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Halloween II Review

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Laurie Strode, having survived an encounter with psychopath Michael Myers, is taken to hospital on Halloween night. Evading the pursuing Dr Sam Loomis, Michael traces Laurie and murders the hospital night staff as he tries to get to her.

★★★★★

A disappointing sequel to John Carpenter’s 1978 slasher film, with a drugged Jamie Lee Curtis wandering around a hospital in an unflattering wig, while the masked nutcase tries to do her in and Donald Pleasence mutters darkly in the background.

Finding that director Rick Rosenthal had entirely failed to match the suspenseful tone of the classic first picture, producer Carpenter inserted various splattery sequences to get something interesting on the screen, but the picture has very little ‑ apart from Pamela Susan Shoop's chest and the Chordettes version of 'Mr Sandman' ‑ for the picture. Dana Carvey made his screen debut in a bit-part, but the killable orderlies, nurses and doctors are a fairly forgettable bunch of vaguely familiar faces who didn’t go on to great careers.

Carpenter wrote the screenplay (and provided a reprise of his memorable theme tune), and introduced the plot element that the heroine is the long-lost sister of the maniacal multiple murderer, which makes no sense but has still become the continuing thread on which the latterday sequels have been hung. The first film, despite its open ending, was a standalone masterpiece – but this turns it into a formula that can be endlessly repeated.

To his credit, Carpenter realised that and tried something different in Halloween III: Season of the Witch, though he then left the series and it reverted to more formula efforts along the lines of Halloween II. It’s a lookalike for several other hospital-set slasher films in which medical implements are used for murder: X-Ray, Visiting Hours.

After the genuine shock horror of the first, this failed to impress and still does.