Monday, September 19, 2011

Halloween 2: Scaring up some observations...

 Halloween 2
 Beware for beyond lies spoilers....

Halloween 2 has recently come out on BOO-ray, scaring up sInematic musings from my trash entrenched mind.  Halloween 2 is sugary slashtastic fun; although the film is a direct follow up to the original Halloween, taking place during the same night, I consider the two separate, stand alone films with entirely different styles.  The original’s meaning changes when bounced against the revelation that Laurie is actually Michael’s sister.  The revelation implies different things that the film makers never anticipated when committing the film to that white hot light coming out of the projector, thus it is better to consider the movies separate.  Even the continuity from the onset of the film is inconsistent from the ending of the original; Michael falls from a different room in the house and the gun shots are miscounted.  When considering Halloween 2 one must keep these ideas in mind, and view the sequel as the series first foray into franchise territory, where the original was created with the intention of a stand alone film, ending with the boogeyman’s whereabouts “Unknown City, anywhere-town USA”.

Ben Tramer and Omens of the Future

By watching Ben Tramer die, engulfed in flame, was Dr. Loomis seeing a future vision of the demise of The Shape at the end of the film? Maybe not, but it does make a lot of sense when considering Loomis’s speech about the festival of Samhain and the made up Pagan tradition of burning criminals and outcasts in baskets to receive visions of the future.  Ben Tramer (the very person Laurie said she had a secret crush on in the original film, singing to herself as The Shape watches from the shadows “I wish I had you all alone, just the two of us”); is even dressed up as the Shape.   This kind of alluding to future events happens again in the story when Michael suffocates the nurse in the hot tub by bobbing her head in and out of the scolding water after overhearing her talking about how she would never bob for apples again for as long as she lived.  Irony is one of the Shape’s strong points; in another scene the Shape, the living embodiment of evil and death, a modern day grim reaper, chooses to hide in the hospital’s maternity ward, standing over rows of innocent newborn babies.   It’s apparent that the film makers intended for Michael’s actions to be deviously ironic, like a good trick or treat prank.

Both Ben Tramer and Myers die by fire and Dr. Loomis gives a completely made up explanation about what happens during Samhain.   Dr. Loomis’s talk about witches and ancient Pagan ritual sounds spooky, but it is done with a greater intention within the context of the movie, it connects the Shape to the holiday, and eludes to the fact that Myers is more conscious about what is happening around him than a mere madman motivated by pure instinct.  The connection between Loomis’s speech about Hallow’s Eve and what happens at the end of the film is undeniable and definitely adds another layer of complexity to the story that most people seem to miss.  A point that Dr. Loomis doesn’t seem to miss however is that “2,000 years later we’ve come no further”; we are still as superstitious as our Celtic ancestors from long ago.  Despite being a man of science Dr. Loomis recognizes “pure evil” and speaks of Myers as if he were a mystical force.  He simply isn’t human.  Loomis abandons pure scientific endeavor and must rely on superstition to explain Myer’s existence.   

I don't think that the audience sees these connections right away because at the end of the film you aren't thinking about what Loomis said twenty minutes ago. You're thinking about Laurie and Dr. Loomis getting away and eradicating the threat of the Shape, but when you take the movie in as a whole it makes sense and explains why the writers (or writer John Carpenter), would make up some false explanation of Samhain.


Why did Myers kill Alice?  She was not in his way to getting to the hospital, so what was the point (besides padding the body-count?).
Alice was a nubile teenage girl (much like Judith), alone in her house on Halloween, the cops were on Myers trail, he was already switching up some of his MO with the infamous Bob kill from H1, why not toss another body on the pile to really toss the police off? When they start finding bodies in household after household on the same street they will start seeing Michael "on every street corner", which fits perfectly with the Ben Tramer death and might also explain part of the reason he broke into the elementary school to etch “Samhain” in blood. 

Myers turned his attack on Laurie into an attack on Haddonfield itself. He wanted the police jumping at their own shadows, spreading the police force out thin in a panic, leaving The Shape free to pursue his own dark intentions. Alice's death was a means to an end. He needed the police shaken up enough to start running over their own citizens in patrol vehicles. That sick irony is something Myers thrives on.

Dr. Mixter

I enjoyed the fact that Myers used a syringe to kill him after his last scene was with Laurie, tapping her vein, drawing her blood with a needle. Nobody taps Laurie but Michael. How Freudian.  The shower represents purification, like the "baptizing" shower from Psycho. Dr. Mixter never made it to his shower. He was never absolved of his sins, or at least his drunkenness.

Blood on Black

While Laurie dreams in her drug induced nightmare, recalling memories long buried in her psyche, perhaps shaken loose from the night’s terror, we are shown intercut shots of blood splattering against a flat, black surface, like crimson tears in a void.  The terror of remembering is a powerful, sometimes terrifying thing, and perhaps on some sort of animalistic level Laurie felt her repressed memories and nightmares boiling to the surface of her psyche after suffering from the shock of being attacked by The Shape, whom through musical cues is also alluded to as “Mr. Sandman” in the film.

The very first thing Laurie tells any hospital personnel is to not put her asleep.  On the surface it would appear that she wouldn’t want to sleep out of fear of Myers attacking her in her vulnerable state as she slept, but if you interpret the “Mr. Sandman” song by The Cordettes as an allusion to Michael Myers (within the context of the film), then Laurie’s fear of sleep takes on a duplicate meaning.  She not only is fearful of the vulnerability associated with sleep, she is afraid of seeing “Mr. Sandman”, or Michael Myers in her sleep, a fear that is soon realized when recollecting the time she first saw him in Smith’s Grove Sanitarium during a nightmare.  As the jagged memories come flowing back to consciousness and Laurie recalls her relation to pure evil, the spots of blood on black becomes a still lake of blood, perhaps representing the nightmare struggle she finds herself drowning in.  It’s interesting to note that the next time she sees Myers (or anyone for that matter) she’s drugged and dazed, her sight unclear, the Shape appears to her as if in a vision, offering a fresh kill for his muse, further eradicating any sense of security Laurie might have. 

The blood on black lake is revealed to be from the slow bleeding of Mrs. Alves.  The same blood is what Jimmy later slips in and bumps his noggin; makes sense, after all Jimmy was always slipping up around Mrs. Alves…..