Sequel to John Carpenter’s Classic Finally Gets the Release it Deserves
Halloween II made its long-awaited debut on Blu-ray recently. This has seriously excited horror fans to no end, and many stores now have it on back order. Although it was derided heavily during its original release, with many critics considering it a pale imitation of the original, it still has many fans.
When compared to the sequels that came after it, “Halloween II” seems more effective in comparison and has many of the same people from the original working on it. Plus you have John Carpenter’s classic score (in association with Alan Howarth), which still sends chills up our spines, this time with a more gothic feel.
This is easily the best ” Halloween II ” has ever looked or sounded on disc. Its first release came when DVDs were in their infancy, and the edition from GoodTimes Video proved to be unforgivably poor in its presentation. Universal later released an improved version of it on DVD, but saying it was improved only implies so much. Aside from the film’s trailer and production notes, there was nothing much in the way of special features.
There is grain in this presentation which seems to be what many want to see on Blu-ray releases of movies from the past. The colors are vivid and pronounced, and all add to what a friend of mine once said of how horror movies are far scarier in this format, be it laserdisc or DVD or Blu-ray. The sound mix is in 5.1 surround and DTS 2.0 surround which adds immeasurably to the cheap scares that abound throughout.
Now we get to the best part of this release: the special features. On the upside you get the alternate ending, which has a character presumed dead turn out to be very much alive. There are also several deleted scenes, many of which appeared in the AMC network version which has aired since the 1980s.
On the downside there are no audio commentaries or documentaries on its making, something fans of Michael Meyers would have loved to see. Even the film’s trailer, which was on the previous Universal release, is not here. Of course if there was an audio commentary or documentary, the participants would be talking about the sequel’s negatives instead of its positives.
But the best special feature of all on the Blu-ray release of “Halloween II” is the inclusion of the 1984 documentary “Terror in the Aisles.” This documentary was about horror films and featured various clips, along with actors Donald Pleasence and Nancy Allen providing commentary throughout. It never even got a release on DVD, so this is especially exciting for horror fans who had to look far and wide for a copy. Of course, it also means that collectors who were selling the VHS tape for a fortune through Ebay will see their high prices suffer a steep drop.
The Blu-ray release of “Halloween II” may not be what horror fans were waiting for, but it is the best presentation of this sequel to date. Whatever shortcomings it may have will not prevent those who remain eager to snatch it off the shelves of their local stores. Whether you like this sequel or hate it, no one can deny that it has never looked or sounded better than it does here.
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