Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

Saturday, February 16th, 2008 @ 6:22 am | DVD, Halloween

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Tagline: Terror Never Rest in Peace!
Released: 1995
Starring Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, and Mitch Ryan
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Written by Daniel Farrands and Joe Chappelle (uncredited)

Format: DVD
Distributed by Dimension Films
DVD Release Date: October 10, 2000

Features:
Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1)

Premise: For pulse-pounding suspense and relentless thrills, nothing can match Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – one of the most frightening chapters in the chilling Halloween series! In a single horrifying night, Michael Myers’s masked reign of terror changed Halloween forever! Now, six years after he was presumed dead in a fire, Myers has returned to kill again – and this time there’s no escape! As the homicidal fury builds to a spine-tingling climax, the long-hidden secrets of the screen’s most maniacal murderer are revealed… with shocking results! Starring a thrilling cast, including legendary Donald Pleasence (Halloween, The Advocate) and Paul Rudd (The Cider House Rules, Clueless).

Plot Breakdown (spoilers): Six years have passed since the events of Halloween 5. Michael Myers, his niece Jamie Lloyd, and the mysterious stranger have all disappeared after the conclusion of the last film; now thought to be dead. Unbeknownst to the public however, the mysterious “Man in Black” had actually kidnapped Jamie and had her impregnated. Jamie (J.C. Brandy) gives birth to a baby boy on Halloween Eve, and with the help of her midwife, manages to escape into the night with her infant. While on the run, she is able to call into a nightly radio show requesting help. Michael Myers, who had been in pursuit since Jamie escaped, eventually catches up to her and finally murders his niece.

Meanwhile, Tommy Doyle (the child Laurie Strode babysat for in the original film, portrayed by Paul Rudd) has his eye on the family who’s moved into the old Myers house. The family living there are extended relatives of Laurie Strode’s adoptive family. Tommy has become obsessed with Michael Myers over the years and plans to be ready if he ever returns. After hearing Jamie screaming for help on the radio show, Tommy retraces her steps, finds the baby, and hides him. Also listening to the radio show was Dr. Loomis, who now retired, is writing a book about his experiences with Myers. Dr. Loomis, along with his old colleague Dr. Terrence Wynn from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, return to Haddonfield to follow up on Jamie’s plea.

While Loomis and Wynn follow the police trail to Jamie’s body, Michael stalks the Strode family. Danny, the illegitimate son of Kara Strode, has been hearing voices similar to ones Michael heard when he was a child. The voices tell Danny to murder his family, unbeknownst to be the influence of the Man in Black. While Kara and Danny are away at school, Michael murders Kara’s mother, then later her father, brother, and his girlfriend.

Tommy, concerned for the baby, takes him to Haddonfield’s hospital where he runs into Dr. Loomis, who recently arrived with Jamie’s body. He explains to Loomis that Jamie was not the last of Michael’s bloodline and Loomis should meet with him later so he can explain further. Tommy hastily leaves, only to end up confronting Kara Strode about her house’s past. Tommy reveals that Michael has been marked with a runic symbol called Thorn (or Thurisaz), an ancient Druid curse that drives those who are marked with it to wipe out their entire family for the good of civilization. For their safety, Tommy escorts Kara and Danny back to his apartment, and tells them to stay with the baby until he is able to meet with Loomis.

Later, Jamie’s autopsy confirms she recently gave birth, prompting Loomis to meet with Tommy immediately, with Wynn in tow. Tommy and Loomis meet, only to find the baby missing. The plot takes a turn when the Man in Black is revealed to be Dr. Wynn. Wynn, part of a Druidic cult which has been experimenting with pure evil all these years, has kept their work secret within the bowels of Smith’s Grove Sanitarium (where Michael was held for most of his youth). The cult captures Kara, Danny, and the baby, taking them to Smith’s Grove, leaving Loomis and Tommy unconscious.

After regaining consciousness, Tommy and Loomis follow to Smith’s Grove, where Tommy manages to free the imprisoned Kara, and Loomis confronts Wynn. Wynn reveals to Loomis that the baby is to be Michael’s final sacrifice, with the curse being passed on to another, Danny. Wynn then has Loomis knocked out, while he and fellow cult members continue with an experiment, with Danny and the baby held close by. Tommy and Kara, now on the run and with Michael close behind, free Danny and the baby, but not before Michael murders the cult members in a gory bid for the group to expose themselves. In a desperate attempt to hide from Michael, the group takes refuge in a room geared for genetic engineering. Michael soon finds them, though Kara escapes with Danny and the baby, leaving Tommy to confront Michael. Tommy manages to inject Michael with various chemicals, and bludgeons him numerous times with a lead pipe, leaving him for dead. Afterward, the group plans to leave “far away from here,” while Loomis stays behind to “take care of some unfinished business,” never to return.

Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

The Good: The story of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers ties in characters new and old, weaving together a new mythology built on what has already been established. Farrands did a great job of writing a story that is deeply grounded in the Halloween mythos, while showing off the ceremonial and cultural side of the holiday. Donald Pleasence, in his last performance before his death, gives another quality performance as Dr. Loomis. Paul Rudd, who was then new to film audiences, also gives a convincing portrayal as the disturbed Tommy Doyle. The rest of the cast all handle their roles with genuine care too; all giving worthy performances. Unlike Halloween 5, this film has fantastic atmosphere, leaving the audience truly believing it is Halloween. Michael’s mask, while iffy in the other sequels, is very detailed here – the best mask used since the original. Chappelle’s directing style is very modern and straight forward, with quick edit shots; a style commonly associated with today’s directors. The film’s pacing is also spot on, not lingering too long or dragging the film along. The traditional score appears here with reworked electric guitars and a “metal” influence, which breathes fresh life into this, the sixth entry of the series.

The Bad: Originally tagged Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers, the film production was notoriously troubled with budget limitations, cuts, and a major reshoot schedule and story revamp after a negative test screening. The test cut of the film, known as the “Producer’s Cut,” has been circulating trading and bootlegging markets since the film’s theatrical release. This original cut of the film kept the traditional score and featured many more character/plot driven scenes, with an entirely different final act and ending. Some of the character scenes were later reintegrated for the TV airing of the film, though the majority of the scenes have not been officially released.

The new direction for the ending is noticeable here, as the film seemingly changes its tone. This new ending, written by Chappelle, is questionable at best, and you can tell it was a rushed new sequence. Gore fans will enjoy the cult members’ death scene, though it is very out-of-place in a Halloween film. Other questionable scenes include Michael almost running after his victims, the exploding head shot, and Jamie’s death. It is not so much the plot point with these scenes, but the execution. Chappelle’s intruding subplot of inferring science is behind Michael’s madness conflicts with the tone and plot points brought up earlier in the film, leaving more questions than answers. In addition, many of Pleasence’s scenes were trimmed or left on the editing room floor, which is a shame as it was the last time Dr. Loomis would grace the screen.

Dimension’s DVD release includes the film in Widescreen format, without any bonus materials. This release is almost criminal due to the amount of extra materials available for a DVD release.

Final Comments: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers involves a detailed plot and manages to tie up several plot threads, all while introducing new story elements. The film’s atmosphere is convincing, along with the various character performances, giving an adequate end to this part of the Michael Myers saga. Although diehard fans will enjoy the many references to Halloweens past, general viewers might feel lost. Dimension’s DVD release is an embarrassment, without any extra features to satisfy.

Grade: B (film) | D (DVD release)

 

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