Earlier this year, news broke that the search was on for the “lost” footage from Halloween 5 – a film that tends to divide the series’ fans. Personally, I’ll always have a soft spot for this oft-debated entry as it was the first Halloween I saw and therefore launched my interest in the genre (alongside Final Destination 3; fun fact). When it comes to those deleted scenes, Michael Myers actor Don Shanks was recently interviewed for Halloween Movies – and in that interview, he mentioned one scene in which Michael takes down the SWAT team!
Where did this scene take place? Well, towards the finale, little Jamie (Danielle Harris) is being used as bait at the Myers house. There, she has one of her psychic episodes in which she can sense her uncle Michael about to wreak havoc at the children’s clinic.
This episode leads to Sheriff Meeker (Beau Starr) and a slew of SWAT officers heading out in pursuit, leaving Jamie with Michael’s now-deranged doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Of course, Michael soon shows up… but what actually happened back at the clinic?
According to Shanks, “There’s one guy, and I mean they show it, when they’re taking out the bodies, whose head is twisted around. They put the wardrobe on him backwards, and he looks like his head has been twisted 180 degrees. And another, the direction was, ‘Take an M16 rifle, and you’re just walking through these guys and killing them.’ […] Another one, I put the M16 through his head, and another guy, I break his neck and stomp on him. […] We did all of these really quick shots. You know: ‘Pick this guy up. Knock this guy down. Stab this guy.’”
Talk about some carnage. It’s no wonder Halloween 5 was reportedly fighting an X-rating… The only bit leftover from this excised sequence is the scene in which a body is rolled out on a stretcher; his wardrobe on backwards.
Despite a passing resemblance, the man on the stretcher is not Dr. Hart (Max Robinson), the character that treats Jamie during the opening scene; it’s actor Jon Platten. Credited as the “Cop at Pageant,” Platten appears in various nighttime scenes at the children’s clinic. You might remember him as the cop that assists in translating Jamie’s speech post-attack.
News of Don Shanks’ interview got back to the actor, prompting him to share a few behind-the-scenes shots with fans on Facebook. We couldn’t resist the chance to learn more and Mr. Platten has graciously shared his experience with us!
“I knew there was a huge fan base following the Halloween series, but not specifically Halloween 5 or anything. For me, it was a fun time, but I didn’t think I would hear anything more of it after filming, actually. I didn’t hear anything for years until this article came out that Don Shanks did, in reference to our scene.”
Having pursued acting in California, Platten (who also appeared in Dumb and Dumber) moved to Salt Lake City in the late ‘80s. He signed with Broadway Film & Model Management just in time to book the Halloween 5 audition. Fun fact: He was originally up for the role of a different officer – presumably Nick or Tom, the infamous “clown cops.”
“They called me and asked me if I’d be interested in auditioning for Halloween 5, and I gotta tell you, when I heard that, my memory of the first one coming out and scaring me to death – I think it was the background music; you’re suddenly looking around every bush when you’re walking – they called me, asked if I wanted to audition and I did, in front of Dominique Othenin-Girard. He said he really liked my looks and gave me the part.”
With French writer & director Dominique Othenin-Girard at the helm, Halloween 5 is particularly known for its visual style and, at times, odd story elements. The term “rushed” has been used to describe various issues the production may have faced, with filming having started without a completely final draft. According to Halloween lore, conflicts ensued between Othenin-Girard and the series’ producers over topics such as blood use, which included re-shooting the opening without the director’s involvement (another scene we’d love to see!)
Of this, Platten says, “I never had any language barrier issues with Dominique. He was always straight forward with me and he and I clicked pretty well when we were on set,” going on to mention that the director was involved, “getting my input on some of the scenes – what I felt would be appropriate as far as a police officer. The way a cop would move or handle himself in certain situations. The movie kind of crossed, in some parts of it, like slapstick. But he wanted my role to be pretty serious.”
For his role, Platten shared screen time with some of Haddonfield’s most notable residents, including series veteran Donald Pleasence. “Working with Donald Pleasence and Beau Starr and Danielle Harris, it was pretty laid back. In between scenes and lighting and stuff, people were laughing and joking and looking at their script and just getting to know each other. In between one of our takes, Donald Pleasence and I chatted quite a bit. And Beau Starr and I had a lot of conversations just off-scene, chit-chatting as friends.”
Despite being involved in a rather demanding scene, he found child actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman to be “very professional. They took direction extremely well from Dominique. The people they had on set that were taking care of the kids were very gentle and obviously knew what they were doing. They made sure that they were always where they were supposed to be, when they were needed, and had everything on set.”
Let’s be honest. If you’re going to act in a horror film, there is perhaps no higher honor than a gruesome death scene… and Platten received just that in the original version of the film. Unfortunately, his big moment ended up on the cutting room floor – but is now the stuff of Halloween legends!
As he explains, “Leading up to that, Dr. Loomis – played by Donald Pleasence – looked at me and goes, ‘Go outside and make sure you keep an eye on Jamie.’ I go outside and as I’m walking around the hospital, Michael Myers comes up behind me. And I’m kind of just standing there, looking around and all of a sudden, he twists my head and then it goes backwards – he twists it so hard, instead of facing forward, my face is now facing backwards.”
Even with SFX wizard Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead) in charge, Platten’s scene did not require much in the way of molds or prosthetics. The effect was accomplished through old school camera trickery. “So, what they do is: they take all my clothing from waist up and put all my clothes on backwards. What happens is, I fall to the ground – and here’s a little movie insight for you – they dug a hole in the ground, about the size of my head. They took out all the dirt and put newspaper – crumbled up newspaper – in the hole and put the grass back over it.
So when I’m laying on the ground, Michael Myers stomps on my head and it makes it look like he’s pushing my head into the ground. He’s pushing with so much force. Of course, all the blood gushes out of my face – my eyes, ears, mouth, nose – and when they were filming it, they had the camera at ground level so they could see my head going slowly into the ground. It was pretty cool. As it started going deeper and deeper, they would touch up and add more blood.”
The sequence took at least an hour to shoot and in regard to whether it was cut for its graphic-ness, Platten has no doubts (“Mine was really gory”). On whether his on-screen death was part of the “SWAT team massacre” that Don Shanks has referred to, he isn’t sure. He wasn’t present for any of the ensuing madness.
It’s worth noting that neither scene appears in the draft available online so it’s possible that both were shot on-the-fly. “I don’t remember a lot of shooting death scenes when I was on set (at the clinic). They may have done something after to add into the film […] My title in the credits was ‘Cop at Pageant’ so I wasn’t really above the SWAT team or anything. I was just a member of the force – plainclothes officer – that happened to be attending the party just in case Michael showed up.”
Platten wasn’t informed of his big scene’s deletion until he attended a private screening in Utah. Was he disappointed? “Absolutely. I mean, I loved filming that thing. I went to the movie and all I see is my lines and then I go outside. Then you see Beau Starr – when they have me on the gurney and he takes the sheet down and looks at my head. Puts the sheet back on and then they rush me off. I went, ‘Uh, there’s a huge part missing in between the two scenes there.’ *laughs* I was a little disappointed.”
There might still be hope… Back in February, the collective fan base (myself included) went crazy when it appeared that Sean Decker of HalloweenMovies.com was rummaging through “the Halloween archives” in search of that missing footage. While there’s been talk among fans hoping for a “director’s cut,” the most we can really ask for is a new Blu-Ray loaded with these deleted bits – perhaps for the film’s 30th anniversary this year? Let’s get this going, guys!
As far as Platten is concerned, he certainly wouldn’t mind catching his one-on-one moment with Mikey after all these years. “That would be amazing to see that – to relive that part of my acting career. I mean, I’ve died five times on film. This would be really, really fun to see.”
And even if his big scene didn’t make it into the film, the popularity of the series isn’t lost on him. “You know, to be a part of something that has a huge fan base following and people will recognize me – not very often *laughs* – for my scene in Halloween 5, it’s mind-blowing. It’s humbling that people still recognize you for something that you were in – that you have a part in this Halloween series. It’s just amazing that people have followed it for so many – thirty years.”
“It was a great set to be on. The big movie stars – Donald Pleasence was amazing. A great friend to work with. He made you feel very comfortable around him. He didn’t have that air of arrogance that some big name actors have.”
“When I returned two years ago from climbing Mount Everest, I was diagnosed with stage IV cancer in my lungs. Living day to day. I love talking about the film work and things I’ve done in my life. Some pretty high level things where I’ve worked with presidents of the U.S. It’s absolutely amazing. Absolutely amazing.”
“I appreciate you getting a hold of me and reminiscing about those times on set. The great people I got to work with. And sharing the story with the fan base. You know, that’s really who we try to represent – is our fans, when we’re talking about things. They’re the ones who keep us motivated.”
We cannot thank Mr. Platten enough for taking the time to share his memories of Halloween 5 with us. What say you? Are you excited at the possibility of these scenes seeing the light of day? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!