Original Review by Alan Rogers (First uploaded at maintitles.net)
Three years after the success of Halloween, John Carpenter returns to Haddonfield in the sequel, Halloween II. This time under the direction of Rick Rosenthal (Carpenter would co-write the story), this second film continues on immediately after the events of the first film seeing Michael Myers pursuing Laurie Strode to a nearby hospital. After a successful collaboration with sound effects designer and composer Alan Howarth on Carpenter’s Escape From New York, Carpenter renewed their partnership to work on the score for the second film in the Halloween series. Carpenter’s original themes are revisited and reworked using the latest synthesisers available at the time and new themes/motifs are added to the mix. This gives Halloween II a score that is both familiar but also different. Unfortunately, it all makes for a less than satisfying listen that can be put down to something more than just the diluted impact associated with any sequel of a ground-breaking original. In addition, creative choices made for this expanded re-release from 2009 only compound the negative feelings towards this score.
The album starts off well with adaptations of the original themes from Halloween. Both “Halloween II Theme” and “Laurie’s Theme” features the most familiar themes but the piano is dropped in favour of electronic synthesisers. Although the themes are the same I find this change to a less organic sound (i.e., the removal of the piano) removes a significant portion of what made the original themes so effective. The aural quality of the synthesisers used (they tend to be very sharp, brash and abrasive in nature) seem at odds with the feel of the themes as heard in the first film. Perhaps Carpenter and Howarth wanted to have a cleaner, more sterile sound to reflect the setting of the film (in a hospital). Or maybe they just wanted to play with their new synth toys? Read the rest of this entry »