When Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers premiered in 1995, audiences weren’t particularly enamored… Between the convoluted story line and the numerous rewrites and production cuts, only the most ardent of Halloween fans could be satisfied. Not to say the film was a complete failure — many have warmed up to its charms in recent years, praising the cast and cinematography, as well as for featuring the last great performance from the late Donald Pleasence.
But Halloween 5 and its cliffhanger ending had created many unanswered questions that would be left up to H6 writer Daniel Farrands to address. Who was this mysterious Man in Black? Why did he assist in Michael’s escape? And why do both characters share the same tattoo of an ancient rune symbol, which had not appeared in any of the prior films? With this kind of baggage, it seems Halloween 6 was doomed from the start.
But before Farrands was signed on to write, another script was considered. Penned by Phil Rosenberg, this draft, had it come to fruition, might’ve also been directed by Evil Dead II writer Scott Spiegel… In an interview with Fangoria, Spiegel spoke of this draft as well as of his meeting with Halloween producer Moustapha Akkad. “[Moustapha] was pretty cool. He had some reservations about me, but finally he said, ‘Ok, maybe we’ll use you to do a polish on a script that we’re considering, and then maybe we’ll let you direct it.’ When I read the screenplay, I said, ‘Oh boy.’ It reminded me of a Friday the 13th movie and presented Michael Myers as a homeless person. It was really unfocused and corny, and I just didn’t understand what this homeless element was about.”
As we know, both Spiegel and Rosenberg were dismissed from the project… and despite being a serious contender at one point, a displeased Akkad reportedly tossed Rosenberg’s draft across the room. Spiegel continued, “I really was relieved. The script that we were going to shoot at the time was going to be hard to overcome. And my feeling was that I didn’t need to be the one to make a crummy sequel to what had been a decent series of films.”
Damn… how bad can this script be? Luckily, we just found out! Rosenberg’s draft was recently sold to a fan on eBay, who was gracious enough to share with us! Below, we provide a brief overview… or if you feel compelled, you may read the script for yourself to see what could’ve been Halloween 6!
Titled Halloween 666: The Origin, this draft follows Dana Childress, a young news reporter from Chicago whose dreams are plagued by the midwest’s most notorious serial killer — Michael Myers. With a news crew in tow (including her interest Robert Clifton), Dana reluctantly travels to Haddonfield to get the scoop on the town’s first Halloween celebration in five years. Sound familiar?
It just so happens that original Halloween survivor Tommy Doyle is also at the forefront of this script — here, he is presented as a 29-year-old outcast, obsessed with the boogeyman that tormented his youth… newspaper clippings of Myers’ crimes adorn his walls. That’s… coincidental; another element that made it to the screen (but had first appeared in Dennis Etchison’s Halloween 4 draft, which you can read here).
And yes… Michael Myers is now homeless. He sleeps in dark alley ways and can openly walk through a shelter… Interesting. While Tommy advocates for the ban on Halloween, Dana and Robert venture through the town, making a pit stop at the former home of Lindsey Wallace — another child who survived Michael’s first rampage. She doesn’t appear in the script, having moved to New York after years of therapy… but her parents still reside in the house where Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) discovered the bodies in the original film. Informing the group they were once associates of the Myers family, the couple invites the news crew inside.
While watching home video footage of young Michael, Dana becomes alarmed… his grandmother bears a striking resemblance to her own. Both women also possess the same figurine of a bronze-masked soldier with a spear (a good luck charm in the lore of Samhain?) And with that, the implausible revelation that Dana is Michael’s sister takes shape… This feels rather contrived, with many fans having already lamented the decision to establish a relationship between Laurie and Michael in Halloween II.
Undeniably, the most outlandish aspect of this draft is the virtual reality element… You see, Tommy possesses a VR program — described as a “high tech Ouiji board” — that allows one to see within the netherworld… Taking a few notes from the 3D finale of Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare(?), this concept would allow Tommy and Dana to witness flashbacks of the early Samhain festivals, as well as how the Myers family came to be cursed after defying the Gods… Maybe I’m simple minded, but this seems far more confusing than what ended up on screen. Read for yourself and see what you make of it… (although I do feel compelled to reveal that Judith Myers’ desecrated grave is the portal into this netherworld).
It’s an ambitious script alright… one in which the initial setup might’ve had me for a few earlier sequences. Aside from the confusing Samhain and virtual reality elements, Michael also seems to be exploited for comic relief… For example: To reach his targets, our beloved psychopath would’ve been shown as needing to stand on a toilet commode to break through the ceiling… and this is after he shoves a kissing couple out of the bathroom and slams the door shut. To boot, few seem worried about Myers’ return as most are oblivious (and typically laugh off his presence). Because of this, there’s only a few scenes that might warrant real tension. The kills are equally all over the place; at one point, Michael shoves a rat down the throat of a Droog-costumed frat boy. Later, he kills a hockey masked party-goer through use of a beer bong and copious amounts of alcohol…
Regarding those loose ends created by Halloween 5, the Thorn tattoo isn’t explained and there’s only one or two references to the Man in Black character; enough to reveal the identity which should come as a nice shock to fans… It’s Father Carpenter! If this name doesn’t ring a bell, that’s because it’s supposed to be the Reverend Sayer character from Halloween 4… here, he is played up for the creeps in a role that I couldn’t help but correlate with Henry Kane from Poltergeist II. Also returning is Ben Meeker, the former sheriff of the previous two films. Like Tommy, he is dismissive of the town’s newfound willingness to celebrate the holiday.
Unfortunately, Dr. Loomis only appears in one scene. He resides within the mental ward of a hospital, possibly by choice considering the phrasing — the good doctor who spent years treating Michael is now back where he started, albeit in a different position… An inspired decision! But here, he simply “passes the torch” to Tommy and this is the last we see of him. Seems like a wasted opportunity.
A notable character who doesn’t make any real appearance is Jamie Lloyd, who, after serving as the protagonist of the previous two films, is simply said to be MIA. We are, however, treated to a brief glimpse of Myers’ niece in the form of a series of rapid shots during the Samhain/virtual reality segment: Surrounded by scattering rats, Jamie screams as she is trapped in a cage made of human bones.
While I’m not in love with many elements of this script, I do think following a news reporter as she travels to Haddonfield would’ve made for a nice starting point. I’ve only given a basic overview so I’d encourage any Halloween fan to read the script for themselves.
Furthermore, I think the existence of this draft (and its criticism among fan circles; my own included) captures the limitations of what a Halloween film is allowed to do. In comparison to the Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street sequels, the Halloween films have suffered from a creative bankruptcy due to the fact that the original film was grounded in reality. Stray too far and you face the risk of pissing off the fans that would prefer a safer, more traditional route — a sequel/reboot that might amount to nothing more than a reiteration of the original (a film far too simple to really merit a continuing story line unless new ideas are developed). A few months back, I posted an interview with Robert Harders, who shared his original take on Halloween 5… I thought his ideas were great and could’ve made for a unique yet still satisfying entry — however, most fans seemed dismissive.
I do not believe this draft of Halloween 6 should’ve been the way to go… and as hypocritical as my think piece sounds, this upcoming film should be all the more stronger for only referencing the original (in all of its simple glory). But, as with H20, this upcoming film has a hook; and that is Jamie Lee Curtis’ return — that aspect should elevate the story tremendously, but without her presence we’d be back at square one. I would love to see a modern version where Michael stalks babysitters without any references to the previous films… but after that?
Are we limited to tropes such as Halloween… but in a hospital? Halloween… but during an early winter storm? Halloween… but this time, Michael fixates on a male? I guess so… and these are all worthy ideas, might I add… but how long can this series really last? Another forty years? Could the reboot open the doors for Seth Rogen and James Franco Meet Michael Myers? Will the series experience a creative renaissance down the road… in line with the Frankenstein entries released by Hammer Films in the ’70s? The possibilities could be endless… even involving virtual reality perhaps?
With the idea in mind that a fan might become burnt out by watching the same rehashed material, perhaps it’s best that we’ve endured almost ten years between films… When considering this Halloween 6 draft, I think we should be aware of how difficult it can be to create a fresh and groundbreaking entry that would warrant the creator’s time… as well as proving satisfying to all… or most… or even a portion, if lucky. In any case, the upcoming film looks to please and we need not worry for now.