REVIEW – ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers’

The sixth entry in the series is a slightly improved yet still flawed mess... Depending on the version you watch.

Review by J.T. Johnson

ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: September 29, 1995
DIRECTOR: Joe Chappelle
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Billy Dickson
WRITER: Daniel Farrands
MUSIC: Alan Howarth

When it comes to “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”, the story of the film’s production is more harrowing than the film itself. The first problem that the movie ran into was the fact that after “Halloween 5” was released, the series went through a string of legal battles that delayed production on a sixth installment. This eventually led to Miramax (through Dimension) buying out the rights to the series.

When the time came to finally make the movie, there were a few casting snags as well. This included the fact that the producers couldn’t reach a deal with Danielle Harris for her to return as Jamie, leading to her withdrawal from the series and the casting of J.C. Brandy instead. Also, the producers originally wanted Brian Andrews to return as Tommy Doyle from the first film, but they couldn’t find him since he didn’t have an agent at the time.

This led to Paul Rudd being cast in the role, making this the first film he appeared in as it preceded the production of “Clueless”, the film that ultimately made audiences aware of him. Rudd said later on that he actually did not have a good time making this film due to the troubled production. He said the only good thing about the experience was that he got to work with Donald Pleasence.

Rudd is not alone in his dislike of the movie as most of the cast and crew has since disowned it. “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” was constantly being rewritten on the spot and there was plenty of friction between the producers and director Joe Chappelle. The cast was even more incensed when they were ordered back for reshoots in order to film an entirely new ending.

As far as the movie itself is concerned, it revolves around Kara Strode and her young son, Danny. They live in the old Myers house with Kara’s family and Michael Myers and his niece Jamie have not been seen for the past six years. At the beginning of the movie, though, Jamie escapes after having given birth to a baby boy.

She can’t escape Michael, but she does manage to hide her baby which is eventually found by Tommy Doyle and named Stephen. With the help of Dr. Loomis, Tommy is hell-bent on finding out what makes Michael tick and why he has been chasing down his own family for all these years. Meanwhile, Kara is trying to protect her son from the very forces that have been protecting Michael after all this time.

The movie is really not all that bad and I must admit that I do enjoy it. The problem is that it also really doesn’t add anything new to the overall story except for a convoluted plot featuring ancient runes and a cult that surrounds Michael and the evil that compels him to kill.

The movie ends on a cliffhanger and the next entry effectively ignored the events of 4, 5, and 6. This is not surprising when considering the crazy amount of trouble that was experienced on set. Thankfully, Pleasence was able to give one more great performance as the good Dr. Loomis.

This time, Dr. Loomis has since retired from trying to track down Michael until he suddenly shows up again. Unsurprisingly, Dr. Loomis can’t resist going back to try and stop Michael one last time. While I did enjoy his final performance, I can’t help but notice that there was a slightly missed chance at making Loomis a sort of mentor figure for the newly appointed protagonist, Tommy.

Of course, with what follows, we quickly learn that there were many missed opportunities with this film…

THE PRODUCER’S CUT

Years after its release, “Halloween” fans learned of another cut of the film that featured over 45 minutes of unused footage and a whole different ending. This version also featured less gore than the theatrical release. The version was dubbed “The Producer’s Cut” and for several years, it went unreleased despite gaining a cult following.

In 2014, with a new Blu-Ray release of the series, the cut was finally released for the fans. I had seen the bootleg version of this film years ago, but I finally re-watched it on Blu-Ray before writing this review. I have to say that I actually prefer this version as it is more in line with what writer Daniel Farrands had in mind when he wrote the original screenplay.

The ending is a bit soft, but I have a feeling that had the filmmakers stuck with the original ending, they might have done some reshoots to build it up some more. Overall, “The Curse of Michael Myers” is another flawed entry into the series that was setback once again by a troubled production. However, I must admit that I still enjoy this installment way more than the absolutely flawed fifth entry.

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