Halloween II (2009)

halloween-2-2009

Rob Zombie takes total ownership of the Michael Myers mythos, tears at the threads of what is left of his characters from the previous movie and reduces them to tatters. This is a vivid study of people who go through total hell and don’t quite make it to the other side intact. Everyone is damaged, broken or totally scarred by their trauma, including Michael. Still, this might be the scariest depiction of an unstoppable killing machine in horror. He DESTROYS his victims with that knife and is fuelled by such terrifying rage and power. It’s the complete opposite of Carpenter’s concept for Myers but by committing to the extreme end of the spectrum, Zombie delivers the goods. The grunts, the shouts. Intense, man. Fucking METAL.

Love Scout Taylor Compton’s work as well as McDowell’s Loomis going full scumbag and the double act of Brad Dourif and Dannielle Harris. The decision to not show what happens to Annie (a reprise of her attack in the first film) and pinning it instead on that one jittery slow-motion shot of her trying to escape really fucks me up. It reminds me of a bit in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, a book that takes a lot of time describing horrendous acts of violence, when it leaves a key murder to the reader’s imagination in the final few pages and makes it 10x more unsettling in the process.

Zombie continues to populate this universe with his obsessions – the costumes, music choices, overall design – and finally figures out how to make a Halloween movie on his own terms. I know many aren’t receptive to Michael’s visions and the more surreal, expressionistic flourishes but for me they are everything. It’s so pleasing to see Sheri Moon Zombie essentially reprise her role as the ethereal Living Dead Girl muse from her husband’s music videos. The grotesqueries on show in general are stunning. The violence is among the ugliest and most visceral in any modern horror film. That grainy 16mm photography is just the cherry on top. A bleak, uncompromising nightmare of a shocker that only gets better and better and better. My second favourite Zombie flick behind The Devil’s Rejects. Stick to the director’s cut for maximum impact.

Watched on blu-ray.

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