Rob Zombie's transition from scary heavy-metal maven to slash-and-splatter moviemaker is completed with “Halloween II.”
But apparently, he thinks he's the new Dario Argento – the Italian guru of gore. “Halloween II” has shades of the artsy-fartsy – pretentious, capital “S” symbolism and zero characterization or suspense.
“H2” picks up the story with an extended “later that night” sequence following up on the carnage of “Halloween.” Zombie shows us, graphically, what machetes, axes and butcher knives do to a human body and how – if you have insurance – the medical system might treat those thus traumatized. But is Michael Myers dead? Apparently not, as Laurie (Scout Taylor-Compton) is chased out of her trauma ward bed, across the rainy parking lot to “safety” with the security guard.
A year passes, and Halloween approaches. During a couple of brutal nights of unprovoked terror, Michael works his way back into Haddonfield for another “final” shot at killing Laurie and other scarred victims of his last rampage.
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A cute touch – Malcolm McDowell returns as Michael's surviving shrink, Dr. Loomis, this time out pushing a book he has written to cash in on the tragedy. Zombie hurls the indignities of “marketing yourself” at Loomis – sharing a talk-show couch with Weird Al Yankovic, signing books for drooling mass-murder fanboys.
The script is generic, save for some pained and painfully obvious attempts at “funny” improvisation.
Zombie has a sense of humor (Weird Al, and look for Margot Kidder as Laurie's therapist). He has an eye, and an ear for old rock and pop tunes – he beats The Moody Blues' “Nights in White Satin” to death here. But story, character and editing really fall down in this one. It's not even as scary as his “Halloween” remake, and that one was perfunctory, at best.
He's not the new Argento, or even the new John Carpenter. With “Halloween II,” Zombie shows conclusively that he's not interested in growing, getting better or ever becoming an original. He's just a hack with a made-up name and a cult following.