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Halloween II (1981)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Halloween II (1981) At long last, the famed TELEVISION cut of HALLOWEEN II has hit DVD! First off, it seems weird that a Network TV edition of this movie exists in the first place, because Beta videotape was just starting to catch on when HALLOWEEN II was released and I vividly remember seeking out the movie on tape (recorded by a friend off a premium movie channel) and sticking with that for over 30 years of viewing pleasure! I mean...why would you seek out a highly censored version of a movie that you loved? In the old days, you were stuck with the "Edited For Television" reruns on FREE TV until you could figure out a way to score a Betamax copy of something UNCUT recorded off HBO. Or if it was available to rent at the mom and pop video shops that were starting to crop up in your neighborhood. Anyway, some time ago, I started to hear about this "TV Edition" of HALLOWEEN II that had extra footage not in the "officially released" cut that John Carpenter tinkered with (adding more gore effects and victims to compete with the FRIDAY THE 13TH movies of the era). Shout! Factory has released a definitive new DVD set of HALLOWEEN II and included an entire disc that has the TV Edition with all the scenes Carpenter cut out and none of the sex 'n gore. This is the sequel that picks up right after HALLOWEEN, with Michael Myers chasing Jamie Lee Curtis into the hospital where she's trying to recover. While I don't think the TV version is quite as good as the "sex and violence edition" that stands as the official theatrical release, it is interesting in a "parallel universe " type of way. There's a bit more characterizations of the hospital staff, the movie has a bit more suspense to it, and many of the KILL scenes are more in the tradition of the original film---as in not bloody and gory. Additionally, the infamous jacuzzi death scene where Pamela Susan Shoop shows us her beautiful breasts is also cut out and the ending is even different---with *SPOILER HERE* Jimmy the Paramedic surviving along with Jamie Lee Curtis! This was a lot to take in, along with the structure of the movie being quite different from the original cut with many scenes cut together in a different order. There are also alternate takes used of some of the classic dialogue scenes and longer takes used in various sequences (like the scene where Michael steals the butcher knife from the old lady making a sandwich for her husband). Still never explained is why the hospital seems to be completely EMPTY---not a single other patient is ever seen, only a couple of babies in the newborn ward. Even the kid with the razor blade apple damage from the apple bite is cut out in this edition! Seems like an awful large staff for ONE patient that no one can even keep track of! But my biggest gripe is the way the television version kind of destroys the soundtrack placement- John Carpenter and Alan Howarth's score seems to have many cues just "dropped into" sequences where they don't seem to fit (probably because they were written directly for the Carpenter supervised gore edition). This was very distracting and many times, took me out of the story. All in all, kind of a neat experience to view the slower-paced, spookier, more suspenseful version of the movie that director Rick Rosenthal envisioned. This cut is definitely more in the fine tradition of the first film and it does make you wonder if the movie would've performed better, worse, or the same had Carpenter not upped the gore quotient. Except that I prefer the amped up boobs and blood edition more, because that's what I grew up on! And no matter what---Pamela's breasts should ALWAYS remain in EVERY edition!

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