With Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut finally getting its own Blu-Ray release it should make hardcore fans happy to finally have this lost version of the film in HD.
Previously the only way one could get their hands on a copy was to buy a bootleg DVD off the internet. Let’s face the facts here, the bootlegs were not great. They were hard to see, grainy, the sound was terrible, making one feel as if they were watching something filmed off a movie screen in the late 90s when pirated VHS were flooding the streets.
The only other way, until now, to get your hands on a Blu-Ray HD copy of Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut was to shell out eighty-some dollars for the 10 disc Halloween Collection, or over one-hundred dollars for the 15 disc Deluxe Edition; both contained the Producer’s Cut of the film. This was a rip-off in my opinion; Anchor Bay has been milking every last cent from the Halloween series for years, sometimes putting out crap copies like the Blu-Ray editions of Halloween 4 & 5 with limited special features (less than what their DVD editions had) and with a twenty dollar price tag. Though one could argue that they were Blu-Ray HD, but I still find the price outrageous!
But this week brings the solo copy of Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut, and I must say that I was impressed with how the film looks and sounds. The 1080p Letterbox HD transfer is crisp, vivacious, and clear, really giving one the impression that the film takes place during Halloween. The sound is great in 5.1 DTS-HD and helps give the film the mood and feel The Producer’s Cut needs to tell its story. The one down side to owning the disc is that there are no special features on it, which would have been a lot of fun to have. That being said, the film is still a must own for any true Halloween fan.
Now that I have some of the technical issues out of the way, it brings me to the part of my review about The Producer’s Cut of the film. But before I dive into the movie, I want to bring anyone who doesn’t know the story behind The Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 up to date.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers was written by Daniel Farrands, a die-hard Halloween fan who had the ugly task of trying to figure out who the man in black was in Halloween 5 and what that symbol tattooed on Michael Myers’ wrist meant. What he did in his script was admirable; setting out to explain Michael Myers and the mythology around Halloween, a huge task while trying to tie all the films together.
Everyone liked Farrands’ idea and the script, including the producers and director, Joe Chappelle.
So they set out to make that film – somewhat.
Dimension sees the movie and lets a test audience see how the film’s playing, as is the model for a studio film. The test audience does not like the movie, and Dimension wants to do re-shoots because they fear the film isn’t working in its current state. They want more energy, more MTV-style music and editing, and more brutal killings in hopes to cash-in on the kids of the era going to see the movie – you have to remember this was the mid-90s, and underage kids getting in to see R-rated movies wasn’t really a big deal, unlike nowadays in our overly worried, PC world.
The re-shoots were ordered and over a third of the film was re-shot and edited. The cult angle of the film was almost completely dropped, cutting a lot of Dr. Loomis’ and Dr. Wynn’s scenes in the process as well as changing major plot points in the film. But there was a HUGE problem now. Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis) had passed away and they had to come up with a way to save the film and the more ambiguous ending was worked into the movie.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers came out on September 26 1995. Though it had the biggest opening in franchise history to date, it was still a critical failure.
I will try to sum up the differences in the two versions of the film like this –
Theatrical version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: chaotic, incoherent, mean, nasty, flashy, and fun.
Producer’s Cut version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: story driven, more in-line with John Carpenter’s Halloween tone and feel, a thinking man’s Halloween.
To really compare the two is hard, as they are vastly different movies to one another.
I have always liked the theatrical version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. After Halloween 5, which is my least favorite, I found the new take on this movie refreshing and the flashy psychedelic cuts and music gave the film a breath of fresh air. It was fast moving, yet very suspenseful at the same time. To this day I still like the film, even though it has plot holes you can drive a dump truck through, and things are not fully fleshed out nor understood about the cult and Michael’s connection to them or Thorn in the theatrical version.
The Producer’s Cut solves a lot of these questions and gives backstory to Michael’s relation to the cult, Thorn, (the tattoo on Michael’s wrist) and why he’s unstoppable and wants to kill his entire family – starting with his sister Judith back in 1963. The Producer’s Cut is very story driven, gone are all the flashy cuts, the gorier scenes (the exploding head, Jamie’s impalement) the whine of the guitar strings, and the fast pacing. What we get is a fully enriched story that not only gives more insight to Michael and his actions, but dives into the mythology of Halloween itself – some of this is touched upon in the theatrical version of the film but it is just glossed over to quicken the pacing and get to the next suspense, action or kill scene.
The major difference in the two films is the aspect of the cult. In the theatrical version of the movie, the cult is almost like a side note; you are never given a reason why the cult is in the movie or their agenda. In the Producer’s Cut you find out how big of a role they played in Michael’s actions over the past four movies.
Sadly, dropping this aspect from the theatrical version of the film lost a lot of Donald Pleasence’s wonderful last performance. He is truly astounding in this movie and has a lot of screen time. In the theatrical cut of the movie, it’s almost like Loomis was a guest character – he has very little screen time and when he shows up in scenes they seem almost out of place. Whereas in the Producer’s Cut, there is a reason for why he’s there – this is notable when Tommy runs into him at the hospital; in the theatrical cut it makes no sense that Loomis would be in the hospital the same time as Tommy.
Still the Producer’s Cut isn’t without its flaws. As I’ve come to understand this was a working print of the film (first watchable cut) and when it was delivered to Dimension, the executives were told that work still needed to be done with the editing and some scenes needed to be tightened and fixed. These flaws can be seen in the Producer’s Cut. There are a few scenes that feel unfinished or out of place in the context of the film, and some plot details are still not fully fleshed out in this cut and leave you scratching your head in wonderment.
Do I think this version of Halloween would have made fans happier had they went with it for the theatrical release at the time?
I believe had they released The Producer’s Cut of the film, people would still have been upset with the outcome. The hardcore fans may (I use ‘may’ very loosely) have liked it, but I seriously doubt that. The pacing and tone of the movie are far too slow for the average horror movie watcher, and anyone coming into the series at this point would be wondering what the hell is going on? For a horror movie, and especially a horror movie in 1995, there is way too much story, making you feel like you are watching Rosemary’s Baby or The Omen than a Halloween movie.
Had they been able to combine both the theatrical cut and The Producer’s Cut of the movie (and I’d love to see someone tackle this) into one coherent piece, we would have gotten one of, if not the best, Halloween sequels to date, and it could have really saved the franchise at that point.
All-in-all Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: The Producer’s Cut is a really good, story-driven horror film that relies heavily on mood and tone, rather than flashy cuts and gore like its theatrical counterpart. I highly recommend seeing it if you have not. And even if you have seen one of the bootleg versions, I suggest picking up a copy on Blu-Ray and watch the film as it was meant to be seen.
8 out of 10