Horror Life

Halloween II (1981)

July 8, 2022

IMDB Summary: While Dr. Loomis hunts for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, and The Shape is not far behind.

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 30%

Haddonfield, Illinois. Halloween night.

Dr. Loomis is outside the Myers’ house, inspecting the spot where Michael hit the ground after falling over the balcony. A cranky neighbor comes outside to complain about all the noise, saying he’s been “trick or treated to death,” to which Dr. Loomis replies, “YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT DEATH IS.”

I need to find a good time to use this line. It’s so inappropriately perfect.

Meanwhile Michael, who should be dead by now, is walking down what looks like a Tijuana alley when he sees Dr. Loomis screaming at a cop, “I SHOT HIM SIX TIMES! HE’S NOT HUMAN!” No wonder nobody pays attention to Dr. Loomis. The guy is seriously going to give himself a fucking stroke. Michael then comes upon a house where a shabby-robed woman is making a sandwich while her husband falls asleep in a chair watching Night of the Living Dead. A breaking news story comes on TV: the grisly discovery of three dead teenagers.

While she watches, Michael sneaks in and steals her knife, leaving fresh blood on the chopping board. She sees it and screams.

Next door, Alice is talking on the phone to Sally. Alice hasn’t heard about the murders. Maybe if she had, she wouldn’t have kept her door unlocked for some random wacko to come in and stab her in the chest.

Buh bye, Alice.

Kill count: 1.

Michael is now a killing machine. Clearly he’s gotten the hang of it, even though it’s only been a day. Luckily for him there’s a ton of other people in Haddonfield who don’t know how to act when there’s a killer on the loose. Lock your goddamn doors, people.

Back at the murder house, Laurie is being taken out on a stretcher by two EMTs. One of them is super cute and the other is one of the assholes who cheered on Jodie Foster’s rapists in The Accused. They pull up at the hospital, where a woman and her kid dressed like a swashbuckler are walking in because the kid bit into an apple with a razor blade in it. (You may or may not know this, but the big rumor in the 70’s was on Halloween bad people were putting razor blades in apples and for that reason you should never accept fruit. Only wrapped candy. I think of that scene every time I eat an apple.)

Laurie is catatonic. She’s also wearing a wig, because in real life it’s been three years and, judging by Terror Train, her hair underneath is way shorter and curlier than Laurie Strode’s. The guys ask a nurse where Dr. Mixter is, and she tells them he’s drunk. Right then the doctor shows up asking Laurie about, of all things, her last tetanus shot, and gives her a sedative she really, really doesn’t want. And yup, he’s drunk.

Dr. Loomis has whipped himself into a complete frenzy looking for Michael. As he drives around with Sheriff Brackett bickering about it Dr. Loomis thinks he’s sees Michael, but that guy gets hit by another police car and then rammed into a van, causing everything to explode and burn him to death. A different sheriff shows up and tells Sheriff Brackett his daughter Annie is dead, which, hello, was already on the news so how the hell do these guys not already know that.

They all go back to the murder house. Sheriff Brackett ID’s dead Annie then blames the entire thing on Dr. Loomis. It’s a dick move but the guy’s daughter just got murdered so Dr. Loomis lets it go.

At this point, everyone is under the impression it was Michael who burned up in the accident. Dr. Loomis of course knows better, but again, nobody will listen even though every single thing he’s predicted has come true. And sure enough there’s Michael, walking the streets, trying to find Laurie so he can finish killing her.

A guy in a cowboy hat carrying a radio on his shoulder bumps into Michael and he hears she’s at Haddonfield Memorial. Good thing there’s a random sign pointing the way.

Haddonfield Memorial Hospital is an awesome place to work. You can be late, smoke weed in the breakroom and sit on your ass reading magazines while murderers roam around. It’s also the emptiest hospital ever. No one is even watching the maternity ward. Free babies! (Just kidding. And never make that joke at Cedar Sanai. They’ll arrest you.) Then there’s Jimmy, the cute EMT who tells Laurie it was Michael Myers who tried to kill her but you can tell he’s really just hitting on her. Just then the rather bitchy nurse comes in and tells Laurie they can’t get a hold of her parents. She picks up the phone to try them, but Michael has cut the phone lines. I don’t know how anyone does this in movies. For the longest time I didn’t even know where my own gas meter was.

The useless security guard hands a walkie talkie to a nurse who looks exactly like my niece and goes down to the basement to check things out. Is somebody in the trash bin…? Nope. What about this locked closet…? Nope, no one there either. What about—

Annnd, hammer in the head.

Kill count: 2.

So far the killings in this Halloween have been super brief, and not at all bloody. Were they saving money on special effects? I miss the blood.

Dr. Loomis and the other sheriff are now with the dentist to determine whether or not the burned guy really is Michael, but they need dental records and it’s going to take hours, so they drive over to the Myers’ house where people are throwing shit and breaking windows. As Dr. Loomis is going on about the creepiness that is Michael, two guys come up to the sheriff telling him they can’t find their friend Bennet Tramer anywhere. They say he had a mask on and he was drunk. Dr. Loomis and the sheriff look at each other like two people who fucked up and let the wrong guy burn to death, but in their defense the guy did look exactly like Michael so what can you do.

Things at the hospital are getting interesting. Budd the EMT, who apparently has nothing else to do, is trying to get Nurse Karen to meet him in the therapy room so they can have jacuzzi sex. They might as well, considering the hospital is exceptionally quiet. It must be a slow night in Haddonfield for razor blade apples.

Budd and Nurse Karen get it on. Meanwhile Michael, who is somehow always around when people are having sex, is cranking the water temperature up from the other room. Nurse Karen can’t take the heat and asks Budd to go check it out, and since he just wants to get laid he gets out of the jacuzzi and you see his butt. (I mention this because you rarely see male nudity in horror movies. Usually it’s just boobs.) A minute later, Budd ends up getting strangled.

Kill count: 3.

Whatever. He was a douchebag.

Nurse Karen is now out of the jacuzzi, putting a towel on. Michael comes up from behind her and starts getting handy. She responds by licking his insanely gross finger. As Michael yanks his hand away, she turns to see she’s been unknowingly talking about getting breakfast later with a scary man in a mask. He grabs her by the hair, dunks her head over and over in the now scalding water and leaves her naked body on the floor.

Kill count: 4.

I remember going to this movie with my mom. We saw it Halloween on night at the Picwood. I also feel like I had friends there with me because horror movies were so not my mom’s thing, but it’s been over 40 years so if you happen to be one of them please tell me.

And here’s something weird: Laurie is all by herself. No parents (whereabouts unknown), no friends (all dead), no security guards. I’ve been in the hospital and they never left you alone. They’ll even bring you coffee if you want it. You’d think the police would at least be there asking Laurie questions about the maniac who tried to kill her earlier, but there’s only Jimmy, and if things keep going the way they have been he’s for sure going to die so I hope she doesn’t get too attached.

At some point, we don’t know when, Michael took a break from his shenanigans and went to his old elementary school. While he was there he stabbed the sister in a family drawing and wrote the Gaelic word “Samhain” in blood on the chalkboard. According to Dr. Loomis this is the name of a harvest festival that takes place the night of October 31st. I would have bet good money nobody in this movie spoke Gaelic, but OK.

Just then, Nurse Cancersticks shows up. The governor has ordered Dr. Loomis back to the sanitarium. There’s a Marshall outside and he has no choice, she tells him. He has to get in the car.

I’ve always wondered about this actress. I’m sure I would have recognized her if she were in anything else I’d seen, but I looked her up and it appears she’s mainly done a lot of bit parts, including one in an old episode of Cheers. She’s also married to Rick Rosenthal, director of Halloween II and Halloween: Resurrection. So I went to find her Cheers episode on Hulu, but they only go up to season 4 and this was season 10. They had it on Amazon Prime, but for $2.99. They also had it on Peacock, but I didn’t have a subscription and so I stupidly signed up for $4.99 instead of just getting it cheaper on Prime. Now I’m watching Cheers at 1:40 on a Thursday afternoon. Nancy Stephens is her name, by the way. She was “Customer #2” in an episode called License to Hill and her one line was, “can I have a strawberry daiquiri, Miss?” I totally would have recognized her. Same voice. Same hair. I’d know it anywhere.

Back at the hospital, Jimmy checks on Laurie. She’s unresponsive. The nurse runs to get drunk Dr. Mixter and finds him dead in his chair with a syringe in his eye.

Kill count: 5.

Why is the shower on?

The horrified nurse barely has time to scream before Michael stabs her in the temple.

Kill count: 6.

I still miss the blood.

Now that Michael has gotten rid of almost everyone he’s clear to go kill Laurie. He goes to her room to stab her with a scalpel, but she’s not there. She went limping down the hall.

Jimmy is getting worried because he can’t find anybody and tells the one last nurse to go get help. Then he finds bitchy Mrs. Alves lying on a gurney with blood being siphoned out of her lifeless body. Creative!

Kill count: 7.

Jimmy, who understandably is in a rush to get the fuck out of there, slips in the pool that is Mrs. Alves’ blood and cracks his neck.

Kill count: Still 7. (He’s not dead. Yet.)

Outside, the nurse can’t start her car. Also, her tires have been slashed. Actually everyone’s tires have been slashed. She runs back into the hospital and finds Laurie feebly walking in the hall. “Laurie! Laurie!” Yeah, babe, it’s Laurie, and you might want to look behind you, because you’re about to get knifed in the back and held up like a flag.

Kill count: 8.

Laurie bolts. Michael does the slow walk after her, awkwardly holding the blade with his thumb on top, similar to the gesture Kamala Harris makes when she points. He could have caught her but he’s too goddamn slow.

Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis and Nurse Cancersticks are having an interesting conversation in the Marshall’s car. According to a secret file, Michael had a baby sister who was adopted after the parents passed away. “That girl,” she says, “that Strode girl, is Michael Myers’ sister.”

HIS SISTER.

If you were in a movie theater, everyone would applaud. It’s a total “I’m Luke Skywalker, I’m here to rescue you” moment. Dr. Loomis makes the Marshall turn the car around and go back to Haddonfield Memorial where Laurie is hiding outside in Jimmy’s super cool yellow and white ’57 Chevy Bel Air. (Yes, I Googled it.) Just then Jimmy gets in, assures Laurie they’re going to get out of there then kind of dies, although a fan theory that says he doesn’t. It’s not really clear. It could go either way.

Kill count: 9(?).

Laurie gets out of the car and falls on the ground as the Marshall is pulling up to the hospital with Dr. Loomis and Nurse Cancersticks. She wants to scream but she can’t. Finally she manages to hobble over to the door when Michael appears. Dr. Loomis lets her inside and locks the door, which has no effect whatsoever because Michael walks right through the glass.

Dr. Loomis fires at him. Michael collapses.

Because he’s an idiot, the Marshall leans over Michael to make sure he’s dead. (He’s not.) Michael sits up and slits the guy’s throat.

Kill count 10(?).

Laurie and Dr. Loomis run and hide. A very 80’s version of the scary music plays. Michael finds them and Dr. Loomis gets stabbed. He then makes his move toward Laurie, who shoots him in the eyes and now he can’t see shit. As he swings at the air with the scalpel, Dr. Loomis turns on a CO2 tank to lure him away. Michael swings away as they turn on the ether, the oxygen, everything. Laurie gets away, and Dr. Loomis takes a lighter out and blows the whole thing up.

Miraculously, and because it’s a movie, both survive. Although you don’t find this out until the sequels.

As for Laurie, she gets whisked away to another, hopefully busier hospital now that her life is completely ruined. Happy Halloween, sis. 🔪🖤

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