31 Days of Horror – Tim Murr on Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers Producer’s Cut

Let’s get something out of the way right now; this is the second time I’m writing this article after my first one got mysteriously deleted. The first time around I took time to break down the differences between the Theatrical Cut and the Producer’s Cut, what went wrong behind the scenes, and why the Producer’s Cut is the only one you should bother watching. Well, not this time buster. Now I’m in a bad mood and I’m not feeling super fair, so let’s be blunt…

The Theatrical Cut (which I re-watched in preparation for this piece) is a dog shit movie, directed, edited, and released by people who hate movies, but love a fast buck. This is the Halloween film that marked the beginning of the Dimension/Miramax era-you know, the folks famous taking pre-existing non- Hellraiser screenplays and shoving Pinhead into them to keep rolling out Hellraiser films. They’re responsible for the hideous mask in Halloween H20 and the fact that Busta Rhymes tried kung fu on Michael in ResurrectionCurse hit theaters and was no less a cluster-fuck than the aforementioned films. Producer Paul Freeman and director Joe Chapelle ignored the script and ignored Moustapha Akkad, who had been Halloween’s producer since the first film and had hired Carpenter and Hill to make the film in the first place. Freeman and Chapelle instead dealt directly with Dimension, rewrote the script on the fly, changed everything about the beginning and end, and had to rush extensive reshoots to finish this cold turd on golden plate. Their changes left a number of confusing threads through out the film and the hack job editing meant losing helpful dialogue and creating scenes that contradicted each other. And then when we finally get to the part where the bad guys’ plan is ultimately revealed, we get a bit of inaudible dialogue followed by a woman saying “it’s based on Dr Wynn’s own research.” before they go into a surgery that is never explained or shown and has nothing to do with any of the characters we’ve been following throughout the film. The only part in the whole film worth watching is the scene that immediately follows, when Michael enters the surgery and hacks everyone to death, before pursuing Paul Rudd and company down a tunnel that looks like it was lit by Dario Argento.

The thing is though, The Curse of Michael Myers never had to be a bad movie and in fact there was a legendary work print that existed on a rough bootleg, which circulated among fans for years. When a special edition Blu-ray box set came out in 2014, it included that version of the film and it was called the Producer’s Cut, referring to the vision Moustapha Akkad wanted for Curse when he hired screenwriter Daniel Farrands to craft it. Farrands was a big Halloween fan and really knew the Franchise by heart, but he also knew the novelizations of part 1, 2, and 4-all written by Dennis Etchison. Farrands went to his first meeting with Akkad with a ‘bible,’ that included the family trees and timelines of the series, with a screenplay that pulled together the disparate thread of 4 and 5 and bridged them to 1 and 2, with a nod to 3 in the Cult of Thorn, which, similar to Season of the Witch’s Conal Cochran, believed Halloween or Samhain had strayed too far from its original purpose and looked to bring the holiday back to its bloody roots.

The Producer’s Cut has a lengthy intro, taking us back to the end of part 5, where we see the Man in Black slaughtering the Haddonfield police and breaking Michael out of jail. We see cult members load Michael into the back of a van and kidnap Jamie. They make a fast get away, then we jump a few years into the future and see Jamie ritualistically raped by Michael (it’s the most fucked up thing in the franchise, fortunately it’s more suggested and we’re not subjected to anything graphic), another time jump and Jamie is pregnant and going into labor. Her baby is to be Michael’s final sacrifice, as a new boy has been chosen to take Michael’s place.

In the Theatrical Cut, most characters seemed like throwaways, including some of the main characters. Why they even existed within the narrative or why we should care is never revealed. In the Producer’s Cut, those same characters become integral to the story. Donald Pleasance returns, despite being in ill-health, for one more run at Michael, and Paul Rudd takes the lead role as the PTSD suffering Tommy Doyle, who has grown into an obsessed young man, devoting his life to unlocking the secret of the bogeyman that scarred him for life on that fateful night back in 1978. We see shades of his trauma in Laurie when she returns in both H20 and in this year’s amazing reboot. What the Producer’s Cut successfully accomplishes is completes the story arc started in part 1 and sets up the franchise to go in a new direction with what could have been part 7. But as we know, the extensive tampering with the script and the fact that no one thought it was important to make a good film, much less one that made sense, led Dimension to turn Halloween H20 into a cheap Scream clone with Friday the 13th alum Steve Miner in the directors chair.

 

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