By Raymond Knowby

Now this is how to do a follow-up! It picks up RIGHT where part one ended and continues on into the same night. Same cast, same mask, a decent storyline involving motives, and the setting of a lonely hospital make this a truly frightening and worthy continuation.

After Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shoots the masked maniac “SIX TIMES!” and off the balcony in a little recap, the terror ploughs directly ahead with a new chilling credit sequence and start directly after the incidents of HALLOWEEN. Michael escapes into the surrounding neighborhood alleys while Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is taken to Haddonfield Memorial Hospital for care. Coordinating with an increasingly frustrated police force, Loomis goes on a goose chase trying to find his mental patient on a trail of slaughters, until he learns just why the killer is after the young babysitter in the first place.

Director Rick Rosenthal (and apparently, some of John Carpenter) make this in many ways as atmospheric as the original, and Dean Cundey is back with outstanding photography. A harrowing chase scene ensues for Curtis in the staff-less clinic, and it’s about as nerve-wracking as it gets. Additionally, Carpenter’s excellent score with Alan Howarth is a menacing, electronical version of the original, giving the soundtrack a synthesized and strangely sinister motif. Couple this to a particularly brutal set of onscreen killings that feature some grisly effects (obviously an answer to the FRIDAY THE 13TH success) and you have a blue ribbon effort. This gem actually scared me more than any horror film as a kid, and as far as I’m concerned it’s a must see companion piece with the first film.

Also like its predecessor, a rare televised version exists that contains a different cut entirely of the movie, foregoing nudity, swearing, and gore for longer character dialogues and alternate scene snippets.

Dr. Loomis squares off with "The Shape" in HALLOWEEN II.