Three ‘Halloween’ Films: ‘The Curse of Michael Myers’, ‘H20’, and ‘Resurrection’

'Halloween: The Cures of Michael Myers' poster

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Directed by Joe Chappelle. Starring Paul Rudd, Marianne Hagan, Donald Pleasance, Mitchell Ryan, Devin Gardner, George P. Wilbur, J. C. Brandy, Susan Swift, Janice Knickerehm.

It’s six years later and we learn that poor Jamie (J. C. Brandy this time, since the studio didn’t feel like paying Danielle more than scale for a week’s worth of shooting) is a captive of the mysterious cult that broke Michael free from jail. After giving birth to a boy, Jamie is guided to freedom by a sympathetic nurse. Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) kills the nurse and chases Jamie down, brutally killing her on some farm equipment. But during the chase beforehand she managed to hide the baby in a bus station bathroom where it would later be found by Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd). You might remember Tommy as the boy Laurie Strode babysat during the first Hallowen film. As a result of his experiences Tommy is obsessed with the idea of killing Michael. And with the help of his neighbor, and cousin to the deceased Laurie Strode, Kara Strode (Marianne Hagan) he may just get his chance.

Apparently with the box office failure of Halloween 5, they held off on starting the next film in spite of its quasi-cliffhanger ending. Who is the man in black who broke Michael Myers free from the police station, blowing it up in the process? What was to become of poor little Jamie?

The opening third is probably the best part of the Curse but the rest is still entertaining, even though the whole bit with the Cult of Thorn can be a bit much to swallow in its attempt to build a deeper backstory for Micahel Myers. Still, there are some great kills (a snapped neck with protruding spine and a body explosion by electrocution), Paul Rudd is great in one of his first starring roles, and Donald Pleasance is at his craziest best. I’ve grown to love that wacky doomsayer, Dr. Loomis, and I’ll miss Donald in the rest of the films.

I also took the time to watch the legendary producer’s cut of the film and don’t think it quite lived up to the hype. There are additional bits of dialogue and the gore is toned down, completely changing my favorite kill. The bigger changes involve the death of Jamie that occurs later in the film and the ending is completely different with Michael getting stopped by a rune (??) instead of the epic beat down he gets in the theatrical cut. The alternate ending also includes a bit of silliness with Tommy finding an unused robe that allows him to sneak into one of the cult’s rituals. I gotta say that I’m not sure what the fuss was all about. Stick with the original cut if you’re going to watch just one version. And that’s really all the versions of a Halloween movie anybody needs.

'Halloween H20' poster

Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later (1998) Directed by Steve Miner. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Michelle Williams, LL Cool J, Adam Arkin, Jodi Lynn O’Keefe, Adam Hann-Byrd, Nancy Stephens, Janet Leigh, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Chris Durand.

It has been twenty years after Laurie Strode’s (Jamie Lee Curtis) tragic ordeal and she is still suffering the mental and emotional stress of nearly being killed by Michael Myers (Chris Durand). Having faked her death via car accident, she is living a new life, with a new name, as a headmistress at an academy in Northern California. But the lives of Laurie, her son (Josh Hartnett), and his friends are in danger as oh so clever Michael Myers has discovered her hiding place.

Halloween H2O completely ignores the previous three films, pretending that Jamie and the Cult of Thorn never existed. I suppose doing so meant they could bring the series back to basics and it works well for H2O. All anybody apparently wants is a bunch of teenagers stuck in an isolated location running from The Shape. This is post Scream, after all. Speaking of which, if it all seems a little too Scream-like that’s no mistake as Kevin Williamson was involved in writing the script.

This is a pretty decent entry overall but it has a middle that drags on, leaving me a bit impatient for some good old-fashioned slaughtering. The kids go here, then there, they do this, do that, and soon enough you’re bored and numb to the far too numerous false jump scares. But when Michael gets in gear things quickly improve. Some of the kills are offscreen, which I presume is to allow us to experience the same shock as the character that discovers the victim’s body, but I would have liked to have seen Myers plunging the business end of an ice skate into Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s head. Ah well.

It’s great to see Nancy Stephens return as Marion Chambers. Her character behaves the way you would expect someone should in her situation, but will it save her life? And is it weird to say that I preferred this film’s narrower 2.35:1 aspect ratio over 4, 5, and 6’s 1.85:1? Well, I just said it. For me it brings a more cinematic feel to the experience and, among many other touches, hearkens back to the original film, which was in the same format.

Finally, how many times must we endure the tired “car not starting” trope? I felt kinda bad for Curtis when she had to suffer through the cliche here. As frustrating as that small bit is, Jamie Lee Curtis is fantastic and her performance carries the film to what seems like total closure on the entire franchise. You think so? No way, buddy… but you’ll wish it had…

'Halloween Resurrection' poster

Halloween Resurrection (2002) Directed by Rick Rosenthal. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Busta Rhymes, Bianca Kajlich, Sean Patrick Thomas, Daisy McCrackin, Katee Sackhoff, Brad Loree, Luke Kirby, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tyra Banks, Ryan Merriman.

Did you think after Michael’s death in H2O that there would be nowhere to go from here? Welcome to the retcon! Of course Michael didn’t die. Our clever slasher pulled the classic body switcheroo instead of ending up in the coroner’s van. Mr. Wrong Place-Wrong Time Paramedic was the one Laurie killed and she is left in a horrible mental state as a result. Or is she? Well, don’t count on her sticking around for too long. Michael will finally have his day and then head back home to Haddonfield. Which sucks for reality show producer Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) and his cast. Freddie has placed cameras around the old abandoned Myers house and is sticking a group of Haddonfield University college students there to spend the night and see what shenanigans go down. Too bad for them Michael has come home, and there’s only one thing he’s good at…

Jamie Lee Curtis returns for her brief and final turn (so far) as Laurie Strode in what might be the worst film of the franchise so far… yes, it even gives Halloween III a run for its money. The retconning of Myers’s death is just too ridiculous, the kills are gory but still ho hum, and Busta Rhymes caps it off with a horribly written speech. The house is ridiculously shut tight. There are far too many instances of someone trying to open a door only to find it locked. No matter how believable that may or may not be, it was a trick that wore out its welcome.

There is a vaguely interesting bit where a viewer of the show is texting a member of the cast with warnings and instruction. How he already knows her is unimportant, as is the rest of the movie. But that bit peters out and the end comes in a burning blaze of boring. The then burgeoning online social community plays a part in Resurrection thematically but nothing meaningful about it is explored. The same could be said of Dangertainment, Busta’s reality show, which appears to be inspired by the MTV “reality” show Fear. And since when do small suburban towns have universities? Haddonfield U can’t even be bothered to have a .edu domain.

It’s a disappointing end to the first run of the Halloween franchise, which could have ended on such a high note with H2O. But after this atrocity I can see why they abandoned the series for a new remake/reboot. Bring on the Zombie! Let’s see what he can make of Michael Myers…

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