There is a longer director’s cut of “Halloween 2,” one that Zombie has expressed preference for. Ergo, it better reflects his artistic intent than the theatrical cut.
The director’s cut changes the movie before the ending, mostly in regards to Laurie. In the director’s cut, she’s much harsher. Her relationship with Annie is more antagonistic and the therapy scenes are more extensive, including one of her begging her therapist to up her prescription. Zombie compared Laurie’s portrayal in the theatrical and director’s cuts to Collider, saying: “In the theatrical, [Laurie] is sort of holding it together, and she begins to spiral downward, but in the other version, she’s an incredible mess and gets worse […] I feel like fans wouldn’t have embraced so much darkness.”
However, the set-up for the ending is mostly the same; Michael kidnaps Laurie while Loomis and the Sheriff come to her rescue. In this version, Michael throws Loomis out of the cabin, rips off his mask, and finally speaks: “Die!” He stabs Loomis and the police gun him down. Laurie walks out of the cabin in a daze, picks up Michael’s knife, and heads towards Loomis. So, one of the cops shoots her too. The camera zooms in on her dead face then we get the same scene of Laurie in a white room as the theatrical. Laurie’s death is only metaphorical in the theatrical cut, but it’s literal in the director’s cut. The white room isn’t an asylum, it’s the afterlife, and she’s finally with her mother again.
The two cuts also employ different music. The theatrical uses the classic synth “Halloween” theme (composed by Carpenter), creating escalating dread and emphasizing Laurie’s frightening expression. The director’s cut uses “Love Hurts” sung by Nan Vernon, so the ending and Laurie’s fate feel sad instead. Try as she might have, she couldn’t escape her family’s twisted “love.”