Well, once again we have a new cut of a Rob Zombie Halloween film, so in turn I shall put my inexplicable tendency to watch these movies multiple times to some use and provide a list of key changes between the theatrical version and the director's cut. This is of course not 100% complete and as before, if you notice something I missed or got wrong, please let me know!
NOTE - Several scenes have an extra line or two, or maybe an added shot of someone walking. Unless they are significant to the story in some way, I won’t be mentioning these as there are so many and also without the theatrical cut at my disposal I might be mistaken anyway.
Director’s cut changes for Halloween II (2009):
1. The opening scene is much longer: Laurie clearly walks quite a ways away from the crime scene, and there is more with the coroners and additional shots of Loomis being put into the ambulance. Nothing really significant, but helps clarify that Loomis has indeed survived.
2. The hospital chase scene has an extra sequence where Laurie tries to cross over a pile of bodies on the floor, and fails. This sort of helps clarify that the scene IS indeed a dream. It also adds to the “remake” feel, as the red lit basement that the scene takes place in looks a lot like the one where Jamie Lee was chased in the original Halloween II.
3. The biggest difference is actually a simple change of an onscreen title: it is now two years later instead of one as it was in the theatrical. This helps solve some problems (such as why her shrink says “Halloween is a big trigger for you”) but adds others, namely that it means Michael skipped a Halloween despite being awake/alive. Perhaps the Thorn constellation didn’t appear the previous year and forced Michael to sit it out?
4. The breakfast scene is expanded; Laurie and Annie begin to bicker about going to the shrink. This is foreshadowing a plot thread that was absent from the theatrical release, which is that the two girls are no longer as close as they were.
5. The shrink scene is greatly expanded. Most interesting is when Laurie looks at an inkblot that is made up of two white horses, and the pattern between them resembles a ghostly figure of some sort. It’s a ludicrous execution (the blot is a giant framed picture on her wall) but an interesting idea, and helps tie in the “connection” Laurie and Michael have throughout the film.
6. Loomis’ press conference is much longer, as he discusses Michael’s Oedipal complex as well as the idea that Michael perhaps saw Loomis as a father figure. Sort of helps clarify how important Michael used to be to Loomis, though I’m not sure if further painting the character as a jerk was the best idea.
7. There is a scene where Laurie runs a bath and begins to freak out.
8. There are only two scenes from the theatrical that are missing in this cut (again, as far as I can recall), and this is the first, sort of. Instead of Laurie stopping to play with a pig on her way to work, she goes to the shrink and tells her about playing with the pig (and we see maybe 3-4 seconds of it, in flashback), and how it triggered a nervous breakdown of sorts. She then demands more pills and then, when the shrink denies her that, she freaks out and swears at her some more. In fact, the most noticeable change about this cut is that it gives Scout Taylor Compton several more opportunities to say the word “fuck” and all of its variations.
9. Another fight between Annie and Laurie (including the line from the trailer where Annie says “You act like you’re the only one who got messed up!”), which kicks off when Annie finds Laurie drinking a beer in her room.
10. In the scene that is most likely to piss off the “purists”, a non-masked Michael walks through yet another field, albeit in broad daylight this time. He comes across a billboard for Loomis’ book, and he looks at it angrily along with the ghosts of his young self and Sheri Moon.
11. When Laurie and Maya (Brea Grant) come home from the party, there is a short added scene of them making tea in the kitchen prior to going upstairs. We also get a shot of Michael seemingly walking out of the house.
12. The best addition to the film is a longer version of Brackett finding Annie’s body. After a few “No!!!”s, we see quick video flashback footage of a young Annie (obviously personal footage of Danielle Harris from when she was 7 or 8) as he weeps near the bathroom door.
13. The 2nd scene that is changed and thus removing theatrical version footage is the climax. Once Loomis enters the cabin the film is completely different. Michael doesn’t kill Loomis inside, instead he throws him through the wall of the cabin and yells "DIE!" (for real) before thrashing him in plain view of the cops. The cops then open fire and kill Michael (similar to the original ending of H1). Laurie then comes out, takes Michael’s knife, and approaches Loomis with it, apparently planning to stab him. The cops then open fire on her and seemingly kill her. We then fade to the same hospital footage from the end of the theatrical cut, only now it appears (to me anyway) that we are seeing Laurie’s version of the afterlife.
The only other significant change is that the "Halloween" and "Laurie" themes are no longer in the actual film, only in the end credits. The cover of “Love Hurts” now plays over the film’s final (pre-credits) moments.
Overall I think this is a better cut, though Zombie’s claim that it was “completely different” was, as usual for him, an exaggeration/lie. The focus is a bit more on Laurie’s damaged psyche in this cut, which is good, but the main problems with the film (Michael’s whereabouts for (now) two years, Loomis’ complete 180 and lack of any real connection to the rest of the film, and the boring/repetitive kill scenes) are just as evident. I will provide a full review of the cut along with the disc’s extras when I am able to go through them all. I can say this though - I do know for sure now that this is a better film than his original, if not by much.
What say you?