Solid retread, but the best this has looked or sounded 4 Stars

Halloween II makes its 4K UHD debut courtesy of Shout! Factory, with much improved video and audio, plus most of the special features from the studio’s 15-disc Complete Collector’s Edition.

Halloween II (1981)
Released: 30 Oct 1981
Rated: R
Runtime: 92 min
Director: Rick Rosenthal
Genre: Horror
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, Charles Cyphers
Writer(s): John Carpenter, Debra Hill
Plot: While Sheriff Brackett and Dr. Loomis hunt for Michael Myers, a traumatized Laurie is rushed to hospital, and the serial killer is not far behind her.
IMDB rating: 6.5
MetaScore: 40

Disc Information
Studio: Universal
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 33 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray, DVD
Case Type: 3-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: A
Release Date: 10/05/2021
MSRP: $36.99

The Production: 3/5

John Carpenter achieved success in 1978 when Halloween, made for a mere $300,000, became the highest grossing independent film at that time, raking in $47 million during its original release. Producers Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans approached John Carpenter about a sequel, but Carpenter made The Fog at Avco-Embassy instead. Allegedly, Carpenter was supposed to make The Fog with Yablans, who sued Carpenter, and the result was an agreement for Carpenter to write and produce Halloween II. And, at times, the film does feel like a contractual agreement, particularly in its confinement of Jamie Lee Curtis to a hospital bed through much of the movie, giving her very little to do but collect a paycheck. The movie opens with a recap of the last few minutes of Halloween, much of it from the actual film itself, with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) shooting Michael Meyers seven times (!) and saving Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). But when Dr. Loomis storms out the front door, Meyers is nowhere to be found, only an imprint in the lawn where he fell from the second story balcony. An ambulance arrives to take Laurie to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, and along the way one of the paramedics, Jimmy (Lance Guest), develops a crush on her, checking up on her much to the dismay of Nurse Alves (Gloria Gifford). Meanwhile, Meyers is literally hacking his way through the neighborhood on his way to the hospital, stealing a knife from Mrs. Elrod (character actress Lucille Benson). Methodically, Meyers takes out literally the entire hospital staff before the final showdown between Laurie Strode, Dr. Loomis, and Michael Meyers. The deaths in Halloween II are much more violent and gory than what we saw in the original, and the imitators that followed Halloween, which effectively launched the slasher sub-genre, are the likely reason for the increase. Films like Friday the 13th, Terror Train, My Bloody Valentine, and Prom Night had taken movie gore to new heights (or lows), and Carpenter felt the only way for the sequel to compete in the marketplace was to give the audience what they wanted. First-time director Rick Rosenthal (now a veteran television director) does a good job of replicating the mood and look of the first installment, but he had the luck of working with many of the same crew members from the original, especially cinematographer Dean Cundey, who gave many of Carpenter’s early films a dark and gritty look. John Carpenter was reportedly unhappy with Rosenthal’s cut of the film, and actually shot some additional and alternate sequences for added shock value. The result is a movie that works as a continuation of the first film, but really doesn’t break any new ground, and in many ways feels like a retread of the original.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative supervised by Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Halloween II looks better than ever in Shout! Factory’s new 4K UHD Blu-ray release that includes both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range. This is a noticeably cleaner, sharper, and more colorful transfer. Contrast is dialed in more, providing deeper blacks and stronger shadow details than previous Blu-ray releases. For those who have not made the upgrade to 4K yet, the included Blu-ray is also sourced from this same new transfer.

Audio: 4.5/5

In addition to the carryover DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo and 5.1 surround tracks from the previous Blu-ray releases, Shout! Factory has included a new Dolby Atmos mix that is a step above the 5.1 mix in terms of depth. LFE is much more prominent, not only in the electronic score by John Carpenter and Alan Howarth, but also in many of the violent attacks and few explosions that occur in the film. Height channels lend support for atmospherics and music score extensions, as well as helping steer sounds to more precise locations. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 4/5

Shout! Factory has included nearly all of the video supplements associated with Halloween II from their 15-disc Complete Collection Blu-ray release from 2014.

UHD Disc:
Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Actor Leo Rossi: Of the two commentary tracks included with this release, this is the more engaging one, thanks to the friendship of these two men and the mostly fond on-set memories they had while making the film. However, many of the stories told are repeated in the behind the scenes featurette.

Audio Commentary with Actor/Stunt Coordinator Dick Warlock: Robert V. Galluzzo (Icons of Fright) hosts the track, keeping veteran stunt man Warlock engaged. The two discuss Warlock’s approach to playing “The Shape” (aka Michael Meyers), how many of the stunts were performed, and Warlock’s long association with both John Carpenter and Kurt Russell.

Blu-ray Disc:
Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Actor Leo Rossi: Of the two commentary tracks included with this release, this is the more engaging one, thanks to the friendship of these two men and the mostly fond on-set memories they had while making the film. However, many of the stories told are repeated in the behind the scenes featurette.

Audio Commentary with Actor/Stunt Coordinator Dick Warlock: Robert V. Galluzzo (Icons of Fright) hosts the track, keeping veteran stunt man Warlock engaged. The two discuss Warlock’s approach to playing “The Shape” (aka Michael Meyers), how many of the stunts were performed, and Warlock’s long association with both John Carpenter and Kurt Russell.

The Nightmare Isn’t Over: The Making of “Halloween II” (1080p; 44:55): Director Rick Rosenthal, DP Dean Cundey, composer Alan Howarth, Lance Guest, producer Irwin Yablans, Leo Rossi, and Nancy Stephens discuss making the sequel, the problems they encountered, the reaction to the film, and the legacy. One of the most interesting reveals is when Cundey mentions turning down lensing Poltergeist in favor of Halloween II.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Location of Halloween II (1080p; 13:10): Sean Clark hosts this look at how many of the locations used in Halloween II exist today.

Deleted Scenes (1080p; 8:06): Rosenthal provides optional commentary for this collection of deleted scenes, many of which were restored in the TV broadcast version.

Alternate Ending (1080p; 1:44): Rosenthal’s happier ending is provided here, with optional director commentary.

Teaser Trailer (1080p; 1:04)

Theatrical Trailer (1080p; 2:18): The film’s original red-band trailer is presented in washed-out and cropped 16:9 full screen.

TV Spots (upscaled 1080i; 2:31)

Radio Spots (1080p; 3:17)

TV Promo (480i; 0:27): A promo that ran just prior to the broadcast premiere of the film, but makes the mistake of calling it “A film by John Carpenter.”

Newsprint Ad Gallery (1080p; 2:20)

Still Gallery (1080p; 5:04)

Posters and Lobby Cards (1080p; 6:58)

DVD Disc:
Network Broadcast TV Version of Halloween II
(480p; 93:11): The NBC network purchased the broadcast rights to Halloween II, and ended up having to use much of Rosenthal’s original cut to squeak by Standards and Practices. That cut is presented on a DVD in 1.33:1 pan and scan and Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Original Screenplay: The film’s screenplay is available as a PDF on the DVD-Rom portion of this disc.

Overall: 4/5

This is the best Halloween II has looked or sounded on home video, and Shout! Factory has ported over most if not all of the special features associated with this film from their massive and out of print 15-disc Complete Collector’s Edition

 

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Published by

Todd Erwin

editor,member

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Lord Dalek

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2005
Messages
5,438
Real Name
Joel Henderson
Correction: Its a 2.0 Surround track on Halloween II. For whatever reason II got mixed in Dolby and III was stuck with mono prints only.
 

WillG

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2003
Messages
7,132
Has anyone mentioned the titles and credits on the 4K release. For one every prior release of HII I’ve seen has the “October 31st 1978” title card with a slightly orange tint to it. On this new release it’s white. The opening credits fade in orange, then go to bright yellow, then fade out to orange again. And the end credits are yellow instead of orange.

I went back to the previous blu ray release of HII and it was the same as I remembered. Orange tint on the October 31st, 1978 card and just plain orange on the opening and closing credits.