Few films in the Halloween franchise are as maligned as Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), well, other than Halloween: Resurrection (2002) or maybe Rob Zombie’s two entries. The sixth entry, which also marked the beginning of Dimension films, is weird, for sure. It includes a cult that tries to control Michael Myers, and it attempts to tie up the loose ends of the woeful Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), which underperformed at the box office to the point that it took six years to make another sequel. Hear me out, however. Halloween 6 is a DECENT installment. It makes Michael Myers scary again. It has teenagers that are likeable, and director Joe Chappelle’s direction has a beautiful Gothic aesthetic.
The film picks up some years after Halloween 5’s conclusion. Michael’s niece, Jamie Lloyd (J.C. Brandy), is pregnant, and based on the opening, we can assume she’s carrying Michael’s seed. She’s strapped to a table, surrounded by robe-cladded monsters. Are they Satanists? Who knows exactly! I said the film is weird. A nurse helps Jamie escape, but it doesn’t take long before Myers tracks her down and kills her. Her death is one of the most brutal takes in the Halloween franchise. The scene is important for a few reasons. It shows that the franchise is done with the Jamie storyline of the previous two installments. She’s killed off in about 15 minutes. Further, her death sets the tone for Michael’s kills for the rest of the movie. They’re bloody and gruesome. Additionally, the aesthetic of the shot is stunning in a Gothic kind of way. Rain pounds outside the barn where Jamie hides. Thunder cracks. Michael finds her and approaches from the shadows. There’s a blue light cast on him, not too dissimilar from Carpenter’s shots in the original film.
The rest of the film has several other nods to Gothic horror films. Two of the film’s most likeable teens, Beth (Mariah O’Brien) and Tim (Keith Bogart), dress up as The Bride and Monster for Halloween. In one of the film’s last sequences, the film’s final girl of sorts, Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan), wears a long white robe similar to the one that Elsa Lanchester wore as The Bride.
Myers’ house, meanwhile, is occupied by Kara’s family, but it’s the neighborhood spookhouse. It LOOKs run down and dilapidated, and kids mount cardboard cutouts of Michael Myers. It is a looming presence in the film, something that continues drawing Michael back to Haddonfield, a place that’s familiar to him. In fact, some of the best kills happen in the house, and one echoes P.J. Soles’ death in the original.
It’s impossible to talk about the sixth installment without mentioning two of its main characters, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) in his final performance and Tommy Doyle, played by Paul Rudd in his FIRST major performance. Pleasence really leans into the mad aspects of the character, thus furthering the film’s Gothic underpinnings. At the start of the film, he’s retired, hauled up in a cabin, working on a book. His burn scars from the second film’s conclusion are even more grotesque. He spends much of the film chasing Myers one last time, while ranting about all the years he spent trying to understand “evil.”
Doyle is one of the film’s most interesting characters. His trauma from being terrorized as a kid in the first film manifests itself into an obsession. He has pictures of Myers tacked up in his bedroom. He peers through a telescope at his neighbors, and he rarely smiles. Loomis has always been obsessed with Myers. Doyle, however, takes it to another level. It consumes him, and Rudd does a good job in the role.
Lastly, and this is a BIG spoiler alert, the film corrects the mistakes of the previous installment. In one of the bloodiest scenes, Michael kills off every single member of the cult, thus erasing that absurd ending of part five. You can’t help but cheer when he does this. It’s an attempt to right the franchise going forward; unfortunately, the next sequel, just might be the WORST Halloween of the bunch.
There are plenty of other reasons to watch Halloween 6. I already mentioned the kills. The film’s blue and dark tones are a visual delight, too. The cinematography will put you in just the right kind of mood. And thankfully, there is NO character as annoying as Halloween 5’s Tina (Wendy Kaplan).
The Curse of Michael Meyers has a lot of flaws, for sure. Most of those have to do with the silly storyline about a cult that the previous installment introduced. Curse does its best to right these wrongs, and the result is a decent sequel, nearly 20 years after the original film. At the very least, watch the film for its cinematography, Gothic aesthetic, decent kills, and Paul Rudd’s first big film gig.