Sunday, March 05, 2017

Halloween II by Jack Martin

(pb; 1981: sequel to Halloween by Curtis Richards. Based on the screenplay by John Carpenter and Debra Hill.)

From the back cover

"It is Halloween night in Haddonfield, Illinois. Six gunshots pierce the silence of this normally quiet town. Neighborhood kids trick-or-treating on the street stare as a man plunges off a balcony. A doctor from the county mental hospital rushes from the house. He has followed his patient, who escaped from the institution, back to Haddonfield, where fifteen years earlier he brutally murdered his own sister. The demented young man has already killed three teenagers this evening. Tonight's massacre has only begun!"


Review

Halloween II is a well-written, solid slasher novel, based on John Carpenter and Debra Hill's screenplay for the 1981 film. If it lacks the out-of-the-blue shocker feel of its source film/novel, it is not Martin's fault. He does his best to imbue the straightforward slice-and-dice storyline with over-the-top descriptions and gore, while furthering the franchise's tone of spare, chilling thematic savagery.

There are few differences between the film and this movie tie-in book. There is one scene in the book that I do not remember from the film (it involves Michael's dispatch of a television producer) and Martin's writing gives us access to the characters' thoughts, giving them more depth.

(The original Halloween film and novel were meant to be single-shot works. No sequels had been planned. Then it made a lot of money and the producers insisted on a sequel. Therein, perhaps, lies one of this sequel's weaknesses.)

Halloween II, out of print and pricy, is worth reading. It is also worth owning if one's expectations take into account its inherent limitations (sequels rarely live up to the freshness of their source works), or if you are a Halloween completist.

Followed by Halloween III (another movie tie-in work, penned by Martin).

(NoteHalloween III has nothing to do with the Michael Myers-Laurie Strode storyline. . . once John Carpenter and Debra Hill had reconciled themselves with the inevitability of a Halloween-themed franchise, they decided that it should center around the holiday, not the Myers-Strode-Loomis triumvirate. Of course, its producers and its fans -- with their unimaginative expectations -- killed Carpenter's and Hill's ambition multi-vision at the outset.)

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The film on which the novel is based was released on October 30, 1981.Rick Rosenthal directed the film, based on John Carpenter and Debra Hill's screenplay.

Jamie Lee Curtis reprised her role of Laurie Strode. Donald Pleasance reprised his role of Dr. Sam Loomis. Charles Cyphers reprised his role of Sheriff Leigh Brackett. Dick Warlock played "The Shape" (a.k.a. Michael Myers) and "Patrolman #3" -- a professional stunt coordinator, Warlock provided that service for the film as well.

Lance Guest played Jimmy. Pamela Susan Shoop played Karen. Leo Rossi played Budd.  Nancy Stephens, wife of the film's director, played Marion. Gloria Gifford played Mrs. Alves. Tawney Moyer played Jill.




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Rob Zombie remade Halloween IIThe film, a reworked sequel to Zombie's remake of Halloween (2007), was released stateside on August 28, 2009.

Scout Taylor-Compton reprised her role of Laurie Strode. Malcolm McDowell reprised his role of Dr. Sam Loomis. Tyler Mane reprised his role of Michael Myers. Brad Dourif reprised his role of Sheriff Lee Brackett (the original incarnation of Brackett, played by Charles Cypher, was named Leigh Brackett).

Sheri Moon Zombie reprised her role of Deborah Myers, Michael's mother. Danielle Harris reprised her role of Annie Brackett.

Octavia Spencer played Nurse Daniels. Margot Kidder played Barbara Collier. Mary Birdsong played Nancy McDonald. Howard Hesseman played Uncle Meat.

Mark Boone Junior -- billed as Mark Boone, Jr. -- played Floyd. Duane Whitaker played Sherman Benny. Jeff Daniel Phillips played Howard / Uncle Seymour Coffins. Daniel Roebuck reprised his role of  "Big Lou" Martini.

Chris Hardwick played David Newman. "Weird Al" Yankovic -- billed as Al Yankovic -- played himself.