Wednesday, April 8, 2015

#1,696. Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

Directed By: Joe Chappelle

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan

Tag line: "Everyone knows his name. Now, everyone will know the truth"

Trivia: The script for this film went through eleven different drafts

On the whole, I enjoyed Halloween 1 through 5, which, for the most part, gave the fans what they wanted: Michael Myers (the obvious exception being Halloween III: Season of the Witch). For some reason, the makers of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers felt this wasn’t good enough, and tried tossing a few more elements into the mix. The result is a hodgepodge of a movie that, in my opinion, is the series’ first failure.

Six years have passed since the events of Halloween 5. Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy), now a teenager, gives birth to a baby boy in an underground facility, where she’s being held against her will by some sort of religious cult (at this point, we know very little about this organization, or what it is they want). Later that night, Jamie and her child escape and make their way back to Haddonfield. After placing a frantic call to radio DJ Barry Sims (Leo Geter) who just so happens to be talking about the Myers murders of years past, Jamie is hunted down and killed by Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur), but not before she hides her baby. The next morning, the kid is discovered by Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the young boy Laurie Strode baby-sat when Michael first descended on Haddonfield in 1978. Tommy, who immediately realizes whose child it is, takes the infant home with him, giving him the name “Steven”.

Meanwhile, Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan) and her six-year-old son Danny (Devin Gardner) are living with Kara’s parents (Bradford English and Kim Darby), as well as her teenage brother Tim (Keith Bogart), in what used to be the Myers house. Knowing they’re in danger, Tommy gets a hold of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), who's returned to Haddonfield after hearing Jamie’s plea on the radio. Unfortunately, only Kara and her son make it out alive. Together, the three (namely Dr. Loomis, Tommy, and Kara) try to determine why Michael has come home to Haddonfield. Their search leads them to a Druid-like cult that worships the ancient symbol “Thorn”, a mark signifying true evil. Can Dr. Loomis and the others find out what this cult is up to? What role does Jamie’s baby play? More to the point…. are you as confused by all this as I am?

In fairness, the filmmakers shouldn’t take all the heat for Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. Dimension, the studio that produced the picture (which, at the time, was controlled by Bob and Harvey Weinstein) cut the original movie to shreds after it tested poorly, leaving it a jumbled mess. Still, we can’t let director Joe Chappelle or screenwriter Daniel Farrands off the hook completely. With flashbacks presented by way of quick, jarring cuts and a story that meanders in too many different directions (Jamie Lloyd and her baby; the Halloween-themed festival hosted by shock jock Barry Sims; the Strode family in Michael’s old house; the cult of “Thorn”, etc., etc), Halloween 6 bit off more than it could chew. Even Donald Pleasance, who’s slightly off-kilter through much of the picture, looks confused by it all. Yet the worst thing about Halloween 6 is that it has no idea what to do with Michael Myers! Normally a killing machine, Michael is pushed into the background in this movie (later on, when he’s at the cult’s underground facility, he's just standing around, as if waiting patiently for something to happen). Most of the previous films were about Michael Myers. From what I can gather, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is about everything but him.

That said, it isn’t a total disaster; Paul Rudd was effective as Tommy Lloyd, and Michael is occasionally allowed to do what he does best (the scene where he’s loose in the Strode house reminds us why we fell in love with the series in the first place). Alas, there’s simply too much going on in Halloween 6, and why the creative minds behind it decided to complicate things at this late stage of the series remains a mystery.

1 comment:

matthew mcconkey said...

I have the fondest memory of sneaking into that movie when I was 15. It isn't the best movie b/c they really went sideways on a few plot lines, but I think the movie's strongest feature was the overall "look" of the film. To me, that set it apart from it's predecessors.