Blog Lagoon’s 31 Days of Halloween, Day 16: A Tale of Two IIs…Part One.


When a horror movie is remade, the remake often gets its own sequel. Those sequels are usually always completely unrelated to the original’s sequel. Even if most remakes are inferior to their namesakes, the same is not always true of the respective sequel. With this in mind I thought it might be interesting to put a singular franchise’s parallel sequels up against one another to see which comes out on top.

CASE STUDY 1.
Halloween II (1981) vs. Halloween II (2009)


Halloween II
(1981)
Worst tagline ever: “MORE of the Night HE Came Home.” (The Michael-free Halloween III: Season of the Witch, on the other hand has one of the best: “The Night NO ONE Came Home.”)
+ Picks up EXACTLY where the first movie left off.
– Introduction of the contrived Michael-is-Laurie’s-brother bullshit that would infect the entire franchise forever, giving Michael’s spree a “purpose” which swaps the idea of a motive-free killing machine for sibling angst.
+ Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasance return.
Curtis is given little to do but limp around a hospital and scream in a bad wig.
+ Reference made to Ben Tramer; the character mentioned in part one as Laurie Strode’s primary crush.
Death by hot tub.
+ Ben Tramer, who’s mistaken for Michael Myers, is hit by a police car and burns to death!
Gory re-shoots do little but screw up the pacing.
+ Nancy Loomis returns…as Annie’s corpse.
Gives first indication that John Carpenter (who had a hand in writing this turd, even though he wisely declined to direct) is a hit-and-miss filmmaker.

Halloween II (2009)
+ Brad Dourif and Danielle Harris return.
– So do Sheri Moon Zombie (as the Myers family matriarch) and Scout Taylor-Compton (as the blandest “final girl” in slasher history).
+Dr. Loomis (as played by Mr. Malcolm “Canned Ham” McDowell) is given an “antagonist” make-over, which means he has something to do besides prattle on and on about “eeeevil.”
-Michael Myers grunts and makes other gutteral noises that do not befit a silent killing machine.
+Uncompromising violence and agonizingly extended death scenes work in the movie’s favor (unlike, say, death by hot tub)…
-…but, like Rob Zombie’s initial remake, there is absolutely no sense of suspense or tension to be found here.
+ Better than the first RZ Halloween, and in a way, has its own thing going on with (and it pains me to say this) more depth and character development than almost anything John Carpenter has ever done.
-We’re invited into the mind of Michael Myers (a bad idea to begin with) and are disappointed to find nothing but white horses, Sheri Moon Zombie and pretentious dream dialogue there.
+A dream sequence opening that works pretty well.
-Rob Zombie has no idea how teenagers talk. (But to be fair, neither did John Carpenter…”totally.”)
+Margot Kidder!

ADVANTAGE:  Halloween II (2009)
It’s the closest I’ve ever come to enjoying a Rob Zombie movie, which really isn’t saying much, but I liked it enough that I’d be willing to give the director’s cut a spin. I love Brad Dourif’s performance as the sheriff and enjoyed seeing Dr. Loomis developed as a sleazy publicity hound making money off the previous movie’s carnage. (Many Halloween fans disagree with me on this.) The bottom line is that RZ’s Halloween II is very watchable. The original H2 is barely watchable.

CASE STUDY 2.
The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985) vs. The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)

The Hills Have Eyes Part II (1985)
+
Was directed by part one’s director, Wes Craven.
-Was directed by the director of Deadly Friend, Swamp Thing, Scream 3, Cursed and Vampire in Brooklyn: Wes Craven.
+Michael Berryman returns as Pluto.
-First half relies heavily on flashbacks from part one…
+…but part one’s surviving dog, Beast, gets his own flashback!
-Plot is based on the shaky premise that people who know what happened in the first movie, return to the same location to race dirt bikes.
-Bad acting, dialogue, and ending.

The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
+Story concerns National Guard trainees who at least have a plausible reason for going to the desert.
-Story concerns National Guard trainees which means a lot of sub-standard Aliens-style “how do I get out of this chickenshit outfit” in-fighting.
+Briskly paced and consistent in its drive-in b-movie dumbness.
-The mutants still seem to owe a lot to Sloth from The Goonies.
+
Script is a collaborative father-son writing project. Wes Craven and Jonathan Craven share writing credits. How cute.
-It stars…um…no one you’ve ever heard of.

ADVANTAGE: The Hills Have Eyes II (2007)
Tis better to be entertaining enough and forgettable than memorable for sheer awfulness. Craven’s sequel is awful and I’m guessing he’s probably ashamed of it. Was the original even popular enough to warrant a sequel? Remember, 1985 is way back before any movie that broke even sent a sequel into production (straight-to-vid, or otherwise). The 2007 sequel is at least competent, coherent, and occasionally fun. Craven’s sequel is a hollow rehash of old material.


…stay tuned for A Tale of Two IIs…Part One II: The Sequel.

~ by Number5ive on October 25, 2010.

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