Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Blu-ray)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Blu-ray)Starring Paul Rudd, Donald Pleasence, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan, George P. Wilbur

Directed by Joe Chappelle

Distributed by Echo Bridge Entertainment

Without prior knowledge of the story, without having read the original script or seen the slightly more cohesive “Producer’s Cut”, it’s almost impossible to tell what in the hell is happening throughout Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: A young woman gives birth to a child in an underground lair surrounded by mysterious cultists, said woman is revealed to be Jamie Lloyd (now played by JC Brandy, aged well beyond a 14-year-old teenager), who then escapes into the night with her newborn. True to form, The Shape appears out of nowhere just in time to stalk his niece into the night determined to sever his family bloodline once and for all.

As expected, the pursuit leads back to Haddonfield, Illinois, where the long-suffering town has banished Halloween outright in an attempt to finally move beyond the curse of Michael Myers. Some local college students seem determined to restore the tradition (quite insensitively, really, considering only six years have passed since an all-out bloodbath claimed the lives of every police officer and several other teenagers), and they become the target of a particularly brutal Michael Myers, who appears none too happy that an entirely new (and dysfunctional) Strode family is living in his old house.

Dr. Loomis (the great Donald Pleasence) is lured back to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium by an old colleague and friend, Dr. Terence Wynn, just in time for the two of them to discover that Michael has come home to kill … again, and the character of Tommy Doyle (the boy Laurie babysat in the original) also resurfaces, this time in the guise of Paul Rudd, as an emotionally unsettled young man who was never able to move past the childhood nightmares Michael left on his psyche.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (Blu-ray)As it sounds, there’s a LOT happening in The Curse of Michael Myers. It’s no secret that the fifth killing spree of our beloved boogeyman was notoriously butchered in post-production, leaving audiences with something of an empty shell of a film. Scenes drift through this narrative with no real set-up (what were Wynn and Loomis doing at the hospital when Tommy just so happened to find them?) and the ambitious story isn’t served with even the slightest bit of sense. When the third act kicks in to reveal the now infamous Thorn cult motivation, it’s as disjointed as anything that has come before. It’s compounded by the abandoned laboratory climax, in which we glimpse disheveled fetuses, DNA charts and goop-filled syringes – all of this stuff raising a lot more questions without bothering to bring answers.

”We waited six years for THIS?” someone screamed out as soon as the end credits rolled on opening night. An understandable reaction considering this Halloween’s handling of the ‘man in black’ mystery that kept fans wondering where the series would go in this sixth installment. Even Loomis’ fate is left entirely up in the air at the end. Inexcusable enough without considering this was the final role for the inimitable Donald Pleasence. That Dr. Loomis never had a proper send-off is a genuine missed opportunity for the Halloween franchise on the whole, but Curse’s ending is so slapdash that it remains a genuine shame.

But the biggest surprise about The Curse of Michael Myers is that, for all its flaws, it remains a stable and worthy installment in the series. Yes, the story was shattered into a thousand pieces before release, but oft-maligned director Joe Chappelle succeeds in delivering a film rife with atmosphere and suspense worthy of the Halloween name. Chappelle recreates the thick October atmosphere so prevalent in previous entries: Midwest farmlands, pumpkins on every porch and costumed children traipsing through the streets of this quiet community. It’s the same Haddonfield from John Carpenter’s film – only seventeen years older and more battered. After the debacle of transforming the Myers house into a Gothic mansion in Halloween 5, Chappelle deserves some credit for taking Part 6 back to the aesthetic basics of the original.

There may be some more gore shoehorned into The Curse of Michael Myers than necessary, but it never gets in the way of the suspense. When our heroine spies Michael creeping up on a soon-to-be victim in a Rear Window-inspired moment, it’s a fantastically staged setpiece that breathes new life into the proceedings without reinventing the formula. And there are some genuinely creepy and nightmarish moments spattered throughout as well: when a young boy finds himself pelted with warm red ‘rain’ that turns out to be one of Michael’s stashed victims and later when a murdered cultist spouts off some genuinely unsettling gibberish at our hero before keeling over. These little touches add up in the film’s favor, making it work almost in spite of itself.

Halloween:  The Curse of Michael Myers (Blu-ray)It helps that the producers put together a strong cast as well. Paul Rudd is a great Tommy Doyle, and quite frankly, the filmmakers were absolutely stupid to leave him out of all subsequent sequels. Rudd’s character makes the perfect nemesis for Michael, particularly in the wake of Pleasence’s passing, imbuing Tommy with the right mixture of likability and unbalance. Marianne Hagan is the attractive single mom who slowly realizes her son may also be in possession of the “gift” that spoke to Michael all those years ago. She doesn’t have a whole lot to do here, but she’s a sympathetic heroine. George Wilbur’s second go ‘round as Big Mike (he first played the part in Halloween 4) is my personal favorite take on the character. In both films his Myers possesses the same cunning we expect from The Shape, but with a little more edge and brutality mixed in to make him an intimidating presence.

Fans of Halloween 6 tout the Producer’s Cut as the magical “fix all” to the problematic situation of this film. And while that alternate version does restore a lot of the character and pacing to the proceedings (including a scene where Loomis clashes with local law enforcement – WHY was that removed), the final act is quite possibly the most ridiculous incarnation of Michael Myers ever put to film. In that version Michael is stopped dead in his tracks by “the runes of light”, and the mysterious curse of Thorn is transferred to Dr. Loomis. Beyond that, it’s revealed that Jamie’s mystery child was fathered by none other than Michael himself (!?), unwisely introducing not only a hokey, mystical aspect to the franchise, but rape and incest as well. No, the studio was right to remove the bulk of that junk.

What’s left is a severely flawed Halloween sequel – one that doesn’t make a drop of sense but successfully offers up enough scares and suspense to make it worthwhile. We’re a long way from the brilliance of John Carpenter here, but this installment isn’t the disaster it’s often derided as.

The biggest surprise is with Echo Bridge Entertainment’s 1080i high definition transfer. This 1.78:1 (cropped from 1.85:1) framed transfer looks to be identical to the Canadian Alliance triple pack that came out last year, offering deep blacks and crisp colors all-around. Detail is strong, with lots of visual information available on actor’s faces – particularly in close-ups. Environments are also well-defined, opening the image to lots of little intricacies (and making some of the newspaper clippings in Tommy’s room much easier to read). The transfer is also, thankfully, devoid of any severe DNR excess. There might be a bit of noise mixed in with the film grain, but nothing that detracts from the overall experience. While these Echo Brige discs have been varied in quality, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is a winner in this regard.

And while there’s no excuse for DTS HD 2.0 (especially when the Alliance disc offered a lossless 5.1 track), this lossless track really does get the job done. Dialogue is always perfectly clear, and it’s impressive how nicely the disc handles the audio effects as well. Halloween 6 is loaded with lightning, music stings and other loud jumps and crashes – all of which are well separated and presented. It’s unclear why Echo Bridge can’t outfit their titles with much needed 5.1 tracks, but this is a pretty good listen regardless.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers makes its U.S. Blu-ray bow in a bare bones package that offers really strong PQ and solid AQ for those looking to continue their Halloween collection on Blu-ray. The movie itself may be more of a ‘fans only’ affair, but it retains enough elements to make this a worthwhile recommendation for us horror buffs.


3 1/2 out of 5

Special Features

0 out of 5

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Matt Serafini

Author (Under the Blade, Feral), slasher movie enthusiast, N7 Operative. Plays games, watches movies, reads books. Occasionally writes about them.

  • mikedh

    I think that four and five are about even. They are not necessarily bad, but just sort of lukewarm and repetitive entries. I think I like six more just because it tried something different, even though the final product isn’t necessarily great.

  • James Coker

    and to rank my Halloween Films (excluding Halloween 3)
    it is

    7. second Half of Rob Zombie’s Halloween
    6. Halloween H20
    5. Halloween Curse of Michael Myers DIRECTOR’S CUT
    4. Halloween Curse of Michael Myers PRODUCER’S CUT
    3. Halloween 4
    2. Halloween
    1. Halloween 2

    • Terminal

      Whoops. Misread your list. Sorry. Ignore my original comment. I’m a fan of Halloween 2 as well. Not sure I like it better than the first one, but it’s damn good.
      “We are bad guys. That means we’ve got more to do other than bullying companies. It’s fun to lead a bad man’s life.”

  • James Coker

    im going to be a little Bold here and say that my Favorite Halloween film is Halloween 2(1981) i actually loved it better then the original, becuase it takes place seconds after the first one,I love the Dim lighting in it, the mood and atmosphere is on par with the first film, so is alan howarths music, Plus Michael Myers is much more sadistic in this one,theres more deaths and there quite mean spirited and bloody 🙂

  • Sirand

    Having recently watched them all, I can say that 6, while a disaster, is still better than the majority of the sequels. And I still don’t get the love for 4. That film sucks like every other 80’s Friday clone.

    Catching Resurrection on TV recently, my blood boiled. It’s the biggest disgrace to a horror series in history. They took everything scary about Michael Myers and twisted it into the lowest level of idiotic MTV bullshit. Even Zombie’s films are superior to that teen-pandering crap (as pretentious and awful as they were, at least he was TRYING).

    • LSD Zombie

      I really disliked the fourth film initially. Upon future viewings though, it really grew on me. I’d say it’s the second best entry in the series next to the original.

      • Masked Slasher

        I love hearing everyone’s opinions on these films and how they all stack up against one another – but I’m honestly baffled whenever someone says they don’t like part 4.

        • LSD Zombie

          Part 4 absolutely OOZED with the feeling of Fall and Halloween. It was also a genuinely intense film. And it introduced an amazing little actress who made you fear Michael’s presence even more given his intentions towards her. I still think it’s a damn shame we still haven’t gotten a Halloween sequel in which Harris’ character is now full-grown and has to fend off Michael once again. Given her incredible talent and dedication to the series, she’s certainly earned it.

          • Masked Slasher

            Yeah, even though they stupidily killed her character off in part 6, I would like to see that retcon myself.

            I’ve love to see another Halloween Twenty Years Later – this time with Jamie. Never thought of that before, but that would be cool.

            And I love Halloween 4 too. You’re right about the atmosphere … from those great opening credits you can FEEL that movie every step of the way.

          • NYC-Hearts

            As absurd as it may seem to retcon Jamie’s death in 6, it’s not like the series has really fertile ground left to plow after Zombie exited stage left, leaving behind a pile of cinematic wreckage. To the extent the Weinsteins are willing to ignore the Zombieweens, why not go back to the future, and have danielle harris play a 30 year old survivor while looking younger than the supposedly teenaged victims lined up? If they’re looking for a reboot, it’s probably the best place to do it from. It cleanses the zombieweens away, provides some continuity, but also can serve as a blank slate….

      • NYC-Hearts

        Before this thread disapears into the netherworld once the review goes off the main page, I had to just pop in and say i fully agree with this. From those fantastically atmospheric opening credits to Loomis’ broken screams in the final shot, this is probably one of the few slasher sequels of the period in which you feel that the makers were trying to make a good film. Does it measure up the original? Of course not. But they tried, and despite its flaws, it’s still the second best of the Myers films. It’s just a shame the series couldn’t have ended with H4…

  • DavidFullam

    This film, ugh. Horse shit it is, horse shit it was, horse shit it forever shall be.

  • Foywonder

    Three knives for Dracula 2000. Now three and a half knives for Halloween: Curse of Michael Myers. And yet you laughed heartily when I ribbed Uncle Creepy being too much of a pushover.

    • Masked Slasher

      Perhaps Dracula 2000 was a result of me being in a good mood that day because I was teetering between 2 1/2 & 3 while I was writing the review, but I’m a big fan of H6.

      I think there’s plenty of merit mixed in with the nonsense.

      • Foywonder

        “I think there’s plenty of merit mixed in with the nonsense.”

        You should have been in the crowded opening night theater I saw this at so you could have explained those merits to all the people that began booing and yelling “Fuck that!” when the closing credits rolled. One of the few times I’ve ever seen a theater full of people voice their displeasure to that degree.

        • Masked Slasher

          I had the same experience!

          The funny thing was before the movie started the audience seemed really excited. But like I said in the review, one guy yelled out “we waited six years for this?” and another guy screamed out “fuck that movie!”

          What can I say? For the reasons I listed out, I think it’s a solid slasher.

          • LifeMi

            Where would you rank H6 in the Halloween series, out of curiosity?

          • Masked Slasher

            Taking Halloween III out of the mix (which I also love), my series ranking goes like this:

            Halloween ’78
            Halloween 4
            Halloween 5
            Halloween II ’81
            Halloween 6

            And the rest I honestly don’t care about (Resurrection and the two Zombie movies)

          • LifeMi

            Cool. Here’s my list

            Halloween *****
            Halloween II ***1/2
            Halloween 4 ***1/2
            Halloween 6 **
            Halloween 5 **
            Rob Zombie’s Halloween **
            Halloween H20 *1/2
            Halloween III *
            Halloween Resurrection *
            Rob Zombie’s Halloween II A BIG FAT STINKING ZERO

          • Uncle Creepy

            If I had to pick my favorites in the Halloween franchise in order, excluding III which I’m a big fan of …

            Halloween II ’81
            Halloween H20
            Halloween 4
            Halloween: Resurrection
            Halloween 6
            Halloween 6: Producer’s Cut
            Halloween 5 <- who okay'd that horrid mask?!? Rob Zombie's Halloween II Rob Zombie's Halloween Yes, I liked RZ's H2 more than I did RZ's H. If only because - for better or for worse - it felt like his own film rather than the half redneck half retread mess that was his first crack at it.

          • Vanvance1

            I haven’t seen many of the Halloween flicks in a long time so I’m only ranking those that stick in my mind.

            Halloween (the original)
            Halloween H20
            Halloween 3 (yes, it was different and I liked it.)
            Halloween 2 (sequel to the original).

            The others are all equally forgettable to me excepting the two RZ Halloweens the first of which was bad and the 2nd of which was a crime against horror cinema.

          • kiddcapone

            That’s pretty much the same exact order I’d place all the films. Everyone universally bashes Resurrection, but it’s one of my guilty pleasure films. I kind of dug it.

            And I also agree about the mask in part 5. I’ve ripped on that for years in different Halloween discussion threads. Part 4 ends with Myers falling down a mine shaft and part 5 starts with Myers coming out of the mine shaft looking Jewish. Why the hell would they make the nose so friggin’ big ???

          • Cinemascribe

            This is essentially the same order I’d list them,with 4 ranking higher than H20 for the sole reason that it was the last really good chapter to feature a truly great performance by Pleasance as Loomis. He gave it his all in 5 but there were too many issues (aside from a mysterious redesign of the Myers house and the fact that the mask had the Shape looking as if he were constipated the entire time, the pacing sucked) and in Curse the character was reduced to literally nothing more than tagging along with either Dr.Wynn or Tommy while reciting the familiar platitudes about Michael. Shit,man, as seemingly goofy as the runes thing in the Producer’s cut might have been, at least that version of the flick ended on a note that gave Loomis’ continued involvement some genuine gravitas.

            As to part III: Even for the concept they were attempting (an original Halloween themed story with each new film),that was a legitimately lousy flick, one that’s as bad today as it was the year it bowed. It’s a slap in the face to audiences and a cinematic clusterfuck of the highest order. What stands out the most is the fact that, apparently, the screenplay ended before they finished shooting, because once the doctor is left in the room with the skull mask on, there follows a ten to fifteen minute stretch at the end of the film which has no dialog, a silence broken only long enough for Tom Atkins (who was the only one in the damned movie who bothered to turn in a solid performance) to scream into a telephone in the last few minutes. What a steaming pile of (insert unpleasant material of choice here). I’d rather watch Jeepers Creepers 2 again..and that’s saying something.

            Do you wanna party? It’s PARTYTIME.

      • The Woman In Black

        I have a soft spot for Drac 2000 myself. I remember seeing it in the theatre on my birthday by myself when it came out and then calling Uncle Creepy (we were still living on opposite coasts then) and debating the ending for quite a while. At the time I hated it (the ending) but now it’s really grown on me, and I have to say the film resides comfortably in my top ten favorite vamp films of all time (although certainly near the bottom of that list).

  • LifeMi

    You’re nuts, Madman Matt. I’ll grant you that H6 is not as bad as people make it out to be; it’s certainly better than 5 or anything after it. But Three and a Half Knives!? I’d go no further than two knives. I can’t imagine anyone who was ever a fan of Carpenter’s Halloween finding any enjoyment out of this one.

    • aliensharkboy

      I did… it’s actually my fave next to H20 (1 and 2 aside).