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Film review: 'Halloween II' a cinematic atrocity

Tyler Mane stars as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's "Halloween II," a sequel to a remake.
Tyler Mane stars as Michael Myers in Rob Zombie's "Halloween II," a sequel to a remake.
Marsha Lamarca, Dimension films

HALLOWEEN II — ★ — Scout Taylor-Compton, Brad Dourif, Malcolm McDowell; rated R (violence, gore, profanity, nudity, vulgarity, slurs, brief sex, brief drugs); in general release

So let's see if we've got this straight: "Halloween II" is a sequel to the remake of the original "Halloween" movie? And it starts out as a remake of the sequel to the original film?

As confusing as that might seem, that initial 10-minute bit is actually the best part of this sickeningly gory and grotesque horror movie. After that extended chase sequence — which turns out to be one character's nightmare — the movie turns into something completely different. Something even more unpleasant and infinitely worse.

So if anything, the film is proof that musician-turned-filmmaker Rob Zombie should be stopped before he commits any more cinematic atrocities.

His "re-envisioning" of the original John Carpenter characters and concepts picks up the story roughly a year after the events of the first movie. Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) survived the rampage of the murderous Michael Myers (Tyler Mane). Laurie even shot and killed him.

Yet she's haunted by visions of Michael and a mysterious woman in white (Sheri Moon Zombie), and she has the nagging feeling that he survived the shooting.

And as fate would have it, Michael did walk away from what would have killed an ordinary man. Worse, he's returning to tiny Haddonfield, Ill., to finish what he started there.

The fantasy sequences featuring Moon Zombie — the filmmaker's wife — are hilariously awful. And the characters are so unpleasant and annoying — Taylor-Compton's whiny and self-absorbed Laurie chief among them — that at least a few audiences will be rooting for Michael to finish them all off.

In fact, the only cast members who apparently realize they're wallowing in garbage are character actors Brad Dourif and Malcolm McDowell, who reprise their roles as the Haddonfield sheriff and the sleazy psychotherapist Dr. Loomis. They're content to play things over the top, as this material merits.

"Halloween II" is rated R and features strong, often disturbing violent content and imagery (knife play, including stabbings and slashings, shootings, beatings, bludgeoning, strangulation, impalings, vehicular violence, and violence against women and animals); graphic gore and blood; pervasive, strong sexual profanity; female nudity and nude artwork; sexually suggestive language and references (slang); derogatory language and slurs; some brief sexual contact; and brief drug content (anti-anxiety medications). Running time: 101 minutes.

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