Hallowen II

Hallowen II (1981)
Universal Home Video
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes, Cast & Crew Biographies

Despite the rumor spread across the internet, Universal’s release of ’Halloween II’ has never been planned to be anything but a bare-bones release, which makes this disc only marginally better than the previous, Universal-licensed release by GoodTimes Home Video, which can now be had for $8 or less in most outlets. ’Halloween II’ is presented in an anamorphic widescreen and is letterboxed at 2.35:1. The image is very sharp and clear, showing only a very fine amount of grain at times. But, this transfer is only slightly better than the previous release, which showed more grain and was a bit darker. The colors are very good, as the red lights of the ambulances stand out against the dark photography. The framing here is accurate and true and does a good job of capturing the widescreen camerawork of director Rick Rosenthal and cinematographer Dean Cundey (who make the film look very much like ’Halloween’). The audio on the DVD is a Dolby 2-channel Stereo track, which sounds almost exactly like the track from the GoodTimes DVD (which was listed as 2.0 Surround). The dialogue and sound effects are always clear and audible. The stereo sound coming from the rear speakers adds some ambiance to the film, but doesn’t achieve that effect that a 5.1 mix would have.

As for the extra features, we get: a theatrical trailer, which is presented full-frame and looks horrible (some of the credits fall out of frame), production notes (which, once again, are similar to notes which appeared on the previous release), and cast & crew bios.

As for the film itself, I still consider this to be the best of the ’Halloween’ sequels. No, the film is nowhere near as good as ’Halloween’, but having the Carpenter touch certainly helps the movie. ’Halloween II’ picks up right where the original ended with Michael Myers continuing to stalk Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) in hot pursuit. The action is moved to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, the darkest and most quiet hospital on Earth! Michael Myers plows through a host of nurses and a security guard in his attempts to reach Laurie. Rosenthal is able to create some suspense with the film and it is very well shot. Also, it’s very obvious that the ending was meant to deter any attempts at future sequels, but we all know how well that worked. Overall, ’Halloween II’ is still a rip-off of ’Halloween’, but it’s one of the best ones. As for this new DVD, I can only recommend it to those who must have anamorphic releases. Otherwise, I would suggest trying to find the old GoodTimes version, at least until a true Special Edition arrives.