Believe it or not, even though I’ve seen Halloween (1978) at least a dozen or more times over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the television version. I’ve always watched it via VHS, DVD, or streaming.
And as such, I did not know that there was “deleted scenes” from the original, which are actually scenes added to the TV release of the film ahead of its 1981 sequel Halloween II. The reason we know these scenes were created with Halloween II in mind is that Dr. Sam Loomis is at Smith’s Grove sanitarium after Michael Myers has escaped (a scene we do see in the original film), and Myers’ room has been damaged and destroyed. On the back of his door, Myers has inscribed “Sister.”
In Halloween II, we get the sister reveal, that Michael Myers and Laurie Strode are sisters, and that’s essentially the entire motivation behind why Michael Myers stalked and tried to kill her in the first film. But the first film did not hint or suggest that; it was an invention of the second film, which some fans like and some don’t. I’ve often been in the latter camp. I prefer the original where Michael Myers is just The Shape, and he’s the embodiment of evil that has swept through his hometown of Haddonfield again.
So, I definitely don’t like the “sister” scene added to the original for the 1981 television release to NBC. That said, I do like the context of Dr. Sam Loomis talking to the hospital board review about a then-six-year-old Michael Myers, and how he ought to be moved to a maximum security facility. The doctors do not believe that Michael Myers is a threat, much to the chagrin of Dr. Sam Loomis. I think that gives some context to the original in terms of showing how much of a threat Michael Myers, even at six-years-old was. At least, Wikipedia said he’s supposed to be six here, but he looks much older. I would wager this is more where he’s 14-years-old.
In Loomis’ famous speech about the Devil’s eyes from the original, he talks about meeting Michael Myers at age six, and then trying to “reach him” for the next eight years, so he’d be 14. Then Dr. Loomis said he spent the next seven years trying to keep him locked up. So it makes more sense that he’s 14 in these extra scenes.
Then there’s a scene after the board meeting where Dr. Loomis goes to Michael Myers and says, “You’ve fooled them, haven’t you, Michael? But not me.” Again, this is superfluous, and like the next scene I’m going to talk about, is too on-the-nose. The Devil’s eyes monologue tells us this in a much better way. Also, I don’t need to see younger Michael Myers. I don’t need to see him sitting there in a chair staring off into the distance. The less we know about Michael Myers, the better.
I also don’t like the additional scene they filmed sandwiched between when Laurie Strode sees Michael Myers outside by the clothesline, and when she leaves to get picked up by Annie, where Lynda comes over to borrow a silk blouse. It’s an interesting scene because I think aside from the scene where Laurie, Annie, and Lynda are walking home from school, this would be the only scene where all three of them interact together (because they call Annie on the phone, who also wants to borrow the same blouse). Which, in hindsight, it’s wild that there’s only that one scene in the entire original film, and it’s a short scene at that. But that short scene establishes all three of them and their friendship quite well. It’s effective and efficient.
We don’t need that scene. It adds nothing. It also puts Michael Myers’ stalking too-on-the-nose by having Lynda say the same guy in the car from earlier was following her. If I do remember correctly, later in the original film, when Lynda and Bob pull up at the house to then go have sex, Bob jokes about ripping Lynda’s blouse off, and she says something about it being new. So I guess that’s some added context, but again, it’s not really necessary.
In total then, out of the nearly 11 minutes of extra scenes filmed in 1981 to add to the original for the NBC television release, I only like the first four minutes of the board meeting. And even then, I don’t think the original is hurting without it, but it wouldn’t hurt it to add it, either. Whereas, I think adding the other scenes would hurt the original film.
All of that said, it was a thrill to watch these for the first time in 2020 somehow, and see young Donald Pleasence, who plays Dr. Sam Loomis, and young Jamie Lee Curtis, who plays Laurie Strode. That was fun.
What do you think? Check out the scenes here: