Saturday, August 7

Rob Zombie's Halloween II (2009) ...dammit, I still like it...

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Maybe there's something wrong with my perception of quality horror movies. Perhaps I ought to forget about even pursuing my passion anymore at all. You know, rent a longbed semi or two and freight all my terrifying possessions to the nearest horror convention, come to a stop in the parking lot, and slap a "free" sign on the back. Stand back and watch the riots and multiple stabbbings ensue. Forget about Argento, Rollin, Marins, and Craven. Cast off Betamax, Goo Gone, and freaking out by the mailbox when certain packages I've been anticipating finally arrive. Shun the theatrical experience except for Tyler Perry's efforts and sit up all night bathing in the glow of either a television or computer screen writing about Beaches and Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Maybe even grow out my beard and roam the countryside eating dogs and compressing wayward travelers that give me a hassle into nice little folded human flesh suitcases. Yeah, that sounds like just the ticket. Add in the opportunity to bash the heroin-chiced face of a nude stripper whore into a body mirror a dozen times and I'll start the process tomorrow!

Why you ask would I even contemplate becoming a modern day Jeremiah Manson? Well, every time I watch Rob Zombie's Halloween 2, hard to admit this, the more I actually like this maligned sequel. I know, what the hell, right? Moustapha Akkad just did one full revolution in his grave, John Carpenter stubbed a toe on his bong, and Jamie Lee discovered four thousand bucks in her purse she didn't know she had from those elderly yogurt commercials. Longtime readers of BoGD might remember my epiphany upon first seeing this one back in January. Then after another viewing a few days later, these thoughts came hurling up. All that after I first condemned this sequel sight unseen. For some reason an impulse arose last night to watch the film that sent furious Myers fanboys up the wall again...again. This will still sound like blasphemy, but this "new" Halloween 2 holds up quite well with the many bumps of my prior experiences not seeming so hard this go-around.

That's not to say that I believe it's a great horror film; despite my weird infatuation with it. Zombie's panache for heavy-handedness strips away most of the potential nuance this wildly different 'Ween narrative (from the "old" series norms) held. The blunt force trauma being felt mostly on Laurie's side; with her increasing psychosis type that could be defined as "Fuckophrenia". Like Rob scribing "yeah" a minimum of a dozen times in every White Zombie song, screenwriter Zombie dumps the ultimate expletive onto the page like some asshole who loosened the cap on a salt shaker. Laurie's mental descent after discovering her sibling relation with Michael is dominated with screaming the word ad nauseum. If there was ever a time the audience needed a breather with Laurie and her psychiatrist it would have been after this revelation. Or a confrontation scene between Laurie and Brackett after this twist. Instead, Laurie drowns her sorrow with friends at a Halloween bash to her eventual demise. This was the biggest gripe I struggled with last night. A few notches back on the throttle would have yielded more understandable direction of the story and potentially more Brad Dourif. Always a good thing.

Everything else I was initially lukewarm toward months ago didn't seem as bad last night. Laurie's Hot Topic™ -infused rebellion was and is annoying, but Annie vindicated this obviousness somewhat in her screaming match with Laurie when she says that the whole "new Laurie" thing was bullshit. Zombie's Charles Manson fetish can't be denied, hence the out-of-place young Manson mugshot with "In Charley We Trust" sprawled above Laurie's bed. Also the way the bloody, dying Annie is sprawled out in the bathroom after Michael's violent attack is reminiscent of the state Shannon Tate was found after Helter Skelter. I honestly never minded the radically different take on the Myers character (at least in this sequel), but his death in Zombie's first seemed too final for such sudden resurrection here. I find Michael's garbage mask changes as the original series ran its course more annoying. Though the director/writer wasn't initially intending to make H2 anyway and I assume knowingly decided not to get too hung up on this sticky particular. The monolithic killer will always find a way regardless. As I stated in January, I still respect Zombie's ability to lay his characters to rest instead of harping up climatic hopes for another sequel.

No, Rob Zombie's contributions aren't going to topple Halloween '78. This one can't even touch John Carpenter's milestone with the edge of a fingernail, but it is vastly more interesting than the "real" sequels have been in years. There will always be those that hate Zombie's duo. Others love Rob's Halloween while hating his sequel. So I guess I'm in the smallest minority. I hated the 2007 remake, but I just can't bring myself to feel any of that towards this "unintended" sequel. It's Zombie's best film so far by a good margin (yes, the others had geektastic casting) and now that we've seen the second coming of Elm Street, these two are definitely the most drastic revisions of the old guard slasher stalwarts. I admire that, their gusto, and Zombie's boldness even with flaws as obvious as the keyboard in front of me--especially the solidly "good" Halloween II. I might venture back into the first film to re-verify my feelings someday.
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8 comments:

Drunketh said...

H2 was quite teh Black Metal in its execution, I'll admit that... but damn dude, it gave me a fucking pounding headache! What with the strobe effects and pulsating booms... what the hell. I don't normally disagree with films of this type, but to this day I've only absolutely HATED two films directly after viewing them, this and the Blair Witch Project. An unconventional film in its own right, and hell, I even watched the fake documentary news program about the film on television before I rented it. Was even remotely intrigued, as I was with THE BEARD in H2 when I first saw the thing. I hate half of Zombie's first H film, you know, all the redneck scenes with his annoying ass wife... but the whole Dani Harris topless and covered in blood thing really gave the film some make-up marks. That and the fact that STC in very appealing to me and Brad D just can't be beat. Those two last things helped the sequel a bit, but what the fuck ever...

Samhain said...

From your description of the plot, I take it you've only seen the unrated director's cut. I suggest you also check out the harder to find Theatrical Cut on DVD, which runs far shorter and is better balanced. You'll certainly get a lot less fuck words and less of The Beard. The ending is radically different, far superior, and has an additional survivor. The Theatrical Cut of Halloween 2 is easily my favorite Rob Zombie film.

J. Astro said...

"...So I guess I'm in the smallest minority. I hated the 2007 remake, but I just can't bring myself to feel any of that towards this "unintended" sequel."

I'm with you. Hated the first remake, thought he actually did something interesting the second time around and appreciated that one waaaay more. I've given up trying to convince anyone that RZ's H2 is actually worth a damn. If they can't get that feeling for themselves, well that's just more for me & you and the rest of the minority, I guess.

Emily said...

Don't worry, I love this movie and I have no idea why.

Mister Bones said...

I like em both...*ducks*

Austin Baldwin said...

It's such a sick, mean-spirited piece of Slasher awesomeness. The main characters were WAY different in this flick, I really dug the cinematography, it had some great music... I almost think of this flick as "Rob Zombie's version" of a nice, down-and-dirty Slasher flick...

One day, this film will live up to its Cult status...

Voodoo Rob's Hellbilly Hollywood said...

I like your view on this!
I thought it was a great movie, but all that aside, what I dont get is why people HATE it so much yet defind H20 and the SUPER shitty one that followed. Really? Those are good but zombie's wasn't? lol

Starmummy said...

Saw this in the theater and loved it. Then saw it on DVD and still loved it. I liked the 2007 remake when I saw it in the theater but then started hating it until I watched it again about a year later and realized that I loved it too! I'm really surprised by all the comments here because I thought I was one of the few people who liked them.

Can't wait for October so I can watch them again!

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