DVD/Blu-ray Reviews

Halloween II - Blu-ray Review



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â"... the director has to have a vision that he cannot be broken from."

- Rob Zombie in an interview with ObscureHorror.com

Direction is nothing new to Rob Zombie. Despite what film critics say about his talents behind the camera, Zombie has directed each and every one of his music videos (starting back in the 1990's) and is now credited with four feature films. To call him a novice filmmaker or to suggest that he doesn't know what he is doing behind the camera is a complete failure to recognize two things: (1) the fact that Zombie is a visionary artist active since 1985 and (2) that Zombie probably doesn't give a shit what you or I think of his talents. With that being said, let me tell you that despite the poor critical reception (currently at a 19% at Rotten Tomatoes) Halloween 2 combined with the first film in the Zombie-helmed series is nothing short of epic horror storytelling. H2 successfully peels more of the flesh away from the bones of the disturbed Myers family and completes the story arch for ALL of Zombie's characters. Delivering a fresh order of macabre, Zombie provides the audience those with the strongest of stomachs - with a deafening closure that is as eerie as it is satisfying and complete.

After the success of 2007's reimagined with John Carpenter's blessing Halloween (a whopping $80 million earned domestically) and the reassurances from Dimension that he had total freedom with the characters (the Akkad-produced franchise be damned), Zombie returns to Haddonfield, Illinois with a sharper knife for Michael and morbid visions of his mother alongside a white horse; a haunted world that Myers (Tyler Man returning as the man behind the William Shatner mask) shares with Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton also returning), his kid sister, a fact of her birth rite unknown even to herself revealed to the public by the greedily uncaring Dr. Loomis (Malcolm McDowell) in his latest book about the subject of Myers. Zombie, elevating the original series way beyond its babysitter killer origins, offers once again a hefty layer of insight into how a murdering psychotic sees his motherless world and completes his mission to reunite the damaged Myers family; a vision that some critics have railed against calling it absurd and confusing - because of Sheri Moon Zombie's (returning as Michael's mother) and Daeg Faerch's (young Michael Myers) involvement.

Halloween IIH2 begins with a flashback where the idea of the white horse is introduced and quickly moves to the events after the initial attack on Laurie Strode (where the first film ended). In a harrowing moment, Zombie's camera captures Laurie's lone and ghostly silhouette moving slowly, with stiff purpose, across the leaf-littered streets of Haddonfield with a gun in her hand. Nearly impossible to recognize courtesy of a gore-splattered face, the truth of Laurie's relation and her own sanity is constantly at play throughout the film. Her moods are up and then down, wild and unpredictable; she's sharing the same dreams and at times the same actions of her brother. She's unstable and her imagination is feeding on the original exposure to Myers; he is the king of all nightmares and stars in them all.

Myers, succumbing to his own truths as an outcast, lives in silent insanity and feeds on the innards of dogs. He has survived the action of the first film only to find himself haunted by visions of white horses and dreams of a reunited family a family that exists in physical form no more. His mind is of the tortured kind where peace holds no refuge there is only a life of shadows and death; not unlike the lonely world of Boris Karloff's Frankenstein. Myers knows he is different and, from the look of things, hides himself away humorously feeding his killing needs on the occasional redneck that he might come across.

Brad Douriff, returning as Sheriff Brackitt, provides the film with its only link to sanity. All kidding aside, Douriff's quiet acting is supremely filled with angst as he silently grieves over the events of the first film with his failure, due to his age and burned-out status, to protect both Laurie and his daughter, Annie (Danielle Harris returning as well); a failure one can only assume he hopes to amend by providing shelter for Laurie within his home. Unfortunately, he has no idea what he is facing with the Myers family. When reunited with Dr. Loomis, Douriff delivers his all his rage in one swift and well-deserved punch to the face. While it is easy for some to dismiss the acting in this film, what one can observe is that these actors are playing characters pushed to the extreme by a psychologically damaged man who has his own concept of the world around him.

As a result of that intensity, Zombie's film is fueled by gore and brutality. Some might be gasping for a little air and sunshine as a result of all the darkness that seems to surround Haddonfield like a heavy cloak, but the brutality as objectionable to some as it may be is at the hands of a man unaffected by his actions as a 10-year-old; Myers is that disturbed and that unchanged. He's the same twisted mess he was when he committed the original murders regardless of the world at large. Zombie executes the film with the same unflinching prowess and the camera captures some beautiful shots of expressionistic terror (reminiscent in tone to my senses of early German Expressionist films) as Myers walks the countryside by day and by night driven by his own tormented desires.

As harrowing as it is extreme, Zombie in total creative control of subject and actors - completes his Haddonfield thesis started with his vision of the Halloween mythos and unsettles the audience with an ultra-violent look inside the darkly crimson-splattered walls of that institution called â"family" and lets it be known, once and for all, that as the tagline suggests on the poster for H2 the Myers family is indeed forever.


Component Grades
Movie
DVD
4 stars
4 stars
DVD Experience
4 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 1.85:1

Subtitles: English, English SDH

Language and Sound: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1.

Supplements:

Commentary

  • Feature-length commentary track with Writer/Director Rob Zombie.

Featurettes

  • Audition footage for Chase Wright Vanek, Angela Trimbur, Jeffrey Daniel Phillips, Chris Hardwick, Mary Birdsong, Richard Brake, and Octavia Spencer (1080p, 9:37)
  • Make-up test footage for "Michael-Interior," "Michael-Exterior," and Deborah Myers (1080p, 3:35 combined runtime)
  • Uncle Seymour Coffins' Stand-Up Routines (1080p, 8:40 combined runtime)

Deleted Scenes -

  • 23 deleted and alternate scenes (1080p, 25:14)
  • Blooper reel (1080p, 4:26)

Previews - The Boondock Saints II: All Saint's Day, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Blood: The Last Vampire, Zombieland, District 9, Moon, 2012, The Stepfather, Michael Jackson's This is It, and Black Dynamite.

Music Featurettes: Zombie A Go Go, Honky Tonk Halloween, Redneck Vixen From Outer Space, Dr. Demon & The Robot Girl, Transylvania Terror Train, and Macon County Morgue -- by Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures (1080p, 19:11 combined runtime)

Number of Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc BD-Live; BD-Live functionality; Sony's MovieIQ feature.

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