Tag Archives: Danielle Harris

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) Review

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Halloween 5 The Revenge of Michael Myers

Time: 97 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis
Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd
Ellie Cornell as Rachel Carruthers
Beau Starr as Sheriff Ben Meeker
Wendy Kaplan as Tina Williams
Tamara Glynn as Samantha Thomas
Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard

After lying in a coma for a year, Michael Myers (Donald L. Shanks) awakens and stalks his way back to his small hometown in Illinois, intent on killing his niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris), who has been confined to a mental institution since Michael’s last attempt to slay her. Suspecting a psychic link between Michael and Jamie, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) joins forces with Sheriff Ben Meeker (Beau Starr) and attempts to stop Michael’s latest rampage.

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I was continuing the Halloween movie series, and I arrived onto the 5th movie, with the hard to take seriously title of The Revenge of Michael Myers. Halloween 4 wasn’t that good, but the ending was solid and had a possibility for the where the next movie could spring off from Unfortunately the follow up doesn’t take advantage of that, and on top of that, the movie on the whole ends up being bad by itself.

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The most interesting aspect of Halloween 4 was the ending. Halloween 5 doesn’t forget that ending, but they followed on from it in quite possibly the worst way possible. First of all, the film opens with a retcon of part of 4’s climax. The opening shows the moment in the previous movie where Michael Myers supposedly dies (again) in the graveyard, and shows him escaping by floating down a stream and being taken in by a hermit with a parrot, then there’s a time jump and then Myers gets up and decides to kill again. So that’s strange enough, but that’s not all. 5 flat out retcons the very end of the last moments of 4. As a reminder, 4 had the ending of Jaime finally snapping, and killing her stepmother in the same way that a young Michael Myers killed his sister. It was a good point to end the movie on, but they changed story direction here. It is worth noting that Donald Pleasence was also disappointed with this change in direction, wanting the character of Jaime to be portrayed as “all evil”. That would’ve been an interesting and fresh direction to take the story, even if the idea of Jamie being Michael’s sidekick seems strange, it would’ve been much better than whatever they chose to go for. In the revised events, the stepmother didn’t die, and Jaime just attacked her, she didn’t try to kill her. Jaime is also now in a children’s hospital, not a mental institute and is in a bad state. Loomis also no longer wants to kill Jamie like he tried to at the end of the 4th film, but is instead her doctor and is convinced that the ‘attack’ happened because Michael Myers made her do it through a psychic connection. Yes, it’s bizarre and the worst part is that he ends up being right and there’s not explanation for how he figured it out. Right out the gate with this opening section it doesn’t bold well for the movie. So all the potential is pretty much gone.

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Retconning aside, 5 ends up being a worse version of 4, and is beyond a generic slasher film. Apparently the filmmakers didn’t have a finished script when they began filming and it really shows here. The atmosphere and tension is practically non existent. 4 had its issues and wasn’t good in those areas but in 5, most of the time all the attempts at horror fall flat. There’s really only one moment that’s actually really good but that’s it. The pacing is off, and the characters range from being dull to being annoying. In fact, there’s a big chunk of it focused on some annoying characters. Imagine some of the characters in a slasher movie that fake scare each other, and then eventually gets killed. Then imagine that they have twice the amount of screentime that they would normally have. That’s what happens here, and it can be really frustrating to sit through. There’s even a couple of dumb cop characters thrown in for some bad comic relief, and there’s even a little comical theme music that plays for them when they are on screen. Something worth noting is that 5 introduces ideas about what is happening with Michael Myers, and try to give some sort of an explanation for him and why he’s killing. Now I’m not opposed to the series trying new things, it’s just that these new things that they are attempting don’t work out at all. The movie also introduces hints of what would happen in the next movie and try to add something to the Myer’s Mythos, with a mystery man dressed in black with a thorn symbol tattoo. This mystery man appears every so often throughout the movie with no explanation and even by the end of the movie he’s not given any explanation. What’s worse is that the writers genuinely didn’t know who this person was, they just added him as a potential thing to follow up on the sequel. When it gets to its cliffhanger ending, you realise what Halloween 5 really was, not a sequel but rather a 90 minute long trailer for Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.

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Danielle Harris and Donald Pleasence were among the better parts of the 4th movie, they are still good here but even they have some problems here. Danielle Harris returns as Jamie Lloyd, and in a large portion of the movie she’s basically been reduced to a mute that go into convulsions every so often when that psychic connection plays up again. Credit to Harris, she’s putting everything into her performance here, and she does especially well at seeming scared, especially in the third act. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr Loomis and he’s good as always, however the writing of his character is a bit weird to say the least. I get that by this point he would’ve lost his mind a bit, but some of his actions (especially in the third act) are out of character. Loomis is comically crazy like a raving madman for much of the movie, and I’m surprised that he didn’t end up as some surprise villain by the end of the movie. There’s nothing really to say about the rest of the cast and characters except that they are either forgettable or obnoxious.

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The direction by Dominique Othenin-Girard is not very good. In fairness some of the shots and the blocking is good, but most of the direction with regard to horror and scares falls flat. The kill scenes are just fine, but there’s nothing really memorable and as previously said the tension and atmosphere is practically non-existent. In all fairness to the movie, there actually is one sequence with Jamie in the third act which does actually work quite well, involving a laundry chute. That part stands out to me and was definitely a highlight. The Michael Myers mask in the 5th movie somehow looks worse than the one in Halloween 4. Instead of looking cheap it looks quite dumb, it is barely ever tucked in, and it looks constantly stretched so it barely fits the actor’s head. The movie already has problems with being tense or scary but Michael Myers looking quite silly with that mask doesn’t help matters. The score is just there, it just uses the typical iconic theme from the series at points but it doesn’t actually build any suspense. In fact there are some sequences where the score playing is bad and takes away from those scenes.

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Halloween 5: The Return of Michael Myers is likely one of the worst movies of the Halloween series. Despite some good performances from Harris and Pleasence as well as one good scene, it’s just not good. On top of squandering the potential that was practically gift wrapped to them, its just generally a worse version of the 4th movie. Despite some of my issues with 4, this is where the series is first taking a big sink for me, and it’s showing that this current storyline that started with 4 is not going to get any better.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) Review

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Halloween 4 The Return of Michael Myers

Time: 88 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1]
Cast:
Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis
Ellie Cornell as Rachel Carruthers
Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd
Michael Pataki as Dr. Hoffman
Director: Dwight H. Little

The apparently comatose Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) is being transferred from one hospital to another, but he wakes up when the ambulance crew talk about his surviving niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris). After slaughtering his attendants, Myers sets out to find his one living relative who is, fortunately, being cared for by a kind and resourceful foster sister named Rachel (Ellie Cornell). Meanwhile, the ever-cautious Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) remains on the killer’s path.

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Halloween 3: Season of the Witch tried to steer the series in a different direction from the previous two movies, and aimed to be the start of an anthology series without Michael Myers. Given the negative response that the movie received however, it was pretty clear that audiences wanted the series to bring back Michael Myers, and the filmmakers gave them what they wanted. For the next movies, it followed on from Halloween 2 with its own direction. I heard some mixed things about just about all of the sequels. I watched 4 and generally it was pretty average as a movie, but it was overall alright.

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Laurie Strode from the original films is written off as being dead, which certainly was a questionable way of writing her out of the story. This time the main character who is being hunted down by Michael Myers is Laurie’s 7 year old daughter Jamie. This gives a very different dynamic between protagonist and Myers, as Jamie is way more vulnerable. The plot is a bit contrived, plodding and weak, with mostly boring characters that we are stuck with. Most of the plot doesn’t feel fresh at all, almost like it’s the most basic follow up one could think of for Halloween 2. The suspense and atmosphere from the previous 3 movies are practically non existence, even if the film tries to re-capture that. They reference the explosion at the end of Halloween 2 but don’t really explain how Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis managed to survive that. There were some potential with the new direction of the story, like it was somewhat different to see how the town reacts to Myers being back. There’s also some pretty silly parts to this movie, which at least made it somewhat entertaining. There is this hillbilly mob trying to hunt down Michael Myers, and the dialogue at many points are very goofy. I guess credit where credit is due, the police are slightly more competent, which was refreshing to seen in a Halloween movie. When Loomis comes to them when Myers escapes, they actually listen to what he says. So I guess that’s at least one aspect that the movie subverted. Most of the time thought the plot and scares are predictable. The third act for the most part is pretty underwhelming, especially with the climax. With that being said, the ending is great and one of the best parts of the movie, leaving the series open to take a different direction with the sequels from this point onwards.

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The character of Jamie Lloyd is played by Danielle Harris and she’s actually great on her part. She’s not Laurie from the original, but Harris is quite convincing, especially in the chase and intense scenes. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Sam Loomis, and like his past two film appearances is one of the best parts of the movie, I’m glad his character survived along with Myers. The movie (and the sequels he appears in I assume) would’ve been worse without him. It’s 10 years later, Loomis is battle scarred, a little unstable and just looks so done, especially when he finds that Michael Myers has escaped yet again. Ellie Cornell also plays Rachel, Jamie’s step-sister, and she was also pretty good in her part. One note about the physical acting of Michael Myers, he does have a bad mask however he also just doesn’t feel the same as the Myers from the from the first movie or even the second movie. From the smaller stature and awkward movements, he feels like someone wearing a Michael Myers costume rather than being him. He’s just not intimidating at all.

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The direction from Dwight H. Little is pretty bland, while I wouldn’t quite call it bad, it rather feels like it’s on autopilot. The opening credits actually work quite well, it doesn’t attempt to copy the opening credit sequences from the first two movies with the jack o lantern, and didn’t feature the opening theme. With its simple yet effective shots, it is effectively atmospheric and eerie. The cinematography is unremarkable, although the close up shots does make it stand out from the previous movies. The kills can be gloriously over the top and ludicrous (especially one instance involving a shotgun), but most of the time they are unfortunately rather bland. As previously said, the new mask on Michael Myers looks really bad, and the whole costume in fact looks really bad. What’s worse is that the costume he picked up in the original Halloween movie was just whatever he could find, for whatever reason in 4 he looks for that exact same costume. Early in the movie Myers is wearing bandages and I kind of wish that they stuck with that, even just for it being a different look for him. The chase sequences are rather bland and drawn out, and aren’t really suspenseful, though there was a scene on a rooftop that sort of works. Even the sound effects are pretty weak and cartoonish, particularly the sounds for the gunshots. The score contains similar themes from the original Halloween, although it doesn’t really add much to the suspense, almost like its an obligation or something.

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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is really a mixed bag. It’s very bland from the story to the direction, and the tension and atmosphere doesn’t work. With that said, there are some moments which are decent, the performances from Harris and Pleasance are solid, and it’s got a great ending. It’s an average slasher flick but if you’re curious enough, check it out for yourself.

Halloween II (2009) Review

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Halloween 2 2009

Time: 108 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Malcolm McDowell as Samuel Loomis
Tyler Mane as Michael Myers
Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode
Sheri Moon Zombie as Deborah Myers
Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett
Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett
Director: Rob Zombie

Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) is still at large and no less dangerous than ever. After failed reunion to reach his baby sister at their old home, Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) is immediately taken to a hospital to be treated by the wounds that had been afflicted by her brother a few hours ago. However, Michael isn’t too far off and will continue his murdering Halloween rampage until he gets his sister all to himself.

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Rob Zombie’s remake Halloween back in 2007 was pretty divisive and it remains the case to this day, some love it, some hate it, but most are mixed on it. I myself am in the latter crowd, it no doubt has some issues, but I did like some of the things that Zombie at least tried to do. One of my problems with it is that although Rob Zombie was sort of making his remake of Halloween his own, in the second half of his movie he seemed rather constrained to largely recreating a lot of the original horror classic. As messy as the first half of that remake was, it would’ve been more interesting if Zombie just stayed consistent in doing his own thing. Well it seemed I got my wish with his sequel to that movie with Halloween 2 (not in any way related to Halloween 2 from 1981). Of all the entries in long running and iconic franchises, Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2 is among the most interesting. A departure from the Halloween movies, it goes into some different places I wasn’t expecting, and despite its issues, I liked being along for the ride.

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I watched the director’s cut because I heard that it was better than the theatrical version, and I liked what I got, so if you’re going to watch this movie then the director’s cut is probably the version you should seek out. This is the most un-Halloween-like movie in the series, and I can say this with complete confidence despite at this point only having seen Halloween 1978, Halloween 2018, and the first Rob Zombie Halloween. If you didn’t like the idea of Rob Zombie’s take on Michael Myers, you’re probably going to have a lot of issues with this movie. You might enjoy the movie up to the time jump, which takes place in a hospital, but after that it goes in a completely different direction than a standard Halloween (2007) sequel. It really is the aftermath of the first Rob Zombie Halloween, with Laurie Strode dealing with the impact of the last film, Dr Loomis who is capitalizing on those events with a book, and Michael Myers continuing his long search for Laurie while having visions of his dead mother and a white horse. This is definitely Zombie’s own movie, and even if it doesn’t fully succeed, I can’t help but admire the dedication for going in this direction. I did mention earlier about Michael Myers having visions of a white horse, which is an indication that Halloween 2 is a rather strange movie with some very weird choices, and within the first third of the movie you can figure out whether its your thing or not. People have also called the symbolism and the white horse parts a little pretentious and while I can’t disagree, at least Zombie is trying to go for something different. My issue was more that the white horse and visions tonally doesn’t mix with how grounded they present Laurie’s trauma, especially considering that the first movie seemed to have Michael Myers more as a serial killer than a supernatural presence. Also with regards to the story, I was more invested than I thought I would be, but like the Michael Myers origin story in the first half of Halloween 2007, some of the dialogue written kind of deflates the significance of some dramatic scenes. For example, when Laurie makes a discovery about herself and has a big reaction to it, she just screams “FUCK” like 10 times while in a car, and it’s just rather hard to take seriously. To be fair though, Zombie’s handling of Laurie’s storyline was a little more nuanced than I thought it would be. It’s not really much of a slasher movie until the third act, you must know that going in. Slight spoiler but while Michael Myers is trying to find Laurie throughout, it’s a while before he even gets to her, for the most part he’s a hobo who occasionally kills people. It’s just following these characters doing their own thing until the climax. For whatever reason it worked for me.

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Tyler Mane returns to play adult Michael Myers, and he is great, of course in the scenes where he kills people he really is a force of nature, but his mere presence in a scene is intimidating and haunting. Brad Dourif as the sheriff gets more scenes than in the first movie, and he’s quite good, particularly great in the last act. Malcolm McDowell was in good in the first movie as Dr Loomis, and this time Loomis is more like what you’d expect from a character played by McDowell. His character has grown rather selfish and egotistical ever since he started profiting off Michael Myers’s murders, and while I’m not entirely on board with what they did with him, McDowell absolutely sells it and gives another solid performance.

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Once again you feel Rob Zombie’s presence all over this, and like the story, it’s even more his movie. It’s even more grim, more so than Halloween 2007. Visually it’s great, that grainy 16mm really added a lot and fit the tone and rest of the direction perfectly. The violence in Zombie’s first Halloween was pretty graphic but here it’s ramped up to being even more over the top, to the point of hilarity and absurdity at points. In the aforementioned hospital scene, the moment where Michael Myers gratuitously stabs a nurse played by future Oscar winner Octavia Spencer is just so overblown, that it had to be intentionally darkly comedic. Brian Tyler’s score is pretty good (albeit rather standard horror music), but it is weird how the first movie had issues of placing the main Halloween theme in inappropriate scenes, whereas here you don’t hear the main theme until the end. It’s mostly its own thing, and that certainly fits in with the rest of the movie.

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Halloween 2 is very much not for everyone, even more the case than the previous movie. It’s imperfect for sure, but much of Zombie’s direction, the different choice for the story, as well as some of the acting was enough to keep me on board throughout. The thing is that it’s not really a slasher movie, it’s an arthouse movie (or at least an attempt at one) using the characters from a Halloween movie, and so its stuck trying to be a slasher movie at certain points. I get the feeling that it would have been better if Zombie just made the film its own thing with his own characters and not being constrained at that, it’s not like you can make an argument that he’s elevating the source material or something. I will say that if you thought Rob Zombie didn’t go full out and was stuck with the recreation of the original movie, give this one a try (try to watch the director’s cut). However I can completely see why plenty of people strongly dislike this movie.

Halloween (2007) Review

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Halloween 2007

Time: 110 Minutes
Age Rating: 79a0443c-3460-4500-922d-308b655c1350[1]
Cast:
Malcolm McDowell as Samuel Loomis
Sheri Moon Zombie as Deborah Myers
Tyler Mane as Michael Myers
Daeg Faerch as Michael Myers (age 10)
Scout Taylor-Compton as Laurie Strode
Brad Dourif as Sheriff Lee Brackett
Danielle Harris as Annie Brackett
William Forsythe as Ronnie
Director: Rob Zombie

After spending 17 years in a mental institution, Michael Myers (Tyler Mane) escapes and sets out to find his younger sister (Scout Taylor-Compton). He doesn’t spare anyone who tries to interfere with his mission.

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John Carpenter’s Halloween has been cemented as an absolute horror classic, and remaking such an influential movie is a big task for any director. However Rob Zombie’s Halloween movies have a notably divided reaction to them, and they’re not really for everyone. His first movie is a bit of a mixed bag but at the same time, there’s parts of it I like that’s worth praising.

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For the record, I haven’t watched the director’s cut, but from what I can tell it’s a little more violent and adding an unnecessary rape scene, so I don’t think I’m really missing much by skipping out on that version. Halloween 2007 is essentially made up of two different halves. The first half is about Michael Myers when he was younger and basically serves as an origin story. One of the major criticisms of the movie from a lot of people is that Michael Myers shouldn’t be explored as a character, and that he works much better as a mystery and almost supernatural presence. I’d counter that even if that’s true, this would at least be something different from the original instead of just recreating the movie and going through the same beats. Honestly my issue with it was personally more of the handling. Long story short, Michael Myers grew up in a broken home, and I’ll skip past the fact that this origin story is way overused for villains, since I’ve already got a lot of things to say. It is heavy handed how horrible his childhood is, and while blatancy isn’t inherently bad, some of the writing is just so over the top, especially with the dialogue. With that said, there are some nuanced scenes and some parts that were handled quite well, and it was interesting to see Zombie’s take.

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The second half is pretty much the events of the original film, which is both better and worse. On one hand it is more steady and less messy than the first half, and is just pretty much Rob Zombie doing his own take on the events of the original Halloween. The downside is that it is just that. While for sure there are some little plot changes made so that it’s not exactly the same, it’s just pretty much “Rob Zombie does Halloween”. Zombie is definitely paying homage to the original, so he’s not shamelessly copying the original, nor does he just recreate the whole movie, but even just paying homage has the potential to limit your movie, and that is the case here. It is quite jarring going from essentially Michael: Portrait of a Serial Killer, to what you’d expect from a Halloween remake. The early parts of that second half can be a little boring and uninteresting as you’re just waiting for Michael Myers to start stabbing people, specifically the people who you know are going to be killed from watching the movie. Once it picks up later on though it does work well. If I was someone who was scared of the original movie (which I’m not), I’d be less scared watching the remake, because while it is more graphic, we spent almost half the movie with the killer and less time with the victims and survivors, so the kill scenes aren’t nearly as impactful.

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The cast are also a bit of a mixed bag. Tyler Mane plays the grown up Michael Myers and while you don’t see his face, he does so well in the role. His mere presence is intimidating and he’s probably the most physically imposing version of the character that you could imagine. Donald Pleasance is hard to replace as Dr Loomis, but Malcolm McDowell was perfectly cast, and is quite good on his part. For the most part he pretty much just acts like Pleasance from the original but there are some moments where he stands out, especially in some of the earlier scenes before Michael Myers escapes. A lot of the rest of the cast is hit or miss, Brad Dourif does pretty well in his scenes as the sheriff character. As for Laurie, Scout Taylor-Compton I guess is alright but certainly suffers by not really feeling much of a main character like Jamie Lee Curtis’s version did in the original.

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Even though I’ve only seen the Halloween movies from Rob Zombie, I can tell that this is definitely a Rob Zombie movie. He lent his style to this take on the Halloween movies, and while I think that it’s more suited to something like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I’m not complaining that we got something distinct here. Perhaps the biggest contribution Rob Zombie has given to the Halloween movies is making Michael Myers an absolute force to be reckoned with, with his attacks being very aggressive and loud. It can be very over the top and even unintentionally funny at points, but I liked it all the same. As for horror, as I said before I wasn’t scared by the original Halloween, and the remake certainly is much less scary than that. Tyler Bates’s score is mostly its own thing, outside of when it uses certain themes from John Carpenter’s score. It’s not quite as effective as the original’s music, but very few movies could achieve that, so I’m alright with that. My issues with the score is whenever it inappropriately uses the main theme in the movie, for example when kid Michael Myers is just running, it just plays randomly and it doesn’t really fit. The Michael Myers mask and overall look is pretty much perfect, really grimy, creepy and scary.

Halloween (2007)
Directed by Rob Zombie
Shown: Tyler Mane, Scout Taylor-Compton

Halloween 2007 as I said before is a mixed bag. The new take is interesting, but Zombie doesn’t quite pull off the execution, and while he does an alright job at redoing Halloween 1978 with Michael Myers on the loose, it is the same stuff and not anything beyond decent. All that being said, Zombie did make these movies his own, when he’s not paying homage to Carpenter’s classic at least. If you want to see Rob Zombie go full… well… Rob Zombie with the Halloween movies, then his Halloween 2 would be the one to check out after this one. If you liked the original, I’d say the 2007 remake is at least worth watching, even just out of curiosity.