In observance of that autumn spell when we celebrate the primal, compulsive instinct of fear, Rainestorm once more highlights 31 days of spooky scares to season the eerie atmosphere of Halloween.
For those who tuned in last year, I subjected you to a daily dose of diabolical dread and devilish distress. Just as every good horror movie deserves an inferior sequel, I offer this follow-up of also-rans, not bads, and perhaps a couple of you’ve-gotta-be-kidding-mes.
What evil lurks: Nowhere near as good as the original but still manages to keep the same tension and dread, even as it amps up the creative carnage. Michael Myers stalks survivor Laurie Strode through the bizarrely dark and deserted Haddonfield Hospital where she seems to be the only patient. There is less concern with tension this time around and more concern with Michael’s resourcefulness in choosing a weapon. The winning kill here would have to be the doubly creepy and grotesque sequence wherein a nurse, enjoying a skinny-dip in the hospital spa, sucks on the psychopath’s fingers while mistaking him for her boyfriend, just before he ratchets up the water temperature and boils her face off. Good times, that. Despite these drawbacks, director Rick Rosenthal studied well what worked in John Carpenter’s original. The murderous Michael is often viewed via the hospital’s security cameras when no one else is watching; the inexplicably dark hospital provides a creepy atmosphere for the gruesome goings-on; and Michael still manages to appear out of the corners and shadows to fall on his unsuspecting victims.
Highlight from hell: Crawling desperately towards potential salvation, injured Laurie Strode just can’t muster the strength to scream for help… until the doors close on her would-be saviors.
Terrifying trivia: The film is set immediately after the first Halloween. Since Jamie Lee Curtis had begun to wear a much shorter hairstyle in the 1980s, she had to wear a wig that matched her style for the original film.
Diabolical dialogue: “If that wasn’t Micheal Myers burning up in that car a lot of other kids are going to be slaughtered tonight.”
Son of: Halloween (1978). Virtually every horror film that followed owes its conception to this perennial holiday darling. Though slasher films in general are derided as a corrupting influence on America’s youth, Halloween is often held out as an exception.
Shoddy sequel syndrome: Believing Rick Rosenthal’s version of the film to be too tame, John Carpenter shot a few gory scenes that were added into the film despite Rosenthal’s objections. Apparently he didn’t learn from this same mistake on The Fog.