“Enough of this Michael Myers bullshit.” was a line spoken by character John Strode (portrayed to brilliance by actor Bradford English) in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.
Turns out in 1995 when the movie was released theatrically, many of the Halloween fans and genre fans alike said the same thing. One of the most renowned cases of poor test audience and studio interference, Halloween 6 has become one of the most talked about entries in the franchise. Many feel that it was a hack-and-slash mess that left fans more sour than satisfied. It was not until after the release when the world of horror learned of the original edit – a concept and piece that much more related to Screenwriter Daniel Farrands’ vision and brought the series full circle.
On September 23rd, Anchor Bay Entertainment and Scream Factory (two distributors who have become Gods to the many VHS/DVD/Blu-Ray collectors out there) have combined their strengths to produce the ultimate combination of the Halloween Franchise into one large box set. Although countless versions have been released over the years, this box set not only has new material but the long awaited and too-often-bootlegged version of Halloween 6 known as “The Producer’s Cut.”
Thanks to Rue-Morgue magazine out of Toronto, Halloween fans got treated to the first ever theatrical release of The Producer’s Cut on Thursday night. The magazine routinely hosts movies in what they have called their ‘Cinemacabre’ movie nights. Rue-Morgue Editor-in-Chief Dave Alexander took a few minutes to discuss how it came about.
“Well, with Cinemacabre, I’m always trying to do things that are a unique experience,” said Alexander, “or a little bit outside of the box. There is a lot more competition for genre screenings especially in Toronto, a lot more than when we started Cinemacabre years ago. We showed the Director’s Cut of Mimic when it came out and Guillermo Del Toro came out to the screening and did a Q&A with us so I kind of had that stuff on my mind.”
With many cases in filmmaking, often what is seen on screen was not the original concept and Alexander continues that “the idea [is] that we have these interesting filmmakers [that] have their version or what’s close to their version shown on the big screen. The fans love it and often the companies like it too because it’s good promotion for them coming out so it’s just kind of one of those things that work well for everybody.”
On the Producer’s Cut showing specifically, Alexander says it is for “the horror fans and for the Halloween fans that drove in from out of town that want to get a chance to see a totally unique screening.”
The film begins on October 30, 1995 and picks up six years after the events of Halloween 5
The now 16-year-old Jamie Lloyd (sadly not portrayed by original actress Danielle Harris due to the studio unwilling to negotiate a fair salary) is being treated inside Smith’s Grove Warren County Sanitarium. Through a flashback, the audience gets to see how Jamie ended up in the clutches of the mysterious Man-In-Black and still threatened by her Uncle, Michael Myers. From there, we are introduced to the Strode family – relatives of Jamie Lee Curtis’s Laurie character – who are now living in the old Myers house. Besides Michael and Jamie, the main character we are pleasantly re-introduced to is Dr. Loomis portrayed by the legendary Donald Pleasance. Sadly this was Pleasance’s final appearance in the franchise and the swan song for Dr. Loomis. Pleasance’s untimely death was not foreseen and unfortunately, caused the iconic character minimalized screen-time in the theatrical release because no new footage could be shot. With over 40+ minutes of scenes cut or altered, it is no wonder fans were left with a product that bordered on dismal. If The Producer’s Cut had of been released in its original form, it very well could be the best of the sequels in the series. With the emphasis on the origins of Michael’s evil that included the ancient rituals of Sam Hain and Celtic Legend (all primary factors into the essence of the Halloween lore), the film fleshes out and brings to a close certain elements established through the previous three Myers entries. Eliminating spoilers as much as possible, it is safe to say though that by the end of this cut, Loomis has now discovered why he was destined to battle Myers for all these years but no matter what curse was imposed on Myers as a child, he is what original creator John Carpenter always envisioned, his own, independent agent of evil. If this were to be the last entry in the franchise (which was not the intention but could have been following Pleasances death and prior to Jamie Lee Curtis willing to return), The Producer’s Cut brings closure to the entire series while leaving just enough for the fans and the story to retain its longevity.
Lively helping-hand and current Rue-Morgue Intern, Brett McNeill, had not seen the theatrical cut so watching the series up to that point; it was a first time experience which left him very pleased. After the credits rolled, McNeill was happy to share why he found it to be “the best Halloween sequel.” Many fans that have seen the movie will probably agree with him that “the fact that it all happened in the Myers house” brought relativity back to the original and because of it, brought the audience “more suspense.”
Alexander elaborated on the film’s significance to the franchise, “For the people who know The Producer’s Cut, it gets a lot more into the whole curse of Thorn subplot which was subsequently abandoned after they re-cut it, which, was one of the most interesting things to happen to the Halloween series when they introduced occult nature to the evil of Michael Myers. You get to sort of go back into that world and there is a real interest in it. There are people that have done fan films based around the whole curse of Thorn cult stuff that we’ve done articles on. It’s sort of like a ‘What If?’ kind of scenario. What if the Halloween franchise went in that direction and embraced this whole other path.”
Both the theatrical and the Producer’s Cut plot-points were abandoned for the next installment, Halloween: H20 – a decision that was made during the course of production by Jamie Lee Curtis. H20 was not without its share of script revisions but in relation to Halloween 6, could not compare. Alexander mentioned that he “talked to a fellow tonight that has read several different versions of the script that were posted online and this is still far from what Screenwriter Daniel Farrands had in mind, but at least it puts a whole different coat of paint on the series.”
The landscape of Film and Television in 2014 has certainly changed and that is where the importance of The Producer’s Cut cannot be overlooked. For almost 20 years, petitions surfaced online pleading for the movie’s release onto DVD. It is fitting then that this pinnacle version of Halloween 6 is now getting the treatment it deserves and speaks volumes for the power of the fans and followers of these films.
In a last note, Alexander brought up a very valid take on the subject: “I think that’s what is significant [about the film]. We sort of live in an age now where everything comes out, people’s scripts get posted online [and] stuff gets leaked. People talk about what could have been, you know they make trailers for movies that don’t exist and posters for things that don’t exist so it’s kind of come into the control of fans. They let their imaginations kinda run wild on it and I think this [film] fits firmly into that mindset.”
It is a blessing that events such as Cinemacabre and the people responsible exist. Through the support of the distributor, Anchor Bay Entertainment (who now own the rights to this version), the Rue-Morgue crew was able to bring life back to the Halloween series one last time. Maybe by coming out to The Royal Theatre, and buying the upcoming Box Set, the admiration of The Producer’s Cut release allowed fans victory and closure; allowing them to properly say with pride:
“Trick or Treat, Mother-Fucker!”
Special Thanks to Dave Alexander, Brett McNeill, Rue-Morgue Magazine and Anchor Bay Entertainment