Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers
Directed by Joe Chappelle
Written by Daniel Farrands, Debra Hill (characters) & John Carpenter (characters)
Starring: Paul Rudd
*** (3 out of 5 stars)
This installment of Halloween has us back in Haddonfield as there is a sort of carnival to reignite the celebration of Halloween, an attempt to banish all the evil that Michael Myers created. This film is a little bit muddled nearing the end as it tries to quickly resolve the story behind the Zodiac-esque plot; I really enjoy the fact that, over the course of the last three films and this one, they've tried to give Michael a supernatural presence but the conclusion of this movie just falls a little short on explanation. All of that aside, I really enjoy this particular sequel. There are definitely some shortcomings in this installment but overall it's still a decent slasher flick.
Paul Rudd is one of my favourite actors when it comes to comedy but he plays a really quirky role in this, an obsessive who encountered Myers as a young boy. Pleasence is always great as Loomis, no matter how old and senile the doctor may get. The acting has never been so much a problem for me when it comes to most of the Halloween series, it's always been at least decent especially when Loomis or Laurie Strode are in the movie (both Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis are classic in their roles). It's nice to see Rudd in a earlier role doing something serious. Although there is one part that always cracks me up- when Rudd and Loomis come back to his apartment, they get out of his vehicle and he leaps out like he's about to burst into action, and just the way he jumps out kills me!
The character of Michael Myers is always played well, of course a huge reason is due to the fact that he's completely mute. The thing is Michael serves also as a part of the mise-en-scene of the films; I'm sure that definition was never brought up too much on the set, although Carpenter definitely had it in mind during his time at the helm. One particular scene comes to mind when the old lady who owns the apartments is telling Kara Strode about 'the boogeyman' and in the background, we can barely see the outline of Michael as the lightning flashes through the window. It's a very subtle flash but if you can spot it, it lends an air of creepiness to the moment that would not be there without it. So, literally, Michael Myers is a part of the environment in the Halloween films. Every time he creeps in the background, the pale face of his mask barely visible, he lends an element to the visuals of the film that create that air of terror which is (pretty much) present in all the movies.
The writing for this installment was a little savage, and not in a good way. The story of the cult and those behind the witchcraft that is introduced associated with Michael and his evil ways is never fully explained. The script starts off with a lot of great promises but it never follows through on them. Other than that, the script is okay; dialogue is decent, nothing spectacular but there's not many a point where you're going, "Wow, I can't believe somebody really wrote that!". The main thing is the plot of this sequel, it just never fully unfolds. It has a lot of promise, starting off with Rudd's creepy character and the cult trying to take Jamie Lloyd's baby, but by the end we wonder exactly what we wondered in the beginning: what is going on? In the end, is it Loomis we hear wallowing in pain as a shot of Michael's mask laying on the ground with him nowhere to be found fades off screen? Who knows. I would have really liked more explanation, and sadly we never get any over the course of the last couple films either. Which is fine because it probably would have gotten even more muddled. I was hoping that Rob Zombie might do a little more with it all, but he even went a different route with Halloween II.
All in all, I give the movie a three star review. There were a few good kills, some interesting stuff going on even if it didn't all pan out in the end, and some decent acting. I'd love to see someone take on a movie explaining the supernatural elements behind this story of Michael Myers- maybe one of these days if I can get the rights, I'll have to do it. Michael Myers is one of the best slashers, if not the best, in the history of the genre and I feel that this part of his story could be what makes him the ultimate killer in movie history.