By Richard Winters
My Rating: 3 out of 10
4-Word Review: Michael won’t go away.
It’s still Halloween night 1978. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is rushed to the nearby Haddonfield Memorial Hospital to have her wounds attended to while Michael Meyers (Dick Warlock) roams the streets. Eventually he becomes aware of where she is and stalks her in the hospital while killing off anyone who gets in his way.
The film starts out okay. I liked the camera closing in on the pumpkin during the opening credits and revealing the shape of a skull inside. A fiery car crash that burns a kid wearing a similar mask to Michael’s is effectively graphic and showing things from Michael’s point-of-view as he peers inside the neighbor’s homes has shades of Rear Window to it. However, I was confused why it wasn’t shown through the two eye holes of the mask since Michael was still wearing it and that was how it was done in the first film.
Things start to decline as it goes on and deviates too much to the standard slasher formula. I forget where I read it, but I remember somebody writing about the perennial characteristics of a tacky 80’s slasher film and one of them was having a scared cat jump out at someone some time during the film. The scene where the hospital security guard (Cliff Emmich) is going through the dumpster behind the building I started to think that this is the part for the proverbial scared cat and sure enough within seconds one jumps out pretty much cementing this for me as a second-rate shocker.
Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis is solid as always. The intensity that he displays is good and seeing him as a good guy for a change since the majority of his career he played dark and twisted characters is refreshing. Curtis is also good in the reprisal of her part, but for the first hour she barely appears at all. I was also confused with the scene where she for some unexplained reason falls into a comatose state and then just as strangely snaps out of it a few minutes later.
The Meyers character becomes a detriment here. Having him constantly getting shot at and then bouncing back up without any rational explanation was irritating. He gets around at too many different places and seems a little too slick. For instance he’s able to cut off the phone lines to the hospital in some unexplained way as well as slashing the tires of every single car in the hospital’s parking lot. Also, where does a guy who has been institutionalized since age six manage to figure out the meaning and origins of samhain, which is a word that he writes in blood on a wall of a classroom?
There are other loopholes as well. For instance the hospital seems extremely dark and shadowy. Most hospitals I have been to are always well lit inside especially the hallways, but here it is almost like there are no lights on at all. The part where Michael stabs a nurse in her back with a thin surgical blade and then is able to lift her from the floor with it is ridiculous because the blade just wouldn’t be strong enough. The knife that Michael steals from an old lady (Lucille Benson) when he sneaks into her house is different from the one that he jams into the desk of a classroom that he breaks into.
The extreme lapses of logic are a big problem. When the film starts to have no bearing in reality then I find it hard if not impossible to get caught up into it. Clearly the screenwriter and director were making up the rules as they went along causing the climatic sequence that should have been suspenseful to be, at least to me, boring and annoying instead.
My Rating: 3 out of 10
Released: October 30, 1981
Runtime: 1Hour 32Minutes
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Available: DVD, Blu-ray, Amazon Instant Video
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After a very long time, I had finally decided to see a couple of the much later Halloween films in the cinema. Quite astonishing how they could keep such a film franchise going despite its blunt lack of believability in certain areas. Whether or not slasher film fans care enough about that, the realism that Michael Meyer has endured as one of cinema history’s most menacing villainies is obvious. In a metaphorical sense, he represents the sense of pure evil that makes itself known to challenge our human goodness. Such evil has come in many forms, some forms much more than once, and so its embodiment in Michael Mayer can understandably serve as a cautionary tale. Thank you for your review.