Film Review: The Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Spoilers ahead, if you haven’t seen this film.

In September 2014, after nearly 20 years, the 1995 producer’s cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was released, and it’s quite different from the original version theater crowds and those (like me) who watched it on TV and DVD in the years since saw. I’m late to the game because this is the first time tonight I’ve ever seen this producer’s cut.

The two major differences I can cite right away:

1.) Jamie Llyod, the niece of of Michael Myers, who starred predominately in Halloween: The Return of Michael Myers, and Halloween: The Revenge of Michael Myers in 1988 and 1989, respectively, returns as a character in the beginning of this film. J.C. Brandy plays the older version of Jamie Lloyd instead of Danielle Harris (Harris reportedly didn’t like what happened to the character and the payout). In the original version, where we last left off in the fifth film, a mysterious man in black broke Michael Myers out of jail and abducted Jamie. In the latest installment here, Jamie has been impregnated by this Druid-like cult of Thorn. In the theatrical version, Jamie tries to escape Michael Myers and the cult with her baby, but Michael Myers catches up to her. She’s able to stow away her baby from him, but he kills her in brutal fashion with farm equipment.

In this producer’s cut, she’s mildly stabbed and actually survives, only to be killed by Dr. Terrence Wynn (played by Mitchell Ryan) with a silencer in the hospital. Dr. Wynn is Dr. Sam Loomis’ colleague at Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, and as the characters come to learn, he’s the head of the cult of Thorn that’s been trying to protect Michael Myers and continue the curse.

So I appreciate that, at least in the producer’s cut, they didn’t kill off Jamie in such brutal fashion. Still, though, it’s frustrating that they keep killing off main characters in this series. First, they tried to kill off Michael Myers himself and Dr. Sam Loomis (first sequel), then they killed off Laurie Strode in The Return of Michael Myers, and then Rachel in The Revenge of Michael Myers. And now Jamie here.

2.) The endings are completely different. In the theatrical version, Michael Myers actually turns on the cult and kills them all. Then he continues pursuing Tommy Doyle (played by a young Paul Rudd!), Kara Strode (played by Marianne Hogan), and Danny Strode (played by Devin Gardner), who the cult wants to make the next Michael Myers in essence. Tommy Doyle is able to subdue Michael with some injections and by beating him unconscious with a pipe. The last image is of Michael Myers’ mask left abandoned, and Loomis screaming in the background. So it’s not clear what happened.

In the producer’s cut, Michael Myers seems more at the mercy of the cult. He stands around as they perform their ritual to transfer the evil to Danny. And then comes after them when they try to escape, similar to the theatrical version. Instead, however, Tommy is able to stop Michael Myers by using the “power of the ruins” against him. Tommy figured that there’s a good version of the ancient ruins that could stop the evil in its tracks, which it did enough for them to get away. Then Michael Myers knocks Dr. Wynn out, switches outfits with him, and disappears into the darkness (with no mask, mind you). Meanwhile, somehow, the mark of Thorn appears on Dr. Loomis’ arm, and he screams to end the film. Now we get an explanation for why Dr. Loomis was screaming at the end of the original theatrical version.

The original ending is actually better because it’s more action-packed with Tommy hitting Michael Myers with the pipe. Instead, in this one, the final action scene is Tommy scattering some rocks on the ground, Michael Myers grabbing him by the throat, Tommy saying, “Samhain,” and Myers releasing him. Uh. Yeah, that’s not going to work from a climactic standpoint, even if it makes more storyline sense.

In short, I’ll get this out of the way: the druid/Thorn storyline sucks. I hate it. I hate the idea of giving Michael Myers motivation or purpose or explaining why he kills. I hate Michael Myers standing there like a goof while the real man in charge, Dr. Wynn, performs the cult ritual. I hate him being controlled by the cult. I think writer Daniel Farrands, apparently a rabid fan of the franchise, wanted to convey the idea that Michael Myers wasn’t controlled by the cult, and instead, was controlling it, but he blames the studio rewrites and reshoots for flipping that script, literally.

The other moment that was a bit goofy was that Michael Myers apparently had time to kill John Strode (played by Bradford English) at the Myers House, then go out to where the festival was, I believe half a mile away, kill Barry, string his body up in a tree with lights for Tommy to find, and then get back to the Myers house in time to kill Beth (as played by Mariah O’Brien) and Tim Strode (as played by Keith Bogart)? That was goofy.

It’s also confusing who the baby is in the series that Jamie Lloyd gives birth to. For some reason, Kara makes it seems like at the end of the producer’s cut that it’s Michael Myers’ baby? So Michael Myers impregnated his (I think) 15-year-old niece? Gross.

Finally, one last thing that just bugs me about this film is that Michael Myers (played by George P. Willbur, who also played him in the fourth installment) looks like someone cosplaying as Michael Myers. The look, the costume, the mask, it’s all wrong. The only great shot of Michael Myers is whatever shot they used on Tommy’s computer at the beginning. That’s one of my favorite shots of The Shape:

Myers

I will say, even if I don’t like the Thorn storyline, that at least the producer’s cut is a more coherent story. We get more background on Thorn, and aside from the Thorn passing to Dr. Loomis, it at least makes sense. In fact, much like Season of the Witch, if you used the ancient ruins, Thorn and cult-like storyline with a different slasher character, I think it would be really interesting.

But I don’t like it with Michael Myers for reasons I’ve already stated.

Another positive about the producer’s cut and the film in general is that it’s not nearly as gory as the previous installments in the franchise. In fact, in a lot of ways, it seems to make a serious attempt to pay homage to, and get back to, the roots of the original with more mood and atmosphere and less gore and violence. There are still violent deaths here, no doubt, but they are not that gruesome. It’s rather tame compared to what we were seeing in the second, fourth and fifth films.

Because this producer’s cut is staying closer to the original, there is a lot to like about this film.

I’ll go as far as saying, there are plenty of good ideas within this movie:

  • I like the idea of Halloween being banned since 1989, and the town dealing with what that means. In this film, it mostly means the residents getting fed up with the BS around the “boogeyman.” Which, to be fair, is rather nuts since it’s only been six years since Michael Myers, dead or alive now, killed the entire Haddonfield police department and numerous others.
  • The Halloween franchise has been known to try to reflect the time period (for example, after this, the internet age in Resurrection, and podcasting in the 2018 version), and that seems the case here with the Chicago shock jock Barry Sims (played by Leo Geter). The 1990s, particularly with Howard Stern, really was into that “shock jock” form of radio. The Barry character was all about that, and coming from Chicago, I like the idea of the shock jock dropping into Haddonfield to see what the fuss regarding the “boogeyman” is all about.
    • A small part of that I also like is one of the callers to the radio show basically lusting after Michael Myers. That seems fairly realistic given how many women were apparently lusting after Ted Bundy in the 1980s, despite, you know, being a serial killer of women.
  • I also love the idea of centering this story on Tommy Doyle. The Tommy Doyle character, as presented in the original, was always hyper aware of the boogeyman. So it makes sense that 17 years later, he would be obsessed with Michael Myers. That’s a neat touch.

There’s also some callbacks to the original throughout this one.

  • Kara wears a green sweater or shirt in this one similar to Laurie’s green sweater/shirt in the original.
  • Kara, like Laurie Strode in the first one, can’t find her term paper (Laurie can’t find her book).
  • In the first one, Tommy drops his pumpkin when he runs into Michael Myers. In this one, Danny drops his pumpkin when he runs into Tommy.
  • Both Tommy in the original, and Danny in this one see Michael Myers from afar while looking out a window, respectively.
  • And then there’s a moment when Kara and Danny are running back to Tommy’s house from Michael Myers, and are banging on the door for Tommy to open up. Laurie did the same thing in the original, and it was again Tommy who needed to open the door.

Finally, the soundtrack for this one is on point. There’s also plenty of moments where they show Michael Myers just lurking and appearing in the far background. Again, that’s more the original style.

Overall, if you ignore the Thorn silliness, there’s a lot to like about Halloween 6, and because Halloween 5 also includes that element, there’s an argument to be made that Halloween 6 is actually better than Halloween 5. It’s certainly better than Halloween: Resurrection because the characters are fleshed out better, and it’s actually trying to a Halloween film.

The producer’s cut is a much better version of the film, too, so try seeking that out. I think the handling of Jamie and the ending (while not as action-packed film-wise) are superior to the theatrical release.

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