Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
While not being guilty of being the worst Halloween film of all time Halloween 6 is to be blamed for completely ruining the mystique of Michael Myers and that is bad enough. In the original Halloween Michael was without motivation and reason, but instead operated solely as a mindless force of evil. Here he is portrayed as some servant who does what he does because he is told to. Michael Myers is scarier when he works alone and for no reason. But the creators of Halloween 6 seem to disagree. They seem to think that the best thing to be done with Michael is to give him a motivation and a reason for the things he did. And it is for this revelation that the poorly made Halloween 5 spent so much time on confusing setup. It all culminates in Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers which is sadly the last time we see Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis as the actor died shortly after this film was made.
The story is set about six years after Halloween 5 and Jamie is held captive in some strange facility where she is about to give birth. The father is not identified, but we are led to assume that he is one of the associates of the Man in Black who is apparently an official in a cult that is somehow controlling Michael Myers. To coincide to with a constellation that will be visible on Halloween the cult desires to sacrifice Jamie’s baby in some Druidic ritual. The constellation forms the Runic Thorn symbol we saw on Michael’s wrist briefly in the last film and it occurs every few decades. When it appears in the sky the Cult of Thorn sends a child that they groom to kill his or her entire family and Michael Myers was that child in 1963. Trying to kill Laurie and Jamie was just an attempt to finish the job all those years ago.
Why he felt the need to kill a bunch of other people who weren’t even remotely in his way is beyond me, but that is just one of the many logical inconsistencies that occurs when you try to create an explanatory backstory to a story with no such backstory in mind when it was first written.
After her baby is born Jamie manages to escape with it thanks to the help of one of the nurses who pities the girl. Michael kills the nurse for this, but Jamie gets away in a stolen truck before he or the other cult members can catch her. At a deserted bus station she calls a Haddonfield radio station to tell a shock jock to warn Haddonfield that Michael is returning. He doesn’t believe her and he hangs up on her while making fun of her on the air. I am not sure why she didn’t just call the police. If a bunch of Druids were trying to kill me and my kid I would call the cops not Howard Stern.
But anyway, seeing that she is not being believed she hides the baby in a bathroom and flees to a barn where Michael finds and kills her using some farming equipment. Before she dies Jamie tells Michael that he can’t have the baby. Michael then realises that the child is no where to be found and leaves in a rage.
Elsewhere, there was one listener that did believe her story on the radio and that was Tommy Doyle of Haddonfield who lives across from the old Myers house. There he spends his time studying the killer who once tried to murder him and his babysitter 17 years ago and spying on the neighbours next door who live in the old house. They are the Strodes who are relatives of Laurie’s adoptive family. Due to the house’s history they got the house for cheap. The father is an overbearing, awful, piece of shit who is verbally and physically abusive to his family; the mother is a timid quiet woman who craves calm and serenity and fears her husband, his teenage son Tim is pretty laid back for a kid living in the sort of family he is in, and his daughter Kara is staying with them for awhile until she can finish college. She had run away from home years ago, but returned when she had a son with an unknown father and her dad resents her for it.
Whether Tommy Doyle sees the extent of the domestic strife in the Strode family is not known, but he still has much cause for concern since he knows that that house once belonged to Michael and his family.
Kara’s son, Danny, is hearing voices telling him to kill his family, but his mother thinks it is just a six-year old having nightmares. Unfortunately, the voice is more than a fantasy and is the same voice that prompted Michael Myers to kill his sister in the 60’s.
Meanwhile, Tommy Doyle is studying the background noise from Jamie’s call to the radio station and he determines that she must have been at the bus station during the time the call was made. He goes there and finds the baby in the bathroom. He takes the child home to his apartment and names him Steven. Thankfully his landlady, Mrs. Blankenship, is deaf and won’t be aware of the infant living under her roof.
Elsewhere, Dr. Loomis is retired and working on a book he is writing when he is visited by his friend Terence who was an old colleague at the Smith’s Grove Sanitarium where Michael Myers was placed as a child. They drink and reminisce for awhile and then the next day Loomis is out and about and runs into Tommy Doyle who has the baby with him. Tommy believes the child belongs to Jamie and he and the doctor both conclude that Michael Myers is alive and returning to Haddonfield.
Loomis tries to warn the Strode family, but he is disbelieved and Mr. and Mrs. Strode are eventually killed in their own home by Michael. Tim and his girlfriend are killed some hours later when they return from a party and decide to have sex in the bedroom upstairs. Having sex is another one of those big no-no’s in scary movie lore that always attracts the killer and Halloween 6 sees no reason to be an exception.
Meanwhile Danny is befriended by Tommy, and Kara meets them at Mrs. Blankenship’s boarding house. The not-so-deaf-after-all landlady begins telling Danny a charming Halloween tale of the Cult of Thorn and how they would select a child every few decades to kill his family. Kara deciding that such stuff is inappropriate for a six-year old’s ears tries to send him to bed, but Mrs. Blankenship intervenes telling her that Danny is hearing the same voice that Michael Myers did the night he killed his sister. She knows this because she was babysitting him that night. She reveals herself to be a member of the Cult and she, with the help of cult-members, kidnap Kara, Danny, and Steven. After Loomis’s old friend Terence shows up and reveals that he is the Man in Black that we have been seeing in the previous film Tommy and Loomis are drugged.
Tommy and Dr. Loomis rush to Smith’s Grove where the cultists are staying and they help Kara, Danny, and the baby get free. Michael Myers goes berserk and kills Terence and his staff and stalks our heroes in a laboratory. Tommy saves the day by injecting Michael with some corrosive substance and beats him senseless with a lead pipe. This makes this the second film where Michael is subdued by getting the shit kicked out of him. I think he is getting old and losing his touch or something. Either that or the writers are.
Dr. Loomis declines a ride with Tommy and the others since he has some last minute details to tidy up. This is never explained and the last thing we hear is Loomis screaming from inside the facility. This, of course, leads one to the conclusion that Dr. Loomis was killed. Thus ends the film and we seen none of these character again in any of the sequels.
This is an exceptionally dark movie when compared to the rest of the films that preceded it. Jamie, the beloved heroine of the last two films, is killed brutally. Dr. Loomis meets his end. The story is full of Druidic cults and satanic rituals. And the overall tone is just grim and unpleasant. It has none of the suspense of the original and none of the humour of the sequels. It’s just a dark, unpleasant, mess with none of the subtlety of the original. As I said before the character of Michael Myers is ruined by giving him a backstory. We never needed to know why he did the things he did and I don’t understand why the writers thought such an explanation was overdue.
This explanation also makes a lot of things from the previous films make no sense in retrospect. If his motivation was to please a cult that wanted him to eliminate his family then why did he kill all those other people. Laurie’s friends in the original Halloween were never in his way. In fact many of the people he killed in the films had no reason to be on his hit list at all.
I also do not fully understand why they had Michael kill Terence and his staff. If Michael has no loyalty to the cult then for what reason did he kill his sister, Judith, all those years ago? This so-called backstory is an exercise in confusion, contradiction, and convolution.
Some fans will point to the workprint version of the film (often dubbed the Producer’s Cut) as a better version of the film. I tend to agree, but that doesn’t mean it made Halloween 6 any good. It was still a bad movie, but there were notable improvements.
For one thing Jamie’s death was handled with more dignity than the theatrical edit in which she was murdered brutally and violently with farming equipment. In the Producer’s Cut she is stabbed, but survives the wound and is later taken to a hospital where she dies of her injuries. There is a very emotional moment where Dr. Loomis says his good-byes and this was a much more proper way to end Jamie Lloyd’s story than killing her off in some extremely gory and undignified fashion.
We also learn in the Producer’s Cut that Jamie’s son, Steven, was the product of a forced union between Jamie and Michael. The grossness of cult-enforced incest aside, I am puzzled how this was managed. Michael killing Terence and the staff shows he is uncontrollable so how they managed to get him to procreate is beyond me.
Probably the most notable difference, though, is the ending. We get to see Dr. Loomis reenter the sanitarium and there we see what it was that set him off screaming. It wasn’t Michael killing him at all. In some weird twist of fate the Thorn tattoo appears on the doctor’s wrist and he screams in horror as he wonders what may happen to him now. I really don’t understand this scene and I am uncertain if I am supposed to interpret this as Dr. Loomis being unwillingly drawn into the cult and must now do its bidding. If that is the case I think that is pretty dumb and I object to the bringing in of magic and the supernatural into this series. It’s not necessary. But nothing in this film it seems is necessary or asked for.
Either version of the film you watch it still is a weird convoluted mess that makes no sense under scrutiny and will never be referenced or acknowledged again in the Halloween franchise’s remaining sequels and the remakes.
Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is not a needed addition to Michael’s story and I would prefer to leave him where is best; and that is as a mysterious entity of evil and not some pawn manipulated by a larger force. It’s like the Star Wars Prequels. Darth Vader was cooler until we see him act like a bitch and pushed around by the Emperor in Episodes II and III. Sometimes the best explanation for why people do what they do is because they are evil. No additional data is necessary.