#31DaysOfHorror: Oct 28

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Halloween. The franchise that some (including some of the creators) say should never have become a franchise. After the runaway success of the first film, John Carpenter returned to lend a hand in writing the sequel as well as produce, even though he never intended for a sequel to be made in the first place. For the Third installment, Carpenter serves as producer only. The Intention was to drop the Michael Myers story and turn the franchise into an anthology with each film telling a separate story taking place on Halloween. Great Idea! Halloween III: Season of the Witch was ultimately a flop as fans clamored for the return of Myers. Well be careful what you wish for, fuckers…

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The ensuing three film arc was really only good for two things. Starting Danielle Harris on her path to becoming one of this generations greatest Scream Queens, and bringing back the always wonderful Donald Pleasance to reprise his role as Dr. Loomis. The plot involved Michael stalking and attempting to kill his Niece(Harris playing the young Jamie Lloyd) while Loomis tries to foil him. Part 5 sees the introduction of The Curse Of Thorn plotline which was fully explored in part 6 in an attempt to explain why Michael cannot die, and what compels him to kill his family. The concept behind the Curse of Thorn is that Michael had been under the influence of an ancient Celtic curse that drove him to  murder all family members in his bloodline. Once this task is complete, the curse would be passed to another small child. Right from the beginning of production, the film was waylaid by Jackassery on the part of Producer Paul Freeman and Director Joe Chappelle.

These two reportedly rewrote the ending on-set, sometimes even from shot to shot, all with deadlines looming. Freeman would do stupid things like send the crew home when crucial scenes needed to be shot, deleted scripted scenes indiscriminately, rewrote dialogue and action sequences, decided to direct second-unit shots as well as supervise the post production. Eventually his many fuck ups and bonehead decisions resulted in Miramax stepping in to take control of the film, and order reshoots.

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After filming and editing was completed, the film was given a test screening and in the ensuing Q&A, one viewer expressed displeasure at the ending. So Naturally, Miramax decided to excise the intended ending and a new one was shot, an ending which almost completely dropped the Curse Of Thorn Plot Line. Not only that, but 20 additional mins of footage was removed creating several glaring plot holes and resulting in the disappointed piece of shit we’ve known as Halloween 6 all these years.

For years, bootleg copies of “The Producers Cut” have been floating around. This version of the film contains all the cut material as well as the original ending. On Sept 23rd, the Producers Cut finally saw official release as part of the Halloween Complete Blu-Ray collection, and this is the film I watched. Its hard to erase the stink of the original release, however the restored version feels like a much more cohesive story. Things make more sense and the loose ends are tied up. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not crazy about this ending…But for Fuck sakes, just about ANYTHING would be better than the original release. Even with the restored footage, I still feel it’s a weak film…it’s just better than it was before. I know I’m very much a minority in that I wanted the anthology concept to take off instead of telling more stories about Michael Myers. What made the first Halloween work so well is that we had no idea what Michael was, or why. We were to project our worst fears onto him as he became a living Bogeyman. The more films you make with him, you are faced with a problem: You have to either keep doing exactly the same thing as before, or you have to define what he is. That is what killed the Halloween series to me…and to put it into perspective just how bad this was, the next Halloween film, H20, completely ignored films 4-6, rendering then non-canon! Would I recommend this film? Absolutely! If for no other reason than to see the final performance of the late Donald Pleasance.

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