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Of course, this flick begs the question: why didn't they release it on Halloween, just like all the others? There is a certain incongruity to it, something that hangs over the film itself, like an impromptu horror party. Weirdly enough, it works to the film's advantage, an unexpected little scare in a movie summer full of big explosions and themes of grandeur.
What made the first "Halloween" so incredible was its distinctly amateur quality; the whole thing looks like it was shot on 8mm film with a budget of about $600. But when it was released in 1978, it sent a shock wave through the industry and made a star out of everyone involved; it remains one of the scariest movies ever made, right up there with "The Changeling" (yikes) and "Exorcist III" (trust me). This time, Jamie Lee Curtis is back, having changed her name and her locale, teaching at a prep school up in Northern California. Her son is the same age she was in the first movie, giving the whole thing a bookending quality that will not be lost on your average horror aficionado. The script's use of history is self-referential without being cloying—some of the best parts include Janet Leigh, whose famous shower scene in Hitchcock's "Psycho" comes back for some of the best in-jokes in the business. Having both actresses on screen at once is a rare bit of intelligence in a genre that prides itself on the worst neurotransmitters fear can excrete. And, of course, some kids die in gruesome ways. At least the ones that were going to have sex. And isn't that the twisted morality we all paid our money for?
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