Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – The Producer’s Cut (1995)
This has become a very well known version of Halloween 6 to fans over the years, most deeming it superior to the theatrical cut. It has never been officially released by Dimension Films, and can only be found in bootleg form on both VHS and DVD. Today, you can actually find the full cut freely on YouTube. Among other things, the altered ending is also due to the passing of Donald Pleasance following principal photography, but that was hardly the catalyst for the extent of these changes. As explained in the review of the theatrical version of this film, Halloween 6 was turned into a mess of a film in post-production following poor test screening reactions and severe creative differences between director Joe Chapelle and the film’s producers. Thus, this version of the film was dubbed “The Producers’ Cut.” Suffice it to say, there are distinct and dramatic differences between this version and the theatrical cut.
The setup and premise for the film remains basically the same as the official theatrical release, but this cut follows a slightly different chain of events. There are alternate death scenes with some happening later in the film, allowing characters to survive longer than in the theatrical version. One of those is that Jamie Lloyd is not killed by Michael, but rather, dies in the hospital later on by the hands of the Man in Black. This adds back scenes of Loomis and Wynn in the hospital that better explain how Tommy runs into Dr. Loomis there. Overall, the film gives more time to developing the relationship between Doctors Wynn and Loomis. Right from the start there is an extended introduction scene, and as the story goes along a different chain of events, there are more scenes of them together which build them into a stronger, more prominent part of the plot. More foreboding seeds are planted towards the rune of Thorn as well.
Music cues are also different in mostly eliminating the false scares throughout the film, and you will find no trace of wailing rock guitars anywhere. The score is more in the traditional Halloween style with a focus on atmosphere and tension. A definite difference from the start is Donald Pleasance doing the opening narration instead of Paul Rudd’s Tommy Doyle. We also get a flashback to a never used, never seen ending to Halloween 5 where Jamie, portrayed by Danielle Harris, is abducted by the Man in Black. Of course, where this version of this film departs from the theatrical version is more in the final act. I won’t go spoiling much, but everything after Tommy and Loomis are knocked unconscious is almost completely different. The film follows through on the occult aspects it establishes instead of the nonsensical genetic cloning swerve the theatrical outing offers. Several scenes throughout the final twenty minutes were re-shot with a heavily revised script, leading to the more ‘by-the-numbers’ ending we eventually got. The Producer’s Cut ending is less action-oriented, and more plot centric using the idea of the runes to cancel out Michael’s own power to allow for a potential escape for some.
I believe this version is a definite improvement over the theatrical cut. The film follows its own logic throughout whereas the theatrical cut veers off track, essentially disregarding the development of the story at the start of the final act. The Producer’s Cut retains a consistency and continuity within its own story, and with its predecessors. While it requires the story to delve further into bizarre territory, it seems more satisfactory. More importantly, it is all rather well explained through the course of the overall film. This is mainly done by Tommy, but in the final act, Terrence Wynn goes further in depth about the motives behind it all. The film doesn’t envelop itself in clichés or formulaic horror film scenarios building up to or during the film’s conclusion. It presents a climax and ending which respects the development of the story, serves the tone and themes appropriately. It also leaves a much clearer opening for a sequel with a definite storyline to follow down. Unfortunately, this storyline and its continuity were shelved and ignored by the makers of the subsequent sequels. While I would’ve liked to see such a proper continuation, I don’t believe it would’ve been successful. Any non-fans would be turned off and lost with such a continuation. This is merely by the fact of long-stretching mythology and continuity that newcomers would be unaware of. Of course, this would allow for even lower box office numbers. I’m sure the death of Donald Pleasance wouldn’t leave much confidence in the franchise’s future along this path, either.
I don’t see a real point in reviewing the acting since the quality of the performances don’t change from one cut to the other. Rarely, if at all, does an alternate take appear, and it’s more a fact of extended and additional scenes appearing throughout. Although, aspects of the editing should be addressed. Whereas the theatrical version is far gorier than previous Halloween films, this cut removes a good deal of the gratuitous bloodshed. This helps to put it back on track with the other Michael Myers outings, and much like with Alan Howarth’s score, keeps the horror focused more on atmosphere and suspense than on shock gore value. I believe both cuts of the film were done by the same editor, Randolph K. Bricker, and so, the quality of the editing is quite consistent between both versions. Of course, without a doubt, the story flows much better in this version. This is probably because there’s more story here to work with between various characters. Even the timeline alteration of Jamie’s death offers up a well-timed plot turn, and a slightly tighter pace about one-third of the way into the film. It also keeps the idea of the Man in Black alive where he’s barely present in the theatrical cut. Also, bare in mind, the Producer’s Cut was put together first. So, the theatrical version’s gratuitous gore was all added in later, but still, several small character moments were excised in the theatrical version. In regards to the Strode family turmoil, while they are nice touches, I don’t think either cut is exceptionally better or worse because of their presence or absence. Still, it helps to give an extra touch of depth to one or two characters.
I can honestly say that I do find more enjoyment in watching this version of the film, but watching a multi-generational bootleg copy, no matter what lengths skilled fans go to improve the experience, is not something I would do often. I really feel that if Dimension Films had any intention of releasing the Producer’s Cut officially on a properly mastered DVD or Blu-Ray release, they likely would have done it already. Still, it is an investment in time and money, and there’s no guarantee that they still have all the necessary elements to present the complete film. Sometimes, audio tracks or film elements are lost. Beyond that, who knows what condition the master print is in. I’m not saying these are absolute certainties, but there are numerous factors to take into consideration. Of course, if they don’t show the initiative, we’ll never know. Regardless, if you ever have the opportunity to view this version of the film, I believe it is worth your while if the more occult aspects of the story intrigue you. Like I said, it’s readily available on YouTube, for the time being, so it costs you nothing to give it a look.