Halloween 6 - The Curse of Michael Myers (producer's cut) review by The Grim Ringler

For fans of the Halloween series, the Producer’s Cut of H6 is sort of a holy grail. Because it’s a different cut of the film many feel that perhaps THIS version will redeem the character of Michael, will redeem a floundering series, and will actually be a watchable form of this film. Umm…yeah. And I can sympathize with the other fans. I love this character and was an apologist for the series for years. The fact that this cut of the film will probably never see the legitimate light of day is maddening as well. At best H6 was a mediocre abortion of a film, a left turn into WHATville that left everyone scratching their heads. Why the hell do you suddenly take a relatively harmless and mindless slasher franchise and decide that there HAS to be some huge reason and conspiracy behind why the guy kills? Why? It’s like, do we need to know if Bond has safe sex? No. Who the hell cares? It’s a mindless popcorn movie! But while I don’t like the direction this franchise was dragged into, I will say that the hype is true – if you have interest in H6, this is the way to see this film.

H6 picks up many years after the events of Halloween 5 and finds Dr. Sam Loomis (the game and spirited Donald Pleasance in his last role) a changed, and retired man. He has almost completely let go of his obsession with mass murderer Michael Myers, has gotten reconstructive plastic surgery to look more presentable, and is actually enjoying his retirement. All this ends though when, during a shock radio program on Haddonfield, Myers’ hometown, Loomis hears a voice from his past – the voice of Jamie, the girl who had been thought dead after her two run-ins with Myers years earlier. Jamie had been kidnapped by a shady mystical organization bent on impregnating her with the spawn of Michael in the hopes of some day ending his cycle of killing so the group could essentially find a new avatar to spread the seeds of murder. Jamie in fact WAS impregnated – in a weird, surreal scene which is thankfully short because, man, who the hell even wants to THINK of Michael Myers having sex, let alone MIKE MYERS – and the film picks up just after she has had her child and the organization, called Thorn, after a runic symbol for destruction, intends to offer the baby as the last bloodline sacrifice to big Mike. Things go awry though when Jamie is helped to escape with the child and she is able to briefly get free of the group. They track her down though but she manages to hide the baby in a bus station bathroom before Michael can track her down and put some knifin’ to her. Enter Tommy Wallace, the boy Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) had been babysitting when he was a child and now a grown man with a pretty unhealthy obsession with Mike (think of another Tommy here, one that followed around a guy with a hockey mask). Tommy also hears the screams of Jamie over the radio and, with some keen detective work and a touch of creepiness, he tracks her down to her where she had called from and finds the child. By sheer luck he runs into Loomis and tells Sam that Mike is back and they need to discuss things later that night. Which happens to be Halloween. Elsewhere a young mother and son are living in the old Strode home, the place where Laurie fought Michael so many years earlier and a place that still calls to him. In a pretty lame explanation, the girl is told that Michael will return to the home and kill all inside, feeling they are part of his family as darn it it’s HIS home. Mom and dad are killed – in ways Michael Myers wouldn’t kill people, to be frank -, and the girl and her son are protected by Tommy, who lives across the street, as he knows all too well what Mike’s up to and has them stay at his bachelor pad. The baby is stolen though from Tommy and Thorn takes the young woman and her son as well, the boy having been chosen to succeed Michael in his career – though why he was picked is a bit fuzzy for me. Everyone converges onto old Smith’s Grove, the place Michael had been held and big confrontations happen. The ending of this version is a bit of a twist and is mildly ironic in that Sam Loomis has the curse of thon passed to him so that, in the end, it is HE who shall be forced to look after and protect Michael until he can finish his killing. Weird.

But is this better than the original cut? Sure is. There is more depth, which is at times hard to believe, here, there is more story, a more interesting ending, and it just has a deeper feel to it. This version adds a depth to the film that it just never had as a theatrical cut and gives the entire film more of a sense of mystery. I like that Jamie isn’t dispatched by Michael but by the Thorn group, later in the film. It’s interesting because it’s a heck of a way to treat a character that was so crucial to two other films. But unlike Friday the 13th Part 2, this killing of a main character doesn’t feel like a plot twist as much as a cheat. Sure, I like that they added a bit of intrigue to the film with her character’s death, but why the hell go through all you do with her in the previous two films just to kill her off that way? Seems pointless. I don’t mind killing main characters, they should mean something though. But then, this is from a franchise, and a sub-genre that shirks depth like politicians shirk honesty. The print I have, gotten at a comic con years ago, is blurred and has the counter at the bottom, but the film IS in widescreen, for what it’s worth.

The direction is flat here and has no sense of art or mystery. Any of the wonderful things that Carpenter had done in the first film is lost, but then by this point most fans don’t care as much for subtlety and suspense as they do body counts. The acting is fair though even Pleasance has a tough time making this hokey dialogue sound very convincing. The kills in the film are a joke. They have taken a character who was very child-like in his killing, was, to a degree, a mad child in an adult’s body, and have watered him down into a mindless killer. It works for Jason Voorhees, the rage filled violence that his character uses, but for Michael, his kills have been more about efficiency – he isn’t interested in making a bloody mess as much as he is getting to the goal he has set before him. He murders those that are in his way to attain his goal. But by this point in the Halloween franchise they seem to have lost the character and are more interested in making him an icon like Freddy and Jason. Which is a shame in that, while I love those other two horror icons, Michael isn’t like them. His character wasn’t a veiled attempt to punish sexed teens as much as he was the incarnation of evil, of an unstoppable force that needed to be overcome. The mask in H6 is a joke, and if they couldn’t use the original mask, they needed something better than this. Or to abandon the mask altogether and go in a different direction. As I read online, this doesn’t make him look scary, it makes him look like a clown. A fat, slow, clown. And what’s WITH Mike’s weight. Man, his weight balloons so much you’d think he was taking the summers off. Lazy guy. No wonder his movies suck anymore. The biggest embarrassment here though is the music. Through the years, they have taken a beautiful, classic theme and degraded and bastardized it time and again. And to top it off, this film doesn’t even USE it right. They pop it in when someone is dying, about to die, or some other ‘terror’ moment is about to happen. There is no suspense, no foreshadow, no misdirection. That was so great about the original -Carpenter would use sound zingers instead of jumping cats to freak the audience out. Cheap scare? Yes. Well done, hell yes.  Here the music is just another way to abuse the franchise and to fool fans into thinking that this film matters. It doesn’t.

The hell of it is that this film is nothing new for horror film franchises. Instead of letting the characters die gracefully they play them out until the idea well is dry and the owners still push forward. Slasher films aren’t the problem, the need to regurgitate the same plots with nothing new, and no thought put into character or story arc is the problem. What more is there to say about Myers in film six that wasn’t said in film two? And I like parts four and seven – H20. I like what they are, but that doesn’t mean we needed them. Can’t these monsters either be vanquished…or not. Let them die gracefully. I can’t believe there aren’t talented writers and directors out there in horror, or mainstream, who wouldn’t love to kill these icons off. So long as they STAYED dead. But then why don’t I have a problem with Freddy Vs. Jason? Why? Because it was a cartoon, a comic offshoot of the franchises. It wasn’t meant to mean anything, it was meant as a fun slasher What If? And as a fan of comics, I have no grudge with that. But why let the likes of Michael Myers and the Halloween franchise continue when there is nothing more to say? Hell, a good writer could even add depth to the damned thing and make you say – so that’s what he was and why he killed – yet the owners – the Akkad family – won’t allow it. I have avoided it but I plan on seeing the most recent film in the franchise – Halloween – Resurrection to see how fall the big guy has fallen. The problem with slasher films is not that Scream happened (the series floundered as it went on but is a pretty dog-gone good horror thriller series) but that the moviemakers in Hollywood wanted to ape its success. So they added young, pretty actors, and hip, out of place soundtracks, and tried to add humor and self-awareness to a genre that can’t sustain that weight. You can count how many successful horror comedies there are on one hand. And I mean horror movies that are also funny, not comedies that have horror icons in them to try to fool the horror audience into seeing their film – and I am looking right at you Scary Movie (which stole their name from the first draft of the Scream movie. Nice.).

So, is this version of H6 worth tracking down? If you are a fan, then sure. It’s got a lot more to say, though it’s a lot about nothing in the end. The ending is interesting, and would have made a good, unresolved cliff-hanger, but that was never going to happen so in the end this film is one big fat belch of a movie. It has moments of true brilliance – a girl standing beneath a tree in her Halloween costume, singing about red rain, blood dripping on her as she does, and a slow pan as Tommy is walking through the partying Haddonfield on Halloween night – but these are scant moments that lead to nothing. And since they dumped this storyline come the next film, parts 5 and 6 become so much wasted film.


5 out of 10 Jackasses
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