by Mark Burger

H2 … NO!


The body count is high and the interest level low in Halloween II, the latest in the seemingly undying by Mark Burger franchise contributing columnist begun more than 30 years ago with John Carpenter’s trail-blazing Halloween. Tyler Mane is back as the masked maniac, again cutting a swath of bloody vengeance across the countryside as he returns to his old stomping grounds of Haddonfield. Michael’s renewed rampage coincides with the Halloween holiday (no surprise there), as well as the publication of a new book by muckraking psychiatrist Sam Loomis (Malcolm McDowell, working it one more time), in which he explores and exploits the Myers case. Dr. Loomis, however, will have to wait, because, again, Michael’s primary target is poor Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton), who is actually his sister. Having barely survived the carnage of his earlier assault, Laurie’s in no condition to deal with his relentless pursuit. Also back are Danielle Harris as Laurie’s friend Annie, herself a survivor of the earlier film, and Brad Dourif (giving one of the film’s few passable performances) as the beleagured Sheriff Brackett. Sheri Moon Zombie, the director’s wife, is also back as Michael’s dead mother, who periodically appears in visions — replete with white horse — to repeatedly persuade Michael to continue his diabolical pursuit. Newcomers to the fold include such familiar faces as Howard Hesseman, Caroline of Halloween,

Williams, Richard Riehle and Margot writer/director Rob Kidder, briefly glimpsed as Laurie’s Zombie attempts to put psychiatrist. Not surprisingly, many his own imprint on the of these new characters are introduced concept by adding his shortly before being butchered — as own twists and turns — loudly and violently as possible. few of them memorable Only “Weird” Al Yankovic (!), and almost none of playing himself, seems immune to the them necessary. That savagery. Many of the actors on hand Michael Myers’ killing look as if they’d much rather be doing spree was motivated by something else. an abusive childhood As he did with his 2007 remake hardly enhances the fear factor. Sometimes, less is more. The film is being touted as the final installment of the series — a boast that seems particularly amusing in light of the series’ longevity. This is the tenth Halloween film since the original, and even its most die-hard fans realize that it should’ve been “final” a long time ago.

Halloween II is technically proficient but dramatically moribund, and given the film’s less-than-stellar showing at the box-office thus far, it may be time to hang up the butcher knife once and for all. Don’t count on it.

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