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(At an abandoned Drive-In, Jarvisrama99 is at the concessions getting popcorn, all while the Creature stands behind the counter)
Jarvisrama99: Hmm, no butter…or so much butter that my heart will combust from the buttery goodness…
The Creature: How can you still be deciding this for almost 30 minutes?
Jarvisrama99: Hey, you never know what mood you’re in for snacks when watching a movie…How come you haven’t gotten anything?
(The Creature holds up a jumbo sized slushy cup, turning it over with nothing falling out)
Jarvisrama99: …no butter then.
(the two make their way to an abandoned car, with the Creature switching the radio station to the drive in)
Jarvisrama99: How do you get to own a place like this?
The Creature: Really cheap, especially when no one wants to purchase the land.
Jarvisrama99: Why’s that?
The Creature: (shrugs) Something about being built over an ancient burial cemetery. Nothing important.
(Jarvisrama99 gives a concerned look as the film begins to play on the screen…)
-- The Creature: Back in 1935, talks of a remake of Phantom have been making it way around Universal Studios. Unlike its predecessor, it would be a modern piece going through various different changes from the Phantom being a psychologically damaged WWI veteran to being Christine's Father. The screenplay hung in development until 1941 when Mister Ed creator Arthur Lubin was brought in to the director's chair and the film was finally finished in 1943.
Jarvisrama99: The reason for this was because of the change in studio hands, as Universal’s original founder Carl Laemmle and his son were forced out of the studio during the Great Depression. This wasn’t the only issue, as the film had constantly changing cast members, with Cesar Romero, Boris Karloff, Feodor Chaliapin, Charles Laughton and Broderick Crawford all considered for the role of The Phantom. Claude Rains, who’s voice landed him the role in 1933’s The Invisible Man, was reluctant to return to Universal, especially under makeup by the studio’s head makeup artist Jack Pierce, the man behind the classic Universal Monster designs. Rains and Pierce came to an agreement on the makeup, with the studio also making note not to make it appear like wounded victims serving in the war at the time.
For the film, Universal went out of their way to make the film lavish. While the movie was meant to follow in the success of the popular monster films the studio was making at the time, this one was a bit different: it was completely shot in gorgeous technicolor. This is especially rare since none of the other Monster films were made in color. The idea was considered, Son of Frankenstein almost committed to it, but Phantom ended up being the odd one out.
Due to the war, the filmmakers had to reuse set designs made for other movies, though fortunately one set piece wouldn’t be a problem. The original Opera house set made for Lon Chaney’s 1925 movie was refurbished and used for the film. There also came an issue as and odd regulation meant films were limited to original existing Operatic pieces. For this, the musical score was written by Edward Ward, who created fictional operas that played to public domain music, making it come off like existing plays.
The film appeared to have a bad word of mouth during a test screening and it’s opening night, though fortunately the studio had no worried. The movie was a financial success, and on a budget of $1,750,000, grossed $1.6 million. That wasn’t the end, as the film not only received 4 Oscar nominations, but actually won 2, making it the only Universal Horror movie to win from the Academy.
Universal immediately called on a sequel entitled The Climax, which ended up being released in 1945, also made in technicolor. However, due to Claude Rains butting heads with returning, the film was retooled and made as a ‘successor’ to Phantom, with Boris Karloff taking on the Phantom-like villain of the film.
-- The Creature: Synopsis: Enrique Claudin (Claude Rains) is a violinist working for the Paris Opera House who takes an interest in young Christine DuBois (Susanna Foster) and is working on a concerto he wishes to have published. Shortly after being told it went missing, he is convinces they are trying to steal it from him and he soon murders the publisher and becomes horribly disfigured. Soon after, he tries to sabotage the Opera House in order to make Christine a star.
Well, right off the bat, I have to admit that I have some problems with this movie. Specifically, this film is very different from most of the adaptations I've seen of this source. It's one of the few adaptations that hardly does anything with its source material and goes about doing whatever it wants. It feels almost like the bare minimum requirement to make it a Phantom movie: a mysterious person residing within the opera house who has an obsession with a young opera singer; that's it.
While this version does add its own unique version of the story, it is quite dragged down by it. It takes roughly Thirty Minutes before Claude becomes the feared Phantom and it really removes most of the mystery elements of the original story of whom the Phantom truly is and trying to figure it out. It really pales in comparison to Lon Chaney's version.
Jarvisrama99: I’m surprising on the opposite side, as I’m kinda fine with the film going out of it’s way to do Phantom in a different way…well, the Universal way. The film does take liberties with the story, but that’s not the first time Universal did it. As much as their adaptations of Dracula and Frankenstein are important films for horror films and the studio, they’re very loosely based on their original books. In fact the two were adaptations of a stage play adaptation that the studio bought. And don’t get me started on their Edgar Allen Poe adaptations, they’re just the titles of his stories used as a loose basis for a film.
The thing about the movie is that here we’re starting to see the long road that leads to the sympathetic Phantom. Lon Chaney’s Phantom was just a monster, that’s it. He’s treated like a monster, comes off like a monster, is killed like a monster. Rains’ Phantom is built up, and we do feel bad for his predicament. Old age is setting in, he’s let go from his job, he has no money because it’s all for Christine to learn how to sing, you buy his tragic human side. I think the reason this isn’t a bother to me is Universal with some of its films tended to show us human characters before we see the monster. Frankenstein, The Wolf Man, The Invisible Man, they usually come into the film a bit later on in the story.
The problem with this new approach is it then clashes when Enrique as the Phantom flat out just murders people. The angle with this film is as oppose to Chaney’s Phantom makeup, we’re shown why Rains hides behind a mask, which is him having acid thrown in his face when he believes a composer publisher has stolen his music. I get the idea is that it’s meant to imply the acid caused some psychological damage, but due to the Phantom being off camera for a lot of the movie, it’s a bit hard to buy into. Had he gone after the woman who threw the acid maybe that’d make sense, but a random maid of a singer that told Christine off? Jesus dude.
An interesting thing I noticed was that a lot of later adaptations heavily based the burnt makeup off of Pierce’s design. Hammer noticeably did when they did their 1962 adaptation with Universal, but even Robert Englund’s version in 1989 seems to take influence from this film. So I guess even though Chaney’s film is still adored, there’s still a lot of admiration for the 1943 adaptation.
The Creature: With that in mind, how exactly does Claude Rains hold up as the Phantom?
Despite what problems I have with the story, he is easily one of the best parts of the whole film. He gives the role of the tragic violinist a lot more depth and intrigue than the script had in mind and really can hold any scene he's in together with his acting alone. The film really showcases his talents that makes it easy to see why he was chosen for the role (Plus I will add he has my favorite Mask out of the other Phantoms).
However, it is unfortunate that the script really didn't play in the Phantom's favor as he is mostly prominent within the first half of the film and is only there for a couple of scenes within the second half. While I do get that it would be to add in tension and mystery as to what became of him, they failed in that regard due to how he was written. Never the less, Rains still shined in the role and gave it the film something that worked in its favor.
Jarvisrama99: Oh, Claude Rains is fantastic here. I get why he never wanted to be typecast in these roles as he feared it would damage his reputation, but man does he still give his all. The time we spend getting to know him is great. You just buy into his sad, lonely existence and his commitment into making this one woman’s dreams come true. Just every time you see that face of his you just want to give him a hug. Also: best voice. The thing that got him a career in the first place is used wonderfully here. As menacing as it can get, it still has a warmth to it when Rains is calmed down and not being hostile or in a murderous tendency. I won’t lie, it’s a shame he vanishes up to the second half of the film in which we don’t see him until much later, but when he’s on screen he shines. And yeah, his mask is my favorite version, hands down.
The Creature: Once again, Christine was a letdown. There's not much to her performance, or character, to really write home about since she comes off as the object of affection for three men (yes, three) throughout the film and eventually ends up being a damsel-in-distress toward the end of it. While Susanne Foster does a decent portrayal, the character isn't very memorable by any means.
Jarvisrama99: Yeah, not really a strong written character here. Susanne Foster is doing fine with what’s she’s given, but it is a very forgettable female character. Like you said, she’s a prize that three men are fighting to get at. Though interesting, the film’s script had Rains turn out to be her father, who left her and her mother to peruse his career in music. A scene later would confirm this with Anatole Garron, but that’s all cut from the film making her just another woman to scream at the monster.
The Creature: Raoul in this film comes not as a wealthy socialite as he has before in the book and 1925 version, but as an inspector for the French Police who still seeks her affection. However, once again, this film does do something unexpected. While Christine is the object of both the Phantom and Raoul's desires, they added in a third man who is head over heels for her. He comes in the form of Anatole Garron, the opera house's baritone who performs with Christine frequently. The two men are often shown together with Christine as the two of them fight for affection in addition to dealing with the Phantom. Surprisingly, these two are more likable than Christine was. The two of them act like Gentlemen and often try to outmatch each other to win over Christine and it throws in some comedic moments throughout the film. While it does further detach the film from its Horror roots, it is still one of the more enjoyable parts of the film.
Jarvisrama99: I was kinda surprised they included a third love interest, though it did fortunately work. While they’re essentially fighting for Christine’s love (and she…unknowing is aware of it, I think?), I really enjoy the performances that Nelson Eddy’s Garron and Edgar Barrier’s Raoul have with one another. The two’s comebacks and attitudes towards one another did crack me up. Yeah it’s pretty straight forward for 1943 type comedy, but it worked for me.
The Creature: The film reuses some of the same set pieces and sound-stages from the 1925 version as well as having a higher budget. The Opera House looks quite grand and in large in scale which matches up the setting of the film quite nicely. Not to mention the colorization of the film helps make the film look livelier (which the film earned an Oscar for back in the day). In addition, the regal attire and costumes of the characters help the film pop more and aims to impress the eyes.
Jarvisrama99: That both annoys and blows me away. On one hand, WOW. This film looks amazing. The color is gorgeous, just popping all over the screen. I swear, it looks like a predecessor to Hammer’s horror films it looks like the film could’ve easily been made by them it’s that eerily similar. One the other…WHY IS THIS THE ONLY TECHNICOLOR UNIVERSAL HORROR FILM?! I’d kill to see the other’s the studio made in lavish greens, blues, reds, yellows, purples, gah! It’s not fair!
...Though I will say it doesn’t look as bad if it was shot in black and white…what, I got bored.
The costume designs are really impressive, just the overall design is just fun to look at. The Operatic sequences…are good, but kinda pad out the run time. As nice as the sequences are written and scored, this also means we have less time to focus on the characters and the story, which I feel should’ve been a bigger focus.
There is an interesting thing I noticed. When the film has sequences of people talking about the Phantom as a ghost, the film cuts to the Phantom’s silhouette on the wall. That doesn’t seem like a big deal, except the way it’s filmed almost comes off black and white. I think that’s a nod to Chaney’s film, but again that’s only me speculating.
I did notice an odd bit where Christine finally goes out and performs, we keep cutting to the Phantom under the Opera house. It does this before, during, and after her performances. I kinda wish Christine performs, then we cut underneath. We hear the cheers building up in the caves, and then the Phantom looks up. It would be the first time we see the Phantom with his mask, which would also help build up tension on his schemes. I don’t know, the way the film does it was just slightly clumsy to me.
The Creature: I thought it was okay. Claude Rains does a great job as the Phantom, Nelson Eddy and Edgar Barrier are pretty enjoyable in their supporting roles and the film is a feast for the eyes. However, the film's storyline waters down the majority of the Horror and Mystery that the original film had going for it and Christine wasn't very interesting in this version either. If I had to choose between both Universal versions, I would suggest going with Lon Chaney's version over this.
Jarvisrama99: As a run of the mill Universal Monster film, it’s enjoyable. Rains is phenomenal in the role, the film’s production is well spent and gorgeously shot, Eddy and Barrie are great working off one another, and the Technicolor makes the film just jaw droppingly gorgeous, although the story is indeed flawed, and Christine is sadly forgettable. Honestly, I’d say give both versions a watch. I think the two stand as the most impactful on the Phantom in film, even to this day.
The Creature: Well, I guess that’s it. Thanks for agreeing to these crossovers.
(The Creature jolts when he turns to Jarvisrama99, now dressed up as Gerard Butler from the Schumacher Phantom movie)
The Creature: Ain’t happening.
Jarvisrama99: What?! C’mon dude, you know how hard it was to get this altogether?!
(The Creature gives an annoyed expression)
Jarvisrama99: …5 minutes at the local costume shop.
The Creature: Look, I can take that film on by myself... UNLESS you could agree to pay up the $45 you spent at the concessions…
(Jarvisrama99 is no longer in the passenger seat, flinging himself over the side of the drive-in’s fence)
The Creature: That’s what I thought… -- Next Time:
Hello and welcome to FillerWeen, where movies go after they die.
In 1996, the slasher genre gained a second life when Nightmare on Elm Street creator and director Wes Craven and writer Kevin Williamson released Scream, which was influenced by Carpenter’s Halloween. Scream, a film that juggled postmodern humor with visceral horror, as well as acknowledging horror cliché’s audiences were aware of, was a financial success, becoming the highest grossing slasher film of the time, as well as the first in the genre to cross $100 million at the box office. Scream 2 immediately followed a year later, also a huge success, and became the highest grossing opening weekend of any R-rated film at the time. With marketing the film with recognizable then-popular stars, this new formula of the slasher genre took like wild fire…but soon began to dwindle as Scream 2 came into theaters. Fortunately, one film did ride off on the success of Scream, which came from the mindset of the original Halloween main actress.
Jamie Lee Curtis has been conceiving the idea of what it would be like to see what happened to Laurie Strode, which she pitched to John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Although Curtis hoped the two would be involved, their interests at the time weren’t on the same level as Curtis’s. Fortunately, Curtis knew director Steve Miner when the two worked on the film Virus, and Miner happened to know Kevin Williamson whom at the time was working on a pilot for Dawson’s Creek. The two met, and Curtis laid her ideas out with Williamson. It was during this meeting that Curtis said, “Let’s make a movie where [Laurie] makes a moment’s choice. I’m willing to fight for my life because to live another minute in fear is no life and I’d rather die. AND let’s freakin’ end it.” Even though her input was what got the film rolling, Curtis later admitted she agreed simply to receive a paycheck.
Prior to Curtis’ pitch, plans for a Halloween sequel to Curse of Michael Myers was already being developed. Robert Zappia, who worked on the film’s screenplay, was already penning a direct-to-video sequel for Dimension Films and Moustapha Akkad. It would’ve ignored 6’s ending and would’ve had Michael stalking an all-girl prep school where one of the students would somehow be related to him, all under the working title Halloween: Two Faces of Evil. When Curtis became involved, Zappia was asked by Bob Weinstein to intergrate Laurie into the pre-existing prep school concept, which later become a coed, and shortly afterwards Williamson’s ideas were integrated into the story as well.
Curtis wanted as many of the cast and crew from the original productions so badly, she wanted John Carpenter to return and direct. Carpenter agreed to direct the film, but when he demanded a three-picture deal with Dimension Films, the Weinsteins turned down his demand and Carpenter walked. I won’t lie, it’d be interesting to see what Carpenter would’ve done for this entry in the series. Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later arrived in theaters on August 5th, 1998, becoming the first in the series to not have a Halloween film released in October. A financial hit, grossing $85 million off a $17 million budget, the reception was positive at the time, referring to the film as one of the best sequels in the series. After 20 years, does Halloween H20 still hold up? -- Overview: Laurie Strode has spent the last 20 years hiding. On the night of October 31st, 1978, her old brother Michael Myers escaped from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, killing her three friends and numerous residents of Haddonfield in an attempt to kill her. Michael was stopped, however his body was never recovered. Since then, Laurie has faked her death, and under the new identity of Keri Tate, has made a new life for herself and her son John in California as the headmistress of Hillcrest Academy under the name Keri Tate, as well as being in a relationship with Hillcrest guidance counselor Will Brennan. However, Laurie is still haunted by that night, and her worst fears are realized when Michael does return to finish what he started 20 years ago…
Halloween H20 is a pretty good entry in the series…though it’s also very flawed in it’s execution. I think one of the reasons the film came off to me might be because of the absence of Donald Pleasence’s Dr. Loomis. For the first time in the series, Pleasence wasn’t there to combat Michael, and that left me really uncomfortable. Now that isn’t the filmmaker’s fault, Pleasence’s sudden death was something they just had to deal with. But the fact the movie is so built up on Laurie meeting Michael again, it’s like he’s completely sidelined. In fact, the first two films never really had Loomis and Laurie interact outside of a few lines. With 20 years, you’d think the filmmakers would try and make it seem the two had a relationship or hell, give something to him outside of the opening credits, but the film never does.
H20 is famous from ignoring the events of Halloweens 4, 5 and 6, making it come off as this being the ‘only’ sequel in the series. This wasn’t always the case, as by Kevin Williamson, who was a fan of Halloween, pitched the film to be a continuation from Halloween 6. Not only would this have had the entire series be in continuity, but Williamson even had a sequence when Laurie overhears Jamie’s death and is completely devastated by the news. However, the films screenwriters Robert Zapia and Matt Greenberg wrote the film to function without the other films, and it was director Steve Miner’s call to have H20 retcon the previous 3 movies.
Funny enough, while the film tried to ignore the previous three films, elements from those movies still popped up in this film. Marion Chambers-Whittington is killed by Michael while’s he’s wearing the Halloween 6 mask. There’s a photograph of bloody scissors on Loomis’ wall, referencing Jamie attacking her stepmom in Halloween 4. Hell, the car crash Laurie used as a cover up? That’s from Halloween 4, it was just slightly changed for this film that she faked it. A photo of Loomis of the wall was taken during Halloween 6. So those minor elements, while the film doesn’t focus of them, still loosely connects to those movies.
Look, as flawed as those three films are, they did keep the series alive and at least expanded on the Halloween story left open in 1981. And believe me, the Thorn Cult and Curse, as well as Jamie’s treatment and fate, still annoys me to death. But completely erasing it just raises more questions. If we’re now informed Michael vanished in 1978, what the hell has he been doing for 20 years? I guess he’s been lying low, but the film doesn’t do anything with that.
Here’s another problem: if Halloween 4, 5, and 6 were still in continuity, then that really makes the image of Laurie Strode kinda come off as a jerk. You’re telling me that Laurie had a daughter, faked her death, ran off and had another kid, all while her daughter was nearly killed by her uncle twice, was possessed and stabbed her stepmom causing lord knows what kinds of traumatic effects, only to be kidnapped by a cult, give birth, only to get impaled on farm equipment, or in the producer’s cut, RAPED by Michael and then shot in the head…AND DIDN’T DO A DAMN THING ABOUT IT? Oh yeah, I SO want Laurie to win after she let all this shit happen for the past 10 years and just sat in her office relaxing in California.
In fact, here’s something I noticed: even though this is a sequel to the first two films, Halloween II is hardly discussed. True, the Laurie is Michael’s sister element is there, as well as Michael vanishing from the Hospital and Loomis surviving the explosion, but nothing else. Footage from the original Halloween is reused, but Halloween II never does. Look, being trapped in a closet while a crazed murderer is stabbing at you is scary, but I’d argue so is HAVING A HOSPITAL HALLWAY EXPLODE INTO A FIREY INFERNO AS YOU’RE KILLER WALKS AT YOU ON FRIGGING FIRE! That and nowhere in the movie do we get a good shot of Michael’s hands to confirm his burnt skin. Although you could buy it’s connected to those films since, I can’t believe how much I have to point this shit out, we can see his eyes in perfect working order even though they were SHOT OUT. I’m sorry, I know it’s beating a dead horse at this point, but c’mon! He should be blind! You kept the burnt skin, but just darkening his mask’s eyeholes so we can’t see his eyes was never an option?
But the biggest issue I think the film has is it comes off more like it’s trying to be like Scream as oppose to Halloween. The tone, the direction, the fact the movie’s writer wrote scenes and dialogue in certain spots, heck they even reuse some of the music from the Scream movies. Scream works in that it’s happily poking fun of the slasher genre WHILE being a slasher film. Scream is meant to be set in a reality like ours where the killers are just regular people who can’t come back after they’re killed off. It doesn’t work with Halloween because the original idea that the killer that isn’t easy to beat was inversed and flipped on its head in Wes Craven’s film. I mean, Michael was set on fire, shot numerous times, is flat out shown to have inhuman abilities. And yet the film treats him as if he’s Ghostface with these horrific acts towards the kids at the dorms. Michael isn’t that sadistic to cut out inner organs, he’ll just slice your throat and be done.
Case in point: Scream pokes fun at jumpscares. There’s a music que that’s meant to shock us, but in Scream it comes off intentional, like the film itself is going “Hey, aren’t these really annoying?” H20 does them over and over again and doesn’t get it. Yes, it’s another false scare, can you knock it off please? No? Well I guess you should do that 3 more times to make it more aggravating.
At the end of the day, this movie is just the Laurie Strode VS Michael Myers reunion movie, and that parts fine. Laurie has had enough of Michael tormenting her life and she just takes him on with a fire-ax. She locks herself on the campus, and the two just go at it. One of the best moments is when Michael goes to slash her, and she just rams the axe into him. Like Jesus, you really buy Laurie’s aggression of wanting Myers dead. It’s one of the times I wish Michael would just scream out “WHAT THE HELL?!” out of confusion and shock.
But the reason the movie’s well remembered is the ending. After the climax is over, we’re assuming the movie’s going to have one last scare…and Laurie knows this. Laurie flat out steals the ambulance with Michael’s body, has him thrown through the car’s windshield, drives him down, and Michael’s pinned between the vehicle and a fencepost. Helpless, Michael tries to reach out to Laurie, and while she considers helping him at first, immediately changes her mind and CHOPS MICHAEL’S HEAD OFF WITH ONE SWING. Yeah, Laurie Strode killed Michael Myers with ONE BLOW. BAD.ASS.
Cast: Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode / Keri Tate is the glue that keeps the film together. It’s great to see Curtis come back to play Laurie once again, and I like how the film takes its time to show how psychologically scarred she is by the first movie’s events. But it’s cool to see her face her inner demons and to finally go “enough is enough”, making Laurie Strode’s character enjoyable to watch as she grows over those three movies.
Chris Durand as Michael Myers does a good job in keeping Michael terrifying. He does a good job coming off menacing in numerous sequences, though the highlight until the film’s climax has to be the opening. I think the ending sequence when he’s reaching out to Laurie is pretty effective, with Durand almost coming off sympathetic.
Michelle Williams as Molly Cartwell is pretty good, especially her scenes with Josh Hartnett. The two have pretty good chemistry and work off one another really well. There’s this odd thing in that the movie recreates some of Laurie’s scenes from Halloween with Molly in Laurie’s spot, making it seem like she’s being set up to be the next Laurie. But the film then drops her at the end, so that was kinda pointless.
Josh Hartnett as John Tate I kinda feel is miscast here. It’s not that Hartnett isn’t a bad actor, he just seems a bit too old for the part, which is odd because he was 20 when he did this film. Maybe because of his height or how he looks slightly older than the other kids, I’m not entirely sure. I kinda wish Joseph Gordon-Levitt who makes a cameo in the opening was John. That and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is always a plus in my book.
Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Sarah Wainthrope I did like. Although her character is pretty forgettable, Jodi does give off a good performance that does help Sarah not be completely forgotten. O’Keefe while still acting isn’t in a lot of mainstream roles and that’s kinda a shame. Her performance here was really good. I’d be down to see her in another huge film again.
Adam Arkin as Will Brennan is an interesting character here. Arkin and Laurie are revealed to be in a relationship, and I do like how Laurie hasn’t completely cut everyone except her son out of her life. She’s trying to live her life normally, even trying to have a relationship and yet she still has the fear of Michael’s return. Brennan and Curtis have some good chemistry which does make their relationship much more believable.
LL Cool J as Ronald "Ronny" Jones is one of the odd aspects of the movie. While LL Cool J gives a fine performance that makes you like Ronny, it’s jarring that this hip hop artist is suddenly in a Halloween movie. I’m guessing maybe the idea was to help promote the movie with this popular singer, but it’s still an odd sight. And what’s weirder is this wouldn’t be the only time the series did this…
Adam Hann-Byrd as Charlie Deveraux does a fine job here, even though his character is pretty one note. Originally the film was going to have Charlie be a copy-cat killer who was pretending to be Michael, only for Michael to take over when he arrived later in the movie. While that’s be interesting, it comes off like an idea more suitable in Scream, and the idea isn’t that original. Either way, Hann-Byrd does give a good performance, despite the character being pretty normal.
Janet Leigh as Norma Watson is a nice little cameo. She and Curtis have a wonderful scene together ending with us seeing Leigh’s vehicle, which is flat out the same model and license plate from Psycho. That right there does assure me the filmmakers were actual fans of horror and even casting Leigh was them paying nods and tributes to films they love.
Nancy Stephens returns as Marion Chambers-Whittington, and I kinda wish she was in the film more. It’s a shame Marion in the first two films didn’t do much and here is just killed off to get the film started. Stephens as in the last two films does a good job, but it’s still a shame this character didn’t have much else to contribute to the film.
Production: For this film, the filmmakers brought back the previous mask from Curse of Michael Myers, the first time since Halloween II that a previous mask was reused. It would only be used in the opening as the original “Casper Mask” was used for three weeks until the Weinsteins expressed how much they hated it, as well as the fact they rejected the design. Steve Miner wasn’t told, so not only was a new mask created, but nearly $3 million was spent on reshoots to cover up the Casper mask. While the mask can still be seen in some trailers, the Casper mask is usually seen only in wide shots, while the new one was used heavily in close ups. An issue arose when one of the original sets wasn’t available to reuse, resulting in a CGI mask being animated over. Oh yes, there’s a CGI Michael Myers’ mask and it’s…well I can say it happened.
I won’t lie, the Casper mask is a bit jarring as compared to the previous designs, and might’ve caused some negative reception had it stayed in the film. The replacement works fine, it captures the original pretty well despite the eyes being shown a lot that takes away the horror aspect of Michael. The CGI mask…looks like crap, let’s be frank. It’s jarring, plain and simple.
Here’s an annoying part: when Molly and Sarah are getting ready for the evening, their TV is showing footage from Scream 2. If you’ve seen the first Scream, you’ll recall how the horror fanatic breaks down the rules of horror movies at the time. It’s shortly afterwards the movie both pokes fun and recreates a scene from a movie on the TV. The movie’s Halloween. So, Halloween H20 is referencing a sequel to a movie where in that universe Halloween is a fictional movie. Behold, another reason why H20 copied Scream all while missing the point.
Final Conclusion: Halloween H20 doesn’t have much going on outside of the opening and ending of the film, but when Laurie and Michael are on screen the movie does shine. Even though the film retconned the last three films, it still goes out of its way to celebrate the series 20th anniversary, and just having Jamie Lee Curtis back as Laurie is worth that alone. True, I wish the film wasn’t trying to come off like Scream, but it’s still entertaining enough that you’ll have a good time. Had the series ended here, I feel it would’ve been a nice farewell.
Final Rating: 3/5 -- Hmm? What’s that? This isn’t the end of the Halloween series? Well, remember how Williamson was involved with the writing? When working on the film Williamson came up with a storyline that explained how Michael survived the ending, which was filmed the day after principal photography ended and ended up being used in the sequel. For next time, we see what became of this as we take a look at the last in the original Halloween series with Halloween: Resurrection...
(The following review is a follow-up to my FILLERWEEN review on the theatrical version of HALLOWEEN 6: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS. As this review will be a quick overview of the PRODUCER’S CUT, most of the film’s history will be found in my other review: www.deviantart.com/jarvisrama9…)
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In the years following the release of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, fans began to speculate on what the original workprint was prior to the reshoots in the summer of 1995. Some of the original footage would air as part of the TV version to pad out the run time, but that only added to the curiosity more and more. Fortunately, film collectors were able to get ahold of a bootleg copy of the film when in the early 2000’s a version of the film was leaked out of Dimension films. It wasn’t long before copies spread like wildfire under the title of the Producer’s Cut.
Fans weren’t disappointed. The Producer’s Cut contained almost seventy minutes of alternate, unedited footage, numerous differences, such as a different score, changes in the film’s plot at certain points, and a completely different ending.
The issue was that while fans knew a version of the film existed, the only one that was available were in very low quality. Even though The Walt Disney Company, who purchased Miramax in 1993, owned the series and made claims over the years they couldn’t locate the original negative of the film. However, after remaining officially unreleased for nearly twenty years, Miramax has a public exhibition of the film on October 27, 2013 at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles, to a warm reception. The film’s writer Daniel Farrands attended the exhibition and a Q&A, expressing his hopes of getting the film a proper release. The studio eventually did, as October 2015 saw the film arriving on Blu Ray, allowing fans to see the film as it had been seen in 1995.
(That and allowed fans to see the film in HD quality)
-- The Producer’s Cut mostly follows the same story as the Theatrical Cut, though differs in minor areas, with two major changes, one near the middle and the other at the end of the film. The minor changes I do feel help the overall story: characters have better interactions such as Dr. Loomis and Dr. Wynn, certain members of the Strode family do come off as real family members, the score feels more like a Halloween movie, as well as the overall pacing.
Questions I never understood due to the film’s reediting are presented here in a much more coherent manor: Why was Loomis at the hospital? Because Jamie wasn’t killed by Michael and survived, so his bump into Tommy is less confusing. Why did Michael hide in the radio van of Barry Simms and killed him? Because it’s revealed Barry was so distracted by his phone call, he got into a van from Smith’s Grove unaware his van was a few parking spots over. But my favorite must be the explanation of Loomis’ scars suddenly vanishing: he had plastic surgery because he didn’t want to frighten people. Yeah, the film has a lot of these small areas fixed, but it allows the movie to breathe a little bit as oppose to being a rush from start to end.
In fact, Loomis and Wynn are given much more time to shine here. His relationship with Wynn is expanded upon and feels realistic, and the revelation that Wynn is the Man in Black does come off more surprising since the film has us spend time with him as a supportive character instead of just having him show up later and now evil.
I think one of the most shocking implications is when Wynn is talking to Loomis about his devotion to assisting with Michael. Not only is Wynn coming off a bit more menacing than the theatrical version of this scene, but Wynn’s line that he always watches Michael…are we to assume Wynn let Michael out in the first movie and all of this is because of Wynn wanting to see what Michael can do? Dude, that’s Cochran Halloween III levels of batshit evil.
So, it sounds like the Producer’s Cut is the better version, right? Well, not so much.
Issues such as the Strodes still not knowing about their house being the Myers house, Tommy Doyle’s character, Michael jumping back and forth to the Halloween celebration and his house to kill people are still present in the movie, and not any major changes to help fix them.
Danny and his mom Kara do get some further bonding scenes which are nice, but the sequence when he threatens John Strode is weird now. Danny hears what seems to be the Man in Black giving him orders. But when Danny turns to the window, we see Michael outside. So wait, is Michael sending supernatural messages into peoples heads now?
One of the bigger changes is that Jamie survives her attack with Michael, however her character is then bedridden for the rest of the movie. There’s never a moment for her to interact with Dr. Loomis or for us to get to know this version of the character. We could’ve…except in this version she’s put in a coma. Well, that and both films still hate Jamie and kill her off. Yes, Jamie Lloyd dies in both versions, but as oppose to her being impaled on a corn thresher…she’s shot in the head by Dr. Wynn with a silencer. Yeah, this is one of the complaints actress Danielle Harris wanted changed for the character of Jamie before she was turned down and walked off the set.
But even for the film’s story that decision is baffling. Wynn and the Cult make it clear Michael needs to kill off his family, so why on earth did Wynn SHOOT JAMIE IN THE FRIGGING HEAD?! You’re telling me you couldn’t sneak her out and get her back to the Cult’s hideout? Why am I suggesting something so outlandish and silly? Because the movie reveals that numerous background characters seen throughout the film are actually Cult of Thorn members: the doctors at Smith’s Grove, Mrs. Blankenship, the town’s SHERRIFF, all of them are in on it. So if anyone raised any questions, why wouldn’t you just shut them up since almost everyone in town is in this Cult?
The film’s ending is where everything goes in a different direction, as this version has an entire 15 minutes of different footage and story. In this version, the Cult of Thorn abducts Kara and Danny, as well as Jamie’s baby, to hand over the curse to Danny by having the baby sacrificed. Kara stops Michael from killing the baby…by telling Michael that the baby is HIS CHILD. I’m not kidding: Michael impregnated his niece and is the daddy uncle of the baby.
You know what’s even more disturbing? The line Loomis had about Jamie being able to reach Michael’s ‘good side’ in Halloween 5 now comes off disturbing as fuck.
But that’s not the end. Tommy breaks in and saves Kara, the baby, and Danny, and the four attempt to escape the Cult. Tommy is caught by Michael, but due to Tommy’s research into the Thorn cult, is able to create a circle of magic ruin rocks that cancel out Michael’s powers, leaving him stuck in the circle. As Tommy meets up again with Loomis and the others, Dr. Wynn shows up and begins to talk with Michael. Like the theatrical Cut, Loomis tells the other’s he has “unfinished business” as they drive off. Loomis goes back into the building and sees Michael lying on the floor. Loomis begins to take off Michael’s mask…only to discover Wynn in his place. Wynn tells Loomis Michael escaped, but then grabs Loomis’ arm, telling him "It's your game now, Dr. Loomis.", as he dies. Loomis looks at his arm, which now shows the Thorn symbol: Loomis now has the curse. As Loomis begins to scream out of shock (the same scream ended up in the Theatrical Cut’s ending), we see Michael dressed as the Man in Black sneaking off down a darkly lit corridor…
So yeah, this film had Michael Myers have sex with his niece, Loomis being set up as having the Thorn curse that would make him an unstoppable killing machine, and I’m guessing a curse-free Michael? And test audiences DIDN’T like it? What a shock!
And here’s the weird part: the test tube babies in the Theatrical Cut? I think that was meant to be a substitute for how Jamie was impregnated. Again, I must assume because that version never lets us sit down to process anything that’s going on. And even then, that still makes no sense if the Cult needs Michael to kill off his family, then why are they just fine for him to have sex and make another kid!?...Jesus, the Thorn Cult is almost like an ACTUAL cult…
Final Conclusion: I don’t think there’s a good version of Halloween 6. While the Producer’s Cut flows much more naturally and just comes off more competently, all while feeling like a Halloween movie…the incest and very confusing ending just make things confusing. As for the Theatrical Cut? An edited mess that’s edited more like a music video and feels less like a movie that’s meant to give us answers we were wanting to see explained. Maybe someone will take the two versions and make a fanedit that does the film justice, but as it stands, the Curse of Michael Myers will always be just that: cursed.
Final Rating: 1.5/5 -- For next time, we look at the series’ 20th anniversary, as well as how the filmmakers decided to celebrate with the return of a fan-favorite to take on Michael Myers once again…
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1989 was a year of disappointing releases for two horror movie franchises: Paramount Pictures’ Friday the 13th series and the Halloween series. With poor success at the box office and critical reception, as well as a long distaste in the franchise, Paramount gave away the rights to the Friday the 13th series, ending up under the ownership of Freddy Krueger’s home New Line Cinema. With New Line setting up plans for Jason and Freddy to have a potential crossover, it wasn’t long before the studio set their eyes on getting hold of Michael Myers as well.
With the poor performance and negative reviews on Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers in theaters, series producer Moustapha Akkad felt the series needed to be put on hold. As Akkad took time to re-evaluate the series’ potential, the rights to the series expired shortly after Halloween 5, resulting in numerous complicated legal battles to occur, and plans for a sequel to be put on hold. New Line Cinema, along with original creator and director John Carpenter, teamed up and attempted to purchase the rights to the series, however Akkad wanted to continue to produce the series, teaming up with Miramax/Dimension Films, whom at the time was ran by the Weinstein Brothers, to regain the rights. In the end, Akkad and Miramax/Dimension Films succeeded. All Akkad needed was a script. Fortunately, he was in luck.
In 1990, Akkad met screenwriter and long-time Halloween fan Daniel Farrands, who was able to meet him when Farrands sent his horror movie scripts to Halloween 5 producer Ramsey Thomas. Farrands recalled how “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.”
Although Akkad had plans for Halloween 6 prior to the meeting, this was before the legal battles occurred. By 1994, Akkad had gone through numerous scripts he felt were insufficient. It was at one point Quinten Tarantino and Scott Spiegel were almost hired on to rewrite the script as recommended by the Weinstein’s, who at the time Tarantino was their go to guy. Akkad instead hired on Farrands, who proposed his script, with one of the titles being Halloween 666.
Farrands pitch was to make Halloween 6 have numerous references and allusions to the previous Halloween films, expanding the symbol and the Man in Black introduced in Halloween 5 as part of the Cult of Thorn, as well as connecting it to Samhain that was referenced in Halloween II, the Strode family returning and certain members playing a large part in the story, with the parents named after John Carpenter and Debra Hill, Tommy Doyle being heavily fixated on Michael Myers after his encounter in 1978, still living across the street from the Strodes, to even naming a side character off of a minor character from Halloween III: Season of the Witch.
While Farrands script was chosen, it would go through about ten different drafts from June to October 1994 leading up to the film’s shooting. Returning cast member Donald Pleasence returned as Dr. Loomis, in what would sadly be one of his final film roles after playing the character for almost 20 years. However, Danielle Harris who played Jamie Lloyd in the 4th and 5th movies didn’t. Harris never lost interest in the series and would often ask about the sixth film since she grew up with the Akkad kids when making the films. It was when the film began production in 1994 did Harris learn about a casting call for actresses over 18 who resembled Danielle Harris, which including Harris’ headshot of the time for reference. Due to labor laws Harris, who was 17 at the time, wasn’t old enough to work on the set, which clashed with child labor laws which limit the number of hours a minor can work on set. Harris fought to prove she was an adult by emancipating from her parents, going to multiple court appearances and spending thousands of dollars in legal fees. It was when Harris received the script did she realize what the film was going to do with Jamie. Disgusted by this, Danielle attempted to change it, or at least asked for some money if she walked due to her dealing with thousands of dollars in legal fees. Harris recalled talking to a business affairs division, which told her, “Your character is a scale character. You die in the first act. We’re not giving you any more money.” Despite Farrands actually trying to help Harris out, she walked off the film’s production, with actress J.C. Brandy taking over the role of Jamie.
This wasn’t the end of the film’s production problems. The films production began in Salt Lake City, Utah, which during the first week of shooting, experienced an early winter snowstorm, which complicated the production, causing exterior shoots to be changed to interior shoots. Actress Marianne Hagan recalled how the Weinsteins made it known she almost wasn’t cast because she was too thin and had a pointy chin. It resulted in Hagan being self-conscious throughout filming, which might be why she kept covering her chin throughout the film.
Producer Paul Freeman and director Joe Chappelle reportedly rewrote the ending on-set, even from shot-to-shot, and going as far as telling the crew to go home when crucial scenes needed to be shot. This meant the two deleted scripted scenes indiscriminately, whole dialogue scenes rewrote and the addition of action sequences and taking responsibility of second unit filming and supervising the film’s post-production. When word reached Dimension Films and Miramax, the company took over the film’s production and ordered many of the scenes they reworked to be reshot. Malek Akkad, the associate producer, felt the film lacked a cohesive “vision”, which later resulted in Dimension Films, Akkad’s Nightfall Productions company, and Farrands having constant tension throughout the production. Due to the mess of a shoot, Farrands later joked the subtitle should be The Curse of Michael Myers, though the studio didn’t get the joke and ended up using it in the film’s title.
And then things went from bad to worse. April 1995 saw an early test screening of the completed film to an audience in New York City. Nothing wrong with that, except Marianne Hagan recalled the audience “consisted primarily of fourteen-year-old boys." When a Q&A was done afterwards, one of the audience members expressed great displeasure at the ending of the film, which the audience all agreed on. This meant the movie was rushed back into production in the summer of 1995 in Los Angeles. This proved to be a problem as sadly Donald Pleasence, who’s health had been ill throughout the shoot, passed away on February 2, 1995.
Though then again director Chappelle didn’t want Pleasence in the film as he found him “too boring”, and it’s no surprise when the film was reedited Loomis’ runtime had a lot of his scenes cut out. Despite the ending was the biggest issue the test audiences had, large portions of the film were redone, with a brisker pacing and a "flashier" cinematic style that favored "blood and guts”. Farrands felt this resulted in a "more confusing" movie, and even went as far as comparing the final product to an "MTV video rather than a Halloween film." This editing resulted in the original music composed by Alan Howarth to be redone and the sound design being significantly altered, with the final version being referred to as a "fixed job”.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (the 6 was dropped in advertisement) was released on September 29, 1995, grossing $15 million on a $5 million budget. Yet despite doing financially well, critical reception was very negative, one review from Time Out London calling it "A series of competently engineered shock moments jollied along by a jazzed-up version of John Carpenter's original electronic score: slicker than crude oil and just as unattractive."
The film was so notoriously despised that when time came for a follow-up, the events of Halloween 4, 5, and 6 were completely ignored, instead being a straight sequel to Halloween II. Yes, this movie is so bad it removed the previous two films from continuity, it’s that bad that to this day is still referred to by fans as the film that killed the Halloween series. -- Overview: On the night of October 31st, 1989, masked serial killer Michael Myers and his niece Jamie Lloyd vanish after a mysterious Man in Black broke into the Haddonfield Police Station, killing the officers inside.
6 years have passed and the two haven’t been seen since. Sam Loomis, Michael’s doctor, has retired in-between this time, although Loomis’ old friend Terence Wynn hopes to have him become his replacement as Smith's Grove Sanitarium’s chief administrator. The former Myers house has been bought and now occupied by the Strode family. Yet not everyone believes Michael is gone for good: Tommy Doyle, traumatized from his encounter with Myers on Halloween night in 1978, believes he’ll make a return to Haddonfield soon. Tommy isn’t wrong, as Jamie, now older and just recently given birth, is revealed to be alive when her voice is heard on a radio station, though shortly afterwards is killed by her uncle. Tommy investigates, coming across Jamie’s baby that survived, all while Loomis once again sets out to stop Michael as Halloween night approaches, all while Kara Strode’s six-year-old son Danny begins to act strangely…
I must give credit to writer Daniel Farrands, this does feel like it neatly connects with the entire series. In some way, Halloween 6 is almost like a swansong for the series, with all the references, the Strodes, Tommy Doyle, and Dr. Wynn all returning in the film, like the filmmakers wanted this to feel like a nice sendoff. It almost would’ve been…except the film’s kinda a mess.
So one of the changes made to the film was that Jamie is given a different death scene. After hiding her baby in an empty bus station, Jamie is chased down by Michael and crashes her stolen vehicle. In the original cut, Jamie survives for a bit longer, whereas here Michael has her impaled on a corn thresher and turning it on, disemboweling her. Can I take a moment to talk how much 5 and 6 don’t give two shits about Jamie Lloyd? Look, I get it, she wasn’t going to become the series killer, but for 5 she’s rendered mute and stuck in a children’s hospital only to be chased, nearly ran over, and beaten to crap in a laundry chute, and in 6 we’re never given a chance for us to see J.C. Brady in the role. All she does is act scared, says a few lines, and is horrifically axed off. Great character development!
As much as Farrands is a fan of the series, that’s probably where things fall apart, mostly when we learn about how Michael does what he does. The mark on Michael’s arm is revealed to be the Thorn symbol, an ancient Druid curse. The idea is that on the night of Samhain, one child from a tribe is chosen to bear the curse and would have to sacrifice their kin. Tommy rationalizes that Michael, since he killed Jamie, will now kill her son, thus completing the curse. The film sets up that the Cult of Thorn, which the Man in Black is involved with, is planning on Danny Strode becoming the next Michael Myers, thus continuing the cycle.
While it’s interesting how that’s the driving force behind Myers throughout all the films, it’s kinda takes him down a peg when the reason he kills is because of some curse. Like, that’s why he has to kill? Well for one, he’s done a shit job at that seeing how he killed his older sister, spent 15 years in jail and fails to kill Laurie, spends 10 years in a coma and fails to kill Jamie, spends a year in a coma and fails again, waits 6 years and THEN finally gets Jamie…but let’s her baby get away. If Michael’s suppose to kill off his entire family to please Samhain or some bull, then why didn’t he just do that as soon as Jamie was captured by the cult? And if it’s taken Michael nearly 32 years to do it, what’s the big deal? Nothing’s happened from what we can tell if the sacrifice is supposed to appease him. It’d make more sense if the curse would make whoever had it just kill whomever during that night, as oppose to just their family.
As for why Jamie gave birth, it’s revealed that the cult leader is actually Dr. Wynn. (Don’t worry, the film kinda throws Wynn, the Thorn Cult and Curse to the sidelines as the film wraps up) Wynn is hoping to have Jamie’s son be given the curse, while the Cult is wanting Danny to kill his mother so he’ll get the curse as well. What’s wrong with using Michael? I mean, he seems still capable of being this inhuman unstopping machine that can easily snap a man’s head off showing his ribcage like in the opening. Is it because he’s getting older, because his methods are still effective. Speaking of Danny, if he’s suppose to kill off his family, THEN WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP MICHAEL FROM DOING THAT?! His mom is all that’s left, as soon as she’s gone he’ll probably be curse free and just a regular kid again, so that plan doesn’t work.
Come to think of it, how did Michael get the curse? I guess it came from Mrs. Blankenship who was apparently babysitting Michael that night and appears to be working with the cult. Except this is the first time we’ve seen the character, she wasn’t seen in the original movie, it didn’t appear that Michael was being babysat, and Blankenship said Michael heard voices. But in the film Danny’s hearing voices from the Man in Black. Is that what Michael heard? Was the Thorn symbol messing with his head and that’s why he snapped, thus obtaining the curse? Is the curse the reason how Michael was able to send telepathic thoughts and visions to Laurie and Jamie, and how he was able to possess her in Halloween 4?
You get what I’m saying that maybe the driving force behind Michael shouldn’t have been answered?
Other small areas kinda tick me off as well. The Strodes introduced are related to the Strodes who adopted Laurie in the 1978 and 1981 films, so why wouldn’t they know the house they’re staying in is the Myers house? The only person who knows is John, and while the kids don’t that can almost make sense, but his wife Debra doesn’t? They know what town they’re in, right? The one with the William Shatner-looking killer? I don’t think you could easily forget that.
Speaking of that, John and Debra Strode are named after series creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill. Here’s why this is insulting: John is an abusive father who refers to his grandson as a bastard and hits his daughter, and Debra lets this happen and doesn’t do a thing about until she learns about who’s house they’re in. True, you could argue Debra is afraid to leave, but either way that’s just gross the two who made the series popular are then named to two characters in an abusive relationship who then end up getting killed by Michael.
Something I do like is how Tommy Doyle became obsessed with Michael and him trying to figure out how he’s able to have these inhuman abilities, though this does raise a few issues. Doyle’s answer about Thorn and the curse has to do with a star constellation that appears as the Thorn symbol that appeared during the time of the previous movies. I don’t know, the movie makes it come off Tommy’s assumption guess is right, especially what Wynn says near the end, but I kinda wish it was left ambiguous. Tommy assumes what his theory is would work better as nothing but a theory. That and Tommy’s referenced in Halloween 4 by Lindsey, and he sounds like he’s alright. Michael’s return could’ve triggered him to snap, but again that’s a guess since the film never goes too deep with that idea.
Due to the film being tampered with in editing some scenes don’t really add up as well then they should’ve. Case in point, Tommy after discovering Jamie’s baby goes to the hospital to try and get some help. It’s there he bumps into Loomis, which doesn’t really make sense since Jamie died and there’d be no reason for Loomis to go there except to movie the story along.
The film features a subplot with this radio personality Barry Simms. At one point in the movie, Barry is making his way towards his van to go to the Myers house while he’s on the phone. As soon as he sits down, Michael attacks Simms from the back of the van and kills him…Why was Michael in Simms van waiting for Simms?
Come to think about it, Michael kills Debra Strode, then kills John, then leaves the house and kills Simms at the park’s Halloween celebration, THEN goes back to his house to kill Tim and his girlfriend Beth. Why didn’t Michael just stay at home as oppose of going to the park then back home where he started?
Then there’s the ending. Kara Strode, Danny, and Jamie’s baby are captured by the Thorn cult and take them to Smith's Grove, with Tommy and Loomis following close behind after being drugged. Loomis confronts Wynn who proceeds to knock Loomis out after he turns down Wynn’s offer to join him, who then proceeds to do tests on Jamie’s baby. As Tommy breaks Kara out, they come across the room where the tests are being done…when Michael then SUDDENLY KLLS THE CULT MEMBERS IN A BLIND RANGE. (I’m assuming Wynn dies here seeing how he never shows up again) Tommy and Kara grab the baby and Danny and try to flee, only to end up in a room full of what appears to be test tube babies, with Michael following close behind.
Tommy tricks Michael into handing over so he can inject Myers with numerous shots of some green liquid, which works. After Michael throws Tommy off of him and attempts to strangle Kara and steal the baby, Tommy then proceeds to beat the ever-loving shit out of Michael for what seems to be 5 minutes. Yes, Ant Man beat Michael Myers’ ass.
Tommy, Kara, Danny, and the baby rejoin with Loomis, though he declines to go with them as he has “unfinished business”. As the group drives off, we cut back into the laboratory in which Michael’s mask is lying on the floor next to one of the needles. Loomis’ screams are heard echoing in the distance, and after cutting back to the Myers’ house, the film cuts to black.
So let me get this straight: you spent time and money to correct an ending that doesn’t make sense and didn’t go over well…so you redid the film with a new ending that STILL doesn’t make sense and didn’t go over well? …bravo?
Cast: Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis, despite his illness and age kinda slowing him down at certain points, gives off one last great performance here. Pleasence is still engaging to watch, though it’s a shame a lot of his scenes were shortened. It’s weird, Loomis made Michael more imposing with his speeches, and now this film wants nothing to do with him. Then again, the movie flat out ends with him screaming off camera and “In Memory of DONALD PLEASENCE” appearing on the screen. Either way, great performance as usual. May you never be forgotten, Mr. Pleasence.
Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle is kinda out of place here. Rudd isn’t a bad actor, I mean he’s the perfect actor for the everyday man, but here the direction he’s given is a bit off. I get the idea that Tommy’s meant to be traumatized, but Rudd in certain spots makes it seem like he could end up being the killer. Which is a shame, because when he does defeat Michael, I know he’s suppose to be smiling because the guy who wrecked his life was just defeated, looks like he’s about to break down laughing hysterically. Even though Rudd had a bad experience on the film, he has opened up to the film.
Marianne Hagan as Kara Strode is a new addition to the series I like. Kara’s character I do find interesting, because she’s almost out of another movie about her struggling to raise her son that’s suddenly thrown into a story about this insane cult and unstoppable killing machine. Hagan does work off of Rudd really well, and I’m glad the movie doesn’t have her hook up with Tommy. In fact, it’s cool how she even takes on Michael near the end.
Devin Gardner as Danny Strode does alright here. His interactions with Hagan are pretty good, though there’s long spaces where the two aren’t screen together. He does a really good job when he starts to give this sinister look, especially one sequence when he threatens John with a knife.
George P. Wilbur and A. Michael Lerner as Michael Myers are fine here. As usual, the two do give off a very imposing site whenever Michael’s either in the background or walking straight at his victim. I won’t lie, Michael being a bit padded up I never was crazy about, but here the look isn’t too bad. Wilbur didn’t come back to play Myers in the reshoots, that duty went to Lerner who I think did alright, but Wilbur did end up playing a doctor Michael kills, which is pretty funny.
Mitchell Ryan as Dr. Terence Wynn is pretty good here, though due to the film cutting a lot of his scenes out both his relationship with Loomis and his reveal as the Man in Black isn’t shocking as it should be. Which is a shame, because Ryan both comes off really friendly and really imposing, and does it really well. The role was meant to have Christopher Lee, which would’ve been amazing, but maybe would’ve overshadowed the movie.
J. C. Brandy as Jamie Lloyd, despite us not really getting to see her interpretation on the character, does an okay job acting petrified as she’s being hunted down by Michael. Again, it’s mostly down to the script just not giving a crap about the character and axing her off as quick as possible.
Mariah O'Brien as Beth gives off a good performance. She and Keith Bogart act off each other well, their line deliveries coming off very natural as a regular couple would act towards one another. Though when the two get to Tim’s house to makeout, Beth takes her time telling about how Michael murdered his sister in his room. Tim tells her to knock it off, Beth apologizes…and the two have sex. Um, no. Sorry if I’m not in the mood, but I’ve just been reminded my room was a crime scene and once homed to a SERIAL KILLER.
Keith Bogart as Tim Strode is alright here. His relationship with Marianne is done decently, I do buy that the two are indeed related. Bogart and O’Brien do make a convincing couple, even though they’re mostly in the film to set up a plot point and get axed off.
Kim Darby as Debra Strode I found to be alright. Darby gives off a very frightened performance as Debra, which is very believable. I still find it odd how she never puts together they’re in the Myers house. Like wouldn’t one of her friends or someone tell her that as soon as she gave her address or the street she lives on.
Bradford English as John Strode does do a good job playing an unlikable asshole. I mean, you’re really rooting for the guy to bit the dust, and the film does deliver on it in a very entertaining way. There’s this odd issue where Debra I think slips Kara some money and John snaps, throwing money in Debra’s face. I think that’s what happens because we’re never made clear that’s what happens, so for all we know John’s just insane.
Leo Geter as Barry Simms mostly plays this popular radio host that turns out to later be an asshole. I’ve seen a similar character in Gremlins, but here Geter does a fine job. I think one of the film’s best jokes is when he jokingly remarks “Michael Myers in Space” earlier in the film. I swear to God, New Lines’ CEO’s must’ve seen this and as soon as that line was said, all turned to one another with amazed looks and immediately said “GENIUS!”.
Janice Knickrehm as Mrs. Blankenship I really enjoyed here. Knickrehm does a pretty awesome job as being this sweet old lady to suddenly chilling when she starts talking about Halloween. I also think she’s one of the few adults that delivers the line “The Boogeyman” very chillingly, all with this mad look on her face.
Production: For this film, the filmmakers went out of their way with designing the Michael Myers mask. This is a pretty close design to the original, and for the most part is filmed very well. The texture looks a bit muddy, but I feel it works here. Most the time it’s photographed in the darkness, and the way the shadows interact with the mask makes it look freaky. If I had a small critique, maybe there’s too much crazy hair.
The thing that’s annoying as hell is how the film’s pacing is too condensed, without really any room to breathe. No real time to get to know these characters without the plot rushing by, just making things confusing because nothing is really explained.
Throughout the film there’s moments of quick flashes of film and quick flashes of white, all while a woman’s scream is heard. I guess it’s suppose to shock the audience, but it comes off a bit irritating and leaves you with a headache. Heck, the film opens with nearly 10 seconds of quick shots throughout the film in rapid succession with a woman’s scream on loop. If that doesn’t concern you, please note that was the warning sign this is going to not end well.
Despite how much I loathe John Strode, he does take part in one of the most ridiculous death scenes in the series. Michael Myers corners John in the basement of the Myers house and throws John into the house’s fuse box, causing him to be electrocuted for about a minute before HIS HEAD BLOWS UP. Holy crap, it’s so over the top it’s great!
During the film’s climax, Tommy proceeds to beat Michael with a metal pipe. As he continues to do this, the scene begins to have flashes happen, but instead they’re Michael’s mask I’m assuming bleeding out green and black blood from his eyes. It’s only about 2 or 3 seconds long, but they’re placed in the sequence so much you’re able to pick up on some of the images, and man it’s jarring.
The film also never allows a scare or a moment to be done effectively. There’s always a sudden noise to make you jump, but instead of making the scene more effective, they take away from the tension and it almost becomes humorous. We don’t need the film to make us be shocked that Michael’s in the background, we’ll be shocked when we spot that ourselves.
Final Conclusion: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is pretty much the endgame for this portion of the series. I can’t blame the filmmakers who came on afterwards just ignoring films 4 through 6. At this point, the series is in a mess: Jamie’s unceremoniously killed off, Michael’s whole driving force was revealed, Loomis is apparently killed off screen and will have to be since Pleasence sadly passed away, it’s hard to continue the story from there. I feel bad for Farrands who probably had the worst time seeing how much he loved the series, as well as all the cast members who went through a nightmarish production. Overall, it was a film made with the best of intentions, that sadly did more harm than good.
Final Rating: 1.5/5 -- Before we move forward with the series, there’s a bit more to discuss with the Curse of Michael Myers. For next time, we’ll delve into the film before the overhaul reshoots, as we look at the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6…
In recent news, the internet's been flooded by an overall mixed reception on the current state of Star Wars, particularly the theatrical released films being pumped out by the Walt Disney Company. It's not pretty to put it bluntly. From alot of social media having fans dissing on one another for their views, directors and cast members being harassed, a group so angry about The Last Jedi that they're trying to set out and do a remake of the movie, it goes to show that not much has changed since the Prequels were released. Just more people and more yelling it appears. So I figured I'd try to add something positive. Mainly, my history with the series.
Before we begin, a few weeks ago I ended up finding myself on TheForce.Net, specifically a forum that has been archived all the way back to around 1997. The pages involved were prior to The Phantom Menace, and it was a treat. The idea that at the time, this was the fourth Star Wars movie getting made and it was going to be set prior to the original three, left me with a smile on my face. My favorite has to be that actor Ian McDiarmid was speculated to be playing Palpatine and Darth Sidious, so much so one fan found promotional photos on toy packaging and compared them to Return of the Jedi screenshots.
This did get me thinking: how on earth did I end up being a fan of Star Wars?
My first introduction of Star Wars I can kinda recall was because of my parents. Well, more because of their jobs. My folks have been doing concrete landscaping for 20 years, and every year they attend home and garden shows to promote the company to get more clients. My older and sister and me got dragged to them alot, though fortunately there would usually be some type of entertainment for us from not beating our skulls against a wall out of boredom. One night (yeah, they tended to go into late evenings), I'm walking around and I meet a guy who's showing a home entertainment center: seats, surround sound, large screen picture quality, the usual stuff. He probrably got I was bored so a movie wouldn't hurt, so he offered to show me two scenes from two different movies (this was so no one would just sit there all day). One was Jurassic Park 3, specifically the Alan Grant raptor dream, which didn't help me warm up to the first one seeing how the opening raptor bit scared the shit out of me. The second one was for Attack of the Clones, which was about to be in theaters (maybe his company had a deal with Fox to promote the movie, I guess).
It must have been the speakers, it must have been the cozy seats vibrating with the music and sound effects, but seeing that in that setting, WAS AMAZING. And I had no clue what was going on. All I knew was these guys were racing away in some futuristic landscape trying to find this mysterious woman. But the best part of the night? My folks bought the speeder toy for me as a reward for sitting at the home show.
The weird thing is...I didn't get to see the full movie until a year or so later.
Yeah, somehow the speeder sequence, which blew my mind, wasn't enough for me to beg my parents to go see the film in theaters. Again, probably due to my folks constantly working and being unable to do stuff outside of work. However, I did get very involved with the toys, which were the early Lego sets.
No, my real introduction came at elementary school. I befriended this kid I'd bumped into once or twice, and we instantly got along. It must have been one day to lunch when I spotted his lunchbox. It was a Star Wars themed lunchbox with Anakin wearing his podracer helmet from The Phantom Menace. I didn't know what it was, and asked him about it. He explained, "Oh, it's from Star Wars". I asked him what was Star Wars, and he looked at me as if I didn't understand, let's say, what breathing was. Then he lectured me all throughout lunch.
Now here's the thing. He didn't lecture me on what an idiot I was for not knowing what the films were. He gave me a speed course on what it was about. ALL of it.
It. Was. Insane. Imagine hearing this and only using your imagination to try and piece some of this bizarre imagery together? Naturally, all questions I had were immediately answered... and were spoiled, now that I think about it. Not just the prequels, but the original films as well. He explained EVERYTHING.
And shortly afterwards, my real introduction came when in 2003, the people of Lucasfilm decided to do an animated show that was aired on Cartoon Network.
With this heaping helping of curiosity, this resulted in me trying up to speed by watching all the films in chronological order. Tricky, seeing how Episode III wasn't released yet (and kinda pointless, seeing how I know how the story ends), though fortunately a home video release of Attack of the Clones had me covered.
Somewhere in between that time, I ended up purchasing a Visual Dictionary on the original films. I recall where I bought it, though not when. I'm guessing about 2003 or 2004. Somewhere in that time frame.
After that, I was heavily into the series. Revenge of the Sith became my first Star Wars film on the big screen (as well as the first one I owned on DVD), I ended up purchasing the entire series when they were released in 2011 on Blu Ray, and since The Force Awakens me and my friend from elementary school have gone to the theater to see every new film release.
If you ended up reading this and got this far, thank you. It was fun recalling childhood memories and seeing how I ended up liking the series up to now. If you'd like, you can share how you were introduced to Star Wars.