Halloween II (1981)
Directed by Rick Rosenthal

Starring Charles Cyphers Donald Pleasence Jamie Lee Curtis Jeffrey Kramer Lance Guest

It's "more of the night he came home," as the ads put it. Picks up right where the first film ended and, unlike many sequels, does a good job of driving the story further. Laurie Strode (Curtis) goes to a hospital following her encounter with masked maniac Michael Myers. Of course, he comes after her. John Carpenter, director of the original, may have been embarrassed about producing this and chose not to direct, but the film holds up. The film is best if watched back-to-back with the first.

Despite being an overall success, Part 2 does have some continuity problems. Early in the film, a TV broadcast reports three bodies being discovered. The bodies are then "re-discovered" later in the film, when the town sheriff (Charles Cyphers) is called in to examine the body of his own daughter. In another awkward moment, Myers unexplainably shows up in the back seat of a woman's car -- when we know from the previous scene that there was no possible way he got in there. It's also too bad they didn't just regurgitate Carpenter's score from the first film. The score for Part 2 is too synthetic, even though Carpenter once again performed it.

There were reportedly creative differences between director Rosenthal (who was recruited on the basis of a short film he made) and producer/writer John Carpenter, who was also using members of the cast to shoot new scenes for the original "Halloween." The scenes were added to the film for its network premiere on NBC, which would take place the very same night "Halloween II" opened in theaters -- the Friday before Halloween, 1981. Carpenter apparently directed some additional "kill" scenes for Part 2 as well, to spice up the movie a bit.

Everyone's salary went up substantially for the sequel, and Curtis and Pleasence both received star billing. The second film in the series cost $2.5 million to make, while the first only cost $300,000. Part 2 made $25 million -- not as much as the $47 million made by the first film, but still a nice take.

Carpenter was asked to produce a third film and reluctantly agreed, but he didn't want to bring back Michael Myers. "Halloween III: Season of the Witch" would have nothing to do with the storyline of the first two films.

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-- Review by Lucius Gore

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