Friday, November 22, 2013


Joe Chappelle, 1995
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan

Six years after Halloween 5, where Michael is imprisoned by Dr. Loomis and then rescued by a mysterious man dressed in black, we learn that the man in black also kidnapped Jamie, Michael’s young niece. At some point she was impregnated, though only a teenager, and gives birth to a baby. Michael still attempts to hunt down and kill Jamie, as well as the baby. She calls into a radio station and begs for help. Of course Dr. Loomis happens to be listening in and he sets off along with Dr. Wynn, the head of the sanitarium that once housed Michael. 

Unfortunately, Michael kills Jamie, though he can’t find the baby. The DJ on the radio station that Jamie called in to is Tommy Doyle (the boy Laurie Stode was babysitting in Halloween), now a young man obsessed with Michael Myers and the Strode family. Tommy just happens to find Jamie’s baby and informally adopts him. He and Dr. Loomis team up, convinced that Michael will show up to kill the child and determined to stop him. 

SPOILERS, if you even care: It turns out that Dr. Wynn is the head of a Druidic cult and watches over Michael, as he bears the curse of the Thorn. This means Michael must kill off everyone in his family line - one living member every Halloween when the stars are right - for the good of society as a whole. In the Producer’s Cut, Tommy is randomly knowledgable in runic magic and attempts to stop Michael. With spells. 

One thing I can respect about Halloween 6 is that the film openly acknowledges that it’s impossible to kill Michael Myers and something supernatural must be afoot. Why they chose rune magic and a druidic cult as the explanation is beyond me. Halloween 6 was bizarrely financially successful, even more so than Halloween II, even though the production and release were beset by a number of problems. After production wrapped up, a new ending was filmed, along with other reshoots, and much of the gore was cut out, leaving the theatrical release as disappointing and tame as Halloween 5. In addition, most of the Thorn plot was removed, making this a confusing mess with numerous plot holes. 

Eventually a complete version known as the Producer’s Cut was unearthed. This restored, extended version has developed somewhat of a cult following and is available as a bootleg and has had at least one or two 35mm screenings. Director Joe Chappelle also made Hellraiser: Bloodline, which doesn’t look particularly good on a resume, but he also directed episodes of The Wire and Fringe. Maybe he would have made a solid sequel with less studio meddling, but in my opinion, even the Producer’s Cut is still a crap film, just a slightly better version. There have been rumors of an official DVD release of the Producer’s Cut happening at some point, but that has yet to see the light of day. 

I’m trying to find something good to say about this, but it’s difficult. Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Loomis, sadly for his final film role. He was in a lot of amazing films, but it’s a little upsetting that Halloween 6 had to be his last. Another actor of note (though not remotely in league with Pleasence) is Paul Rudd (Anchorman) who had his first film role here as the adult Tommy Doyle. The performances are about what you would expect from a bottom of the barrel slasher sequel and there are no other names of note. Danielle Harris (Jamie in Halloween 5) did not return for financial reasons and was replaced by TV actress J.C. Brady, which made this even more nonsensical. 

While the theatrical cut is available on DVD, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I also wouldn’t go out of my way to recommend the Producer’s Cut (I’ve admittedly only watched the missing scenes, not the whole thing), but if you want to see someone use magic to stop Michael Myers, here’s your chance. Go home, Halloween franchise, you’re drunk. 

No comments:

Post a Comment