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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers

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Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
200px-Halloween6cover-1-
Directed by Joe Chapelle
Produced by
Malek Akkad
Written by Daniel Farrands
Starring

Donald Pleasence

Paul Rudd

Marianne Hagan

Kim Darby

Music by Alan Howarth
Cinematography Billy Dickson
Editing by Randolph K. Bricker
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release September 29, 1995
Running time Theatrical cut
88 min.
Producer's cut(TV version)
92 min. (43 minutes of footage is alternate)Original Producer's cut 131 Min.
Country  United States
Language English
Budget $5 million
Gross revenue $15,116,634
Preceded by Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Followed by Halloween H20: 20 Years Later

Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers is a 1995 horror film and the sixth installment in the Halloween series. Directed by Joe Chappelle from a screenplay by Daniel Farrands, the plot involves the "Curse of Thorn", a mystical symbol first shown in Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers and revealed in the film to be the source of Michael Myer's evil. The cast includes Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle, a returning character from the original Halloween film, and Donald Pleasence reprising his role as protagonist Dr. Sam Loomis.

Opening to a respectable $7.3 million on September 29, 1995, coming in second to New Line's seminal serial killer thriller Se7en. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and the Thorn plotline would be ignored in succeeding installments, 1998's Halloween H20: 20 Years Later and 2002's Halloween: Resurrection. However, the 2001 Halloween comic book series published by Chaos Comics - and based on Daniel Farrands' concept for the eighth Halloween film — attempts to bridge the continuity between The Curse of Michael Myers and Halloween H20.

The sixth installment is known for its controversial behind-the-scenes history, suffering from re-shoots in production and numerous cuts and arrangements made in the editing room; the workprint of the film, with 43 minutes of alternate footage including a different ending, was eventually discovered by fans of the series. This version, dubbed "The Producer's Cut" (as it was the original intended version of the film) developed a strong cult following, with bootleg DVD copies sold on eBay.



PlotEdit

Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur), his niece Jamie Lloyd (J. C. Brandy, who replaced Danielle Harris) and the mysterious Man in Black have all been in hiding for six years. It is revealed that the Man in Black is the leader of a satanic-like cult, and that after the fiery climax of Halloween 5, the Man in Black kidnapped Jamie and had her impregnated. The baby is born on Halloween Eve and is carried away by the Man in Black. Later that night, however, a nurse helps a now teenage mother Jamie and her baby escape. Michael Myers, in pursuit of Jamie and her newborn, kills the nurse by impaling the back of her head to a metal spike in the wall. Jamie, meanwhile, steals the truck of an angry motorist (who quickly becomes Michael's next victim) and flees to a dark and empty bus station where she calls in to a radio show that happens to be doing a broadcast about the Haddonfield murders. Jamie gets on the air, begging for help and warning of Michael's imminent return. Trapped, she proceeds to hide in the bathroom where Michael nearly catches her. She narrowly makes it out alive and again drives away. Jamie is still not safe, as she is forced off the road by a presumably stolen van driven by Michael Myers. Beaten and exhausted, she makes her way inside of an old barn where Michael is waiting for her. He kills Jamie by pushing her into a corn thresher, only to find that Jamie does not have the baby.

Meanwhile, Tommy Doyle (the child Laurie Strode babysat in the first film) has his eye on a family who's moved into the old Myers house across the street from the boarding house where he lives. The boarding house is run by a mysterious old woman named Minnie Blankenship. For seventeen years, Tommy has been obsessed with finding the truth behind the murderous motives of Michael Myers. After hearing Jamie begging for help on a local radio show, Tommy finds her baby at the bus station and takes him into hiding. The people living in the Myers house are relatives of the Strode family (Laurie Strode's adoptive parents), and among the current residents are Kara Strode and her son Danny, Kara's teenage brother Tim Strode, and her parents, the doting mother Debra and her abusive husband and Kara's father John. One by one, Michael stalks each of the Strodes, trying to get to Jamie's baby. Across the street, Tommy reveals to Kara that Michael has been marked with Thorn (or Thurisaz), a runic symbol that druid astronomers claimed was originated from a constellation of stars that appear on Halloween night from time to time (whenever it appears, Michael appears, explaining why Michael appears a few number of years after he's been in a near-death-experience). It is an ancient Druid curse that represented a demon that spread sickness and caused mad destruction on druid tribes. In order to prevent the tribes from dying, each tribe had to inflict the curse on one child from each tribe, so each child can offer the blood sacrifice of its next of kin on the night of Samhain (A.K.A. Halloween), because the sacrifice of one family meant sparing the lives of an entire tribe, which is the reason why Michael is trying to kill Stephen. If Michael did succeed in killing his entire family, the curse would be passed on to another child.

While Tommy is out looking for Dr. Loomis, Mrs. Blankenship reveals to Kara (after talking to Danny) that she was babysitting Michael Myers when he killed his sister 32 years ago, and Danny hears the "voice", just like Michael Myers heard when she was babysitting him (implying that Danny is the next "child" to be cursed with Thorn).The plot takes a turn when the "Man in Black" finally reveals himself as Dr. Wynn from the original Halloween. After a terrifying showdown between Kara and Michael Myers, Tommy and Dr. Loomis follow Wynn to Smith's Grove Warren County Sanitarium. Loomis tells Tommy to go get Kara and the children and get out while he confronts Dr. Wynn, who knocks him out shortly after. Tommy finds Kara locked in a room in the maximum security ward, and they continue to find the children. In the hallway, they see Dr. Wynn and several surgeons talking about the genetic engineering experiment they're working. They then walk into an operating room and Tommy and Kara walk into the room next to it, where they find the children. They watch through a two-way mirror as Dr. Wynn and the surgeons preparing to perform some sort of an operation on possibly Danny. But Michael interrupts the procedure, walking in with a surgical machete in hand and promptly slaughtering them all (with the possible exception of Dr. Wynn). Tommy, Kara and the kids run with Michael in hot pursuit until they come to a locked gate. With nowhere to go, the group hides in another room. Inside the room, Kara finds some tanks with what looks like to be baby fetus' inside each one of them, with a chart with runes translated into scientific letter codes next to them. As what it appears to be, the Sanitarium crew are not the cult of thorn at all but just cult geneticists trying to study the rune of thorn and using Michael's curse for their own experiments: the Sanitarium's using Michael's genes as a cure for a genetic disease, possibly mitochondrial disease, to prevent the children from growing up with a disorder. The Sanitarium has been using the women of the institution for their experiments by possibly performing in vitro fertilization on them.

Their experiments have failed, but when they tested it on Jamie, it finally worked, and in order to keep it a secret from Michael, they tell him, that they needed a sacrifice of innocent blood (which is the reason why they made Jamie give birth to Stephen in the Producer's Cut). Michael breaks into the room and out of nowhere Tommy injects him with tranquilizers of corrosive chemicals and beats him in the head with a lead pipe. As Dr. Loomis, Tommy, Kara, Danny, and the baby Stephen are about to escape, Loomis tells them to go on without him, because he has "unfinished business" to do. The film cuts back inside the building, where Michael's mask is shown on the floor and Dr. Loomis screams, either because he realizes Michael is still alive, or Michael attacked him from behind.

List of DeathsEdit

Name Cause of Death Killer On-Screen Notes
Nurse Mary Head impaled on metal spike wall Michael Myers Yes
Motorist Neck snapped head around Michael Myers Yes
Jamie Lloyd Impaled through back/ripped apart on corn thresher Michael Myers Yes
Debra Strode Hacked up with axe Michael Myers Yes
John Strode Stomach impaled/carried/pinned to fuse box with kitchen knife/electrocuted/head exploded Michael Myers Yes
Barry Simms Stabbed in chest in car Michael Myers Yes
Tim Strode Throat slit with kitchen knife Michael Myers Yes
Beth Stabbed 6 times in back Michael Myers Yes
Sanitarium Patient Stabbed in stomach Michael Myers No
Dr. Bonham Hacked up with surgical machete Michael Myers Yes
8 Doctors Hacked up with surgical machete Michael Myers Yes
Dr. Terence Wynn Hacked up with surgical machete Michael Myers No
Doctor Face smashed against bars Michael Myers Yes
Dr. Samuel Loomis Unknown Michael Myers No

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

In 1990, screenwriter, and long-time Halloween fan, Daniel Farrands had set out to write the sixth entry in the Halloween series. Farrands gave his horror movie scripts to the producer of Halloween 5, Ramsey Thomas; impressed by his writing, Thomas set a meeting for Farrands with executive producer Moustapha Akkad. Farrands described the meeting:

“ 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 the producers at the time had already sought to make a sixth Halloween film, a series of complicated legal battles ensued which delayed plans for a sequel; eventually Miramax Films (via its Dimension Films division) bought the rights to the Halloween franchise.

WritingEdit

In 1994, Akkad called Daniel Farrands for him to write the sixth Halloween film, after several screenplays from writers were deemed insufficient. Farrands has said his initial intent for Halloween 6 was to "bridge the later films (4-5) in the series to the earlier films (1-2) while at the same time taking the story into new territory so that the series could expand for future installments." Daniel Farrands had written several drafts to the film. His final draft, originally titled Halloween 666, went through eleven different drafts.

The writer and filmmakers' intentions with the script were to ultimately unveil what had kept Michael Myers alive, and his reasons for killing. They decided upon using the "Curse of Thorn"-angle, which is the concept that Myers had been under the influence of an ancient Celtic curse that drove him to murder all family members in his bloodline; once this task was completed, the curse would be passed onto another young child.

CastingEdit

Donald Pleasence returned as Dr. Loomis, in his last performance; according to Farrands, Pleasance "loved the script for 6, however, and told me that he felt it was the best story since the original." Danielle Harris was asked to reprise her role as Jamie Lloyd, but she and Dimension could not come to an agreement over her salary and ultimately did not want to pay Danielle more than she received in Halloween 4. Harris herself admitted to "not caring for the script" and that upon meeting with director Joe Chappelle, didn't see "eye to eye" on things. She ultimately opted out of reprising the role, and J. C. Brandy was cast instead. The producers wanted Brian Andrews to reprise his role as Tommy Doyle. However, without an agent, they could not get in contact with Andrews.

The leading female role, Kara, was given to Marianne Hagan; however, Hagan has since stated that Miramax did not favor her, and made aesthetic criticisms about her being "too thin" and her chin being "too pointy".

For the role of Dr. Terence Wynn, Mitch Ryan was cast; Farrands originally urged the producers to cast Christopher Lee, having had the veteran horror actor in mind when writing the character. Denise Richards also auditioned for the part of Beth, but the studio passed on her, giving the role to Mariah O'Brien.

Stunt performer George P. Wilbur, who portrayed Michael Myers in the fourth installment, reprises his role as the silent unstoppable killer in the film.

Filming & ReshootsEdit

Fred Walton (director of When a Stranger Calls and April Fools' Day) was originally attached to direct Halloween 6 but dropped out.

Filming started in October 1994 and was shot mostly in Salt Lake City, Utah; the city was experiencing an early winter at the time which proved troublesome for the production company. Producer Paul Freeman and director Chappelle reportedly rewrote the ending on-set, even from shot to shot as production deadlines loomed large. Producer Paul Freeman also sent the crew home when crucial scenes needed to be shot; deleting scripted scenes indiscriminately, rewrote dialogue and action sequences; and took it upon himself to direct second-unit shot as well supervised the post-production phase of the original cut and made a series of blunders that resulted in Miramax taking control of the film, ordering reshoots.

In early 1995, after filming and editing was completed, Halloween 6 was given a test screening which, as described by actress Marianne Hagan, "consisted primarily of 14-year-old boys." During the Q & A afterward, one of them expressed great displeasure at the ending of the film, which entailed a Celtic ritual and the passing on of the Curse of Thorn to the Dr. Loomis character. As a result of the audience's disapproval toward the film's finale, the movie was rushed back into production, this time without Donald Pleasence, who died on February 2, 1995.

The film's ending was excised from the original cut that had been shown in the test screenings, and an entire new ending was shot that nearly dropped the film's "Curse of Thorn" concept entirely. Additionally, over twenty minutes of other footage was removed from the film during the re-editing process.

Some violent footage was also edited out for fear of an NC-17 rating. This including some extra seconds of Jamie being impaled on the drills, with more blood pouring from her mouth and extra closeups of the drills going through her body. The other major edited scene involved Michael ramming the doctor's head through the bars in the hospital until his head is gorily mashed through and pulps of his skull hit the floor. The current theatrical cut only shows the first few seconds.

MusicEdit

The original music score is composed by long-time Halloween contributor Alan Howarth, his work in the series dating back to his collaboration with John Carpenter on Halloween II. However, Howarth's score was redone when the film went through reshoots. A soundtrack album was released by Varese Sarabande Records, and is an unusual combination of the music featured in the original cut of the film, as well as that of the final theatrical cut.

The music of Alabama based rock band, Brother Cane, was featured throughout the movie. The music came from their 1995 release Seeds on Virgin Records. The album's hit single And Fools Shine On reached number one on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks. The song can be heard when Kara, Tim and Beth arrive at school in their car. The song continues to play as they go to class and sounds as if it's coming from a lo-fi radio, but the source of the music is never shown. It stops suddenly mid-scene while they examine Danny's drawing. The song is also heard during the closing credits.

The movie also featured the following songs from Seeds : Hung On A Rope, 20/20 Faith and Horses & Needles.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was the first film in the series that incorporated a hit song into its soundtrack. It was also the only film in the series to feature a single band almost entirely throughout its soundtrack. The only non-Brother Cane song was Disconnected by the group, I Found God.

Release & ReceptionEdit

An earlier teaser trailer of the film employed the title Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers, which according to Daniel Farrands, came before an official title had been decided, and that the trailer title was a combination of an earlier script titled The Origin of Michael Myers by another writer, and Farrands' original script titled Halloween 666. At one point, executive producer Moustapha Akkad asked Farrands for a title, who suggested The Curse of Michael Myers due to the troubled production. Although Farrands was half-joking, Akkad took the name to heart and decided upon it. Farrands also adds that this coincidentally made the subtitles similar to those in The Pink Panther films, which also used Return, Revenge, and Curse subtitles.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was released on September 29, 1995 in the United States, and brought in a $7,308,529 opening weekend gross, being the first film in the series to beat Halloween II's opening weekend gross. The film went on to gross a total of $15,116,634 at the U.S. box office.

While the film was a financial success, it received poor reviews from film critics. Daniel Kimmel of Variety called the film "tired" and "run-of-the-mill", while Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said the film lacked suspense and said that "not even the presence of the late, gloriously histrionic Donald Pleasence can liven things up". In general, most critics had negative reactions to the film.

Screenwriter Daniel Farrands generally dislikes the film, due to its deviations from his original script. Although Farrands thinks both versions are poor, he considers the Producer's Cut to be the superior version. In January 2010 was released on Blu-ray in Canada

Alternate VersionsEdit

"The Producer's Cut"Edit

The original cut of the film which was shown during test screenings is the version that has now come to be known as "The Producer's Cut". This version of the film contains 43 minutes of alternate footage that was either cut entirely or replaced in the theatrical release of the movie.

The 43 minutes of alternate footage consists of various shots and additional scene exposition, including more dialogue between characters, and a scene in which Jamie, who dies in the beginning of the theatrical cut of the film, survives the ordeal, and is later murdered in the hospital while lying unconscious in her hospital bed. The musical score is also entirely different, featuring the Halloween theme song much more prominently. While a good portion of the alternate footage takes place in the beginning and middle areas of the film, half of it takes place during the film's finale; the Producer's Cut features an entirely different ending, which goes as follows:

Kara is kidnapped and made to take place in a ritual involving the cult of Thorn. While she is tied up and awaiting the beginning of the ritual, there is dialogue between Tommy and Dr. Loomis as they go to Smith's Grove Sanitorium, where the cult members have gathered. Following a confrontation between Loomis and Dr. Wynn, Tommy stumbles in upon the ritual as it is taking place; just before Jamie's infant is about to be sacrificed (and the Curse of Thorn is to be passed onto Danny), Tommy seizes Dr. Wynn and assists Kara and Danny in escaping. They are chased by Michael down the hallways of the hospital, and Dr. Loomis takes Kara and Danny to the bottom floor via the elevator; as this is taking place, Tommy uses a rune to stop Michael from attacking, and subsequently escapes with Kara and Danny. Dr. Loomis tells the three to leave Haddonfield, and he proceeds back upstairs as they drive away. In the hallway, he finds Dr. Wynn lying on the floor, dressed in Michael's clothing and bearing his mask. As he takes the mask off of him, Wynn grabs Loomis' hand, and tells him that Michael is gone, and it is "his game now". Loomis examines his wrist, where the symbol of Thorn materializes. The film ends as Loomis screams in fear, and the final shot displays a lit jack-o'-lantern on the front porch of the Myers house.

AvailabilityEdit

Copies of the original version of the film (known as the "Producer's Cut"), without the changed ending, have long been floating around in bootleg/collectors' circles. While featuring a different ending which was intended to keep Donald Pleasence's character in the films, it also features longer scenes in several parts of the movie, as well as different music at times. Major plot points differ between the two cuts. For example, in the Producer's Cut, Jamie Lloyd is not killed by Michael's attack in the barn; she is wounded only to be killed later on in the film by the "Man in Black" after having a dream about how she was imprisoned in Smith's Grove and impregnated with Michael's child.

Several scenes from the Producer's Cut can be seen on the television version of the film, seen in the U.S. on AMC's MonsterFest, which plays annually throughout October in celebration of Halloween. The scenes were re-inserted to increase the running time of the film (originally a scant 88 minutes).

On the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror DVD, it was stated that Dimension was trying to plan an official release of the Producer's Cut Fangoria reported that the Producer's Cut may get an official release. However, Disney owns the rights to the film and decided not to give an official release

TriviaEdit

  • Dr. Wynn was seen in the original Halloween film telling Dr. Loomis that Michael can't drive a car. It is highly likely that Wynn, as the leader of Michael's cult and a doctor at Smith's Grove, was the one who taught him how to drive.
  • Michael kills Dr. Wynn in Smith's Grove. It is unknown, if the Curse of the Thorn will wear off, if the cult leader (Dr. Wynn) is killed. However, Michael does survive being injected with corrosive chemical, and still tries to kill Kara, Tommy, and Danny.
  • Aside from Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees from the Friday the 13th film series both being immortal psychopaths who kill in a similar manner, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers has slight parallels and/or similarities to three of the Friday the 13th movies.
    • Michael's presumed (or supposed, it was never revealed) death when Tommy violently smashed his head with a pipe after striking him in the head and knocking him out is almost similar to Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, where Tommy Jarvis (who shares the same first name as Tommy Doyle) strikes Jason in the head with his machete before violently hacking him to death. The possibility that Michael may have survived (it hasn't been proven that he either lived or died and is still up for debate) mirrors that Jason was brought back to life in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives.
    • Michael's origins are explained in this movie, much like how the appearance of the Necromonicron in the Voorhees house in Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday explains the origins of Jason Voorhees to anyone who knows what the Necromonicron (from the Evil Dead series) is.
    • Dr. Wimmer from Jason X is slightly similar to Dr. Wynn. Both are doctors with similar names, and plan to use the main villain for their own goals, and are subsequently killed by the villain. The main difference is that Wynn is evil and gave Michael his powers, while Wimmer is greedy and simply wants to make money off Jason, not caring who gets hurt in the process.

By some coincidence, these are the three movies, where Jason actually dies (though he gets resurrected after two of them), much like how Michael possibly dies at the end of this film.

  • Dr. Loomis's unknown fate at the end has been speculated by some. Some fans think that Loomis was killed by Michael, some think he was screaming, because Michael was gone, or, as the voiceover from the alternate ending was necessary, it could have been something completely different and unknown.

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