New Jersey Stage 2015 - Issue 10 - Page 36

All this talk of re-shoots and Carpenter’s lack of enthusiasm may lead you to believe the film is a mess, but that’s far from the truth. It never reaches the high watermark of the original but as slashers go it’s probably the second best entry in the subgenre. Carpenter’s limited input is enough to elevate it above the competition. It also gives us a mythology, establishing a connection to the celtic roots of the Halloween festival, and an Empire Strikes Back style revelation concerning Myers’ family connections. The character of Loomis is brought to the forefront and Pleasence is given some great monologues, which he delivers with manic gusto. Carpenter returns on soundtrack duties, this time recruiting the aid of synth wiz- ard Alan Howarth. Like the film itself, the score is amped up in a more aggressive manner. Howarth would go on to take over from Carpenter as the series progressed, ensuring the themes set down in the original remained intact. Like the Halloween imitations, the score has something of a disco influence, the main theme now featuring a kick drum. The slasher genre is in some ways the film equivalent of disco music - both were kicked off by geniuses but ultimately ruined by talent-less hacks seeking a quick buck. Halloween II is best viewed back to back with the original for the full ‘night he came home’ experience, but as a stand-alone slasher it’s still one of the very best. 4 ½ stars out of 5 2015 - ISSUE 10 36