from the Hood, Child's Play 3), Sean Whalen (Men in BLack, 3 from Hell, Dark Tales, Death House, World of Death, The Axe Murders of Villisca, Caesar and Otto's Paranormal Halloween, Hatchet III, Deep Shock, Python, Idle Hands, Waterworld, Tammy and the T-Rex, Stepmonster, Doppelganger, Batman Returns, The People Under the Stairs), Meagen Fay (Species 4), Chris Conner (Soul Harvest), Adam Fristoe (Jacob's Ladder 2019, Rings, Fantastic Four), Justin Welborn (The Final Destination, The Signal, Siren, Beyond the Gates, V/H/S Viral, The Boy, Pelt, The Crazies 2010, Plague of the Damned), Cesar Aguirre (Return of the Sandman, Zombieland, Hell's End), Jay Burleson (Feast of the Vampires), Scott Courson (Clown Motel, Spirits Arise), Eileen Dietz (Abnormal Attraction, The Dark Offerings, Estella's Revenge, The Amityville Harvest, The Assent, Rat, Clownado, For We Are Many, Itsy Bitsy, Possession Diaries, A Wakefield Project, Lake Alice, Monsterland, Whispers 2015, Axe to Grind, Abaddon, Demon Legacy, The Devil Knows His Own, Snow White: A Deadly Summer, Monsterpiece Theatre Volume 1, Butterfly, Sibling Rivalry, The Queen of Screams, Creepshow 3, Exorcism 2003, The Clonus Horror, Helter Skelter 1976, The Exorcist), Rick Dunsford (The Human Centipede III, The Green Inferno, Curse of Chucky), Brandi Gerard (Locusts), Travis Grant (Zombieland), Barry Hopkins (Zombieland), Lane Hughes (V/H/S, You're Next, Pop Skull, A Horrible Way to Die), Bart Hyatt (Faces of Fear), Eric Ian (Jupiter Ascending, Rampage), Amir Kovacs (Zombieland), Sean Marquette (Friend Request), Lynn McArthur (Return of the Sandman, Zombieland).

And the mainstream credits, which we need because Rob Zombie's the kinda guy who casts the voice actor for Patrick Star in his Halloween flick, are: Dayton Callie (Wayne Unser on Sons of Anarchy, Charlie Utter on Deadwood), Octavia Spencer (Poppy Scoville-Parnell on Truth Be Told, Dorothy Vaughan in Hidden Figures), Richard Riehle (Tom Smykowski in Office Space), Margot Kidder (the voice of Gaia from Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and the voice of Rebecca Madison in Phantom 2040), Mary Birdsong (Deputy Kimball on Reno 911!), Brea Grant (Daphne Millbrook on Heroes), Howard Hesseman (Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP in Cincinatti, Dr. Louis Faraday in Flight of the Navagator, Larry Hertzel in About Schmidt, Charlie Moore on Head of the Class), Mark Boone Junior (Robert Munson on Sons of Anarchy), Daniel Roebuck (Biggs in The Fugitive, Arnold Walker on The Man in the High Castle, Cliff Lewis on Matlock), Silas Weir Mitchell (Monroe on Grimm), Robert Curtis Brown (Alec Kendall on Search for Tomorrow), Bill Fagerbakke (voice of Patrick Star on Spongebob Squarepants, voice of Scarecrow on Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, voice of Bulkhead on Transformers: Animated, voice of Alan Parrish on Jumanji the series, voice of Broadway on Gargoyles, and he played Dauber Dybinski on Coach), Chris Hardwick (voice of Craig on Sanjay and Craig, voice of Otis on Back at the Barnyard), Matt Lintz (Henry on The Walking Dead), Matt Bush (Andy Cogan on The Goldbergs), Mark Christopher Lawrence (Big Mike on Chuck), Chris Conner (Poe on Altered Carbon), Sean Marquette (Johnny Atkins on The Goldbergs).

The special effects, when it isn't too dark or shaky to see them, are very good, and some of the most impressive stuff hits the screen within about a minute of the film's opening as the survivors of the previous massacre are rushed to the hospital with grievous bodily injuries. Danielle Harris' facial appliances are particularly gnarly, and the subsequent scarring look authentic without drawing attention away from the dialogue. That said, the lack of sufficient lighting really does allow some of the flick's fine effects work to go to waste, as often all you can see are little bits of light reflecting off of bodily fluids. The aftermath of the ambulance crash and Jeff Daniel Phillips' skull stomping fall victim to poor visibility, but Octavia Spencer's throat slicing and Daniel Roebuck's compound fractured arm look pretty good, and that's just kinda how the editing goes - sometimes they show ya, sometimes they don't. Had I worked on the special effects crew I think I'd feel a little cheated with how little of my work actually made it on screen, but at the same time, the stuff that does show up is well crafted and - equally important - the flick has very little, if any, CGI in it.

The shooting locations have a differing aesthetic about them, as the sequel was filmed primarily in Georgia, while the first movie was shot in California, and it creates something of a visual conflict when watching the flicks back to back. The Georgia locations don't look *bad*, but they're inconsistent with the previous movie, which, to its credit, did an excellent job of recreating the atmosphere of the original '78 film by utilizing many of the same neighborhoods Carpenter used. These open fields, dilapidated barns, and generally rural-feeling areas just don't match up with the locations used in either the 1978 version, or the 2007 version, and it's a bit jarring. I'm not saying the Autumn aesthetic is missing, it's definitely there, but the town and its surrounding areas just don't jibe with the canon. That said, all the old props, appliances, and aging buildings provide a nice nostalgic feeling, even if there's no logical reason for it when the flick's set in the present. I guess what I'm tryin' to say is - it looks good, but wrong.

The soundtrack lacks most of the nostalgic callbacks to the original 1978 flick that the remake had (the classic Carpenter "main theme" does appear, but is used very sparingly), and opts for a more conventional sound that frequently takes center stage and booms over the on-screen action. I'm of the opinion that booming soundtracks, not unlike loud people, project an attempt to overcompensate, and although the scoring is generally effective, you get the feeling that maybe someone felt the on-screen action and/or atmosphere wasn't up to snuff. Or, maybe the consensus was that because the characters had all been hardened by the events of the first film, so too should the soundtrack be. In relation to the remake, the sequel's scoring has better original music, but because it lacks updated versions of those classic tunes that the remake had, some people may consider it the lesser of the two. As far as the non-instrumental music, Zombie doesn't let the fact that his sequel is twenty years removed from the first half of his remake prevent him from licensing classic rock tunes by 10cc, Motorhead, The Moody Blues, Amerarockers, MC5, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Rod Stewart, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Bad Brains, Foghat, and Void to play throughout. The music is good, but a soundtrack with that many classic rock bands in a movie where cell phones exist really clashes. So the soundtrack's a bit of a mess, with the exception of Nan Vernon's cover of Nazareth's "Love Hurts," which is not only a great cover but is actually fitting in context and helps the film finish strong.

Overall, I think Halloween II dipped slightly in terms of cumulative production value, but the more coherent, linear plot, coupled with a pace that allows the story to unfold rather than be strapped to a Wile E. Coyote-esque Acme rocket in order to blast through everything in the script makes the movie more enjoyable. It's not a great movie, nor is it a bad movie, though I understand many people will hate it for the simple fact that it exists, and it'd be hypocritical of me to chasten them for that position because it's one I take on the subject of the remake of Chainsaw. Ultimately, reviewing any Rob Zombie movie is probably a waste of time given the polarizing nature of his career, and the vast majority of you have probably either already seen, or vowed never to see, this particular flick. But for those in the middle just looking for something new to watch - give it a shot. It really only requires one viewing, but it's worth that.

Rating: 67%