Some of you may have heard a little company called Shout Factory is putting out some really awesome re-releases of our favorite films on glorious blu-ray and stacked to the gills with extras. It makes me feel like it’s 2000 all over again, when DVD was just coming into it’s own and we got digital video discs of some rather gritty films we never thought die out on videocassette. Just like back then, it’s getting a bit unwieldy (I still think it’s hilarious we got I Spit on your Grave remastered in THX).
However, there is one franchise that has needed a complete box set for a while now. Given what film this review is of, you can surmise what I’m speaking about. One that falls on October 31st.
What they’ve done here is very impressive, and worth the re-up for the fans of the series. We have the entire filmography here, even the controversial Rob Zombie remakes, as well as the Producers Cut of Halloween 6. I’m starting my review of all the films in the box set starting with the second, because I already did a review of the first one last fall.
I briefly touched on my thoughts of Halloween 2 last Fall. I was trying to do with a horror movie a day challenge for the month of October when the computer crashed mid-way through the month. However, I kept watching movies, and just wrote a brief blurb for each. You can read the blurb for this on here.
Pretty much all my feelings on Halloween 2 still stand, but I do like this film a lot. My first real experience with it was on a Saturday afternoon in 7th grade when USA aired it as part of their weekend block of horror films (this was back before Law and Order: SVU hit the air). One of the best things to me about the film is the updated synth score by Alan Howarth. It’s probably my favorite version of the theme in the entire series.
As far as the film, there really is no need for it, but there is no need for any horror film at all, so my complaint is unreasonable. And compared to other sequels of it’s contemporaries, it’s one of the best. It picks up right after the first leaves off and gives us more of the Night He Came Home. One of the plot points I really like about the film is the way the small town reacts to the massacre. It adds an element of hysteria and real life to the film, and was a genius stroke to include. Halloween 4 would later use this to it’s best effect. However, one of the major flaws of the film is that there are no new core characters for us to care about. All of the hospital staff at Haddonfield Memorial are meant to be sacrifices for the Lord of the Dead, and we know Loomis and Laurie are pretty much untouchable (until the end). But the kills are awesome, and as I said last Fall, it reminds me a lot of a giallo. Laurie’s flashback sequences to visiting her little brother in Smith’s Grove have a very Deep Red feel about them. And let’s be honest, if it weren’t for Deep Red, we probably wouldn’t have a Halloween.
Halloween 2 looks great on blu-ray and there are quite a bit of extras. The biggest of which is a 44 minute documentary on the film with the cast and crew. It’s pretty exhaustive and gives you more info than you’d probably want to know. It’s also amazing to see how well they have all aged over the years.
There are also a couple commentary tracks. One is with the director Rick Rosenthal, and the other is with the late stuntman Dick Warlock (RIP), who played as the Shape in this film. He was a very warm and funny guy and seemed to truly enjoy the franchise and it’s fans. Director Rick Rosenthal is joined by character actor Leo Rossi on a commentary track that gives a really good portrait of what Hollywood was like at the time. Leo Rossi is an interesting guy and it’s good to see him show love for one of his earlier roles. However, there is a lot of silent spaces in it where they just run out of things to talk about. To me that’s the cardinal sin of commentary.
The television cut of the film is included on a separate disc well, for those of you interested in a watered down version of the film with not so good flashback sequences added on for padding the time.
Shout! Factory keeps putting episodes of Sean Clarks’s Horror’s Hallowed Grounds on their releases for some reason. I get there is a fan base for movie locations and seeing how they look in modern times but I don’t really care about any of that, and besides the true subject of these things is the name that prefaces the title: Sean Clark. The opening sequence is like a bad Sum 41 video with Clark jumping around locations like he’s the wild man of Borneo. It’s a bit much for people who aren’t friends with him and his editor friends on on-line forums. My fiancee happened to walk in during this segment, glanced at the TV, and remarked sarcastically “Wow, HE’S a cool guy!”. If you’re easily impressed by a guy walking through alleyways that were in a movie 30 years ago, you’ll find a lot to love here. But props to Clark and his little buddies, they have exploited a part of horror fandom that has gone mostly untouched, and seem to be quite successful with their outings. Like I once read on Origami Boulder, “Bad idea well implemented, better than best idea never used”.