THE BLACK SHEEP is an ongoing column featuring different takes on films that either the writer HATED, but that the majority of film fans LOVED, or that the writer LOVED, but that most others LOATH. We're hoping this column will promote constructive and geek fueled discussion. Dig in!
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Directed by Joe Chappelle
“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is great B movie stuff.”
With everyone’s favorite horror holiday fast approaching, it’s time to examine one of the films that not too many want to discuss: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Now, the sixth entry into the franchise didn’t revitalize it, but it did establish two main points of notoriety.
1) It can be credited as the first Halloween movie to basically kill the franchise (Busta Rhymes and Rob Zombie both respectively killed it later) until several reboots (one with Jamie Lee Curtis and one with Rob Zombie) pumped some life back into those pale, but lovable killer veins.
2) In many ways, this was the end of the franchise fans loved. Of course, Curtis had gone on to stardom (returning with H20), leaving only the late great Donald Pleasence as the only recurring cast member and character (minus part III of course). It’s a little sad watching him here. He moves slow, talks slow, and his character (the immortal Dr. Loomis) doesn’t have much to do. Director Joe Chappelle apparently found his work here…boring, so he trimmed a lot of his role out of the movie. This ended up as Pleasence’s final role, and he does appear tired and sick. Considering he died about seven months before the movie was released, it’s no wonder the Loomis spunk had departed Haddonfield a long time ago.
By the time Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers rolled around, the plot of this one and the previous two entries had become a little on the soap opera-ish. Here’s the rundown: Taking place six years after Part V, Laurie Strode’s daughter, Jamie, has been impregnated by the Cult of Thorn, and just before her uncle (?) Michael kills her off, she hides her newborn baby. Luckily, its found by a now grown Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), who has been obsessed about this whole Myers thing for a very long time. We learn that this Cult of Thorn is lead by the mysterious Dr. Wynn, who is Loomis’ old buddy from back in the Smith’s Grove days. Turns out that the reason Michael keeps coming back is because he might have supernatural abilities! Whew. That’s a lot of plot.
Actually, I give Curse of Michael Myers (and the franchise) bonus points for trying to maintain a storyline and yet continue to evolve and explore the depths of the Myers/Strode family drama. Without them, it loses the deathly heart. Instead of the modern notion to reboot, reboot, reboot (and whenever we do see another Myers feature, you know it’ll be one of those), they just kept it going. Ok, so maybe things went a little too far in Curse with the whole cult thing, but when onscreen it works. It takes the series on a welcome, slightly different path. Where other franchises like Friday the 13th just need a hockey mask and horny teens, Myers needs his family.
At the same time, it’s weird seeing this movie ready to transition past Dr. Loomis with a new and improved protagonist in Tommy Doyle. While we still get a dose of crazy Strode women (here it’s Kara and her son, Danny. So are they like cousins with Michael? I’m confused), Doyle must man up and take over for old man Loomis. And by the way, it’s great seeing Rudd in a cheap horror flick as the grown Doyle. Today, Rudd always seems to get shit for always playing Paul Rudd, but here he’s trying to act, bringing a layer of mystery to his character. He’s a likable creep, and (SPOILER) he gets the big moment in film as the one who gets the big almost kill, because obviously Michael never gets dead. (END)
Of course, the sixth Halloween isn’t without some shitty moments (I’ll avoid discussing the very dated mid-90s soundtrack). For one, where’s the variety of execution? Myers (George P. Wilbur this time) never figured out that personality thing, but he usually employed a wide array of devises and techniques to…well, kill folks. Here, he seems bored with his work. He’s mostly stab crazy with everyone he encounters.
One of the few times he changes up the methodology it results in one of the most pathetic deaths in the franchise. When the mom’s, Debra Strode (Kim Darby once played the mom in Better Off Dead and I can’t shake that character), time comes, she runs outside into a mass of confining, strangling hanging laundry (seriously, the laundry), which prevents her escape to freedom. She trips, falls, and gets the ax. It’s pretty damn bad.
Actually, the worst part of the film is the end of Loomis. After five movies and nearly 20 years, he not only didn’t get a death sequence, but didn’t even get a final confrontation. It’s sad and poor filmmaking, nearly ruining the film. Even worse, its a slap in the face to a great actor.
But let’s not end on the bad, because Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is great B movie stuff. My three favorite scenes include the death of the DJ, the brutally intense deaths in the operating room (as well as the chases through all those tunnels), and when Myers beats a guy’s head against some bars until his head finally manages to fit through it. Now that’s a death sequence.