Halloween II is one of those rare sequels that pick up where the predecessor left off (another would be F13th 2,3,4). The difference is that Halloween II stays with the same characters and follows their ordeal, whereas the Friday the 13th films typically join up with a whole new set of characters each time. Though set the same night, this film didn’t debut for three years after the original, and you can kinda tell they had to reshoot the beginning scene, because the words and inflections in Laurie’s, Tommy’s, and Lindsey’s voices are completely different, and I do believe Loomis shot Michael seven times in this one. Oopsies. Besides these little errors, this is a completely excellent sequel that people do not give nearly enough credit to. As I have mentioned, you hardly ever get to see the aftermath of a murder spree, and this provides us that. You always wonder, well, did they get to the hospital? What happens now? Halloween II says, yes, they did make it to the hospital, but so did Mikey, and he isn’t done. After the rehashing of the previous ending, Michael makes his way down the street to the home of an old couple, the Elrod’s. She’s making her half-asleep husband a sandwich, when Night of the Living Dead on Dementia is interrupted with news broadcasts of the murders. She comes back to fixing a snack to find her knife gone and a wet pool of blood in its place, and she shrieks. Next door, Alice, a teen home alone, is concerned about the screaming but apparently writes it off as domestic violence (way to be apathetic, Alice!). She’s talking to a friend, Sally, on the phone when Sally informs her of the murders. Alice hears sirens coming, and a bang in the living room. Investigating, of course, she is killed by Michael.
Michael makes his way to Haddonfield Memorial to find Laurie, where she has since been taken. One paramedic, Jimmy, recognizes her as a girl who attends school with his brother, Ziggy, and it’s clear he kind of likes her. Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis has met back up with Sheriff Brackett, who doesn’t believe he shot Michael that many times. Loomis tries to explain that he’s seemingly not human, and is still on the loose. Loomis sees a mask on someone walking down the street and draws his gun. A police cruiser soon comes into frame and hits the individual, crashing into another vehicle, causing a huge explosion. (It turns out this kid was Laurie’s crush, Ben Tramer. Awwe.) Loomis doesn’t believe it’s Michael, when suddenly more officers show up, telling Brackett that his daughter was among those murdered. Stunned, they make their way back to the Wallace house to find out it is, in fact, Annie. Brackett is distraught and blames Loomis for all that has happened, and quickly makes his exit from the movie to go tell his wife. Another officer, Hunt, tries to help Loomis, as he slowly starts to believe that Michael isn’t dead. This is determined when the coroner makes his estimate of Tramer’s unidentifiable body to be 17, while Myers is 21, and when Tramer’s friends confront Hunt about their missing friend who was really drunk. Michael has apparently broken into an elementary school sometime that night and written “Samhain” on the blackboard, and Loomis informs them that it means “The Lord of the Dead; the end of summer; the festival of Samhain”. Nurse Chambers, from the first film, shows up to tell Loomis he’s been ordered back to Smith’s Grove by the governor to quiet down all the frenzy. Frustrated, he complies.
Back at the hospital, Laurie is slowly coming to, and realizing what happened. Jimmy comes in and explains who her assailant was, and she is in disbelief that it is Michael Myers, the local legend. Nurse Karen and her sleazy paramedic boyfriend, Budd, have been murdered while attempting to do the deed in a therapy pool, and Mrs. Alves and Dr. Mixter have gone missing. No one can get ahold of Laurie’s parents, and eventually the phone lines are cut completely. Searching for Mrs. Alves, Jimmy finds her body and slips in a large pool of her blood, and Laurie knows something is going on so she slowly crawls her way out of her room, and ventures out into the empty halls. Nurse Jill is killed in front of Laurie once Michael makes his appearance, in a kill that would be later resurrected in H20. Laurie does her best to run away, and discovers the dead body of Mr. Garrett, the security guard. Meanwhile, Loomis is informed by Nurse Chambers that Laurie is actually Michael’s sister, and she was adopted by the Strodes. Well, duh, that’s what his plan is – he’s trying to kill the other sister! Loomis threatens the marshal escorting him into turning around and getting back to the hospital. Once there, he is reunited with Laurie, and the marshal is killed, while Chambers tries to contact police on the car radio. Laurie and Loomis end up in a room which seems rigged to blow up from the start. All kinds of gases and oxygen fill tanks throughout the room, and Loomis instructs Laurie to use his gun if needed. Michael breaks in and stabs Loomis, and Laurie, somehow a great shot, hits Michael in both his eyes. Blinded, he cannot get to both Laurie and Loomis at the same time, and the good doctor gets the idea to turn on all the pressurized pumps to distract Michael. Knowing Michael is basically impossible to kill, he tells Laurie to get out, as he flicks his Bic. Boom! Half the hospital is blown up, and we assume (until part 4) that Loomis has expired. Michael is still able to walk out into the hall even though he’s been shot eight times now and is clearly ablaze. He collapses and Laurie is rescued and taken away in an ambulance. We think all is well….
It is a wonderful sequel, and even though Michael’s mask is different in every film and the theme is more bass-keyboard in this one, you still get the gist. We learn about Laurie’s past, which would be ridiculous in any other movie, but it really works in the Halloween series. I like that Loomis’ fate is left unknown, and the use of Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes is brilliant. To this day, whenever I hear it, I want to watch a Halloween film. It’s a lot bloodier than the first, and the body count is much higher, but then again, Michael had a bigger pool of victims to choose from. The setting works well, I mean, hospitals are always a bit creepy, aren’t they? I always wonder where all the other patients are in the hospital, but I can easily look past this fact when I look at the film as a whole. The atmosphere of the first film is carried over, and the tension remains high. It is a highly underrated film, and definitely deserves more love.