Released in 1981, John Carpenter and Debra Hill once again write this film, directed this time by Rick Rosenthal. This sequel picks up immediately after the original film ended. So it’s still Halloween 1978. Dr. Loomis (again played by Donald Pleasence) continues to search for Michael, whom he knows to be still alive despite being shot 6 times and falling from a balcony, while Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is taken to the local hospital to recover from the injuries she sustained during Michael’s attack. Michael has gone to another house and gotten himself a new knife. Then after killing the girl who lived there, he heads to the hospital to finish off Laurie, and anyone who happens to get in his way.
So the majority of this film takes place in the hospital, which kind of helps give this film a sort of claustrophic feeling. Laurie and the other victims are trapped in this one location, as Michael stalks them. We see Michael hacking his way through several nurses, doctors, and a hospital security guard, before his final one on one showdown with Laurie. This film portrays several flashbacks, showing Dr. Loomis treating Michael, when he was still a young boy, in the Sanitarium, as he comes to suspect that Michael’s non-changing catatonic state is just a cover for being evil, which is what led Dr. Loomis to become determined to never letting Michael get out. Loomis still blames himself for Michael’s escape, and all the death that has occurred that night. But the biggest twist in this film is that Loomis learns that Michaels parents had died some years earlier, and that Laurie is actually their youngest daughter, Michael’s sister, who was adopted by another couple. And this is meant to explain why Michael is fixated on killing her, just like he killed his oldest sister when he was a boy.
In retrospect, I believe this revelation was a mistake. As I said before, part of the suspense of the first film was that Michael’s obsession with stalking and trying to kill Laure was completely random, and therefor unpredictable. I think there was some mention or implication that Laurie may have reminded Michael of his sister, which is fine, but actually making her his sister changes the dynamic of the first film. And of course there are all of the questions this revelation brings forth, like how the heck did Loomis not know about this beforehand? As Michael’s primary therapist for the past 15 years, wouldn’t he have had access to Michael’s family background? And let’s also consider that a 6-year old boy stabbing his teenage sister to death would be big news, as would the death of the parents a few years later. Yet their young daughter was adopted by another couple in the very same town, and this wasn’t common knowledge? It just doesn’t add up.
There’s also some stuff about Loomis studying the pagan holiday of Samhain, and its possible effect on Michael, injecting a supernatural element into the film, although it really isn’t followed up on. Then there’s the ending. Laurie shoots Michael in each of his eyes (!!!), which blinds him. Even if accept that Michael isn’t just dead now, he’s surely defenseless and can be captured. Yet. Dr. Loomis feels that the only way to stop Michael is to blow him up, with Loomis sacrificing himself as well. That seems rather extreme.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed this film. The death scenes are much more brutal and this time the blood and gore is in full display. Pamela Susan Shoop plays a nurse that Michael boils alive in a tub. Another character gets a hypodermic needle jammed in his eye, among other horrible death scenes. So this film is definitely not for the squeamish. While not quite as good as the first film, it is a decent sequel, and also serves as a pretty definite “finale” to the Michael Myers saga (or so we thought).