One Of The Scariest Scenes In Rob Zombie's Halloween II Brings Out The Dead

(Welcome to Scariest Scene Ever, a column dedicated to the most pulse-pounding moments in horror with your tour guides, horror experts Chris Evangelista and Matt Donato. In this edition, Chris checks into the hospital from hell with Rob Zombie's "Halloween II.")

Rob Zombie's "Halloween" is not very good. Of course, anyone daring to remake John Carpenter is facing a Herculean task, but Zombie proved surprisingly ill-equipped for the job. To be fair, the filmmaker has a great eye for visuals. It's his screenwriting that needs serious work, and his "Halloween" is loaded with some weak storytelling and terrible dialogue.

So I wasn't exactly jumping for joy when Zombie returned for "Halloween II." But surprise, surprise, the film turned out to be a vast improvement over the original. Sure, the lousy dialogue is still there. But, freed from having to imitate Carpenter's story beats, Zombie gets to go wild, unleashing a strange, gruesome, operatic extravaganza. 

The setup

The original "Halloween II" took place almost entirely in a hospital, so it makes sense that Zombie's "Halloween II' opens in one as well. The film begins in the direct aftermath of the first, with Laurie Strode (Scout Taylor-Compton) being rushed into surgery following her run-in with hulking serial killer Michael Myers (Tyler Mane). Laurie doesn't have just cuts and bruises — her body is a wreck, bloody and mangled, and Zombie lingers on that in an uncomfortable fashion.

Later, Laurie wakes up in the hospital. She looks to be in better shape, but she's still beaten up. And things are about to get worse. And oh yeah, Michael Myers, who appeared to be shot in the head in the last movie, is still alive. Or undead. Or something. 

The story so far

You know the deal, right? Michael Myers is a serial killer who stalks teenagers in Haddonfield. I don't really have to tell you the story. Also, since this is pretty much the first scene of the movie (save for a prologue), "the story so far" is basically the entire movie that exists before this. So...yeah. Borrowing from the original "Halloween II," Zombie's first "Halloween" movie revealed that Laurie was Michael's long-lost sister. But Laurie herself never learned that — although she will eventually learn it in the sequel, and the news will send her into a downward spiral. 

The scene

What makes this scene (which, to be fair, is actually several different scenes unfolding back to back) so memorable is that it's never clear if it's real or not. Laurie wanders around a seemingly empty hospital, encountering only a nurse (Octavia Spencer!). And soon, that poor nurse runs afoul of Michael Myers, who has come to the hospital and seemingly killed everyone. Laurie discovers this after she falls into a dumpster out back full of corpses. Michael's "force of nature" vibe is on full display here, as he stalks about killing with extreme brutality and absolutely no sympathy. 

Eventually, Laurie makes her way outside into the rain. Injured and limping, she finds a security guard and begs for help. Guess how well that goes. (The answer: not well). And then ... Laurie wakes up again, and time has passed. She's now living with her friend Annie (franchise mainstay Danielle Harris) and Annie's father (Chucky himself, Brad Dourif). The hospital massacre is never mentioned again. Did it happen? Was it all in Laurie's head? Laurie's fractured mindset is a big part of the film, so it's very possible!

Real or not, the sequence is brutal. Spencer's character is stabbed, again and again, blood pouring from her mouth. And the surgery sequence with Laurie, bloody, ruined, and screaming, is one of the most disturbing sequences Zombie has ever created, and that's saying something.

The impact (Matt's take)

Rob Zombie Rob Zombies the hell out of "Halloween," and even more in "Halloween II." Before we even get to the hospital sequence, there are shades of "The Lords of Salem" as Michael confronts his mother (Sheri Moon Zombie) and a white horse. Dialogue stinks of the Firefly Family as Dayton Callie and Richard Brake talk necrophilia with gross detail as meat wagon boys. Then, after everything, we get a dream sequence opening where Michael turns a hospital into a slaughterhouse with repugnant detail (RIP Octavia Spencer and Richard Riehle). It's all so wtf-y, but hey, that's par for the course in the Halloween franchise.

The beginning is exceptionally brutal as Chris mentions. Zombie unleashes Michael as he stabs victims not once, twice, but until they're bleeding husks of motionless flesh. Tyler Mane grunts and exhibits primal aggression, seething anger as he chases an injured Laurie around the now blood-slick hospital labyrinth. It starts "Halloween II" with such vitriol and anger, as Zombie is known to create. Honestly, it's what you want in a "remake" (continuation). "Halloween II" is exhaustively Zombie.

Not even livestock are safe from Zombie's carnage as Brake screams "Cow, COW!" before Callie slams into the animal with mutilating results. "Halloween II" goes off the rails before we can even dig into our popcorn, bringing the term "divisive" to mind with emphasis. Successes or failures be damned, I respect Zombie for making his Halloween movies. That's the biggest thing we can ask of remake filmmakers, and honestly, what we deserve.