All Hell has broken loose in the small Illinois town of Haddonfield on the night of Halloween 1978. Babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has managed to avoid being killed by escaped lunatic and masked killer Michael Myers through the fortunate intervention of Myers' doctor, Loomis (Donald Pleasence), who barged into the house and sent the murderer tumbling off the balcony thanks to a few bullets. However, when Loomis ventures outside to see the body, he is horrified to discover that Myers has disappeared and is once more loose in the darkness...
It had to happen eventually, and with all those lucrative imitations of John Carpenter's original Halloween it was only a matter of time before he came up with a sequel before somebody else did. Scripting with co-producer Debra Hill, he handed the director's reigns to Rick Rosenthal, but there was a mini-controversy when Rosenthal complained that Carpenter had reshot certain scenes to make them more sensationalist. As it happened, this was probably a wise move, as the not exactly gore-filled first film had been surpassed by fashionable effects work in the genre by then.
It would appear that this film was made solely for those who enjoyed the initial instalment, as there's the merest nod to those haven't seen it by replaying its climax at the start of this, and that's your lot as far as building up the plot goes. In fact, although Laurie is supposed to be our heroine we hardly get to know her, with Curtis reduced to lying in bed for the first hour and spending the last third stumbling away from the slow moving villain. No character development, nothing, just the thrill of the chase.
Such as it is, because Halloween II is an especially repetitive representative of slasher movies. With Laurie out of action for so long, only Loomis is on the trail, dragging concerned but incompetent policemen with him all the while. He's not exactly efficient himself, as he gets the cops to pull their car over when he thinks he's spotted Myers and tries to shoot the hapless trick or treater who ends up run over by a patrol car and blown up in an unlikely crash. Not the most reassuring development, then, and it's not until the end that Loomis realises where Myers really is.
We find out long before that, as much of the film is shot from Myers' point of view using the old subjective camera technique pioneered for the genre by Carpenter. He has followed Laurie to the hospital where she is attempting to recover, but this is a very strange hospital where there don't appear to be any other patients, the corridors are empty and what staff there are wander around pretty much on their own, all the better to be picked off by the killer. This isn't a plot point, it's simply a quirk of the film, but there is a pat reason shoehorned into the screenplay for Myers being so obsessed with tracking down Laurie. All in all, it's efficient, certainly better than most of the Halloween sequels, but everything that needed to be said was outlined in the first film. And one death scene must have been intended to be a joke: you'll know it when you see it. Music by Carpenter.