Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

For reasons unknown during the making of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers someone came up with the idea to have a mysterious Man in Black come to Haddonfield, walk around looking menacing and then, at the end, take out the entire police station to rescue Michael.  Other than both having a rune tattooed on their wrist, nothing else was explained.

The problem with the Halloween series has never been not explaining things, but largely when attempts are made to explain them.  Slashers had pretty much run their course by the time Halloween 5 hit the theaters, and it drew abysmal numbers as audiences pretty much were tired of the slasher genre in general.  There was no rush to get another Halloween out there.  Still, six years later, we got a new one, whether we wanted it or not.

Writer Daniel Farrands was a fan of the series, and after doing some research decided to tie in the thorn rune (calling it Celtic, when it's really Germanic - it's basically the "th" sound in thorn).  Since, because a thorn pricks, the rune had some negative connotations in magic and divination (not to mention the name for the letter in Old Norse was similar to the word for giant) Farrands decided to add another supernatural element and make Michael the victim of an ancient curse - one that he would pass on to another child once his entire lineage was erased.  It's unneeded explanation for what just should remain a nebulous "pure evil," but from all accounts the script was not half bad.

Then Joe Chapelle, who was not a fan of the Halloween series and agreed to do the movie so that Miramax would fund a couple of movies he did want to make, came along and rewrote the whole thing.  The result, though not as generic as the part five, was a huge mess that instead of explaining things just frustrated fans even more.

Even though Jamie (J.C. Brandy) in the last movie arrived after the massacre at the police station, here we find that somehow she was captured by the cult that is protecting Michael.  It is right before Halloween, and she is giving birth to a baby that the cult means to do a new ritual with.  Instead, with the help of a nurse, she flees and tries to get in touch with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) through a radio show hosted by a slimy shock jock (Leo Geter).  Michael finds her, but not before she is able to hide the baby.

Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd), the boy that Laurie Strode was babysitting when Michael struck in 1978, hears the show and retraces her steps, finding the baby at a bus station.  Meanwhile, Michael arrives back in town to find that the remaining Strode family has moved into his old house - something their father (Bradford English) failed to mention.  Kara (Marianne Hagan) has returned home after having a son, Danny (Devin Gardner), who himself is seeing a man in black and hearing voices telling him to kill his family.

While Michael and the cult may or may not have something planned for Danny, they definitely want to retrieve Jamie's baby, and Kara soon teams up with Tommy and Dr. Loomis to prevent this.

J.C. Brandy isn't bad as a teenage Jamie in her brief time, but Danielle Harris (who was 17 at the time and really wanted to play the part again) is sorely missed.  Rudd does a good job of playing a socially isolated weirdo, while Donald Pleasance gives what he could given the fact that he was dying at the time the film was made.  Marianne Hagan is fine, but she has neither the personality of Jamie Lee Curtis or Harris that is needed to carry the movie since, despite Pleasance's top billing, she is really co-lead with Rudd.  The cast, at least, seem to be making some effort to make a good movie.

Not that anyone behind the camera seemed to care.  Few cuts were needed to bring this to an R rating (the moral panic about horror films had died down, after all), so there was really no excuse for the fact that this felt like it was edited by randomly throwing strips of film in the air and putting them back together in the order in which they fell.  Also, there is the fact that we now have every character acting like they can't do the simplest things, like go through a door or walk straight, without stumbling and tripping and practically throwing themselves on whatever sharp instrument Michael has in his hands at the time.  We are back to every woman having weak ankles and every bump in the road causing cars to spin out of control - even though maybe we should just be surprised that a girl that's been held captive and never been behind the wheel of a car could drive in the first place.

Also, if we are going to have a cult, they should at least be a bit menacing.  Farrands idea was that almost all of Haddonfield was in on it, so it would slowly build up to an ending similar to Rosemary's Baby.  Unfortunately, none of the villains are really around long enough to really even get a grip on what is supposed to happen, other than Tommy's explanation that a family needs to be sacrificed whenever the "Thorn constellation" rises to protect everyone else - which, again, makes no sense, since Michael was never that careful on who he killed.

This turned out to be slightly better than the preceding movie, mostly because of the acting of Rudd and Hagan, but it's still another unnecessary entry in a series that already had a good ending.  And, as this is the ending to this particular Halloween timeline, it doesn't even provide that.  A seventh movie was kicked around, but ultimately the whole thing was rebooted to bring Laurie Strode back and tell a different story about what happened after the second film.

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)
Time: 87 minutes
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Marianne Hagan, Paul Rudd
Director: Joe Chapelle


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