Note: This is a review of the original theatrical release of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. If you are curious how the rare Producer's Cut stacks up, check out our analysis.
With a pretty substantial lull following Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, some fans might have thought they’d seen the last of Michael, but in 1995 the Shape was back.The powers that be had seemingly decided that what was missing from the horrifying tale of an evil, increasingly unstoppable killing machine was his backstory and, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers set out to take care of that.
Those of you playing along at home may remember that the previous film included an ending sequence that was somewhat atypical for the franchise. Unlike the films that came before it—which all end with some kind of standoff in which Michael is presumed to be dead—Halloween 5 instead has Michael in police custody and Jamie about to be driven home safely, when the police station erupts in a hail of gunfire and smoke. When Jamie enters the building, she finds every officer dead and Michael missing. In the first real cliff-hanger of the series we are left wondering, who helped Michael escape, and why?
Cut to six years later. The newest film opens with a pregnant young woman, who we quickly learn is Jamie Lloyd (yes, that little Jamie Lloyd) strapped to a gurny in what looks like some sort of underground catacombs. This is the second creepy and problematic time jump involving the birth of a child this franchise has undertaken. Between Halloween II and Halloween 4 only ten years have past and yet that is enough time for Laurie (who was sixteen in the first movie) to have not only had a child—who is now at least eight years old—but also to die. Likewise, Jamie can’t be more than sixteen in this movie, but she looks at least thirty. It is unclear how Jamie came to be pregnant, or in the custody of these mystery people, but something is clearly wrong. Jamie takes her baby on the run, but it isn’t long before Michael has caught up with them.
Meanwhile, back in Haddonfield, it’s business as usual. Everyone believes that Michael is dead like they always do, despite the fact that they have less evidence to support that belief than they normally do. Now, with Jamie out of the picture, we need an entirely new cast for Michael to stalk and terrorize so, bear with me, this is going to get tangled. Laurie Strode’s uncle, a verbally abusive and despicable man, (who is apparently also a realtor) has moved his family into the old Myers' house with the hope of selling it and has not told them the house's history. Living with him are his wife, their teenage son, and their grown daughter Kara has moved back in with them along with her young son Danny. Across the street is a small boardinghouse in which Tommy Doyle (who Laurie was babysitting on the fateful Halloween night so many years ago) now lives—played by Paul Rudd in his feature film debut. And, of course, Dr. Samuel Loomis is still on the case, determined to do all that he can to stop the rampage.
The formula is much the same as we've seen before; Michael is on a singular mission to destroy every last drop of his bloodline which has conveniently been continued with the birth of Jamie’s baby. But, as I teased before, this film is interested in why Michael does what he does in a way that no film before it has been. It turns out that Michael is part of an ancient tradition; one involving blood sacrifices and symbology and runes. Yes, runes. It seems that the mysterious Man in Black from Halloween 5 was part of a devoted group of believers who marked Michael as a child to be the vessel for this ancient evil. That’s all I’m going to say about that for the sake of brevity.
Halloween 4-6 constitute a strange quasi-trilogy that seems to exist within its own storyline, somewhat parallel to the rest of the franchise. With the release of Return, Laurie is killed off because Jamie Lee Curtis had moved on to other things and so her daughter, Jamie, is offered as the new focus of our attention as well as Michael’s. But without Jamie, this movie struggles to find a center, with characters (including the infant) disappearing for long stretches of time with little noticeable consequences or concern. And it is within this trilogy that we get the initial downward spiral in quality away from the original two films. With the release of Curse, the franchise is dragged into the 1990’s, and the time warp is not subtle. There is a lot of cheesy slow motion as well as a bevy of sequences that feature so many music-video quick cuts that it is completely dizzying.
This film does feature some pretty stellar homages to the original, including a clothesline scare and even a scene where Danny is startled by Paul Rudd (Tommy) and drops his pumpkin, much like Tommy did when he was startled by Michael in the original film. Halloweeen 6 also marks the entrée into the acting world for charm-machine Paul Stephen Rudd, and you can’t hate that. Those in the audience who enjoyed It Follows may also notice a more-than-passing resemblance between the tendency in both scores to include stand alone bass used specifically to amplify moments of tension. Overall, I think that your experience of this movie will be affected heavily by your expectations going into it. Just remind yourself that he did everything because...runes, and you should be fine.
Body Count: 17 at least
Wounds Sustained by Michael: Hit once with a fire poker, hit 22+ times with a lead pipe, injected with 5 syringes full of a neon greem mystery chemical