I love holiday horror films. To me, they demonstrate the genre's ongoing commitment to ruining even the happiest of occasions with visions of nightmarish terror. There was a time when Halloween was the only holiday associated with evil and darkness and that set it apart as the isolated capsule of fear. But then, one by one, the other, more joyful holidays became targets for horror interpretations. It's gotten to the point that no festive celebration is without its own signature slasher or identifiable bloodbath.
For today's seasonal slaughtering, we celebrate Halloween with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.
I've made it my mission to watch every 'Halloween' sequel this month and I've ended up writing about most of them in some fashion or another. Undeterred by my own redundancy, I've decided to cover part six for my Season's Bleedings project. For those of you unfamiliar with this film, count yourselves lucky. It is probably the most forgettable of the 'Halloween' franchise and it works hard to earn that dubious honor. The story revolves around Michael searching for the infant child of Jamie Lloyd, whom he finally manages to kill at the beginning. It's up to now grownup Tommy Doyle, relatives of Laurie Strode's adoptive family, and a depressingly old Dr. Loomis to stop him.
It's not fair to call 'Halloween: The Cure of Michael Myers' the worst of the franchise, but it's damned close. Of its many, many problems I think the biggest gripe I have against the film is that it is the entry wherein "Halloween" jumps one of the recognizable sharks. In every long-running horror franchise, there are three gimmicks often called upon in order to spice up the monotony. The first is 3D, the second is going to space, and the third is "I want your baby/I want to be reborn through you." 'Critters,' 'Leprechaun,' and 'Hellraiser' have all gone to space, Freddy has done both 3D and the baby obsession, and Jason has the distinction of doing all three! But not until 'Curse of Michael Myers,' and not since, 'Halloween' as a series had never fallen prey to one of these hokey temptations. I'm not arguing that this somehow protected them from making a bad sequel prior to this sixth entry (Lord knows 'Halloween 5' is pretty bad), but I don't understand the impetus for adopting the gimmick.
This thing is just plain terrible. It is loaded to the gills with uninteresting camera work, lackluster suspense, laughable plot devices, and horrendous performances. Not even Paul Rudd, in his first film role, can turn in anything above adequate. Though I kind of enjoy the idea of bringing back the little boy Laurie was babysitting in the original film as a traumatized wacko, he is directed to be so weird that he just seems like a bad parody of a crazy person and that makes it impossible to like him. The same problem befalls the actor playing the patriarch of the Strode house. He is so over-the-top in his abusiveness that it makes it hard to take him seriously. Also, how in the world they managed to make Myers himself look old through a rubber mask is beyond me, but this is probably the worst looking Myers of the franchise.
The whole satanic cult aspect of the film is preposterous. I'm not sure why the writer felt it necessary to conceive of a group of people who are controlling Myers. It is a hackneyed story device that is wholly unneeded as Michael was doing just fine on his own in the homicide department for four films prior. I also think the subplot about the little Strode boy hearing voices and possibly turning evil himself is laughably derivative of the Jamie Lloyd storyline from the previous two entries. It's hard to enjoy the film when it seems to be chasing its own tail to try to shoehorn all of these flat, uninteresting story elements in at the expense of pacing. If nothing else, a 'Halloween' film should not be boring.
The biggest insult of the film is the fact that Donald Pleasence is barely present. It is true that he died during filming so the temptation is to cut the film some slack for its meager usage of such an indelible character. But the truth is that director Joe Chappelle found Pleasence boring and cut many of his scenes. Yes Chappelle, because the rest of your cast is so thrilling to watch that it makes perfect sense to trim down the performance of the best actor you've got. I wish there were a sarcasm font. What makes this doubly upsetting is that Cappelle effectively shortchanged the guy on what turned out to be his final performance.
Wrap all of this together with a pitiful grunge rock alteration to the classic "Halloween" score and an ending that couldn't be more convenient, and you start to get a picture of the failing of "The Curse of Michael Myers". I will say that it does have really great kill, wherein a guy is simultaneously stabbed, electrocuted, and has his head explode, but I would advocate jumping to that scene and then immediately turning off the movie. I think the biggest compliment I could pay this film is that it is only slightly better than 'Halloween: Resurrection'... not high praise by any stretch of the imagination.