"Halloween 2" is best describe of something of a failed sequel that tries very hard to live up to John Carpenter's 1978 movie. Since Carpenter and Producer/Co-Writer:The late Debra Hill (The Dead Zone, Escape From New York, The Fisher King) tried to do something different that almost works. Is this a bad sequel? No, it is just a very underrated and underwritten sequel.
The highpoints of this movie is actually Michael Myers played by Stuntman and Sometimes actor:Dick Warlock, who is terrific as Michael Myers. Warlock plays Myers very straightforward, scary and meancing. Myers' character even has some dark touches of humour before he kills a character from the movie. Dean Cundey's (Psycho 2, Jurassic Park, Who Framed Roger Rabbit) excellent Widescreen cinematography is a plus. I like the hospital setting, which hospitals can be a scary place. Also Carpenter and Hill continue the story on the same night from the first one. Which it makes an interesting double feature. I also liked Lance Guest (The Last Starfighter, Jaws The Revenge "!") character, the only new character in this sequel is likeable. Leo Rossi (The Accused, Renlentless) is amusing as a sleazy paramedic driver, who is the comic relief in the feature.
The downside:The late Donald Pleasence is always fun to watch him play Dr. Loomis but he is way over the top at times. Try to keep a stright face, when he tells Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) that he shot Michael Myers six times! His character is a little stranger than usual, especially with his speech about Samhain. The most oddest moment in this picture. Jamie Lee Curtis' character Laurie Strode doesn't do much and she is not seen much until the third act, where her character and the movie finally comes alive. Cyphers' character is little seen in this movie, which he was a likeable character in Carpenter's feature. Also watch for the character of Annie (Nancy Loomis) playing dead, her eyelid moves, when she is supposed to be dead. Don't you hate that in movies, even talented actors can't play dead for a few seconds. The big problem in this sequel, Carpenter and Hill script, they focus too much on supporting characters. Especially those in the hopsital. In some ways what kept "Halloween 2" moving was Michael Myers' point of view in this one.
Overall "Halloween 2" is a techinally well made sequel that it is well shot and well directed by Rick Rosenthal (Halloween Resurrection, Distant Thunder "A very little seen drama starring John Lithgow and Ralph Macchio"). Although Rosenthal was a bit disappointed that Carpenter re-shot parts of the movie to enhanced the film's violence and gore. Carpenter's score with Alan Howarth is always excellent. In some ways "Halloween 2" is a good and bad movie at once. The movie is now nearly 31 years old, it has a huge cult following over the years. Certainly one of the better slasher sequels of its time.
Universal Blu-ray quality has a better than expected 1080P 2.35:1 Widescreen format. The colors are sharper, they are much more details to Cundey's cinematography work and the movie looks scarier or moodier than ever. I am not sure, which, perphas both. The downside is the DTS 5.1 Track, well, it is good, the dialogue is clear and Carpenter & Howarth music score is strong but there is lack in surround moments and subwoofer as well. Oddly enough like "The Blues Brothers" Blu-ray from Universal, there is no remastered in sound for HD like "Halloween 2" is. But there is a DTS 2.0 Track to be more faithful to the Dolby Stereo track from the 1981 version from its theatrical release. Blu-ray also includes deleted scenes from TV Version. For die-hard fans of "Halloween 2", it was another disappointment for lack of special features. Which Rosenthal wanted badly to record an running commentary track but Universal said no. Which it is a slap in the face for fans of this sequel. Even in 2001, there was rumours that Rosenthal, Carpenter, Hill (Before she passed away), Curtis were interested being interview for the 2001 DVD of the makings of this sequel but Universal again changed their minds.
Oddly enough this Blu-ray is some ways, it is actually a double feature with "Terror in the Aisles (!)". Rarely seen documentary about thrillers and slasher movies with clips from your favorites like "Alien", "The Exorcist", "Halloween", "The Birds" and many more. The best thing about "Terror in the Aisles" is the late Donald Pleasence's narration, which it is played for laughs, most of the time. Especially when he is on-screen! Even Nancy Allen (Carrie, Dressed to Kill, RoboCop Trilogy) shows up a bit with some brief narration. Some of these movie clips are good like "Ms.45" directed by cult director Abel Farrera (Body Snatchers "1993", The Funeral, King of New York) makes me want to see this movie! as well for other feature "Marathon Man" with Dustin Hoffman and the late Lawrence Olivier. Blu-ray transfer is pretty good 1080P 1.85:1 Widescreen format and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (?) sound. Like "Halloween 2", the blu-ray is subtitled in English, French and Spanish.
But there is good news, Shout! Factory will finally released "Halloween 2", the way the Die-Hard fans wanted it for the long-time waiting for years Collector's Edition. It will be out in three months on Blu-ray and DVD on a two disc set with Commentaries by Rosenthal and Warlock, a new featurette with the cast & crew and more. The second disc is a DVD with the alternative TV version, which that has a cult following (!) of its own as well. I hope Carpenter and Curtis will be interviewed as well. Shout! Factory has excellent quality in Blu-ray and DVD formats, i just hope, they will add subtitles on their product in the near future.
Overall "Halloween 2" is a keeper. Universal Blu-ray is certainly worth keeping for "Terror in the Aisles", which has an cult following as well. If you didn't buy the Blu-ray from Universal. Just wait for the Shout! Factory Blu-ray. It should be one of the most promising Blu-ray for Slasher fans. Especially for the Slasher fans of the 1980's. Die Hard fans of "Halloween 2" will finally deserved the deluxe treatment that fans wanted since 2001, when Universal canceled their plans to do a Special Edition DVD and just put out the movie instead. Grade:B+ for the movie. Grade:B+ for the video transfer. Grade:B for the sound.
The new Blu-ray from Shout! Factory is terrific. The new video transfer is sharper and the sound is remastered in DTS 5.1 HD Sound (Also in DTS 2.0 HD Sound). The new special features are great, including two commentary tracks. Commentary one is by the director and actor:Rossi. It is a decent commentary, they share some interesting behind the scenes trivia but it is a pretty quiet track at times. Commentary two is better, it is from the stunt co-ordinator-stunt man and actor:Dick Warlock and moderater:Robert V. Galluzo. It has plenty of fascinating stories by Warlock, not only from this movie and his other work as well and Galluzo keeps asking interesting questions. One of the better commentary tracks, i heard in a long time. The other special features is a 45 minutes documentary with the cast & crew (I wish, Carpenter and Curtis could have been interviewed but must have said no), deleted scenes & original ending with optional commentary and more. Disc two is the Televison Version, it is on Full Screen and on DVD. This infamous cut does add some decent footage but cuts back on the violence. The strangest thing about this version. It is been re-edited and the scenes have been shifted here and there. Which, at times, it is very odd version to watch. It is been re-dubbed as well, making the movie unintentional funny at times.
This Blu-ray from Shout! Factory is the version, you should get. The only disappointment from this disc, it is the lack of subtitles in their excellent product. Die-Hard fans will want to get this new Blu-ray instead. This is certainly worth getting for the sharper 1080P transfer and remastered sound in DTS 5.1 HD Sound. Grade:A- for the video transfer and Grade:A- for the sound.