Halloween II – 30th Anniversary Edition
Music by John Carpenter in Association with Alan Howarth
Alan Howarth Incorporated – 2009
I think it’s absolutely sensational that Alan Howarth has put together this Limited Edition CD (1000 units), because he’s giving us a chance to hear the complete score for Halloween II.
Alan Howarth’s involvement with John Carpenter is felt right from the get-go, as his talent with audio opens up the “Halloween II Theme.” A huge, deep sounding organ broadens the original Halloween motif and the composers add synchronized keyboard lines, layer upon layer to construct an awesome sound that represents “more of the night he came home.”
The way the Halloween theme travels through a tunnel-like effect is a great choice in “He Knows Where She Is.”
The flute tone in “Laurie and Jimmy” makes it probably the most underrated cue on this soundtrack. Though it’s certainly melodic, the high-airy notes create cinematic anxiety and the clang of metal during the moments the main theme stop, amplifies this.
“Still He Kills” is 4 ½ minutes of the stingers that back Michael Myers psychopathic rampage. For me, there’s some real fascinating score moments like where MM forces Karen (Paula Susan Shoop) into the boiling Jacuzzi. This music gives the sensation that the water is burning-hot. The low drone mid-way in that is jointed with the whispering high-pitch sound is creepy.
Deep-seated drums hit while “The Shape Enters Laurie’s Room.” The shrilly keyboard notes make the track ultra-suspenseful. This is the scene where Michael stabs the scalpel into Laurie’s pillow (she is of course not there).
“Mrs. Alves” is more low-key, though an incredible penetrating frequency of notes will keep you on the edge of your seat. This high sound, which sounds like steam billowing out of a boiler, is carried out even further in “Flats in the Parking Lot.”
“Michael’s Sister” uses the theme from the first film with the upper register to highlight the counterpoint meaning.
The clicking sound in “The Shape Stalks Again” makes it feel like a bomb (Michael Myers) is going to detonate by song’s end. The use of the hi-low parts of the sound spectrum makes this a thrilling listening experience.
The composers get “Operation Room” to feel like gas canisters are being turned on, releasing flammable air that build for certain explosion.
The Chordettes version of “Mr. Sandman” is easily associated with this sequel. Somehow this dreamy old pop song, feels just right with the terrifying music that surrounds it.
The real exciting addition for fans of this film is the inclusion of Tracks #13 through track #18. Alan Howarth says “The new tracks represent a series of 7 “Halloween Suites” which consist of every note of the of the entire film score, sequenced, layered and grouped in chronological order. This gives the true fan of the original Halloween II the opportunity to relive the experience of the film through their mind’s eye.”
The way in which Howarth blends and overlays the music is just brilliant. How can you not get overexcited by the cinematic results? “Halloween II Suite A” clocks in just over ten minutes and I loved every second of it. Howarth manipulates the themes to maximum effect pushing forward, moment to moment like the never ending advance of Michael Myers.
Howarth drives the main Halloween theme like a Grand Prix racer during “Halloween II Suite B.” He travels across all sorts of soundtrack terrain that conjures Michael Myers in deadly pursuit of Laurie Strode, while Dr. Loomis is right on the Shape’s tail.
“Laurie’s Theme” is the impetus for “Halloween II Suite C.” The hospitalized heroine is encapsulated with the melancholy rhythm pattern of flute notes that slow things down to let us get a breather from the unrelenting terror. Except at the very end, where Howarth plunges us into the scolding water of the boiling Jacuzzi.
“Halloween II Suite E” is the second longest of the new cues and features some high-octane suspense moments. I’m guessing this music represents the movie probably mid-way through because the keyboards whisper ghastly hints that death is coming soon.
The last cut “Halloween II Suite F” wraps this score up with the gentleness of Laurie’s theme then moves into the explosive fire bursting finale.
This Limited Edition Soundtrack is produced on the highest audio quality containing over 70-minutes of music, linear notes describing both the making of Halloween II and the score in detail. How could you not want it t o be part of your collection? For me it’s an absolute must have and a perfect soundtrack for anyone who appreciates Halloween, Michael Myers, horror films or outstanding film music.
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