Halloween II (DVD)

Total nightmare

Rock star turned director Rob Zombie’s (The Devil’s Rejects) reboot of slasher classic Halloween fell flat back in 2007, and his follow-up doesn’t fare any better. It doesn’t bear much of a resemblance to the 1981 original sequel – and there are some who may think that’s no bad thing – and with its bizarre mix of torture porn and some ill-advised delving into the psyche of serial killer icon Michael Myers it’s a real horror for all the wrong reasons.

After the events of the first film, a bloodied and disturbed Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is admitted to the hospital with her badly injured friend Annie (Danielle Harris) after the Halloween night massacre at the hands of Myers (Tyler Mane) who is now missing, presumed dead. After the two recover, they try to build a family with Annie’s sheriff dad (Brad Dourif), but Laurie is still haunted by what she witnessed that terrible night. When Michael’s former shrink Dr Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) writes a new book about his most famous patient, a can of worms is opened that results in Laurie discovering the horrible truth about her true identity just as Michael comes back to town set on a family reunion…

Of course, the essence of Zombie’s film are the kills, and the film is positively dripping in blood. It’s also smothered in a helping of misogyny; the female victims – always scantily clad, if clad at all – are dispatched in full close up with lingering shots of knife penetrating flesh, while the blokes are usually strangled quickly and quietly in the background. True, this gender imbalance has always been at the heart of the horror genre, but there’s something distasteful about the approach here – and we’re not just talking about the gore factor. Even a sequence which sees a redneck farmer being impaled on some deer horns isn’t enough to make amends.

And interspersed with all this violence are bizarre scenes which try to get to the heart of why Michael is the way he is, an unnecessary and cloying psychological subplot that involves Mike having visions of white horses and his mother (played by Sheri Moon Zombie). It would be overly cynical to suggest that this has been shoe-horned in to the plot to create a role for the director’s wife, but this attempt at bringing some depth to the stalk and slash genre is ridiculous at best. A bit like the film, really. 1 star

Extra Features
Both DVD and Blu-ray have deleted scenes, bloopers and a music video, while the Blu-ray also has audition and make-up test footage. 2 stars (DVD) / 3 stars (Blu-ray)

Stars Scout Taylor-Compton, 
Director Rob Zombie
Distributor Entertainment in Video
Format DVD & Blu-ray
Released February 1