Year – 1981
Decade – 1980s
Cinematographer – Dean Cundey
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Aspect Ratio: 2.39
Genre: Horror; Slasher
Categories: Foreground/Background; Car Shots; Lens Flares; High and Low Angles; Reflections; Frames Within Frames; Silhouettes; Wide Shots; Three Shots
“Because of business considerations we were literally forced into making a sequel. (It) was going to be made with us or without us and part of the reason for making the sequel was to get the money that was owed to both (Halloween producer and co-writer) Debra Hill and I from the first film. Being nice capitalists, we decided to go ahead and do that.” – John Carpenter
Halloween II has always been the black sheep of the series’ early films.
The original Halloween is beloved, an archetypal slasher crafted with more technical dexterity than almost any “dead teenager” flick that followed. Part III has developed a sizable cult following of its own, a mixture of those who love it in earnest and those who enjoy it as camp.
John Carpenter never had much affection for Halloween II, which he produced and co-wrote. Halloween production designer Tommy Lee Wallace even passed on directing the sequel – turned off by its shift toward graphic kill scenes (though he did direct Part III, so presumably melting kids’ faces was okay).
But I’ve always had a soft spot for the film, which picks up directly after the original and unfolds largely at an eerily empty hospital during the graveyard shift. That’s partly because it was the first Halloween movie I saw, a staple of AMC’s annual October horror marathons on cable. And that’s partly because it’s so skillfully made, suffering in comparison to its esteemed predecessor but superior to much of the era’s other slasher output.
Groups of Frames
As in the original Halloween, the credits sequence begins with a long, slow push-in to a flickering jack o’lantern. However, the sequel ups the ante as the pumpkin splits open to reveal a skull within. The camera continues to inch closer, eventually becoming engulfed by the dark void of the skull’s eye socket for a blackout of the frame that ends the credits.