With Halloween being tomorrow and having previously done the 1978 ‘Halloween‘ vs the 2007 ‘Halloween‘, I figured it appropriate to compare the original 1981 ‘Halloween II‘ to the 2009 re-imagining of ‘Halloween II‘. There are way more differences between the sequels to ‘Halloween‘ than similarities.
The openings of both films are vastly different. In the John Carpenter’s 1981 ‘Halloween II‘, the film opens with Michael walking through an alley. While he walks through the alley, Michael continues his killing spree with Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis still looking for him. In Rob Zombie’s 2009 re-imaging of ‘Halloween II‘, the film opens with Michael talking to his dead mother, then flashes to Laurie walking down a deserted street and she is then picked up by Sheriff Brackett. In the original ‘Halloween II‘, Michael immediately continues his hunt for Laurie whereas in the 2009 version, Michael is loaded into the back of the coroner’s van and hauled off.
The role of Michael Myers in the 1981 ‘Halloween II‘ was played by a different actor than the one that played him in the 1978 ‘Halloween‘. In 1978, he was played by Tony Moran, but Moran was replaced by Dick Warlock in 1981. Rob Zombie kept Tyler Mane on from his 2007 adaption of ‘Halloween‘. The 2009 mask was also much more menacing.
The role of Laurie Strode was however kept consistent in both films. John Carpenter brought back Jamie Lee Curtis and Rob Zombie brought back Scout Taylor-Compton. The main difference in this role in both versions of the film is the level of injuries that Laurie sustained at the hands of her psychotic brother. Laurie was much more banged up in the 2009 version than she was in 1981. Which brings us to the hospital. In both films, the hospital seems strangely deserted. Is it just me or do the nurses seem to magically disappear and the security guards seem to fall asleep or take a bathroom break at the perfect time when Michael is walking past a camera? In the 1981 version, the majority of the film takes place in the hospital whereas the 2009 film is more focused on Laurie’s life a year after the attack. As a matter of fact, the hospital sequence in 2009 was a nightmare that Laurie was having and not actually happening.
Another big difference is where Michael is located in the films. In John Carpenter’s original, he is never caught and continues his hunt for Laurie. In Rob Zombie’s version, as previously mentioned, he is loaded in a coroner’s van and hauled off. Michael eventually escapes and begins his long journey back to Haddonfield. We actually get to see Michael without his mask. The main focus of Michael is also very different in both versions of the film. In 1981, Michael is still hellbent on killing his sister. In 2009, Michael wants to show Laurie that she is his sister and he wants to bring her home and reunite his family.
There is a huge difference in the character of Dr. Samuel Loomis. Donald Pleasence and Malcolm McDowell both return in ‘Halloween II‘ to play the iconic role. Loomis continues to be the creepy good guy in 1981. In 2009 however, Loomis becomes an egocentric jerk and becomes kind of a villain. I personally like the changes that Rob Zombie made to the character of Loomis. He writes a book exposing Michael’s family and childhood also revealing that Laurie is actually Angel Myers, Michael’s baby sister. I also loved the nod at ‘A Clockwork Orange‘ in the 2009 ‘Halloween II‘ when Loomis was giving a speech to the press defending his new book. He says “Let me make things nice and sparkling clear” which was also a line spoken by Alex in the 1971 classic. In 1981, Loomis speaks more of supernatural forces controlling Michael whereas in 2009, Loomis makes Michael out to just be an unstoppable psychopath.
One of the biggest differences in the return of Annie Brackett in 2009. In the original series, Annie dies in the first ‘Halloween‘ film, but Danielle Harris returned in the re-imagining as the ballsy Annie Brackett. Unfortunately, Annie does eventually meet her demise when Michael makes his return to Haddonfield and finds out that Laurie is living with the Bracketts.
Rob Zombie had it right in his evolution of Laurie. I mean come on, having an experience as crazy as that is bound to mess you up. In 2009, Laurie becomes more hard and slightly crazy. She has horrible nightmares. I love that Laurie’s nightmares seem to link her to Michael and she seems to begin to see what he sees and she begins to feel his emotions. I thought this was kind of a nice salute to the connection that Jamie Lloyd and Michael Myers shared in ‘Halloween 4‘ and ‘Halloween 5‘. Laurie finds out in 2009 that she is Michael’s sister, but in 1981 she had no idea.
I loved Michael’s hallucinations in the 2009 re-imagining. I feel like it gave more depth to the mind of Michael Myers and what drives him to do what he does. I also liked that they eventually had Laurie begin to share in these hallucinations when she was in close proximity with Michael.
Another honorable mention for Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween II‘ are the cameos he had. As a fan of ‘Sons of Anarchy‘, I quickly recognized Dayton Callie (Unser) and Mark Boone Jr. (Bobby). Sadly though they both become victims of Michael and are not with us very long.
The endings of both films are complete day and night to one another. In 1981’s ‘Halloween II‘, Loomis and Laurie blind Michael, while still stuck in the hospital, and Loomis blows up the room while he and Michael are still trapped inside of it. Loomis is then presumed dead while Michael of course makes an escape. The ending was kind of a snorefest. The 2009 ‘Halloween II‘ ending however was much more exciting. Michael brings Laurie to an old shack on the side of the road. Laurie begins to hallucinate young Michael and their dead mother. The police surround the shack and instead of Michael coming out, Laurie dawns the mask and sort of transforms into her brother. The police shoot Laurie, but she does not die. The very closing of the film, we see Laurie in a mental hospital and she again sees her mother and gives a wicked smile opening a door to the thought that we may see Laurie take Michael’s place as the resident loony with a stabbing fetish.
In this ‘Halloween II‘ edition of Original vs Remake, I am going to have to go with the 2009 re-imagining. The whole basis of the film was more exciting than the original. Don’t get me wrong, I still love the 1981 classic, but when a film is essentially an hour and a half of running around a hospital it tends to get a bit boring. I will rarely pick a remake or re-imagining over an original, but Rob Zombie really gave ‘Halloween II‘ a much needed face lift and gave new life to such a fantastic franchise.
- Original vs Remake: Halloween (1978) vs Halloween (2007) (littleblogofhorror.wordpress.com)
- Original vs Remake: A Nightmare on Elm Street (littleblogofhorror.wordpress.com)