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Halloween II – The Nightmare Continues (1981) – John Carpenter’s classic starring Jamie Lee Curtis turns 41!

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Halloween Ends is currently in theaters in Brazil and around the world. The latest installment in the franchise from white-masked maniac Michael Myers marks the end of the new trilogy which, brings back series muse Jamie Lee Curtis as protagonist Laurie Strode, and has already grossed over $85 million. in the world on a budget of 20 million dollars.

However, as many fans may know, Halloween Kills isn’t the franchise’s first direct sequel, or even the first direct sequel to mark the return of veteran Jamie Lee Curtis. Going back four decades in the past, to 1981, we come across Halloween II – The Nightmare Continues, the “first” sequel this film series received, after the timeless classic and true masterpiece of the seventh art. , Halloween – The Night of Terror (1978). The movie, along with the original, are part of Netflix’s current collection and are the right asks for this Halloween.

The skull popping out of the pumpkin marks the opening of Halloween II.

Interestingly, even the most skeptical critics, and those who oppose what we define today as the slasher subgenre, have held on to master John Carpenter’s film with abounding affection and praise. Witness the famous North American critics Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, “fathers” of the video critical format (still in the 1970s), the duo rejected any horror production deemed to be in bad taste; with Halloween (1978), the exact opposite happened, praising both its many artistic qualities, such as the contrast of lights and shadows, a growing atmosphere of suspense, where our imagination was put to the test challenge to fill the void of what we saw on the screen, with no easy answers.

The story of lightning not falling twice in the same place is almost certain when it comes to works and artists, after all, one work will never come out exactly the same as another. And when he created Halloween (1978) alongside the Debra Hill partnership, filmmaker John Carpenter managed to capture the lightning in the bottle; a simple story film, but so handcrafted that it has become irresistible not only to horror aficionados. Alongside rave reviews, there was also the award for becoming the highest-grossing independent production at that time, a title it retained for twelve years. But every success and every good deed has a consequence.

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Halloween (1978) was so successful that it spawned a slew of imitators, with every “opportunistic” Hollywood producer wanting a slice of that profit. One of the first to enter this vein was Sean S. Cunninghan who, in debt and needing to support his family, brought out his more marketing side and sold the idea of ​​Friday the 13th (1980) to Paramount – which did not It was nothing more than a production created on the model of Halloween, aimed solely at financial profit. It did very well and increased further at the box office. With two colossal hits now, the “gold rush” of slasher movies has begun, with every Hollywood studio moving to pull similar films out of the hat – setting off a veritable flood in theaters. Without forgetting the continuations of the films which had gone very well.

The following year, 1981, Friday: Part 2 was to be released. Thus, the Syrian producer Moustapha Akkad did not want to stay out of this game, after all it was his product that started it all. Even if it was not an “artistic” attitude, from a financial point of view, it was the right decision to make. So the producer went straight to talk to “the man” to get the Halloween sequel into shape. John Carpenter, on the other hand, had already told this story and for him, the feature film had a beginning, a middle and an end, without any desire on his part to return to such a universe. Soon after, on the advice of friends and trusted people, Carpenter was convinced to stick with the franchise and make a good living from it. Thus, the filmmaker accepts the roles of screenwriter and producer, but leaves aside the direction (launches in theaters the same year, the sci-fi action Escape from New York – instant cult).

Still with Debra Hill, Carpenter had to take a second part of the hat, even if he didn’t want to. Thinking about the fat check he was about to receive, the director sat down at his typewriter and filled up a respectable amount of his favorite brand of beer, letting his imagination run wild. From this drunken “journey” was born the plot of Halloween II (1981), told in the same night, in a more than direct way and serving as a “complement” to the original – as if it were a single feature film 3 hours in length. As seen in the first Halloween, Michael Myers is shot by Dr. Loomis trying to kill Laurie Strode, but a second glance is enough to notice that the psychopath has risen from the lawn and can no longer be seen. The brilliant question of the original is: where will it be? With the final takes being everywhere he went in the film, inside and outside homes in the fictional Chicago suburb of Haddonfield, the feeling was that he could be anywhere, even near us, who watched everything. . Touch of genius. Reversing that big move, the second film really responded and showed us where Michael was.

Well, he continued his killing spree in the neighborhood. Going in and out of the houses of the elderly and young people in the neighborhood, killing everyone in their path. One of the main attractions of the first Halloween really is the suspense, the feeling of the unexpected, the unpredictability of having a madman escaped from a mental hospital stalking and prowling the neighborhood – with most oblivious to him. . The fact that he broke into a store and stole a mask, which he wears over his face on Halloween, further demonstrates that he is not “pure” and can be dangerous. Carpenter builds suspense with Michael being much more of a stalker; it’s only towards the end that he actually starts killing the youngsters and attacking the protagonist. In Halloween II, we already start the movie knowing what it’s capable of, and that takes away the element of surprise. That’s what Carpenter bet on.

Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie (with the wig), but doesn’t have much to do in the sequel.

Initially, the idea of ​​director Rick Rosenthal – chosen to replace Carpenter in the helm chair – was to follow exactly what the original film had presented, that is to say to bet much more on the intimate atmosphere, the careful construction of the suspense and the unpredictability of the film where the story could walk. Contrary to what he had done in the previous one, Carpenter thought that the surprises had already been announced and that all that remained was to take action, bringing everything to another narrative level. Moreover, of course, knowing that the public appreciated more and more the animated films and that it faced the competition of other productions thus created. Thus, the production problems began, with the collision of the producer/writer and the director. Ironically, by leaving the director’s chair vacant, Carpenter’s intention was to give opportunity to new directors and their visions of history. And that was Rick Rosenthal’s debut in power.

Along with more death and scares (many of which Carpenter rewrote to give the sequel more energy), Halloween II also featured more action scenes and even an explosion – like the scene where an unfortunate man wearing a mask of Michael Myers is mistaken for the psychopath, run over by the police and crushed between a van, after which the car explodes and incinerates the boy. The young man in question was Ben Trammer, the platonic crush of the protagonist Laurie mentioned by her in the original film. His appearance and subsequent death in the second serve, in addition to arousing suspicion about Michael’s fate (adding some of that missing unpredictability), to create an even stronger bond with the predecessor (by presenting characters only previously mentioned on screen) and underscore Laurie’s spiraling descent into her personal hell, even robbing her of a possible love interest.

The action of Halloween II this time takes place inside a hospital during the night shift.

Halloween II – The Nightmare Continues (1981) is well known to fans as the “hospital movie” of the franchise. Originally planned to take place in a large apartment building, it was eventually decided that most of the plot would take place inside Haddonfield Memorial Hospital (as fictional as the town itself – most of its scenes having been filmed in the very real Morningside Hospital, in Los Angeles), where Laurie was taken to be treated for her injuries sustained as a result of the first Halloween. For the sequel, of course, most of the original cast returned, some like Nancy Loomis, who played best friend Annie, to play dead, being carried away on a stretcher. The most anticipated returns, however, were those of Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence – the tireless Dr. Loomis.

Crocodile tears… and blood! Why are you crying Michael Myers?

The intro to Halloween II, which still uses new angles and scenes to replicate the events of the original, recapping for audiences (after all, three years had passed between the films), takes place on the outskirts of the residential blocks in quiet outskirts of town. Much of the narrative, as mentioned, focuses on the hospital, where Michael follows Laurie and encounters a whole new group of victims – mostly on-site employees, including doctors, nurses, paramedics, and security guards. What many observe and criticize is the fact that, despite being the night shift, the hospital is too empty – except for the arrival of Laurie and a boy who ate too many candies and found a razor blade inside one, holding the sharp object in their tongue (a famous American urban legend).

Fire in the playground! Michael Myers sets the screen and himself on fire at the end of Halloween II.

Ultimately, Halloween II (1981) is best known for introducing into the show’s mythology the fact that Laurie and Michael are brothers, a solution Carpenter found in his screenplay to justify the killer’s obsession with the protagonist. . After all, when they were taken to the hospital, while the maniac was running from the police, their stories would separate there. This narrative line has been maintained in all sequels, including the Rob Zombie remakes, only being eliminated in recent Blumhouse films – which only use the original as canon. Halloween II, while not as financially or critically successful as the original, is one of the franchise’s best-loved sequels. With a budget of $2.5 million, it made a return of $25.5 million. And as far as John Carpenter was concerned, that was the end of the story for Michael Myers, Laurie Strode and Doctor Loomis. In short, the end of an era. That is, until he returned as executive producer and composer of Blumhouse’s new trilogy – his only involvement since then with the “boogeyman” he created.

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