Column: Slicing Score: Halloween II (1981)


Slicing Score: Halloween II (1981). Composers: John Carpenter and Alan Howarth.


I have not seen the Rob Zombie remake of Halloween or its follow-up. The only Halloween II I know is the original 1981 slice-a-thon. There are many films in the Halloween saga, but Halloween II‘s score has distinctive special effects spliced with music that give it a chilling character. Halloween V‘s main titles are gruesomely scary, but the film contained some dopey sound effects that are irritating. One early scene in Halloween V has two cops searching for Michael Myers in the home of would-be-victim-in-the-shower Rachel. This scene utilizes a cluster of slapstick sound effects that are truly awful.

There are no dopey sound effects in Halloween II‘s soundtrack. The track listing is organized and the sound quality is sharp. The soundtrack to the first Halloween film is well-done, but the main titles are tamer than the revved-up rendition in this sequel. This score was a joint effort between John Carpenter and Alan Howarth. Howarth would continue to create variations of Carpenter’s original Halloween score for Halloweens IV, V and VI. Alan Howarth wrote and arranged for the score to Halloween III, too.

Laurie’s Theme is heard briefly in the first film and has a memorable low-key uneasiness. That uneasiness is also present in Laurie and Jimmy‘s cue. Both cues are unemotional but very creepy and Gothic. These cues are the perfect music to pipe in a porch or entranceway just as some wary trick-or-treaters approach what appears to be an unguarded bowl of candy. Appears to be.

Still He Kills is a cue that has a very harsh hissing sound effect to it. It could hurt the ears of a listener caught off-guard. Exercise caution when listening.

Mr. Sandman, sung by The Chordettes, is the only pop song on the soundtrack and it isn’t recognizably scary without the film to give it context. I’ve wondered why it’s in the film. I chalk it up to being an expression of morbid humor on the part of the filmmakers. The song is like a winsome smirk at the audience at the end of the film. Laurie Strode will see Michael Myers again and not just in her dreams.

Several of the suites contained on the soundtrack are extended versions of cues that appear in the film. I wasn’t too interested in the new suites. Otherwise, Halloween II‘s soundtrack is a lively way to celebrate the season. The film is one that gives everyone a reason to be wary of bobbing for apples and taking trips to the hospital.

Halloween II‘s soundtrack can be purchased at: