Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Halloween:
The Curse of Michael Myers
Halloween6cover.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Produced by Moustapha Akkad
Malek Akkad
Paul Freeman
Written by Daniel Farrands
Starring Donald Pleasence
Paul Rudd
Marianne Hagan
Mitch Ryan
Music by Alan Howarth
Cinematography Billy Dickson
Editing by Randolph K. Bricker
Studio Dimension Films
Nightfall Productions
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • September 29, 1995 (1995-09-29)
(United States)
Running time 88 minutes (Theatrical)
94 minutes
(Producer's cut)
89 minutes (Director's cut)
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Box office $15,116,634

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (also known as Halloween 6), is a 1995 American horror film and the sixth installment in the Halloween series. Directed by Joe Chappelle from a screenplay by Daniel Farrands, the plot involves the "Curse of Thorn", a mystical symbol first shown in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and revealed in the film to be the source of Michael Myers' immortality.[1] The cast includes Paul Rudd (in his film debut) as Tommy Doyle, a returning character from the original Halloween film, and Donald Pleasence reprising his role as protagonist Dr. Sam Loomis in his final film appearance. Jamie Lloyd's appearance in the beginning of the film ties up loose ends to Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.

Curse opened to a respectable $7.3 million on September 29, 1995, coming in second to New Line's seminal serial killer thriller Seven.[2] Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and the Thorn plotline would be ignored in succeeding installments, 1998's Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and 2002's Halloween: Resurrection. However, the 2001 Halloween comic book series published by Chaos Comics—and based on Farrands' concept for the eighth Halloween film—attempts to bridge the continuity between The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween H20.

The sixth installment is known for its controversial behind-the-scenes history, suffering from re-shoots in production and numerous cuts and arrangements made in the editing room; the workprint of the film, with 43 minutes of alternate footage including a different ending, was eventually discovered by fans of the series. This version, dubbed "The Producer's Cut" (as it was the original intended version of the film) developed a strong cult following, with bootleg DVD copies sold on eBay and online petitions targeting for an official release of it.[3]

Plot[edit]

It is now six years after the events of Halloween 5, where the "Man in Black" rescued Michael from the Haddonfield Police Station and abducted his niece Jamie Lloyd (J. C. Brandy). Jamie, now fifteen, has been impregnated and her baby is born on October 30, 1995. The baby is carried away by the Man in Black who appears to be the leader of a Druid-like cult. Later that night, Nurse Mary (Susan Swift), helps Jamie escape with her baby and is soon killed by Michael (George P. Wilbur). Jamie and her baby flee in a stolen pickup and hide at deserted bus station.

Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), now retired, is visited by Dr. Terence Wynn (Mitch Ryan), the chief administrator of Smith's Grove Sanitarium. During their conversation they overhear Jamie's plea for help on the radio after calling into a local station, only to be ignored by the DJ Barry Simms (Leo Geter) who is doing a broadcast on the Haddonfield murders. Jamie escapes only to be run off the road by Michael. She enters an old barn where Michael kills her. However, Michael finds that Jamie's baby is not in the truck.

Back in Haddonfield, Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the child Laurie Strode babysat in the first film, now lives in a boarding house run by Mrs. Blankenship (Janice Knickrehm), a mysterious old woman. The family living in the Myers house across the street are relatives of the Strode family: Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan), her eight-year-old son, Danny (Devin Gardner), her teenage brother, Tim (Keith Bogart), and her parents Debra (Kim Darby) and John (Bradford English). For years, Tommy has been obsessed with finding the truth behind the motives of Michael Myers. After hearing Jamie begging for help on the radio, Tommy finds her baby at the bus station, takes him into his care and names him Steven. Tommy runs into Dr. Loomis and tells him of the Strodes living in the Myers house. The two believe Michael has returned to Haddonfield.

Dr. Loomis visits Debra and reveals to her that she is living in Michael's home. Debra calls John to tell him she wants to leave Haddonfield but is killed by Michael. Later, Kara returns home to find Danny in his room with Tommy, whom he had met while on his way home. The three go to Tommy's, where Tommy reveals that he believes Michael is under the curse of Thorn by the Druid cult. Thorn is an ancient Druid symbol that represented a demon that spread sickness and caused destruction. To prevent this, a child from each tribe was chosen to inherit the curse of Thorn to offer a blood sacrifice of its next of kin on the night of Samhain (Halloween). When the corresponding Thorn constellation appears, Michael appears. The curse explains why Michael is out to kill his family and also accounts for his superhuman abilities. Tommy believes that baby Steven will be Michael's final sacrifice.

While Tommy goes out to look for Dr. Loomis at a party at the Haddonfield Junior College, Mrs. Blankenship reveals to Kara (after talking to Danny) that she was babysitting Michael Myers when he killed his sister many years ago, and that Danny hears the "voice" (from the "Man in Black") telling him to kill just like Michael did. Thus, Danny will be the next child cursed by Thorn after Steven's sacrifice. Meanwhile, Michael kills Barry Simms, Tim Strode and his girlfriend Beth (Mariah O'Brien). After Tommy returns home with Dr. Loomis, the "Man in Black" finally reveals himself to be Dr. Wynn. The "Cult of Thorn" takes Kara, Danny, Steven, and Michael to Smith's Grove, with Tommy and Dr. Loomis drugged for the time being. When they awake, they follow the cult to the sanitarium, where Loomis confronts Dr. Wynn. Wynn credits him for first recognizing the evil the cult has inflicted inside Michael, and indicates how Jamie's baby represents a new cycle of it. After inviting Loomis to join in on his conspiracy, Loomis calls Wynn out on his evil scheme before being knocked unconscious by a cult member.

Meanwhile, Tommy finds Kara locked in a room in the maximum security ward. After a brief confrontation with Michael, they find Danny and Steven. In the hallway they see Wynn and a team of surgeons dressed in cult robes walk into an operating room to perform a mysterious procedure. Tommy and Kara soon sneak into the adjoining room where they find the children. They watch the doctors begin to perform the procedure, but Michael, angry at being exploited, interrupts it, walking in with a surgical machete and slaughtering them all (though Wynn's fate appears to be ambiguous). Tommy, Kara, and the kids run with Michael in hot pursuit until they hide in a high-tech medical laboratory. Inside the lab, Kara notices tanks containing human fetuses with a chart of runes and scientific letter codes; both connected together by the Thorn symbol. It's vaguely implied that Dr. Wynn and his staff have tried to breed evil people using Michael's DNA and female patients of the institution through IVF experiments.

Michael breaks into the room where Tommy injects him with tranquilizers of a corrosive and beats him into unconsciousness with a lead pipe. As Dr. Loomis, Tommy, Kara, Danny, and Steven are about to escape, Loomis tells them to go on without him because he has "a little business" to attend to. Back inside the building, Michael's mask is found lying on the floor of the lab room as the screams of Dr. Loomis can be heard in the background.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The Runic symbol of Thorn, which is a major theme in the film.

In 1990, screenwriter and long-time Halloween fan Daniel Farrands set out to write the sixth entry in the Halloween series. Farrands gave his horror movie scripts to the producer of Halloween 5, Ramsey Thomas; impressed by his writing, Thomas set a meeting for Farrands with executive producer Moustapha Akkad. Farrands described the meeting:

I spent weeks preparing for the meeting and came in with a huge notebook filled with HALLOWEEN research – I had the entire series laid out in a timeline, a bio of every character, a "family tree" of the Myers and Strode clans, as well as all of the research I had compiled about the runic symbol (Thorn) that was briefly shown in "Halloween 5." I then laid out how I thought all of this might be explored in HALLOWEEN 6.[4]

Although the producers at the time had already sought to make a sixth Halloween film, a series of complicated legal battles ensued which delayed plans for a sequel; eventually Miramax Films (via its Dimension Films division) bought the rights to the Halloween franchise.

Writing[edit]

By 1994, several screenplays from different writers had been deemed insufficient. Farrands has said his initial intent for Halloween 6 was to "bridge the later films (4-5) in the series to the earlier films (1-2) while at the same time taking the story into new territory so that the series could expand for future installments."[5] Daniel Farrands had written several drafts of his script; his final draft, originally titled Halloween 666, went through eleven different drafts.

The writer and filmmakers' intentions with the script were to ultimately unveil what had kept Michael Myers alive, and his reasons for killing. They decided upon using the "Curse of Thorn" angle, which is the concept that Myers had been under the influence of an ancient Celtic curse that drove him to murder all family members in his bloodline; once this task was completed, the curse would be passed onto another young child.

Casting[edit]

Donald Pleasence returned as Dr. Loomis, in his last performance; according to Farrands, Pleasence "loved the script for 6, however, and told me that he felt it was the best story since the original." Danielle Harris was asked to reprise her role as Jamie Lloyd, but she and Dimension could not come to an agreement over her salary and ultimately did not want to pay Danielle more than she received in Halloween 4. Harris herself admitted to "not caring for the script" and that upon meeting with director Joe Chappelle, did not see "eye to eye" on things. She also stated that she did not like that Jamie would be killed in the beginning of the film, because her character was no longer important to the series.[6] She ultimately opted out of reprising the role, and J. C. Brandy was cast instead. The producers wanted Brian Andrews to reprise his role as Tommy Doyle. However, without an agent, they could not get in contact with Andrews.

The leading female role, Kara, was given to Marianne Hagan; however, Hagan has since stated that Miramax did not favor her, and made aesthetic criticisms about her being "too thin" and her chin being "too pointy".[6]

For the role of Dr. Terence Wynn, Mitchell Ryan was cast; Farrands originally urged the producers to cast Christopher Lee, having had the veteran horror actor in mind when writing the character. Denise Richards also auditioned for the part of Beth, but the studio passed on her, giving the role to Mariah O'Brien.

Stunt performer George P. Wilbur, who portrayed Michael in the fourth installment, reprises his role as the silent unstoppable killer in the film.

Filming[edit]

Kara (Marianne Hagan) and Tommy (Paul Rudd) attempting to escape Michael Myers in the final act of the film.

Fred Walton (director of When a Stranger Calls and April Fool's Day) was originally attached to direct Halloween 6 but dropped out.[7] Cult movie director Jeff Burr also expressed interest in directing the film at one point.

Filming started in October 1994 and was shot mostly in Salt Lake City, Utah; the city was experiencing an early winter at the time which proved troublesome for the production company. Producer Paul Freeman and director Chappelle reportedly rewrote the ending on-set, even from shot to shot as production deadlines loomed large. Freeman also sent the crew home when crucial scenes needed to be shot; deleting scripted scenes indiscriminately, rewrote dialogue and action sequences; and took it upon himself to direct second-unit shots as well supervise the post-production phase of the original cut and made a series of blunders that resulted in Miramax taking control of the film, ordering reshoots.[6]

In early 1995, after filming and editing was completed, Halloween 6 was given a test screening which, as described by actress Marianne Hagan, "consisted primarily of 14-year-old boys."[6] During the Q&A afterward, one of them expressed great displeasure at the ending of the film, which entailed a Celtic ritual and the passing on of the Curse of Thorn to the Dr. Loomis character. As a result of the audience's disapproval toward the film's finale, the movie was rushed back into production, this time without Donald Pleasence, who died on February 2, 1995.

The film's ending was excised from the original cut that had been shown in the test screenings, and an entire new ending was shot that nearly dropped the film's "Curse of Thorn" concept entirely. Additionally, over twenty minutes of other footage was removed from the film during the re-editing process, creating several plot holes in the final cut.

Some violent footage was also edited out for fear of an NC-17 rating. This included several extra seconds of Jamie being impaled on the drills, with more blood pouring from her mouth and extra closeups of the drills going through her body. The other major edited scene involved Michael ramming the doctor's head through the bars in the hospital until his head is gorily mashed through and pulps of his skull hit the floor. This footage is restored in the "Director's Cut".

Music[edit]

The original music score is composed by long-time Halloween contributor Alan Howarth, his work in the series dating back to his collaboration with John Carpenter on Halloween II. However, Howarth's score was redone when the film went through reshoots. A soundtrack album was released by Varèse Sarabande, and is an unusual combination of the music featured in the original cut of the film, as well as that of the final theatrical cut.

The music of Alabama-based rock band Brother Cane was featured throughout the movie. The music came from their 1995 release Seeds on Virgin Records. The album's hit single "And Fools Shine On" can be heard when Kara, Tim and Beth arrive at school in their car. The song is also heard during the closing credits. Three other Brother Cane songs (all from the Seeds album) are featured in the film: "Hung on a Rope", "20/20 Faith", and "Horses & Needles".

"Disconnected" by the group I Found God is also featured in the film.

The soundtrack for the film was released on August 24, 1995, a month before its movie theater release.

Release[edit]

An earlier teaser trailer of the film employed the title Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers, which according to Daniel Farrands, came before an official title had been decided, and that the trailer title was a combination of an earlier script titled The Origin of Michael Myers by another writer, and Farrands' original script titled Halloween 666. At one point, executive producer Moustapha Akkad asked Farrands for a title, who suggested The Curse of Michael Myers due to the troubled production. Although Farrands was half-joking, Akkad took the name to heart and decided upon it. Farrands also adds that this coincidentally made the subtitles similar to those in The Pink Panther films, which also used Return, Revenge, and Curse subtitles.[8]

Box office[edit]

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was released on September 29, 1995 in the United States, and brought in a $7,308,529 opening weekend gross, coming in second to serial killer thriller Se7en, being the first film in the series to beat Halloween II's opening weekend gross. The film went on to gross a total of $15,116,634 at the U.S. box office, from an estimated $5 million budget.

Critical reception[edit]

Overall, the film received poor reviews from film critics. Daniel Kimmel of Variety called the film "tired" and "run-of-the-mill",[9] while Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said the film lacked suspense and said that "not even the presence of the late, gloriously histrionic Donald Pleasence can liven things up".[10] It currently holds a 7% "Rotten" rating on the film review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes based on 28 reviews. Screenwriter Daniel Farrands generally dislikes the film, due to its deviations from his original script. Although Farrands thinks both versions are poor, he considers the Producer's Cut to be the superior version.

Home media[edit]

The film was first released for home media on VHS on October 7, 1997. A DVD followed on October 10, 2000. In January 2010, the film was released for the first time on Blu-ray in Canada.[11] The film was released on Blu-ray and again on DVD in the United States on May 10, 2011.

While the film was initially released on VHS in Australia with a rating of MA15+, it has never been released on DVD in the region (despite all of the other entries in the series having received individual releases). The "Complete Collection" of all original eight films was also not released; instead, for a time, a box set of the first five films was touted as being the "only Halloween box set currently available anywhere in the world".[12]

Alternate versions[edit]

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is notorious among Halloween fans for having multiple versions. The Producer's Cut is the best known; however, a Director's Cut also exists with most of the footage cut for the R-rating restored. As of 2011, the theatrical version is the only version commercially available while the Director and Producer's cuts only exist as low-quality bootlegs.

Producer's Cut[edit]

Copies of the original version of the film (known as the "Producer's Cut"), without the changed ending, have long been floating around in bootleg/collectors' circles. In addition to featuring a different ending which was intended to keep Donald Pleasence's character in the films, it also features longer scenes in several parts of the movie, as well as different music at times. Major plot points differ between the two cuts. For example, in the Producer's Cut, Jamie Lloyd is not killed by Michael's attack in the barn; she is wounded only to be killed later on in the film by the "Man in Black" after having a dream about how she was imprisoned in Smith's Grove and impregnated with Michael's child. There is also a flashback to Halloween 5 that shows Jamie and Michael kidnapped by the "Man in Black".[citation needed]

On the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD, it was stated that Dimension was trying to plan an official release of the Producer's Cut; Fangoria also reported that the Producer's Cut may get an official release. However, Lionsgate/Miramax, who currently own rights to the film, decided not to give an official release.

Fans continue to sign online petitions asking for an official release of the Producer's Cut, but there has been no official release for any of the alternate versions.

A few select scenes from the Producer's Cut can be seen in the television version of the film. The scenes were re-inserted to increase the running time of the film (originally a scant 88 minutes).

At midnight on October 27, 2013, the first official screening of the "Producer's Cut" took place at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.[13] Screenwriter Daniel Farrands was present for a short Q&A, in which he stressed that there was still a major push in the works to get this version a proper release. He also said that the studio allowing this version to be screened in public for the first time, and the overwhelmingly positive response, were both huge steps in the right direction.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nicholas Rogers, Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 110.
  2. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for September 29-October 1, 1995". Box Office Mojo. 1995-10-01. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  3. ^ "Arrow In The Head Review: Halloween 6, The Producer's Cut". JoBlo.com. Retrieved 1 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Interviews with Daniel Farrands "Daniel Farrands Interview: Halloween 6". HalloweenMovies.com. 
  5. ^ "Interview With Daniel Farrands". 73 Miles to Haddonfield Fansite. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d Danielle Harris, Marianne Hagan (2006). Halloween: 25 Years Later (A Documentary) (DVD). Anchor Bay Entertainment. 
  7. ^ "Fright Exclusive Interview: Daniel Farrands". Icons of Fright. June 2005. Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  8. ^ "Dan Farrands interview". Iconsoffright.com. Retrieved 2014-01-28. 
  9. ^ Kimmel, Daniel (29 September 1995). "Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers". Variety. Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  10. ^ LaSalle, Mick (2 October 2005). "FILM REVIEW: Latest 'Halloween' is No Treat". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 29 September 2009. 
  11. ^ "Halloween 6, 7 and 8 Available on Blu-ray in Canada, without the inclusion of the Producer's Cut or any of the deleted scenes". DreadCentral. 
  12. ^ "HALLOWEEN COLLECTION (1-5) BOX SET : JB HI-FI". JB Hi-Fi. Retrieved September 10, 2012. 
  13. ^ Zimmerman, Samuel (October 25, 2013). "Los Angeles! Producer's Cut of "HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS" Screening this Weekend". Fangoria Entertainment. Retrieved November 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]