Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

A movie review by James Berardinelli



Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers

HORROR:

United States, 1995

U.S. Release Date:

1995-09-29

Running Length:

1:28

MPAA Classification:

R (Violence, Profanity)

Theatrical Aspect Ratio:

1.85:1

Cast:

Donald Pleasence, Marianne Hagen, Devin Gardner, George Wilbur, Paul Stephen Rudd, Kim Darby, Mitchell Ryan, J. C. Brady

Director:

Joe Chappelle

Screenplay:

Daniel Farrands

Cinematography:

Billy Dickson

Music:

Alan Howarth; "Halloween" theme by John Carpenter

U.S. Distributor:

Dimension Films

Subtitles:

none


Before Jason and Freddy, there was Michael Myers, wearing his white-painted Captain Kirk mask and stalking Jamie Lee Curtis. Michael made his debut in John Carpenter's 1978 horror classic, Halloween, possibly the best scare movie to come along in the last twenty-five years. It set a standard that nothing since has come close to equaling -- not five Halloween sequels or numerous rip-offs. Now, with the release of the sixth (and hopefully final) movie to bear the Halloween moniker, we see how far the mighty have fallen.

It's six years after the events of the last film and Michael (George Wilbur) is back. So too is the mysterious cloaked stranger with steel-tipped boots (try not to laugh too hard when you find out his identity). As predictable as ever, Michael is still after his niece, Jamie (J. C. Brandy). He reaches his quarry a little late, however. By the time he impales her on a sharp object, Jamie has already given birth to a baby boy. Therefore, since the bloodline continues, Michael's work isn't done. And because the baby is on its way to Haddonfield in the care of someone Michael terrorized during his original night of terror, guess where the killer is headed? And, of course, what kind of party would it be without an appearance by doddering old Doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasance, who died soon after completing this film), looking more decrepit than ever?

Never has the Halloween series appeared worse than in its latest incarnation. This one makes installment five look like a veritable masterpiece. Just goes to show that if they keep making these kinds of films, they'll find ways to screw things up even more. There's no sense of danger -- Michael is stalking characters we don't care about. Haddonfield has turned into a town without a personality or soul, and even Michael doesn't seem the least bit menacing. His murderous tendencies are mechanical by now -- he sees, he goes after, he kills -- usually in the bloodiest manner possible. Even the unmistakable theme music sounds tinny and hollow, and is mixed with the generic strains of something credited to Alan Howarth.

Needless to say, the gore level is high and the scare level low -- although not as low as the intelligence level. Half the time, I didn't understand what was going on. The other half, I didn't care. I tried to keep a body count (making tick marks on my notepad gave me something to do), but I lost track during the climactic massacre. I guess the total must have been somewhere around twenty, but it's difficult to be sure. By now, you'd think Haddonfield would be prepared for this sort of thing whenever Dr. Loomis shows up muttering about "pure evil" and Michael "coming home." Heck, if I lived there and saw Loomis coming, I'd get out of town.

Perhaps the saddest thing about this Halloween is the dedication at the end: "For Donald Pleasence." What a tragic epitaph for the once-great British actor that this tripe should represent his last on-screen appearance -- even if it is true that over the past seventeen years, Pleasence and Halloween have become synonymous. Indeed, many of his younger fans know him only from this series.

The release date of the film is odd -- one would have expected a Halloween sequel to open a little closer to October 31 (actually, it was originally scheduled for October 13, but the competition was deemed too stiff). As it is, this movie will no longer be around by the time Halloween arrives, the marketplace for slasher movies having dwindled dramatically. In the final analysis, The Curse of Michael Myers is a horrific motion picture -- just not in the way the film makers intended.





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