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Halloween 2: Zombie’s Angry

May 31, 2012

Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is depressing. From start to finish, Michael Myers mercilessly pounds the humanity out of his victims and his audience. At some point, I just wanted it to end already. And I think this is exactly as Zombie intended.

H2 picks up in the aftermath of Halloween night. As the coroners prepare to load Michael Myers corpse into the van, Sheriff Bracket, played with tempered mania by Brad Dourif, stops them. Bracket tries to warn the drivers of the danger even a dead Michael Myers poses. “It’s pretty obvious what happened here,” says the driver.  “I’d say there’s nothing obvious about what happened here tonight,” Bracket spits back.

With this exchange, Zombie would have us believe that he is setting up the revival of Michael Myers corpse.  And surely that is exactly what happens. But his intentions may be hidden cunningly beneath the Hollywood facade. Once it is clear that Michael is back, the usual mayhem ensues. Myers stalks the night as he moves closer to home, closer to Haddonfield.

Laurie Strode and Annie now live together with Annie’s dad, the sheriff. Things are dark and grimy, and notes are spray painted on the walls of the house. Lights are rarely turned on and the house feels claustrophobic and dirty. Laurie, struggling to regain her sense of humanness, works at a heavy metal coffee shop run by a “Berkeley in the 60s” hippie played by Howard Hesseman.

And here we find writer/director Rob Zombie’s target. Hesseman, the rebellious talk radio personality from television’s past reprises the same role here. His Java Hole is the antithesis of Starbucks shiny image. It is a hole in the wall heavy metal hang-out for society’s outcasts, social philosophers, and thinking artists with empty pockets and bleeding hearts.

Fittingly, this is where the sensitive and broken Laurie finds refuge. It is where Zombie would prefer to mingle, to hone his craft on his own terms. But this is a Dimension film, and Dimension’s executives all hang out at Starbucks. Yet Zombie forges on, criticizing the very entity allowing him to speak.

The man doing all the speaking in H2, however, is Dr. Loomis, played with a wink and a smile by Malcolm McDowell. Promoting his new book, Loomis returns to Haddonfield on Halloween for a book signing amd hoping to capitalize on the lives tragically lost. He quickly finds himself disillusioned though when he discovers that public opinion holds him greatly responsible for the past murders. After his agent questions his motives, Loomis shoots back with, “It’s part of the job I suppose, spoon-feeding dribble to the masses comes with its own bloody price.”

Rob Zombie’s H2 is a dark, brooding, downer of a horror movie. But it is directed with skill and precision, and while the movie might not work, the message is clear. When Weird Al Yonkovic  asks Dr. Loomis on national television, “Are we talking about Austin Powers Mike Meyers?” Zombie slams his bloodied blade into the heart of the Hollywood machine.

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