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Film / Halloween II (1981)

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Nightmare Face aside, whoever did this cool jack-o'-lantern deserves an award.

"He was my patient for fifteen years. He became an obsession with me, until I realized there was nothing within him, neither conscience nor reason, that was even remotely human. An hour ago I stood up and fired six shots into him and then he just got up and walked away. I am talking about the real possibility that he is still out there!"
Dr. Loomis

Halloween II is the first sequel in the Halloween series, written and produced by John Carpenter and Debra Hill, directed by Rick Rosenthal, and released in 1981. It picks up directly after the events of the first film.

After having shot escaped killer Michael Myers six times, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) believes he has saved high school student Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), who has survived the violent rampage of the psychopath that tried to kill her. Loomis heads out of the house to find nothing on the ground but an empty spot, leading him to believe that Michael lived through the gunshots. While paramedics take Laurie to the local hospital to recover, Haddonfield police and Dr. Loomis search for Michael, unaware that he has learned of Laurie's location — and that he has a hidden reason for wanting to kill her...

While it didn't enjoy the first film's critical success, Halloween II was still very well-received by fans and was a box office success. Carpenter initially felt the story was over after the first film, but when pressured by producers to make a second installment, he intended for this film to mark the end of the Michael Myers story for good, and the next film in the franchise did something completely different altogether. Two of the Halloween sequels pick up after the events of this film: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers serves as a direct sequel to the events of this film with a new protagonist, while Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later ignores Halloween 4 (and its two sequels) to continue the story of Laurie Strode. Halloween (2018), on the other hand, supplants this film as the direct sequel to the original, retconning away both this film and its Plot Twist.

Not to be confused with Halloween II (2009), the sequel to Rob Zombie's 2007 Halloween remake.

Halloween II contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: During the climax, panicking Laurie manages to shoot both of Michael's eyes out.
  • Accidental Murder: A speeding cop isn't able to brake in time and winds up hitting a teen, slamming him against a parked vehicle. The victim in question is Ben Tramer, Laurie's crush from the first movie.
  • Artistic License – Medicine: When Michael stabs Nurse Jill in the back with the scalpel and uses it to lift her off the floor, afterwards she drops to the floor and he continues to chase Laurie, so it's assumed she's dead. Getting stabbed by a surgical scalpel would have been no picnic, but immediate death is highly unlikely. Michael had to be holding onto the major portion of it to have the leverage to lift her up, so it wouldn't have penetrated more than 2 or three inches. She's a slender woman but it likely would not have reached any vital organs (and it definitely would not have reached her heart) it may have punctured her lung given the location, but even that's not an instant kill. It's more likely she fainted from pain, fear, and shock. Michael didn't bother with her after that because he was focused on Laurie, and the TV edit of the film dubs in groaning sounds hinting to her survival
  • Asshole Victim: Budd, the local Jerkass of the Hospital Staff.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: John Carpenter made Halloween II with this concept in mind, and it shows. It even has a character slip in a pool of his co-worker's blood!
  • Cain and Abel: Michael wants to kill his second sister, Laurie.
  • Call-Forward: In the sole connection between the main continuity and that of Halloween III, during one scene a Silver Shamrock commercial can be seen airing on a TV in the background. (In Halloween III, however, the first movie appears on TV as a movie, i.e., as fiction.)
  • The Cameo:
    • Anne Marie Martin, who played Wendy in Prom Night (1980), has an uncredited cameo as Karen's friend Darcy. She came on to help out when reshoots were being done.
    • Dick Warlock's (The Shape) son Billy appears as one of Ben Tramer's friends. His other son Lance plays a boombox-toting cowboy that Michael bumps into on the street.
  • Cat Scare:
    • Michael is almost spooked when a dog suddenly appears to bark at him during his flight from Loomis at the beginning of the film.
    • A bumbling security guard stumbles around outside the hospital checking for a disturbance. He gets startled by a spring-loaded cat, sighs and relaxes. Three guesses who he encounters next...
  • Chair Reveal: Dr. Mixter's chair is turned around to reveal him already dead with a needle jammed in his eye.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The lighter the police deputy gives Dr. Loomis when the two are sharing a smoke ends up being the very thing that kills Michael.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • The first film mentions Ben Tramer, a boy that Annie sets Laurie up with for a date; he never shows up on-screen, though. In this movie, Tramer dies as the result of a car accident and subsequent explosion. His Halloween mask bears a resemblance to Michael's, which briefly makes the police and Loomis believe it was Michael who died in the accident.
    • Marion Chambers, who just seemed to be someone who accompanied Loomis at the beginning of the first film. She comes along here is the one to drop the huge revelation that Laurie is Micheal's sister.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • A different young man just so happens to wear the same outfit and mask that Michael has on, only with blonde hair instead. It ends up misleading Loomis and the police and leads to said young man getting killed when he’s distracted (by Loomis shouting and pulling a gun on him) and walks in front of a speeding police car, which plows him into a parked van that explodes and instantly burns him to death.
      • What’s more, he turns out to have been Ben Tramer, Laurie’s crush mentioned in the first movie.
    • Michael just happens to bump into someone carrying a stereo playing the news, with the broadcast handily revealing that the one survivor of Michael's rampage was taken to Haddonfield Memorial.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Michael does this at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital when he finds out Laurie is there.
  • Determinator: Despite having taken six gunshots in the previous film, and five more during the climax, Michael keeps coming after Laurie. Even when rendered blind, he just keeps slashing in front of him, determined to hit something, and while on fire (the thing that ultimately defeats him), Michael manages to keep walking for a moment before his strength finally fails.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Or in this case, co-protagonist. Sheriff Leigh Brackett has a lengthy appearance in the first film aiding Dr. Loomis, and since the second film picks up right after the first ended, it leads the audience to believe that Brackett will again play a major part of the sequel in a similar capacity. Cyphers even receive third billing in the opening credits, however, once he discovers Annie is dead in the first act, he angrily blames Loomis and leaves to console his wife over their daughter's death, and is never seen in the film again.
  • Diagonal Billing: For Pleasence and Curtis.
  • Dull Surprise: Laurie has a very muted reaction to seeing Michael murder Jill. The camera effects imply that she's in a state of shock, which she snaps out of when Michael drops the nurse and starts advancing on her.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Dr. Loomis pulling a Taking You with Me on Michael in the hospital.
  • Eye Scream:
    • Dr. Mixter is shown with a syringe stuck right in the middle of his eye in a loving close-up.
    • Michael himself gets shot above both eyes by Laurie.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Michael is seen within visual range several times, but nobody ever notices him. The worst example is Alice somehow managing to not see Michael standing perfectly visible just twenty feet in front of her just outside of her house, and most mind-numbingly, she again somehow doesn't see him on the floor of her brightly lit living room before she walks right past him and he proceeds to jump up and kill her. Amazingly, Carpenter himself directed the latter scene.
  • Fanservice: Nurse Karen gets a rather gratuitous topless scene. By the time Michael is finished with her, it quickly becomes a case of Fan Disservice, as Karen's face is hideously burned by Michael drowning her in scalding water.
  • Final Girl: Laurie, again.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Michael is believed to have burned to death, when the victim is actually Ben Tramer. Michael winds up meeting his end in the film's finale by burning to death.
    • Michael breaks into a school and drives a kitchen knife into a child's drawing of their family, specifically the young girl depicted. Loomis remarks "sister", at the sight, clearly drawing a parallel between Michael's vandalism and his killing of his sister fifteen years prior. After The Reveal, it becomes clear that Michael was expressing hatred for his younger sister as well.
    • In the hospital, Laurie dreams about her mother telling her that she's adopted, and of visiting a boy in a (different) hospital. One Wham Line later, it becomes clear that the boy is a young Michael.
    • When Karen arrives at work, Michael is reflected in her car's sideview mirror. It isn't long before she becomes one of his victims.
  • For the Evulz: After escaping from Loomis, Michael steals a kitchen knife from a nearby house, murders a random young woman, then breaks into a school where he leaves the knife driven through a child's drawing of a family (specifically, the young girl) and scrawls "Samhain" on the chalkboard in blood. Exactly why he did any of this is left unexplained.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: When Michael kills Karen by repeatedly dunking her head into scalding water, the results are shown up close. The aftermath of Mixter's murder is shown in a similar fashion.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Nobody ever sees Michael wandering the hospital at all, despite the fact that he blatantly walks past the security cameras several times.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Dr. Loomis blows up the room he and Michael are in order to stop him once and for all.
  • Hope Spot: When a cornered Laurie calls Michael by his name, he stops for a moment, lowers his weapon, and tilts his head in confusion, giving the impression that maybe Laurie has successfully appealed to his humanity. After a moment, however, Michael shrugs it off and keeps on coming.
  • Hospital Hottie: All of the nurses.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Ben Tramer's body is so badly burned that they check his teeth, but they can't immediately tell whether or not it was Michael.
  • If It Bleeds, It Leads: Throughout the movie there are occasional local news broadcasts playing on radios and TVs in the background of several scenes detailing Micheal's murders. Marion Chambers mentions offhandedly that the news is now all over the state by the time she's sent to retrieve him from Haddonfield on orders of the State Governor, with the coverage all but certain to be relayed across the country in the aftermath of Micheal's hospital spree.
  • Immediate Sequel: The film starts off with Michael getting shot and falling off the balcony and continues on from there.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Michael stabs many people with his stolen kitchen knife and an operating scalpel. He also impales a man's eye with a syringe.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: The young boy with the razorblade stuck in his teeth and his mother leaves the hospital just before Michael's invasion.
  • In the Back: Nurse Jill is killed when Michael stabs her in the back with a scalpel.
  • It Works Better with Bullets: During the climax, Loomis tries to shoot Michael in the head at near-blank range. It might have worked if Loomis hadn't fired one shot to coerce the Marshal, then used the other five bullets on Michael shortly after.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • The head nurse is found already dead by one of the employees. The audience never sees Michael kill her.
    • Same with Dr. Mixter, complete with a needle in the eye.
  • Kill It with Fire: Dr. Loomis blows up the hospital with himself and Michael trapped inside.
  • Kill the Cutie: Alice, Janet and Jill were all very adorable and seemed like genuinely good natured people.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Despite the serious injuries she suffered from the previous film, Laurie is still running from Michael and makes it out alive again.
    • Michael himself, as usual; his injuries from the previous film are compounded here with an additional seven gunshot wounds, two of which hit him in the face, as well as being burned alive, with only the latter being enough to seemingly kill him.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Karen is completely unaware of Michael strangling her boyfriend while she lounges in the tub.
  • Menacing Stroll: As always. Michael simply walks around the hospital.
  • Murderer P.O.V.: Like the first film, the audience is given Michael's point of view a few times.
  • My Car Hates Me: Justified due to Michael tampering with the cars outside the hospital.
  • Nice Guy: Jimmy, the paramedic who comes into Laurie's room a few times to check in on her and see if she is doing alright.
  • No Kill like Overkill: Rather than just drown Nurse Karen, Michael shoves her face into scalding water until she dies.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Loomis nearly has a heart attack when he realizes that Michael is still after Laurie, now helpless and unguarded at the hospital.
    • Once the shock wears off, Laurie understandably freaks out at the sight of Michael and rushes away as fast as her injured ankle will allow.
    • During the climax, Loomis tries to shoot Michael in the head... only for his gun to click empty. Loomis has just enough time to register the shock before Michael stabs him in the stomach.
  • Out of the Inferno: The climax concludes with Michael walking out of flames before collapsing on the floor, dead.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse: When Laurie is fleeing from Michael at the end of the movie, she runs into a maintenance room and runs into the body of the security guard, hung from the ceiling.
  • Police Are Useless: None of the police officers escort Laurie to the hospital or even stay to protect her or ask questions after she was attacked by Myers in the first flick. One uncaring marshal forces Loomis back to Smith's Grove to avoid embarrassing the state bureaucrats whose neglect made Myers' deadly escape and spree more likely than if earlier precautions had been taken when Loomis asked for them 14-15 years earlier, leaving Haddonfield undefended. (The marshal gets his deadly just "desserts" towards the end when examining a seemingly unconscious Michael in the hospital.)
  • Precision F-Strike: Budd: "Sorry, guess I just fuck up all the time."
  • The Public Domain Channel: Every TV in the film is shown playing Night of the Living Dead on repeat.
  • Quip to Black: Loomis takes us into the opening credits with one.
    Neighbor: Is this some kind of joke? I've been trick-or-treated to death tonight.
    Loomis: You don't know what death is! [turns and runs as theme music starts]
  • Razor Apples: We see a kid admitted to the hospital with a razor blade stuck in his mouth, presumably from one of these.
  • Rearrange the Song: The theme tune is featured in a different, more synth-heavy arrangement here.
  • Recut: The film had a few new things for the TV Cut:
    • Violence is trimmed down and any cursing is dubbed over.
    • A different shot of Loomis coming out of the house at the beginning. The neighbour who says "I've been trick or treated to death tonight" is dubbed over asking if this is a Halloween prank.
    • The scene where Michael Myers steals a knife from Mrs. Elrod happens later and is edited to suggest he kills the old woman instead of Alice, the girl down the street.
      • In the international TV version, this cut doesn't happen, the only cut being the splatter of blood on Alice.
    • Ben Tramer getting killed is given a Distant Reaction Shot of Loomis and Brackett.
    • Additional minor scenes with the hospital staff discussing Laurie.
    • Mrs. Alves tries to call Laurie's parents, scolding Janet for not already doing so. She also allows Jimmy two minutes to see Laurie. This is why she says "time's up Jimmy" in the original cut.
    • Jimmy brings Laurie the Coke he promised her, and he tells her it was Michael Myers who was after her. He goes to see her later to tell her about Michael's apparent death, but she freaks out and has to be sedated. Then the power goes out and the emergency generator kicks in, explaining why the hospital is so dim for the rest of the film.
    • Extra scenes after Laurie has had a reaction to the medication. Jill and Jimmy wait for Dr. Mixter to respond to their call, and Jimmy runs around trying to look for Mrs. Alves.
    • Jill's death is softened, as there is no shot of the scalpel in Michael's hand. This makes it look like he just grabbed her from behind and dropped her. A groaning sound effect is inserted afterwards to suggest that she survives.
    • Jimmy is changed to still be running around the hospital looking for everyone while the final conflict is still going on. He doesn't discover Mrs. Alves's body until near the end, and it's edited so that him slipping looks like it's caused by the explosion. The scene where he faints in the car with Laurie is cut.
    • An alternate ending where Laurie is in the ambulance, thinks Michael's body is coming back to life, but it turns out to be Jimmy. She holds his hand and cries as she says and repeats, "We made it."
  • Retcon: Retcons plague the series, and it all begins here. Michael and Laurie being siblings was a huge retcon that forever changed the direction of the series post-Halloween III. In the original film, Michael only starts stalking Laurie because she comes onto the Myers property with him inside, stirring his twisted fascination. Carpenter considered the story finished at the end of the first film. When Yablans demanded a sequel be made against Carpenter's wishes due to the first film's immense success, Carpenter had a hard time trying to find a way to force more out of a story that had nowhere else to go. Drunk and desperate, he came up with the idea of Michael and Laurie being siblings and threw that subplot into the film in order to have some story to tell beyond Michael simply killing more people for no reason. Became Old Shame for Carpenter, who forever regretted this plot contrivance and refused to work on any more Michael Myers films until Halloween (2018), when the sibling relationship was officially written out of canonicity.
  • The Reveal: Michael is Laurie's brother.
  • Rouge Angles of Satin: The credits identify the US Marshal as a "Marshall." A Marshall with two Ls is someone's name, not a type of police officer (unless his name is Marshal Marshall).
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • At the end of the first film, Loomis shoots Michael six times, and Michael falls off a covered balcony at the back of the house. At the start of this film, Loomis shoots Michael seven times — despite having a six-chamber revolver — and Michael falls off an uncovered balcony at the front of the house. The continuity error gets worse when Loomis goes around shouting "I shot him six times!" in the first few minutes of the film.
    • Loomis' expression at the end of the first movie (after seeing that Michael has disappeared) is one of resignation. In this film, it's one of shock.
    • Michael's left eye was skewered in the first film, but here there are many shots of Michael's eyes completely unharmed.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Characters are watching Night of the Living Dead on TV in a couple of scenes.
    • After the nurse discovers Dr. Mixter's body, Michael emerges from the shadows precisely as he did at one point in the first film. (or perhaps, just like in the first film, the viewer's eyes adjust to the darkness in time to see him, meaning he was there the whole time).
    • In the same scene, the way Janet discovers Dr. Mixter's corpse is identical to the way Mrs. Bates's corpse is found in Psycho, and is immediately attacked by the killer thereafter, though the one in Psycho actually survives. This isn't surprising, given that Jamie Lee Curtis is the daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh, and Halloween borrows many elements and themes from Hitchcock's classic.
  • Slashed Throat: The Marshal accompanying Loomis dies this way when he assumes Michael is dead.
  • Sleeping Dummy: Laurie escapes her hospital room after leaving pillows under her blanket. A few minutes later, Michael enters and stabs the pillows before realizing he was tricked.
  • Soft Glass: Michael simply walks through a glass door with ease and no apparent cuts, though this being Michael, it may be less a case of soft glass and more unstoppable killer; either way, Michael noticeably stumbles for a moment after breaking the glass.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream...
  • Stalker without a Crush: Michael has been following Laurie because they're siblings.
  • Taking You with Me: Inverted. In an attempt to kill Michael, Dr. Loomis lures him into the oxygen room, turns on the tanks, then lights his lighter while still inside the room with Michael.
  • Tears of Blood: Signifies that Laurie manages to shoot out Michael's eyes.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Alice somehow manages to not see Michael standing perfectly visible just twenty feet in front of her outside her house, and most egregiously, she again somehow doesn't see him on the floor of her brightly lit living room before she walks right past him and he jumps up to kill her.
    • Nurse Jill has been instructed by Jimmy to go to the police for help if she can't find any of the others, and when this proves the case she attempts to do so but finds her car's tires have been slashed and the engine not working, undoubtedly sabotaged. She notes that all the tires on all the cars in the parking lot have been slashed. What does she do instead of fleeing the hospital on foot to fetch the police? She goes right back into the hospital where Michael is, to rather predictable results.
    • The Marshal gets stupidly close to a seemingly dead or unconscious Michael, ignoring the warnings of Loomis, leading to his death.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: An angry mob congregates at the abandoned Myers house, hurling rocks through the windows and shouting.
  • Two-Person Pool Party: Nurse Karen and Budd get busy in the hospital's hydrotherapy pool before Michael strangles Budd with a length of cord, and drowns and boils Nurse Karen after dunking her face into scalding water.
  • Uncertain Doom: Does Jimmy survive the film or succumb to death from his head injury? The theatrical cut leaves it unclear, but the TV version's ending has him survive.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Micheal only learns of Laurie's location because he just happened to bump into a teenager listening to the news on a boombox while prowling Haddonfield.
  • Vader Breath: Michael still breathes very audibly like in the first film, although it's not as loud or consistently evident here.
  • Wham Line: From Nurse Chambers, revealing Michael's motives and giving Loomis a major Oh, Crap! moment.
    Chambers: That girl, that Strode girl, that's Michael Myers's sister.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Sheriff Brackett is last seen leaving the scene of his daughter's slaying in order to tell his wife what happened. After that, he simply disappears from the film (and the franchise), despite his actor being billed third in the credits.
    • In the theatrical cut, Jimmy is last seen losing consciousness (or dying of blood loss or concussion, depending on your interpretation) in his car and falling face-first onto the steering wheel. The alternate ending in the TV version has him return alive and well with a bandaged head in the ambulance Laurie ends up in.


Video Example(s):


Lauri Strode

Laurie Strode is the Final Girl and main heroine of the Halloween series. She becomes a target of Michael Myers while dropping off a key at his childhood home and is stalked by him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / FinalGirl

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