Horror review: Halloween–The Curse of Michael Myers

halloween-curse-of-michael-myers-axe

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, OCT. 5, 1995

By Steve Newton

I’m sorry to say that Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is most definitely not a seasonal TV variety show starring that boyish redheaded comic from Saturday Night Live and Wayne’s World. The bad news is that it’s the sixth in the series of Halloween horror flicks spawned by John Carpenter’s suspenseful low-budget 1978 hit about the creepy exploits of masked killer Michael Myers.

It’s amazing that the makers of this new piece of exploitation fluff had the nerve to do it, considering that most young people nowadays wouldn’t even cross the street to kick big-screen horror icons like Michael, Freddy, and Jason in the shins. Heck, they can get all the bloody thrills they want down at the video arcade or on the computer at home.

Only about 40 die-hard Halloween buffs showed up at the opening-night screening I attended, and I wonder how many were there simply to pay homage to late B-movie great Donald Pleasance, whose patented bug-eyed stares and foreboding “He’s pure evil!” pronouncements as Myers-hunting psychologist Dr. Loomis always stole the show from the lumbering knife-wielder and his scream-queen victims. Pleasance passed away shortly after filming this latest instalment, but you’ve got to give the guy credit for hanging in there until the film had run its course.

It’s more than I wanted to do.

The so-called plot of Curse is almost too silly for words, which is probably why it isn’t even outlined in the movie’s press kit. It’s got something to do with a cultlike group operating in the tiny burg of Haddonfield, Illinois, where Michael Myers was presumed dead in a fire six years ago. (That’d be in 1989’s Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers.) Led by the charismatic Dr. Wynn (character actor Mitchell Ryan), the cult attempts to sacrifice a newborn baby to Myers, but before its feisty mother gets impaled on a pitchforklike farm implement, she safely hides the infant away in a bus depot bathroom.

The town’s weird loner, Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd from Clueless), discovers the babe and spends the rest of his film time trying to protect it, while neighbour Kara Strode (newcomer Marianne Hagan) does the same with her own targeted youngster. In the meantime, the body count mounts, but even the gory violence—which is meant to supply vicarious thrills to the series’ built-in gore-hound crowd—is uninventive. The only thing that the filmmakers do really well is create unlikeable characters—an abusive father here, a nauseating radio personality there—who fully deserve their deadly run-ins with Mikey.

As for Pleasance’s questionable curtain call, his exhausted-looking performance is best written off to ill health. But I’d say everybody associated with this film—from unrelenting series producer Moustapha Akkad on down—could do with a good checkup.

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