Halloween II (1981)

Although it picks up literally from the minute the first “Halloween” ends, this slasher sequel couldn’t have less in common with its predecessor even if it tried. Gone are the slow-build suspense and John Carpenter’s classic minimalist score, both amplified through relentless gore and a modernized, beefed-up version of Carpenter’s theme, respectively. Surprisingly, the changes manage to keep the plot fresh and moving forward, capturing the funhouse atmosphere of Halloween night almost as well as the first. While it’s nowhere near as memorable as Carpenter’s effort, it benefits from a ballsy, hard-R approach to the killings, making the whole thing unsettling and unpredictable. It’s an underrated slasher that occasionally feels like an Italian splatter flick, and it definitely has its moments.

Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

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