I don’t want to shock you or anything, but Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (aka Halloween 6) is not a quality product. At least not the theatrical version anyway. I’d always heard the stories of the far superior producer’s cut that was floating around out there but had never actually taken the time to see it. Plus the idea of watching a shitty bootleg copy of it wasn’t too appealing. However, thanks to the recently released Halloween box set from Scream Factory (my third review of one of their releases in a row, I should be getting a cut from them by this point) the producer’s cut is now available as a quality release so I finally got to see what all the fuss was about.
Halloween 6 (that’s what we’ll be calling it from here on out) is where shit really goes completely off the rails in the Halloween franchise. Halloweens 4 and 5 aren’t terrific as they feel like pale imitators of the original, at least that’s my memory of them, it has been a while. It’s part 6 where they start getting into the cult Thorn stuff and runes and Druids and all sorts of insanity. It’s all very silly and unnecessary as did anyone really give a shit why Michael Myers was unstoppable? Did we really need an explanation? Does that really make the character better? I personally don’t think so, especially an explanation that is this god damn goofy.
The entirety of the movie feels completely misguided. The cult stuff is not only dopey but not explained well at all. Dr. Loomis is given almost nothing to do. The violence is cranked up to ridiculous levels, one death even featuring an exploding head and one of the worst deaths in the series is given to a series regular which feels oddly cruel. The characters are less than one dimensional and seemingly only exist to up the body count (seriously what the hell is with the terribly unfunny Howard Stern rip-off) and the ending makes absolutely no god damn sense.
It was always said that the Producer’s Cut (I guess now I’m going to capitalize it) corrects a lot of these wrongs and makes Halloween 6 a completely different movie as a result. Sadly the changes made are not as extensive was I was expecting (this cut is only 7 minutes longer after all) though they are numerous and while they can’t quite make Halloween 6 a good movie, they do bring it a whole lot closer.
The crux of the movie is still the same in the Producer’s Cut. It’s still focused on the Thorn cult and explaining their ties with Michael Myers. We still have grown-up Tommy Doyle from the first Halloween (played by Paul Rudd in his acting debut, right before he hit it big with Clueless) protecting a baby from Michael and also a family now living in the old Myer’s house coming under attack. Outside of the final act, most of the major details remain the same. It’s the little touches that help make this a better product overall.
For starters, the characters are a whole lot more fleshed out in this version. Whereas Dr. Loomis felt borderline like a cameo in the theatrical cut, he is given a lot more to do here with Pleasance turning into another great performance (his last it would turn out). Lead character Kara is given some additional beats that flesh her out as a person but it’s her family that benefits the most from the additional material. In the theatrical cut they are almost complete non-entities who have hardly a scene or two of screen time before they are unceremoniously dispatched. Kara’s Mom and Dad especially felt so short changed it was almost laughable. While they aren’t given a whole lot more screen time, it’s enough to get a much better sense of the characters and brings a little more depth to the overall family dynamic. The dad is still a huge asshole but you at least have a better understanding of where he is coming from as opposed to the theatrical cut where he comes off as cartoonishly evil.
The gore is also toned down significantly which usually wouldn’t be a point of praise in the horror genre but here I think it’s definitely beneficial. The violence was so over the top originally that it often came off as goofy or in that one instance, unnecessarily cruel. Here though it feels right and they actually made a greater attempt to have suspense before each of the kills, whereas before Michael would often simply appear and the murder would go down. Not to mention the fate of one character plays out entirely differently in this version. The movie still isn’t scary but it’s at least one step closer to achieving it here.
Up until the final act a lot of the changes are fairly minor but the entire last chunk is completely different. The reveal of the bad guy works better as you’ve spent more time with the character and establishing their relationship with the others. The cult stuff is still relentlessly dopey but a little less so here and the nonsense ending is….well it’s still nonsense but it’s slightly better nonsense. You at least have a much better idea as to what is happening which is infinitely better than the theatrical cut which is so obtuse that it’s hysterical.
As I said, I still can’t say that Halloween 6 is a good movie even with this undoubtedly better version. It takes a movie I would normally give a 4 and bumps it up to about a 6, maybe a 6.5. It’s certainly an interesting product and I’m glad it’s now widely available as it’s been such an oddity up until now. If you’re a fan then yeah absolutely check it out but don’t expect it to save the movie as nothing short of a total tear down and rebuild could accomplish that.