September 29, 1995
Paul Rudd as Tommy Doyle
Donald Pleasence as Sam Loomis
Marianne Hagan as Kara Strode
Mitch Ryan as Dr. Terence Wynn
George P. Wilbur as Michael Myers
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is frequently labeled the black eye of theHalloween franchise. While it’s not a profoundly stimulating picture, there are worse in the franchise (see Halloween: Resurrection andRob Zombie’s Halloween 2), and at the very least, Curse can lay claim to attempting to bestow Myers a legit backstory; a reasoning for his mass murdering ways. Does that attempt pay off? No. To be entirely honest it doesn’t pay off. But hey, it’s the thought that counts right?
The story introduces a whole new level of focus on Druid roots and pagan practices and, most admirable, the aforementioned motive for Michael’s homicidal ways. It’s an attempt to explain his early, and lifelong fatal tendencies. The problem is, it isn’t clear. The entire subplot is murky at the very best. In fact, a great number of details get jumbled up in the film to the point of near indecipherability. Why is this mysterious cult – out to sacrifice Jamie Lloyd’s baby (we’ll get to the whole Jamie Lloyd thing in a moment) – able to prance about in Michael’s presence? This brute has been willing to dispose of anyone to cross his path, for no reason whatsoever in the past. Now there’s some secret organization working in cahoots with Myers to see that the last of his bloodline is made a sacrifice… really? There’s a good idea in there somewhere, it’s just lost as a result of some very, very rocky script writing.
Speaking of rocky script writing, we’ve got to backtrack for one moment and talk about Jamie Lloyd. Remember that Danielle Harris portrayed this intricate character in the fourth and fifthHalloween pictures (before eventually returning for Rob Zombie’s reboots). She was an integral part of the story, then believed to be the final surviving member of Mike’s bloodline. Of course he went crazy mowing through the helpless en route to the youngster who manages to survive not one but two encounters with the masked murderer. She was absolutely pivotal to the storyline. Yet here, in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, she’s a cardboard cut-out skimmed over and brutally slain as though she was never relevant to begin with. Here one minute, gone 10 later. In fact, if you don’t listen close, you might miss the two times she’s referred to as Jamie. You may never even realize that this is supposed to be the same character, and that’s a damn shame. Jamie Lloyd deserved a far more grandiose exit.
There are some other interesting issues with the story that will likely raise an eyebrow or two for fans, but we’ll move on to the positive elements of the film because, to be completely honest, it’s never easy to completely trash any Halloween installment. The death scenes are quite enjoyable, venturing into graphic territory on multiple occasions. We’ve also got the big screen debut of the awesome Paul Rudd to soak up. Rudd obviously wasn’t the performer we’ve come to know him as now, but he still manages to do a fine job of combining socially awkward with heroic. And, he brings a nice nod to the original film: Rudd’s character is none other than Tommy Doyle, the little booger that Laurie Strode happened to be babysitting back in 1978 when Myers first made his presence known in Haddonfield. That’s a cool plot wrinkle, even if the emphasis on his existence completely shoved Jamie Lloyd out of the picture. A stronger connection between these two could have yielded something special. As it is, we’re left to focus on a grown Tommy, and that does work to appease longtime followers.
I loved the visuals of this film, as director Joe Chappelle and cinematographer Billy Dickson effectively capture the essence of Halloween. The abundance of crudely carved pumpkins, children in full costume; the heaps of leaves and overcast skies all make for convincing indicators of the fall. The lighting throughout the film is also impressive and the neighborhood itself is certainly reminiscent of the haunting streets of Haddonfield as we came to know them 35 years ago. Cursemay stumble into a few pitfalls, but it does do some things right, and those things shouldn’t be completely ignored due to the failed attempt at a revealing and innovative script.
It’s unlikely that many would rank The Curse of Michael Myers amongst the best of the Halloweenfilms, but it’s good for a brainless viewing or a Halloween marathon. Donald Pleasence’s final appearance as Dr. Sam Loomis is a nice touch, and while it is heart breaking to know the man has passed, it feels very fitting that he pass as the character which gained him most fame. Between Pleasence’s appearance, Rudd’s debut, the satisfying gore and the slick seasonal visuals, there’s something to enjoy in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.