"Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" Review
"Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers" (1995)
Directed by: Joe Chapelle
Starring: Paul Rudd, Donald Pleasence, Mitchell Ryan, J.C. Wynn
** WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS **
I've often said that being a fan of the Halloween film franchise requires a willingness to be disappointed on a regular basis. Case in point: 1995's Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, the sixth and least essential entry in the long running franchise -- which is really sayin' something when you consider that Halloween: Resurrection and Rob Zombie's Halloween II also exist.
Curse completed the franchise's shark-jumping that began in 1989's Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. "5" was bad enough, but nearly a quarter century after its release, this sixth go-round still holds the title as the worst Halloween film in my book.
In case you missed "5," that film ended with a mysterious, trench-coated "Man in Black" blasting his way into the Haddonfield police station and helping Myers escape from custody. When Curse picks up the story six years after that massacre, there has been no trace of Myers or his niece Jamie Lloyd. The opening credits of Curse take place during some sort of Temple of Doom ritual where the now-grown Jamie, surrounded by a circle of black-cloaked Druids, gives birth to a child.
Jamie's kid is apparently next on the Druids' sacrificial calendar, so she attempts to escape. Naturally, she pays dearly for this at the hands of her good ol' Uncle Mikey. However, the baby is safe, because Jamie stashed him away in a bus station bathroom (!) prior to her untimely demise.
Jamie's child is soon discovered by the now-grown Tommy Doyle (the kid that Jamie Lee Curtis' "Laurie Strode" baby-sat in the '78 original), who lives across the street from the old Myers house -- which is now occupied by a dysfunctional family of unlikable Strode relatives, including Kara (Marianne Hagan) and her annoying son Danny (Devin Gardner)..., who is prone to visions of the Man in Black, asking him to "kill for me.".
Fun fact: the adult Tommy Doyle is played by a young Paul Rudd, later of Anchorman and Ant-Man fame, making his film debut here. I'm sure he wishes he could leave this one off his resume, but everybody's gotta start someplace!
Tommy contacts the now-retired Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence, looking old and tired but still game) and convinces him that Michael's rampages are tied to the appearance of a particular constellation in the sky that's part of Druid legend. Apparently, it's Michael's "destiny" to kill the last remaining member of his bloodline... Jamie's child. (cue spooky music)
Twists & Turns
In an additional sub-plot, the town of Haddonfield has banned Halloween celebrations altogether, which is completely understandable given their unfortunate history with the holiday. However, this doesn't sit well with the students at Haddonfield Junior College, who've decided to host a massive on-campus costume party in defiance of said ban, to be hosted by a local Howard Stern-style radio shock-jock. (the producers apparently offered the radio-jock part to the real Stern, who wisely turned it down.) This, of course, gives Michael a whole new set of teenage cannon fodder to hack to pieces. (One of the few good things I can say about this movie is that the violence is brutal and bloody.)
Eventually Kara, Tommy, Danny and Jamie's baby are captured by the "Cult of Thorn" (don't ask) and imprisoned in the bowels of Smiths Grove Sanitarium, Michael's former home. Loomis' old boss, the sinister Dr. Wynn, is revealed as the mysterious Man in Black, who aims to help Michael achieve his goal and pass the "Thorn Curse" onto the next generation... or some such nonsense. Honestly, by this point, the movie had become so jumbled that I just wanted Michael to kill everybody so it would end quicker. Of course, the door is left open for another sequel, but thankfully when it was time for the next Halloween installment in 1998 (Halloween: 20 Years Later), they wisely chose to ignore the events of "4," "5" and "6" altogether, erasing them from continuity and picking up where 1981's Halloween II left off.
"Producer's Cut" Clip:
The Curse of Michael Myers' troubled production has become legendary in horror-nerd circles. A disastrous test screening resulted in extensive re-shoots that changed numerous scenes and gave the film an entirely new ending. Perhaps this explains why the movie flows about as well as a wedding video shot by a drunken cameraman.
Sadly, Donald Pleasance passed away in February 1995, shortly after the completion of principal photography (Curse is dedicated to his memory) ...as a result, the bulk of his role ended up on the cutting room floor after the reshoots. All of the behind-the-scenes tampering was for naught, anyway, as Curse still tanked at the box office in September of 1995.
Several years after the film's release, the original work print version of the film started making the rounds on the bootleg circuit, which included many deleted scenes and the original ending (in which Dr. Loomis was apparently doomed to become the next "Man in Black"). Known as the "Producer's Cut," this version was said to be a vast improvement over the theatrical release, and due to fan demand it eventually received its own legitimate video release in 2014. I have yet to see the "Producer's Cut," but I imagine just about anything would be an improvement over what I paid to see in a theater in 1995!
In a nutshell, if you love the original Halloween as much as I do, you can safely ignore this one, because it does nothing but crap on John Carpenter's masterpiece.
© 2019 Keith Abt