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Halloween: The Curse of Michael
Miramax/Echo Bridge Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 5/10/2011
All Ratings out of
Extras: No Extras
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 5/15/2011; Updated 9/23/2014
If you've read any of my reviews for slasher movies or horror movies in general, I've probably mentioned that John Carpenter's Halloween is my favorite movie. Given that, I'm highly critical of sequels. Truthfully, I think that Halloween is perfect the way that it is and no sequels were necessary. If pressed, I will tell you that the only two which I acknowledge are Halloween II and Halloween: H20. Despite my views, there are millions of Halloween fans out there, or should I say, Michael Myers fans, who clamor for sequels or, God forbid, remakes, and the Akkad family keeps cranking them out. While it would be tough to decide which one of the sequels is the worst, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers would certainly be at the top (or is it bottom?) of that list.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (which is technically Halloween 6) takes place six years after the events of Halloween 5. Michael Myers (here played by George P. Wilbur) and his niece, Jamie Lloyd (previously played by Danielle Harris) disappeared six years ago, assisted by a mysterious man in black. As the story opens, we see that Jamie (now played by J.C. Brandy) is pregnant and held captive by some sort of cult. She delivers the baby, but then escapes, only to be hunted down by Michael Myers. Before she is caught, she is able to call a local radio station. Tommy Doyle (played by Paul Rudd, who is "introduced" in the film as Paul Stephen Rudd), the young boy who was terrorized by Michael Myers in 1978, hears the broadcast. Tommy is a recluse who has dedicated his life to studying Michael Myers. He lives across the street from relatives of Laurie Strode, the lone survivor of the first film. When Michael Myers comes calling, Tommy convinces Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan) that she and her son (Devin Gardner) and that he can help them. Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), the psychiatrist who originally treated Michael Myers, also come into the picture. But, how can this force of evil be stopped?
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is one of those movies which has a pretty muddy history. As the legend goes, Director Joe Chapelle diverged from the original script and delivered a cut which didn't please Producer Paul Freeman. Still, it was Chapelle's cut which went out to theaters. A "Producer's Cut" (as opposed to the usual "Director's Cut") of the movie does exist and has been available via bootleg for years. (Editor's Note: DVDSleuth.com does not condone the viewing, purchasing, or discussion of bootleg movies.) However, this story doesn't excuse the fact that this is a horrible mess of a movie.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers has so many problems, I don't know where to start. The movie makes the mistake of continuing every stupid plot idea from Halloween 5, namely the man in black and the Thorn cult. Michael Myers was born to be part of this cult (he bears the mark on his arm) and they can control him. Do what? Michael Myers is the puppet of some shadowy organization? Does that make any sense? Yet, in the film, the man in black can seemingly dispatch Michael Myers from their secret lair like some sort of hitman. I'm more of a fan of Halloween than I am of the Michael Myers character, but I don't know how any of the Michael Myers' devotees put up with that junk. So, in this movie, Michael Myers isn't so much stalking and slashing people, as he's disposing of them.
The rest of the movie doesn't make much sense either. Now, credit where credit is due -- the idea of bringing back Tommy Doyle from the first film, and having him be a damaged Michael Myers expert is genius. Too bad they don't do much with him, although young ingénue Paul Rudd is clearly giving it his all. Donald Pleasance was apparently very ill during filming -- he died not long after the movie wrapped -- so his scenes are few and far between and very erratic. Dr. Loomis just seems to show up from time to time, say something weird and disappear. Kara’s son is visited by the man in black and often has a blank stare, as if he’s in a trance, but this is never explained or pays off. The final act of the movie really goes off the rails, as everyone ends up in the basement of a mental hospital. There is a long chase scene through rooms which are apparently supposed to mean something to us, and then the movie simply ends. Rumor has it that the Producer’s Cut clears up some of the issues in the finale, but as it is, it has the feeling of a heavily edited European movie from the 80s.
Halloween 4, Halloween 5, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers have the unfortunate reputation of being sort of cheap looking movies, and Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is the cheapest of them all. There’s little gore here and the murders are very boring. Other than being brain-dead and non-sensical, the movie’s biggest sin is that, as usual, they didn’t get the Michael Myers mask right. It’s no wonder that all of these storylines were abandoned and the series was given a fresh re-start with Halloween: H20. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is a movie which not only scrapes the bottom of the barrel, but needlessly so.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers makes you glad that “shock jocks” aren’t as popular as they used to be on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Miramax/Echo Bridge Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 20 Mbps. Unlike most of the Halloween films, which were shot at 1.85:1, this one was shot at 1.85:1. The aspect ratio presented on this Disc isn’t the original aspect ratio, but there is no sense of pan ‘n scan or a “smushed” look. The image is relatively sharp and clear, but there is a visible grain on the picture. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. Still, the image doesn’t show a great amount of detail and it certainly shimmers at times. According to the Blu-ray Disc box, the Disc contains a DTS-HD stereo track, and according to my player, it’s a DTS-HD Master Audio 2 channel track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 1.8 Mbps. But, I was clearly getting surround sound effects from this track. The rear speakers didn’t seem to be merely mirroring the front channels, these sounded like true, independent surround effects. Whatever the case, they certainly added to the viewing experience, which was desperately needed. Along with that, we get clear dialogue and music.
The Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Blu-ray Disc contains no extras.
On September 23, 2014, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory released the "Halloween: The Complete Collection" Blu-ray Disc set. Included in this set was the (legal) home video debut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Producer's Cut. The name derives from the fact that Producers Paul Freeman and Malek Akkad prefer this cut to the theatrical version, but they were overruled by the Weinstein Brothers, who distributed the film. This cut of the movie has reached legendary status and bootleg copies have made the rounds for years. I was very excited that I was not only going to finally see it, but in High-Def as well.
Well, I'm here to say that even in this cut, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers still isn't a very good movie. I won't give away too many of the specifics, but I will say that the film's opening and finale are very different and this version does not have the gore which was added to the theatrical cut. I can remember seeing this movie for the first time and being convinced that something had gone wrong as it ended so abruptly and made no sense. This version rectifies that in the sense that the ending is allowed to play out, but it's still no winner. Having now seen both versions, I can tell you that the problem with Halloween 6 isn't the cut, but the story in general. Any self-respecting Halloween fan should cringe at the fact that Michael Myers is now being controlled by a cult. The movie makes leaps in logic, as when Tommy takes the baby, and the it reaches its low-point by bringing in a "Shock Jock" character who is simply the worst. The Producer's Cut doesn't feel as disjointed as the theatrical release, but it's still fairly stupid and boring. Still, kudos to Anchor Bay and Scream Factory for doing something which we rarely see and giving the fans something which they want.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Producer's Cut concludes with Tommy pretending to be a Dungeonmaster on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Anchor Bay and Scream Factory. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 32 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only a very faint amount of grain at times and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good (most notably blues and oranges) and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is good, as the image never goes soft and the depth is adequate. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.8 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. This isn't the most active track on Earth, but I did note some interesting stereo effects which alert us to sounds happening off-screen. The surround sound effects come from rain and crowd noise. The familiar score sounds very good here.
The Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Producer's Cut Blu-ray Disc contains several extras. We begin with an AUDIO COMMENTARY from Writer Daniel Farrands and Composer Alan Howarth. "Acting Scared" (19 minutes) contains individual interviews with J.C. Brandy (Jamie) and Mariah O'Brien (Beth) who discuss how they got their roles and their experiences on the film. "The Shape of Things" (12 minutes) has special effects make-up artists John Carl Buechler and Brian Hardin discussing the creation of the Michael Myers mask, while George Wilbur talks about his performance as "The Shape". There is also talk of the re-shoots and additional gore. "Haddonfield's Horrors" (11 minutes) Director of Photography Billy Dickson and Production Designer Bryan Ryman talk about the look of the film and the working environment on the set. "A Cursed 'Curse'" (10 minutes) offers individual interviews with Producers Malek Akkad and Paul Freeman who talk about the difficulties with the film and their views on the "Producer's Cut", including how the Weinstein's pushed for the theatrical cut. "Full Circle" (7 minutes) has Composer Alan Howarth outlining how he approached the project, specifically music for the film's new approach. "Jamie's Story" (8 minutes) allows Danielle Harris to give her side of the story as to why she wasn't in the film. "Cast and Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasence" (3 minutes) has those involved in the film remembering the actor who died during production. An early "Teaser Trailer" advertises the film as "Halloween 666". "Archival Interviews and Behind the Scenes (sic) Footage" (8 minutes) offers interviews with Pleasence, Rudd, Hagan, Chappelle, and some on-set footage. We get more "Behind the Scenes Footage" (24 minutes) which is simply location footage shot by Farrands. "Alternate and Deleted Scenes" (7 minutes) offers four scenes which don't appear in either cut. The final extra is an"Electronic Press Kit" (5 minutes) which is made-up mostly of clips.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2011/2014.