Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Dir. Joe Chappelle (1995)
Michael Myers returns to Haddonfield to look for his niece Jamie and her new baby.
For the purposes of this review, we will be discussing the Producer's Cut of the film. I watched the theatrical version last year but I've heard tales that the PC is the best version to watch and that it clears up a lot of confusion from the theatrical version. I figured I'd give H6 the benefit of the doubt and try to review what is allegedly the best version of the film, but I gotta say, I still don't come away all that impressed.
Michael Myers and his niece Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy in this one) were kidnapped from a police station at the end of Halloween 5, and they've been kept in a compound by the evil Cult of Thorn. There, Jamie becomes pregnant with Michael's baby (too-late spoiler alert), and when she is assisted in an escape attempt by a nurse who works with the cult, she delivers the baby to a train station in Haddonfield before being hunted down by Michael and then the Cult itself. The baby is found by Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), who has been obsessed with Michael ever since his experience in 1978, and he gets together with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) in order to try to bring down Michael and the Cult once and for all.
Does this sound confusing? Yeah, that's because it is. The biggest problem with Curse is that it tries to rewrite a lot of the story that already had four canon films in the series. The insertion of the "Mark of Thorn," and the insistence that it's Michael's mark as if it had been there all along, makes zero sense, and Loomis' referring to it as if he has always related this symbol to Michael makes even less. The mark, and the cult that shares its name, has never been mentioned once in any of the previous five films, and while you could make the argument that the mystic and astrological themes in play in Curse could be drawn back to H3's pagan witchy plot, that's literally the only film that you shouldn't be referencing for a story about Michael. (Not that I think that was at all their intent, I think they just made a really bad movie.)
I will give H6 credit, though. It really does try to handle what it was given with the ending of H5. Without completely ignoring that any of that ending, which features Michael being busted out of prison by a mysterious Man in Black who has heretofore never existed in the franchise, it at least tries to build upon the hand that it was dealt. Other franchises have never shied away from retconning or erasing events from previous movies (and this franchise will do just that with the next installment), but the ending of H5 was a teaser for a story that no one asked for and one that wasn't ever previously discussed. It's only natural that a movie that attempted to explain this new wrinkle would struggle to encapsulate a story that was never so much as hinted at in the previous films. Between the corner it was pigeonholed in by the previous installment and the death of Donald Pleasance during filming, Curse never stood a chance.
I do like the addition of Paul Rudd as Tommy, the little boy who escaped Michael in the original film. He's a weirdo, and his plot with the baby doesn't make a ton of sense, but Rudd does a fine job in the role and helps to play a hybrid harbinger/ally for the Final Girl, Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan). Michael is also quite brutal in this film, slicing and dicing as an efficient killing machine that is much closer to the original Michael than the previous two films displayed. Pleasance is great as well, though this is old, demented Loomis, who finally completes his transformation into Ahab by eventually becoming the monster himself.
The Producer's Cut is better than the theatrical version, but it's definitely still a mess. The plot is borderline nonsensical and totally unnecessary, the Cult of Thorn is dumb as hell, and there's just no reason for this movie to have been made the way that it was. By all accounts, the production itself was a nightmare, and it's hard to believe the series was able to continue at all after such a terrible experience. Perhaps it was necessary for the film to be this bad in order to change direction for the next film in the series, Halloween H20, but it certainly would've been better if they had ignored the ending to H5 and made something entirely different.
Who this movie is for: Halloween superfans, Slasher movie devotees, Druid... nurses?
Bottom line: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is a tangled mess of a film that can barely get out of its own way to even be an enjoyable slasher film. Michael is brutal and actually pretty rad, the one-time addition of Paul Rudd is an excellent add, and Donald Pleasance's last turn as Loomis is a must-see regardless of the quality of the rest of the film. I would recommend checking out the Producer's Cut if you're going to watch 6, but it's a film that could be skipped without missing a whole lot.