Halloween II

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Rick Rosenthal's HALLOWEEN II is one of my favorite horror film sequels. It was one of the earliest movies that I ever owned on home video on the RCA Capacitance Electronic Disc (CED) system in 1983 (an analog video disc playback system in which video and audio was played back using a stylus cartridge and a high-density groove system similar to phonograph records).

Unlike DVD or Blu-ray today, CED only afforded viewers the movie. There were no special editions, no running commentaries, no trailers, and no additional interviews. For any added value, you had to go to laser disc which was infinitely more expensive, sometimes prohibitively so, and usually included a letterboxed version of the film. Thankfully, now that we are in the digital realm, our favorite movies can be had for what would amount to two tickets to a first-run film today.

Our very own Dave Dreher reviewed the Blu-ray last week. If you still haven't made the upgrade to Blu-ray, this double-disc DVD set will make a terrific addition to your DVD collection as the transfer is very crisp and clear.

Although not as cinematically polished as John Carpenter's extraordinary original, which was referred to as "an absolutely merciless thriller" by Roger Ebert, HALLOWEEN II picks up the same night that HALLOWEEN left off (October 31, 1978) by actually using footage from Mr. Carpenter's film as a segue into the new movie. Donald Pleasance reprises his role as the indefatigable Dr. Loomis, spouting the film's best lines, such as "You don't know what death is!" and "I shot him six times!" He actually shot him seven times if you count the gunshots.

Jamie Lee Curtis is of course also on board as Laurie Strode, and it has now become a plot point that she is Michael Meyers's sister. This was written into the script for HALLOWEEN II, and since HALLOWEEN was being premiered on NBC on Friday, October 30, 1981 (the same night that HALLOWEEN II was premiering theatrically), several additional scenes were filmed and added to the HALLOWEEN network premiere to cement this point as well as to pad out the film's running time.

And thus begins Michael Myers's reign of terror on

Haddonfield once again. There are some genuinely scary moments in HALLOWEEN II which have been mimicked to death and have become in and of themselves clich�s, seen in literally hundreds of slasher films made over the past thirty years.

Dana Carvey is seen briefly and is listed in the credits as "Assistant." He appears twenty-two minutes into the film wearing a blue sleeveless jacket and a blue cap.He is pointed out on the commentary by director Rosenthal.

The extras that appear on this set consist of the following bonus features:

The Theatrical Version and the Television Cut with added footage not seen in the theatrical version

Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi

Audio commentary with stunt co-ordinator/actor Dick Warlock

The Nightmare Isn't Over: The Making Of Halloween II featuring interviews with director Rick Rosenthal, actor & stunt coordinator Dick Warlock, actors Lance Guest, Leo Rossi, Nancy Stephens, Ana Alicia, Tawny Moyer, executive producer Irwin Yablans, director of photography Dean Cundey, co-composer Alan Howarth, costume supervisor Jane Ruhm, co-editor Skip Schoolnik, and filmmaker Tommy Lee Wallace

Horror's Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween II -Host Sean Clark revisits the original shooting locations of the film

Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal

Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary from director Rick Rosenthal

Theatrical Trailer

TV and Radio Spots

Still Gallery

Reviewed by Jonathan Stryker