The F*cking Black Sheep: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

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!



How’s this for a high-concept crossover: Michael Myers vs. Ant Man. Oh wait…oh wait. That happened back in 1995 via HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, the sixth installment of the hallowed slasher franchise, and the first to be made during the 1990s. A newly post-pubescent Paul Rudd makes his screen debut with a host of hilariously maniacal facial expressions, doing so as a grown up Tommy Doyle from the original John Carpenter classic. Yet Rudd’s boyish charm wasn’t enough to keep audiences and ardent HALLOWEEN acolytes all that interested, and due to some seriously misguided studio tampering with the director Joe Chappelle’s final cut, the movie has been largely dismissed as one of the weaker sequels in the series.

Question though, have you actually seen the Producer’s Cut? It’s a vastly different endeavor altogether, and by the accounts of most (including writer Daniel Farrands), the superior version. We’ll touch on both below, as, certainly when stacked up against pretty much every single HALLOWEEN flick released since (H20, HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION, Rob Zombie’s stultifying redos), HALLOWEEN 6 looks like less and less of a CURSE than initially thought. We’ll be even so bold as to say, theatrical or producer’s cut, THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS has been unjustly tagged as a F*cking Black Sheep over the years. Let’s get into it!

Full disclosure, I actually dig the theatrical cut fine enough. While it is a damn shame Dimension (a lot of grotesque and well deserved shame for the Weinstein’s lately) couldn’t shell out a mere $5,000 to allow the great Danielle Harris to reprise her role of Jamie Lloyd, I suppose it’s an overlookable offense. Barely. Also, the dearth (and real life death) of Donald Pleasance in the film is unfortunate (rectified via voiceover narration in the producer’s cut), but his declining health largely dictated that. Remember, Pleasance would pass away in 1995 before the film was released in theaters. This put Chappelle in a bind when forced to reshoot after a poor test screening demanded such.

But what I do like about HALLOWEEN 6 is, for a slasher movie made in the 90s – a time when the subgenre was on castrated life support – it’s an eminently entertaining, gorily high-volume-body-counted sequel, one on par with a solid mid-tier FRIDAY THE 13TH outing. Double digit kills (20) in a jaunty 88 minutes is something I’ll never be upset with. To wit, we get some gory goodies shown onscreen, a decision that was nixed in the producer’s cut in favor of a more coherent story and a mood redolent of the original. How dare they?!

So let’s talk about that story. THE CURSE starts with an evil Satanic incantation where a druidic worshiping sect marks a newborn – Jamie Lloyd’s newborn – with the Demon of Thorn symbol. A mysterious man in black heads the candle-lit ceremony, but soon the baby lands in the care of Tommy Doyle, the now grown up kid Laurie Strode babysat in the 1978 Carpenter original. He still lives across the street from the murderous Myers abode, now in a halfway house, and it isn’t long before masked-up Mikey shows up looking to get his hands bloody. And that he does!

A new generation of Strodes are in his sinister sight, including Kara (Marianne Hagan) and her creepy 6-year old son Danny. Turns out Danny, much like Michael, has been marked by the demon thorn and potentially driven to mass-murder if measures aren’t taken to protect him in time. Cue Loomis, fresh out of retirement, as he comes along to help pin down Myers and end the two-decade reign of terror for good. Of course, none of that transpires until Myers notches another dozen dead bodies or so!

One of the aspects of the Producer’s cut that plays far more satisfying than the theatrical cut is the ending. I’ll leave it to those who’ve yet to see this cut to witness the haunting final image of the film, but the way in which the story is explained makes far more sense than the mishmash jumble of the theatrical cut. The biggest take away is that, yes, Myers is the father of Jamie’s baby, as we see him startlingly rape the poor gal in a flashback. Pretty damn disturbing! This also alters Jamie’s fate, as she’s no longer ripped by a farm-thresher, she instead makes it much farther into the story (she’s the third kill in the theatrical cut).

Thing is, where the elongated cut makes up in story and tone, it does so mostly at the expense of intense graphic violence. No grisly head-explosion this time out, no exorbitant near-NC-17 style gore (which the MPAA threatened), no wicked weaponry outside the trusty butcher knives and axe-blades Myers has been known to sport. So the tradeoff kind of comes down to taste, if you’re cool with a nonsensical narrative punctuated by unbounded grue, go theatrical. If you dig a more coherent plot and spine-tingling tone echoed from the original, go peep the producer’s cut. Man, if only a balance were struck between these two poles, the CURSE might be one of the best and most blessed of the entire franchise!

Despite the storied production woes, which actually inspired the title CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS for how troublesome it ultimately was, the movie isn’t without additional merits. This may sound so slight or even obvious, but this is the first and only HALLOWEEN flick to actually be filmed in the fall. Shot in Salt Lake City, I always loved how much inherent Halloween décor is featured in the film. You really get a sense of the story taking place on Halloween day, what with the eerily atmospheric orange and black festooning and concomitant lighting. So simple, yet so vitally germane!

Also, I dig the performance of Paul Rudd in his first real film role. He’s not only the first male protagonist of the entire franchise, he brings a cryptic unhinged quality to his character that keeps you off balance in terms of whether or not to believe he’s good or bad. I also dig the attempt, albeit confounding at times, of Farrands to write a script meant to bridge the diegesis from HALLOWEEN 5. Remember, the Runic Thorn symbol was first introduced in that chapter. Now, the jagged discontinuity of this storyline over the two versions does become way too confusing (they actually changed the actors playing Myers in the reshoots, which is why he’s so much slimmer in the final act of the P-cut), but the outright attempt remains admirable.

The final surmise? The P-Cut of HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS is the more complete version, but even the T-Cut , most notably when compared to its woeful successors, has been mislabeled as a F*cking Black Sheep over the years. It's more of a treat than a trick friends, give this one another chance!



Source: AITH



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