Thursday, September 27, 2012

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

         Ever since the Halloween of 1989, both Jamie Lloyd and Michael Myers have disappeared. Now, in 1995, it is revealed that Jamie Lloyd has been held prisoner by a Satanic cult known as Thorn. She is now about fifteen years old and gives birth to a baby boy. One of the nurses unties Jamie, hands her the baby, and helps her escape Thorn's secret hide away. Michael tracks Jamie down and brutally kills her, but she has hidden her son away in a safe place. The next day, a now adult Tommy Doyle who has been studying Michael Myers for years, finds Jamie's son and contacts a retired Dr. Loomis.  Tommy now lives across from the old Myers house, which is now fixed up and some relatives of Laurie Strode's foster parents are now living there consisting of Kara, her mother Debra, her abusive bastard of a father John, her brother Tim, and her eight year old son Danny. Thorn's leader has now chosen Danny to be the next unstoppable being in Thorn's legacy of evil since Michael is almost finished killing off the rest of his family to complete his destiny.  Will Tommy and Loomis be able to protect the Strode family and Jamie's baby from Michael and Thorn?

             In 1988, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers brought the horror fans what they wanted, Michael Myers.   The film did so well with fans and at the box office. A year later in 1989, Moustapha Akkad released the awful Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers that destroyed any great possibility that Halloween 4 could have led to.  After Halloween 5 failed at the box office and was poorly received by fans, Akkad and company struggled to figure out a way to apologize for their screw up back in '89.  It was a really tough time developing a sixth installment to continue where Halloween 5 left off.  Several different screenwriters were considered to write. Quentin Tarantino was actually in talks at one point and even wrote a first draft that was turned down.   It took about five years, but Akkad finally found a good screenplay written by a long time fan of the franchise named Daniel Farrands.  Farrands explained who the man in black was from Halloween 5, what happened to Jamie Lloyd, and ultimately, what happened to Michael Myers that turned him evil and made him unstoppable. Nobody had dared to go into detail with what happened to him, so this was a bold move on Farrands' part.

            The screenplay by Daniel Farrands is actually pretty good if you watch the producer's cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.   Before I go any further, I must explain why there are two VERY different cuts of this movie.  Back when Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers wrapped filming, it was written for actor Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis) to be in the next installment.  Right after completing additional dialogue for the film though, Donald Pleasence died. He was even sick in the making of this movie and you can tell by the way he looked and sounded that he was ill.   Since he died right after completing the film, the filmmakers felt that it would be too wrong to have it set up for the next film the way the film had originally been cut.  That is not a good excuse though. Hell, The Dark Knight set it up where Joker was originally planned to take part in Batman 3 (now known as The Dark Knight Rises) and Chris Nolan didn't just change the film around just because Heath Ledger was no longer around.  So, that right there was a wrong move.  Then, the film was test screened for a bunch of fourteen year old boys, where some snobby fourteen year old boy told the filmmakers that the ending sucked. Wow, you are seriously going to take the kid's word for it and change up the ENTIRE fucking movie just to please one snobby movie goer? Fuck that! Let the little fucker complain! I make my films the way I vision them and would not let some kid tell me how to make my fucking movie.  It's one thing to hate something, but at least back up your answer with a logical reasoning.     So, the filmmakers took the kid's complaint to heart and made a sloppy edited mess that they actually released to theaters.

         When the internet age finally came around, bootleg copies of a producer's cut version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers were found on Ebay that people were buying left and right.  This producer's cut was actually how the film was originally intended to be seen that was both dark, cool, and made sense. What was released to theaters in 1995 was a confusing mess of a movie and disappointed many Halloween fans.   Since I've seen both versions, I will discuss both of them.

            Regardless of which version you watch, there is still two complaints I have for the film. The first was killing off Jamie Lloyd as well as recasting her.  The way she went out in the theatrical version was so fucked up! Even though I hate that she was killed off, I have to say that the producer's cut way she dies was more satisfying.   The second is the whole Thorn bullshit. I didn't need a reason behind Michael's evil. Although, we are at the sixth film now so I guess no explanation by this point would make the films become boring.

             I will begin with discussing the theatrical cut that anybody can see.  This version leaves many many many questions left unanswered. Who is Jamie's baby's father? Why is Thorn holding Jamie prisoner?  Whatever happened to Dr. Loomis at the end? The ending in this version sucks big time.  Maybe this was the ending which that snobby kid was talking about because the producer's cut ending was fucking awesome and could have led to an interesting story if Pleasence hadn't died after filming wrapped.  Also, there's a lot of quick cuts, lightning flashes, scream echoes, and electric guitar music that feels totally trippy and out of place.  Don't get me wrong, I like trippy sometimes, but when the film doesn't make sense in the end, I can't forgive the trippy look of the film.  I did find the scene where Michael mutilates a lot of doctors really trippy and kinda intense in how it was structured. Some of the film felt very nightmarish, which I do admit to liking a bit. The problem was that the narrative was totally out of place.  One of the kills looked really silly where a guy gets electrocuted to the point where his head actually explodes.

        The producer's cut however provides answers for our desired questions and makes the narrative make sense, while still being dark and creepy.   The film felt kinda like if you mixed Rosemary's Baby and The Omen into  a Halloween movie.  We find out who Jamie's baby's father is. Can we say serious incest?  We also have a way more satisfying conclusion to all of this madness.

               The characters are actually pretty interesting. Kara Strode made for a pretty decent heroine in this film who just wants to protect her son.  Kara comes from a pretty dysfunctional family. Her mother is sweet and caring, yet her father verbally and physically abuses her. What a fucking prick this man was! We also have her brother Tim and his girlfriend. Tommy Doyle (the little boy from the original Halloween '78) returns to stop Michael alongside Dr. Loomis and another doctor, Dr. Terrence Wynn.  There's some radio talk show dick named  Barry Simms. Jamie Lloyd is back for like twenty minutes, but gets killed. And there's also the old lady who Tommy lives with named Mrs. Blankenship.

             The music by Alan Howarth and Paul Rabjohns was decent in the producer's cut, but pretty meh in the theatrical cut.

              The direction by Joe Chappelle is uneven in the theatrical cut, but not bad in the producer's cut.  Chappelle was never interested in the Halloween films anyways. He just wanted to get a three picture deal with Dimension Films.

         The acting was actually not bad.  I liked Marianne Hagan as Kara Strode. She was cute, sympathetic, and was going through a hard time raising her son and dealing with her father. Paul Rudd (Clueless) was good as adult Tommy Doyle. Donald Pleasence was very good in his last portrayal of Dr. Sam Loomis and also his last movie period.  Mitch Ryan was good as Dr. Terrence Wynn. I liked Kim Darby as Debra Strode.  Bradford English was great at playing an abusive and evil bastard of a father as John Strode. I haven't hated a guy this much in the Halloween franchise except for Ronnie White in Rob Zombie's Halloween '07.  Keith Bogart was decent as Tim Strode and I liked Mariah O' Brien as his girlfriend Beth. Leo Geter was a great dick as radio talk show douche Barry Simms. Devin Gardner was really good as little Danny Strode. I loved Janice Knickerehm as Mrs. Blankenship. The best part is when she explains how Halloween came to be.  George P. Wilbur who played Michael Myers in Halloween 4 returns and was great. I think he is the creepiest Michael since Nick Castle/Tony Moran and Dick Warlock.  Plus, the mask looked creepy as Hell in this film!  And then we have J.C. Brandy replacing Danielle Harris  as teenage Jamie Lloyd. Originally, Akkad wanted Danielle Harris back, but Danielle couldn't agree on anything with the director and hated the script and the fact that they were killing off the character that made her career as well as a character that everyone loved. As for J.C. Brandy, she was just okay. It's just weird to watch her play the character and not Danielle Harris. That's okay, Danielle Harris will return to the Halloween legacy in Rob Zombie's Halloween '07 and will be in Adam Green's Hatchet II & III.

             Overall, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers can either be a trippy, bland, and mediocre movie or a good film depending on which version you watch. Honestly, I recommend checking out the producer's cut if you can find it. It was on Ebay, but now it is even harder to find. The only reason I was able to see it was because a friend of mine made me a copy and mailed it to me.  I'm really hoping that Dimension Films smartens up and releases Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers on DVD/Blu-ray in the form of the producer's cut. Apparently they have been in talks about it, but that was five or six years ago! Release it already!

        RIP Donald Pleasence!  The Halloween franchise will never be the same without you running around with a gun like a crazy person and your awesome monologues about evil. In memory of the great Donald Pleasence, I will quote his most famous line of dialogue as Dr. Samuel Loomis in the original classic that made all of this possible.

     " I met this six year old child with this blank, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes. The Devil's eyes. I spent six years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I knew that what was behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply, Evil."

                                     C   -Theatrical Version
                                      B   - Producer's Cut

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