Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

The only thing more terrifying than how it began, is how it will end.

Six years after mysteriously vanishing from Haddonfield police station, Jamie Lloyd reappears with her newborn baby and Michael Myers is hot on her heels to kill off the last of his bloodline. Tommy Doyle, one of the children that Laurie Strode was babysitting when Michael Myers returned to Haddonfield for the first time, has grown up obsessed with Michael. He hears Jamie’s pleas for help on a late-night radio show and comes into possession of her baby. Together with the help of Dr Loomis, they must protect the baby not only from Michael Myers but from the ‘man in black’ and his Thorn cult.

 

Things couldn’t really get any worse for the series after the rush-job of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. It contained unnecessary attempts to give Michael some back story and introduced the whole cult angle to the series, not least being a tiresome slasher without a shred of originality or atmosphere. Michael then went on the back burner for a couple of years with no one wanting to make the same mistakes again by quickly putting together another sequel. So six years later, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was born. ‘Curse’ being the apt word because this film seemed doomed from the outset. It seems that the six year gap meant that every writer in the country could add their two cents to the story and the final version seems quite happy to gather together almost every ridiculous idea and bundle it up into a package which is bursting at the seams with head-scratching absurdity.

It’s hard to decide whether Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers is the worst of the series. Going on the finished product that was shown in cinemas, it has to be. You see, the original cut was not deemed ‘Halloween’ enough after test audiences were unhappy with what they saw. So loads of flashy editing was introduced, the story was ripped apart and bundles of silly gore was introduced. The end result is the absolute mess that is the Theatrical Cut. It has to be noted that the Producer’s Cut of the film makes a lot more sense (i.e. the original version). It’s hardly a better film and still shares the majority of problems as the Theatrical Cut. But at least things make sense in the Producer’s Cut and there’s a lot more depth to everything going on – it doesn’t feel superficial. Sub-plots that are started and then dropped without explanation in the Theatrical Cut are at least fleshed out and loose ends tied up in the Producer’s Cut. The finale is vastly different and works way better in the Producer’s Cut. It’s not what you’d call a traditional Hollywood ending and I can imagine the fury with the studio when things end with a bit of a whimper (by that I mean a relatively action-free finale).

The Theatrical Cut is a mess however. There are loads of sub-plots going on regarding the cult which were introduced in the previous film but by the end of the film, you’re left with more questions than answers. One minute Michael is working for the cult, the next he’s slaughtering them all. Thrown into the mess with the druids is an even more bizarre addition of genetic experiments and cloning. Really? In a Halloween film? It’s such a fragmented film that trying to make sense of anything is virtually impossible. As I’ve said, the Producer’s Cut makes more sense but still not much more. Both are struggling to string together a coherent story with a script fit to burst with some of the most ridiculous ideas to grace a slasher.

Amongst the carnage of the story comes the carnage of the film. Michael is still slashing his way across Haddonfield, only this time he’s now graduated into the Jason Voorhees ‘School of Execution.’ Head explode when smashed into electric power boxes, he’s quite happy pulping some guy’s head into a set of metal bars and even manages to slice up one dude before deciding to decorate him in lights and then string him in a tree (whilst there’s loads of people around at the town party no less). Michael is anywhere and everywhere in the film. One minute he’s at the house, the next he’s in the park. Wherever the script needs him to be, he’s there despite the obvious physical improbabilities of getting there within the given time frame. The mask looks like one of the worst in the series and the stuntman playing him, George Wilbur, looks far too beefy when you think this is the same killer as the original.

Throughout the film, you’ll be thinking to yourself just what the hell happened to this series. It was inevitable that none of the sequels would match up to the original but when they’ve fallen this far, it’s time to call it a day. Speaking of calling it a day, this was Donald Pleasance’s final film and it’s a horrible way for any actor to finish their career with. He looks embarrassed to be in this and is certainly struggling to keep up at times. He was arguably the biggest loser with the decision to re-cut the film as most of his scenes are omitted from the Theatrical Cut. His role is pivotal in the Producer’s Cut and, though far from his best performance, it ends with a startling twist which rounds his character off nicely. In the Theatrical Cut, he’s simply tagging along for the ride is most of his scenes and unfortunately he had died by the time they were re-shooting so any chance of him adding extra scenes was lost.

The only saving grace to the film is Paul Rudd, as Tommy Doyle (in a nice link to the original, Tommy was one of the children being minded by Laurie Stode when Michael Myers first started killing). Rudd may be more famous for being a comedy actor nowadays but he’s straight and serious here, clearly being moulded by the script to take over the reigns of the Dr Loomis character for any future sequels. It never happened but at least Rudd makes a go of it.

 

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is a tragedy of a sequel and is the worst film in the series by a long way. It’s amazing to think that any film could be cinematically released in this state and expect to get away with it. Check out the much sought-after Producer’s Cut (only available in bootlegs at time of writing) if you want the definitive version but even that isn’t much better. The phrase ‘franchise killer’ should be in the dictionary next to this film.

 

 ★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

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