Combustible Celluloid
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With: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Mitchell Ryan, Kim Darby, Bradford English, Keith Bogart, Mariah O'Brien, Leo Geter, J.C. Brandy, Devin Gardner, Susan Swift, George P. Wilbur, Janice Knickrehm, Alan Echeverria
Written by: Daniel Farrands
Directed by: Joe Chappelle
MPAA Rating: R for strong horror violence, and some sexuality
Running Time: 88
Date: 10/29/2013

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ring of Myers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

After an absence of six years from movie theaters, Michael Myers and Halloween returned with this sixth installment. Screenwriter Daniel Farrands dug deep into the previous five movies and tied together several disparate elements to create this new story. Though it goes without saying that it does not compare to John Carpenter's original film, it's still entertaining for fans of the entire series.

Things pick up right after the end of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers; a nurse tries to rescue a kidnapped baby and mother, the mother is killed, and the baby is discovered by none other than Tommy Doyle, the kid that Laurie Strode babysits in the first movie. The grown-up Tommy is played by Paul Rudd, in his movie debut -- and a very different role than the charming comic actor would move into. Tommy has grown up obsessing about Michael Myers, collecting newspaper clippings and clues. (The look on Rudd's face when he encounters Myers close-up is priceless.)

Meanwhile, there's also the Strode family, who once adopted Laurie. Mr. Strode is a flat-out jerk, but grown daughter Kara (Marianne Hagan) is pretty and sad, trying to finish her college education and raise her son. (Her son, apparently, has some weird psychic connection to Myers.) The weird black-clad figure from the last movie comes back into the story as well. Best of all, a very tired-sounding Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) turns up. Pleasence died before the movie was released, and it's dedicated to him.

Director Joe Chappelle -- who went into TV after this, helming several episodes of "The Wire" -- keeps things dark and springy, with an interesting use of space; he also remembers to actually use Halloween itself and the various celebrations as part of the drama. Frankly, it's more interesting as an essential piece of the Halloween and Michael Myers mythology than it is as a free-standing horror film, but the fans know who they are.

Note: The theatrical cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers has been roundly dismissed, but a longer, "producer's cut," with a great amount of different footage, exists; fans watched it in bootleg form before it was officially released on home video. I checked it out and found it superior to the theatrical cut, with some inspired touches (as well as some of the usual, flimsy ones).

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