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  Halloween II The Night He Came Back
Year: 2009
Director: Rob Zombie
Stars: Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Tyler Mane, Brad Dourif, Danielle Harris, Sheri Moon Zombie, Chase Wright Vanek, Brea Grant, Mary Birdsong, Margot Kidder, Howard Hesseman, Caroline Williams, Dayton Callie, Daniel Roebuck, Weird Al Yankovic
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: Michael Myers (Chase Wright Vanek) is in a secure mental hospital after committing murder, but his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) still visits him regularly. On today's visit, he tells her about the dream he had of a white horse, and she says that every time he sees that image he should think of her. Fifteen years later, and Michael has escaped from the institution and has gone on the rampage to find his long lost sister, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), killing everyone in his path. Laurie is taken to the nearest hospital to attend to her injuries, believing she has killed her brother and the danger is over. But she might not be accurate in that assumption...

Of course he's not dead! It's Michael Myers, and he will seemingly never die as long as he continues to make money for the production companies churning these out. Although this was a sequel to a remake, there was a certain amount of artistic integrity involved as it was, like the previous film, created by self-styled horror auteur Rob Zombie, and if nothing else he was a moviemaker with a degree of vision so that you knew whatever was up on the screen was the way he intended to do it. Alas, his first Halloween received a mixed reaction at best, and this follow up was even less well liked, with most finding it a deadening experience.

Zombie had a weirdly sympathetic take on the monster that was Michael Myers (Tyler Mane was back, and not always with the mask), which was in contrast to his reimagining of Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell returned too) as an arrogant and pompous self-publicist looking to further his career on the back of the tragedy. Yet Zombie went along with Loomis's psychological profile of the killer, which suggested a conflicted view of his characters: Myers is indeed fixated on his mother, for example, and he hallucinates her ghost (Zombie's missus is veritably crowbarred into this) and his younger self accompanying him on his wanderings in sequences far more pretentious than anything else in the series, even in the instalment that came before this one.

So not much hope for Loomis fans, but how did the Laurie character shape up to this new version? If anything, she was more obnoxious than the psychologist even though she's supposed to be our heroine, to the point where you wonder why Michael is bothering with her at all as most people would be glad to get away from a sister like her. With her face twisted in a perpetual scowl, Taylor-Compton barks out swear words, and argues almost constantly with whoever is in earshot, all right, she is meant to have been traumatised, but the film fumbles the ball by rendering her in such resistable fashion. She may be one of the first lead final girls in the series who the audience wouldn't mind seeing offed at the end.

Initially, Zombie recreated the original Halloween II from the eighties by having Laurie menaced in the hospital where she had been taken, and there's a few mechanical sequences of her being chased around corridors and down stairs as she flees her attacker. But just as this is building to an early climax, Laurie wakes up screaming and what we have seen has been a dream: it's two years later in fact, and Myers has never been found, with most accepting that he will never return. Well, most in the movie, as everyone watching will be well aware that he will return sooner or later, and so he does, after a spell spent in the wilderness. After that you're simply biding your time waiting for him to catch up with his quarry, although exactly what he plans to do with her is not made clear. Soon this grows tedious, as yet more characters we do not care about parade onto the screen for headachey confrontations (only Brad Dourif's sheriff emerges as someone we can like). If nothing else, Halloween II proved that any embellishments to the Myers story had to be a lot better than what was offered here. Music by Tyler Bates.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Rob Zombie  (1966 - )

American musician turned horror director. Born Robert Cummings, Zombie fronted cult metal band White Zombie for a decade, before making his first movie in 2003, the gaudy shocker House of 1000 Corpses. A sequel, The Devil's Rejects, was released in 2005 after which he contented himself with two reimaginings of the Halloween franchise. His Satanism-themed next film was The Lords of Salem.

 
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