Tuesday, September 1, 2009
HALLOWEEN 2 -- MY REVIEW
I knew Halloween 2 was going to be a bad movie simply because everything Zombie creates for the cinema is awful. I snuck into the movie because I wanted to see just how bad it was. I was certain it would rival the awfulness of Halloween but was unprepared for it to be so incredibly silly and lazy.
In my opinion Zombie's original Halloween should be required viewing in film schools worldwide because it fails on every conceivable level. From directing to costumes, everything in that film screams "MISTAKE". Halloween 2 on the other hand is so vastly different from the original it's not a failed remake of a classic, it's just a silly movie that plays fast and loose with the idea of making sense.
I will never understand Zombie's need to showcase human misery at obnoxious lengths. It's not a moral argument I have but more that this need renders Zombie unable to realize when a scene has gone on too long. When you can't do that then you have no pacing and the movie loses its power.
With the violent scenes you're either annoyed by the endless screaming or the never ending gore starts to look really fake. When it comes to the straight scenes there is no flow to them, they just end. Often they end really abruptly with no resolve or clue given as to why we had to sit through them. A good movie is made better by pacing, a bad movie can become decent with good pacing but a bad film with bad pacing is a disaster. Zombie can't pace a film ergo his movies are disasters.
When it comes to Zombie's wife I really bring her up out of total confusion. She can't act and her character has no business being in this movie so of course Zombie makes her the center piece. In Halloween 2 she returns as Michael Myers mother only this time she has come back to guide him in his quest to kill Laurie Strode so they can be a family again. Zombie tries to use this aspect to deepen Halloween 2 by having his wife appear to Michael holding the reigns of a white horse that means something to him a fact we're let in on in a very confusing and awkward way.
In reality Zombie's better half just stands around in a white dress and tries to look "crazy". As a director he can't decide what to do with her so either she's a real ghost guiding Michael or she's a figment of his imagination. It's really whatever Zombie needs for the scene--to hell with continuity.
Another massive problem with Halloween 2 are all the things that don't add up. When the movie starts it's a year after the first one and everyone is convinced Michael Myers is dead. Sure no body was found but most chock that up to Michael's body somehow being lost.
Well OK except just before the one year jump we watch the ambulance crash into a tree, Michael escaping from the back by kicking open the doors and then cutting the head off of the wounded ambulance driver. Now maybe I'm being a stickler here but it seems to me when that wreckage was discovered it would clue somebody somewhere into the idea that Michael was still roaming around somewhere. Most lost dead bodies don't decapitate health care workers or kick open doors. Again, to hell with continuity THIS is a Zombie flick.
During his year off Michael has apparently been roaming around because who would really notice him in a giant metropolis like Haddonfield, a town he killed 15 people in. At some point during his Woody Guthrie rambling period Michael managed to find a hooded coat that's too big for him and a messenger bag. My problem here is where exactly did Michael find these items. I'm sure Zombie would explain it by telling me Michael killed a transient for the coat and bag. Really? When was the last time anybody saw a 7 foot 300 pound homeless guy tooling around?
Even the beloved white mask is used badly. When we see Michael from a distance sporting the mask it's damaged but still whole. Not so in close ups where there is a huge gash that leaves part of Michael's face exposed. I could chalk that up to Zombie not caring except it actually works against him.
Apparently during his year long walk about Michael grew a full length mountain man beard. When we see Michael sans mask it's obvious he couldn't wear it over the beard. Don't worry though because when Michael is wearing the mask and we can see his face in close ups his beard is gone. I'm not kidding, it's that level of laziness.
Moving away from Myers the script and dialog are so awful it's actually more terrifying to watch the characters interact than it is to watch Michael kill anybody. Let's start with Laurie who is probably the only person in the world that benefitted from being attacked by a psychopathic killer. Laurie has gone from socially awkward square to a sexy party girl who sings along to the MC5 and wears Black Flag T-shirts. Now she's not only troubled she's cooooool!! Wow, how one dimensional can you get?
The girl portraying Laurie is so unskilled that instead of the character being unstable and sad she's just bitchy. To be honest I was kind of rooting for Michael to cut her throat just so she'd stop speaking. I was also in love with how she works at the local coffee shop owned by Howard Hessman. Zombie sets this place up as her refuge but then quickly forgets about it because he has shot number 204 out of 300 featuring Michael walking around a field with his hood up.
There are also Laurie's interchangeable and badly written "Girlfriends" who refer to each other as "Dicklickers" during conversations so forced any teen out there would shudder hearing them. Apparently Laurie and her two friends are supposed to dress up to go to some big farmhouse party. So much attention is given to it that you become sure a showdown with Michael is inevitable.
Nope, instead Zombie uses the party to give as a sequence of events that make no sense at all. Follow me on this and please, if you can explain it to me I'm willing to learn. For the entire film Laurie has been living with Annie (still alive and still unable to act) and Annie's dad Sheriff Brackett. They live in a big house way on the other side of town from the farmhouse party. We know this because Laurie has to drive to get there.
OK so at the farmhouse party one of Laurie's insipid friends gets into a van with some guy she's going to bone. Michael shows up and kills both of them but instead of heading inside to kill Laurie he walks all the way across town to kill Annie and then hang out at the house waiting for Laurie to return. That seems like an awful lot of energy and time wasted for a killer on the go.
The weirdest part of Halloween 2 is how Zombie deals with Loomis. It feels as if Zombie wrote the entire film and then on the first day of shooting exclaimed "Crap!! Loomis, I forgot all about him" so he just wrote a bunch of scenes and tried to force them to work. In the movie Loomis has nothing to do with anything actually going on, he should have donned a white suit and hung out with Zombie's wife.
The audience mainly watches Loomis ride in limos and promote his new book about the attack on Haddonfield by Myers the year before. Nothing he does has any effect on what's going on in the movie, it's almost like Zombie stuck him in there so people could have bathroom break or refresh their popcorn.
The best I can figure is that Zombie needed the Loomis character mainly for the book he wrote because it's supposed to be a major catalyst for the Laurie character. The problem is again how Zombie handles the entire thing. The day Loomis's book is released Laurie buys a copy and by reading it discovers she is actually Michael Myers sister.
OK I CALL BULLSHIT!!
I realize that Zombie is a bad filmmaker but this one part seems like he just gave up towards the end of filming. We as thinking people are supposed to believe that nobody filled Laurie in on the fact that this guy was her brother? Don't tell me nobody knew because apparently every single person involved with the book knew. I'm also supposed to believe that this little juicy tidbit wasn't leaked? Bullshit, there would be press everywhere trying to get a quote from Laurie.
Zombie might have pulled it off if he made Loomis's book a joke, something only Loomis's bloated ego believed in. Instead Zombie makes it a pop culture moment, a media frenzy on the same level as Octomom or American Idol. With that much press involvement somebody would've found out something. Not to mention it would have been much more compelling to see Laurie dealing with this issue and the guilt that her brother killed all those people. Zombie can't be bothered with compelling filmmaking, he has another lengthy murder scene to shoot.
Outside of all these gems are the perfunctory scenes involving white trash folks acting moronic and getting killed. Zombie also manages to maintain his abysmal music placement ability e.g. when Michael is going on a killing spree Knights In White Satin plays the entire time, I shit you not. Zombie has also decided that if he runs out of dialog ideas he can stick the word "fuck" in there to fill the void.
Zombie uses "fuck" the way teenage girls use "like" as a pause, a breath, a period, a comma and any other way he can slip it in there. For instance the wounded ambulance driver in the beginning of the movie says fuck over and over again for nearly a full minute. If you took all the "fucks" out of Halloween 2 you'd essentially have a silent movie.
Now here comes the weirdest part. There are two sections that, while still not good, shed light on the idea that maybe somewhere down deep Zombie could direct a movie without it being awful. The first is set in a hospital where a wounded Laurie has to try and escape from Michael. Granted this is a dream sequence but it's actually scary, there's real tension and fear in this part.
The second is when Laurie finds Annie who is still alive but dying quickly. Laurie's desperation and what seems like genuine sadness brings the only real humanity to the movie at all. You actually feel bad for Laurie and that's a big switch from feeling nothing for her at all. Sadly these are only two small scenes in an ocean of shit but they're done well enough I felt I should mention them.
Halloween 2 is a big silly stupid mess. A movie that is so bad I still believe Zombie just shows up on set and says "uh, I guess like...y'know, act or something". He is unable to master even the most rudimentary ideas of film making to a point where I begin to think it's performance art. That Zombie makes awful movies and then laughs at the idiot masses who think he's serious about them. If that's not the case then Zombie could go down in history as a 21st century answer to Ed Wood.