Sequels are always a mixed bag. In a few rare cases they surpass the original [Bride of Frankenstein]; in many cases they pale in comparison [Lost Boys 2, anyone?]. So, how does Halloween 2 stack up to the original iconic slasher film? Quite well. Halloween 2 begins with a recap of the first film. Then the familiar theme music is cued and the story continues as our heroine Laurie Strode is rushed to the hospital and Michael Meyers gets up and starts terrorizing the neighborhood after being shot in the chest 6 times. Jamie Lee Curtis is still great as Laurie. However, the actress is three years older even though the action takes place the same night. She's now one of those Gossip Girl teens so we just have to go with it and enjoy the performance by itself without referencing the first film. Donald Pleasence is back as Dr. Loomis and is equally as good this time out. As far as I'm concerned it is his role of a lifetime and it's hard to imagine anyone else trying to fill his shoes.
Three noticeable changes that make this film slightly inferior to the original: The haunting piano riff that dominates the original film score is replaced by a synthesizer playing the same theme [Oh, the 80's]. It's definitely inferior to the original. The second change is the director from John Carpenter to Rick Rosenthal, although Carpenter did work on the screenplay for the film. I just think Carpenter is better. He captures something amazing in the original film that was never duplicated in any of the sequels. This is not to say that Rosenthal's is bad. In fact, it's really good but, let's face it, few can fill the shoes of John Carpenter. The third change is the actor behind the mask. Michael 2 is shorter and stalkier than the original and definitely moves differently than the original Michael. Watch these two films back to back and see if you notice the difference.
All in all, this is a wonderful film that stands the test of time rather well. It is a most worthy successor to the original. As an extra bonus, Halloween 2 also includes a clip from Night of the Living Dead with those iconic words "They're coming to get you, Barbara." Priceless.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.