My love/hate relationship with Halloween 2 (and Rob Zombie in general)

I know I am one of few people who actually didn’t mind Zombie’s reboot of Halloween – yes, it was nothing like Carpenter’s classic, but I thought he did a decent job of translating the story for a contemporary audience, and some of the kill scenes were FANTASTIC. So, I put Halloween 2 on my Netflix queue thinking it would be about the same. And it was, more or less.

I have two main complaints about RZ’s films: 1) he “borrows” heavily from other horror flicks and 2) he tries to explain/do too damn much. In the 2007 Halloween, Zombie spends a lot of time examining why Michael Myers slaughtered his family. He tries to make us see that there are legitimate reasons why the kid is as messed up as he is, and then he spends an awful lot of time in the asylum with Loomis & Myers’ therapy sessions.

This carries over to Halloween 2, which starts with a flashback to a monotone Sherri Moon Zombie promising Michael that she’ll never leave him, and spurring a ridiculous amount of “visions” in which mom & white horse tell Michael what to do whilst he’s on his 3rd killing spree. The thing is: we don’t NEED to know what drives Myers to kill. It’s actually so much scarier if he’s just murdering people because he HAS to.

Carpenter’s MM was a voiceless, faceless, unstoppable killing machine. Zombie’s MM has a back story you’re supposed to sympathize with, and a face (something which I will never forgive Rob Zombie for: showing Michael’s face in shadow several times, and then completely revealing it at the end). His also alters Dr. Loomis into a money-hungry snob whose only interest is schilling his book – I’m pretty sure Donald Pleasence is swearing from beyond the grave about that one.

Still, despite the white horse bits, there was a lot that I really liked about this movie. Lose the first flashback, and you go right into an amazingly gory opening that takes place directly after the first film ends. Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode actually made me tear up as she screamed her way hysterically to the hospital – and this was followed by some of the most ick-iriffic surgery gore I’ve seen in awhile.

But most excitingly – the homage to the original 1981 Halloween 2 that continues after that is pretty awesome. A small cameo from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’s “Stretch” as a doctor kicks off a very scary chase scene with some killer long shots and lots of close-up bloody goodness.

The rest of the movie is a mix of bad and good, but mostly steadily declines. At times I felt like I was watching a mash-up of Tarantino and Diablo Cody dialog (be warned, the scenes with Laurie’s ‘friends’ are among the most annoying).

I do really like that the character of Laurie showed the reality of what would happen to a teenage girl who watched her friends and family get murdered and then had to blow the brains out of her killer – she was definitely fucked up. But throwing in the “visions” and later implying a psychic mind link between Laurie & Michael kinda ruined it (just like Jamie Lyod AKA Danielle Harris from 1988 and 89’s Halloween 4 & 5 – who’s also in the two Zombie films as Annie).

I’d definitely recommend seeing it, if just for that great hospital sequence – but it’s not something I’d add to my collection. And while I think The Devil’s Rejects is his best so far, I’m still waiting for Zombie to wow me.

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