Sunday, October 20, 2013

Halloween:The Curse Of Michael Myers, Part III (The Producer's Cut)

I see only one bastard in this house.
          ~Kara Strode

The Producer's Cut of Halloween 6 is not a great film by any means, but its an important one.  It does help that its heads and shoulders above what was released theatrically.  The 90s was a weak time for horror, and for some reason all the horror icons being villains wasn't enough.  They all apparently needed to have some sort backstory and retcon to the truth of the original.  Freddy started it, Jason and Leatherface followed suit and Michael Myers couldn't even escape it (a could months later, Pinhead too would join in).  Things as they were weren't good enough.  There was always something "behind the evil" or "this is what it REALLY is".  The evil in all these needed to be explained where no explanation was necessary.  Mythologies were being forced where the makers didn't realize they had spent the previous decade creating one on their own.  But, these are movie monsters and these mythologies did attempt to make them more classical in a sense.  They're attempts at taking the characters into different places and its different, but not in all cases does it work.

For Michael, he's apparently been under the control of the cult of the Thorn.  There was talk of Thorn in the original cut, but the Producer's Cut relishes and feeds off of it.  We get a more in depth explanation of it from Tommy Doyle and the end of the film revolves around the cult.  We are treated to a flashback of their ritual with Jamie (revealing that Michael is the father of her baby...eww).  The end of the film is the biggie.  From the scene where Dr. Wynn is revealed as The Man In Black to its finish, this is a completely different movie.  Kara is set to be sacrificed by her son Danny at the same time Michael is to commit his final sacrifice of Steven.  Wynn is now more of a maniacal cult leader and tells Dr. Loomis he wants him to be his successor now that his work is done.  Its also revealed that the staff of Smith's Grove is all a part of the Thorn organization as well.
Tommy Doyle follows a member to the ritual and rescues Kara, Danny and the baby.  And in something that I don't mind, but people lacking imagination hate, Tommy places a runes of light in a circle and offers his blood into hit.  With the word "Samhein" he stops Michael dead in his tracks.  There are those that hate this, but I think its kind of fun adding this little witchcraft angle and a bit of a payoff for things earlier.  And after Tommy and Kara leave we are treated to Dr. Loomis reentering Smith's Grove finding Michael on the floor in the circle.  But it's not Michael, its Dr. Wynn, Michael switched the clothes.  He then says "It's your game now, Loomis" and gives Loomis the mark of the Thorn.
This final act is far more satisfying and rewarding for the 2 acts that came prior.  What replaced it was a whole bunch of super violent stuff that didn't make sense and oddly contradicted everything prior making it make even less sense.  Yes, its a bit more fantasy land and more fan fiction-y but that's the film they were telling.  It also features Donald Pleasence's final scenes in all their full uncut glory.  They're not random chopped to bits scenes.  And he's actually acting with the other actors in the same scene.  Mitch Ryan is far better here as the deranged Wynn as well.  I like him better as a crazy cult leader than just some asshole working at the hospital.  And like it or not, the cult of the Thorn makes far more sense than the "harnessing evil" bullshit they tried to feed in the theatrical cut.  And it also makes more sense as to why Michael is hanging out there and cooperating with them.
The ending is the big point of difference in this movie, but there's a lot more alternate and extended stuff to enhance the enjoyment.  For instance, Jamie survives the barn.  She's only stabbed.  She's in a coma and in the hospital with Loomis at her watch.  We're also treated to exactly what happened at the end of Halloween 5 and how her baby came to be.  She still dies in this cut, but she his shot in the head at the hospital by Man In Black.  For a fan of the series and the character of Jamie Lloyd, its a far more tasteful exit than here gruesome farm equipment slaughtering in the theatrical cut.

Thorn dialogue wasn't the only stuff that was trimmed out in the theatrical cut.  Pretty  much all connective tissue to Halloween 5 was removed for who knows why as well.  Dr. Loomis explains his skin grafting plastic surgery to fix his face following his stroke at the end of 5.  As mentioned before, there's a flashback.  There are plenty of bits of info and exposition dropped throughout referring back to Halloween 5 and I don't understand why.  This movie is following its massive cliffhanger.  People coming to this movie were pining for the follow up.  While the film didn't flat out ignore it and is a follow up, they chopped out a lot of the stuff that would have made the movie more fun for fans.
One of the biggest pluses in the Producer's Cut is the temp score.  Its appears to be a hybrid of different scores throughout the series (though light on the II, but it is there in the jump scare score moments).  This is SOOO SOOO SOOO much better than the damn electric guitar rendition.  Granted, the beloved Brother Kane songs are missing in this version (come on, hardcores, you know you own their album).  The flash cuts are also nonexistent here and the Rear Window death isn't all zoomed up and slow mo.  John Strode is also stabbed then just electrocuted with no head explosion.  Its all little differences, but you can see this film was kind of "just fine" and their tinkering afterward kind of harmed it.
Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers or The Producer's Cut has a special place for me.  It was the first time I was privy to a work print or bootleg of a film.  It showed my how much a film could be changed, tampered with and manipulated.  I had seen and heard of deleted scenes before, but nothing this extravagant.  The theatrical release and Producer's Cut almost 2 completely different films.  You can honestly watch these back to back and not be the slightest bit bored.  As a matter of fact, the Producer's Cut has been such a staple for me in this series that it is the one cemented in my brain, not the theatrical.  Ever since I acquired that tape, the theatrical version was pretty much retired for me.  I've not watched it that much since 1997ish.  And whenever I have, its quite a surprise to me, the stuff missing and watching the final act play out.  The Producer's Cut is a much superior film and has become a seminal learning experience for me in my upbringing learning about film production, criticism and film history.

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