OCTOBER 7, 2007
I don’t think I was ever as excited in my life for a movie as I was for Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. I was 15, and it had been 4 years since I saw the last installment, which ended on an intriguing cliffhanger. At the end of that film, Michael was broken out of jail (where he was hilariously allowed to keep his mask on) by a mysterious man in black. Who was he? Why did he do it? Why hadn’t anyone noticed the Thorn tattoo on Michael’s hand before?
Arriving at the theater after being dropped off by my friend’s mom, I was thwarted by a rare enforcement of MPAA rating limitations. As the film was rated R (in case you forgot a time when that was a given for a horror movie), the guy refused to sell us a ticket without a parent’s OK. This being the day before cell phones, we couldn’t just call my friend’s mom who was probably only a minute’s drive away. So we had to call my mom, and have her drive all the way down to the theater just to say “They can go see this movie.” Idiotic.
Well it wasn’t even worth her trouble, let alone the 4 year wait (6 for those who saw Halloween 5 during its theatrical run). Not that the film was a total abomination like Resurrection was (who else is excited for my upcoming review of that? It might be the first movie review to be rated NC-17 for language), but it stank of re-editing and re-shooting (probably the first time I noticed such things as a kid). Donald Pleasence was barely in it despite being the only actor to be listed above the title; half the scenes from the trailer/tv spots weren’t even in the film (and one spot featured footage from Hellraiser: Bloodline. Fucking amazing); and worse, none of the promised answers were really in the film. The whole marketing campaign was built around explaining who the man in black was, and why Michael killed, but all that the movie really offered was Tommy Doyle (played by Paul Rudd in his first role, which is what everyone who has apparently forgotten that Clueless came out 3 months before will tell you) pointing out that there was a constellation in the sky that not only had the same design as the tattoo that magically appeared on Michael’s wrist, but also had the most lax rotation in constellation history (It first appeared in 1963, then fifteen years later in 1978, and then ten years later, then a year after that, and now it’s back 6 years later.” What???). Loomis offered some of his usual hilarious nonsense, but only in a single scene or two. And the man in black turned out to be.... a guy only people who memorized the credits of the original film would recognize (Dr. Wynn – a.k.a. the guy who says “For God’s sake Sam, he can’t drive a car!”). One would assume this one line was pretty much all the backstory writer Daniel Farrands would need to justify his decision to use this random character as the big bad villain (i.e. HE taught him to drive), but that isn’t even mentioned – the film more or less introduces him as an entirely new character.
Of course, everyone and their hamster knows that an alternate version of the film exists. This one has more character stuff (certainly more Loomis) and makes a bit more sense, but it also contains many painful scenes (“Stay away monsters, stay away ghouls...”) that were rightfully cut from the film for theatrical release, and also has an ending that isn’t even remotely exciting. The theatrical has Rudd smashing Myers to a pulp with a pipe, but in the other version, he just throws some rocks on the floor, which makes Michael the Druid stop in his tracks. Rudd yells “It worked! The power of the runes stopped him!”, and then Dr Wynn transfers the Curse of Thorn (?) to Dr Loomis, as Michael walks away wearing the man in black outfit. Well, whatever.
If you take the first hour or so of the producer’s cut (up until Kara goes out the window) and then watch the theatrical ending (which isn’t any better but at least features some amazingly awkward stuff from Rudd), you have a somewhat decent movie. Joe Chappelle directed some scenes (Tim and Beth’s murders, Kara’s subsequent search of the house) quite well, and unlike any of the sequels, there really is a strong Halloween atmosphere in the film. Also, Farrands’ script may have included some truly terrible ideas (Michael is not only a killer, but he rapes his niece! Making this the second “Uncle fucking” movie of the day for me), but there were a lot of good ones too, and you can see glimpses of a stronger film throughout either version (even the producer’s cut was the result of hasty rewrites and nonsensical editing). Rumors abound that Dimension will release both versions in a special edition, but I can’t really see that happening, as it would almost require them to admit that they interfered too much with what would sadly be Donald Pleasence’s final film. This also began Dimension’s long, almost unbroken streak of fucking with their movies in post production.
Pleasence’s death, and the fact that the movie didn’t really make any goddamn sense resulted in the series “reboot” with H20, which led to Resurrection, which led to the remake, which is the biggest tragedy of all. Still, it didn’t stop me from writing a fan script when I was 16 that picked up right where Curse left off. I can’t recall too much about it anymore (it was written on a “digital word processor” that is no longer functioning) as far as explanations, but it all took place on a farm outside of Haddonfield, owned by the father of the Tina character from Halloween 5. The doctor from part 4 that Michael Pataki played also showed up, as did Hunt from Halloween II. Laurie Strode showed up at the end and killed Michael once and for all (I was probably ripping off Jason Goes To Hell there). And someone died with an electric beater to the mouth.
...I liked it, at least.
What say you?