Welcome to Commentary Commentary, where we sit and listen to filmmakers talk about their work, then share the most interesting parts. In this edition, Rob Hunter takes a stab at listening to the commentary for Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.
There are eight films in the original Halloween series, and while it’s a given that all of the ones from part four onward are pretty uneventful the sixth film ‐ Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers ‐ has more baggage than most. Director Joe Chappelle’s film was the unfortunate byproduct of too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen resulting in a troubled production and a high percentage of re-shoots done at the behest of the Weinsteins. An alternate cut ‐ labeled the Producer’s Cut ‐ featuring entirely new scenes and story turns found its way on to bootleg VHS tapes and online torrent sites over the years, but now thanks to Scream Factory and Anchor Bay’s Halloween: The Complete Collection box set that bootleg has been remastered into HD for our viewing pleasure.
I was surprised to discover that I had never seen part six in any version, and watching it for the first time I was highly entertained by just how bonkers it gets. And then I watched the Producer’s Cut where it gets even wonkier, and while it’s still not a good movie it quickly became my favorite of the sequels post-Season of the Witch. The newly remastered Blu-ray is loaded with extras including a commentary track featuring screenwriter David Farrands and composer Alan Howarth.
So no, there are no producers on the commentary track for the Halloween 6 Producer’s Cut.
Keep reading to see what I heard on the commentary track for the producer’s cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers ‐ The Producers Cut (1995)
Commentators: Daniel Farrands (screenwriter) and Alan Howarth (composer)
1. This cut was originally referred to as the producer’s cut because this was supposed to be the final approved theatrical version, “but it tested poorly” leading to Miramax re-shooting a large chunk of it.
2. The script originally opened with a montage of sorts featuring scenes from the earlier films (aside from part 3, obviously) “to bring us up to speed.”
3. Farrands was told that even when they made part 5 that no one had any idea who the man in black was. “He just walked in and walked through the movie,” says Farrands. “One of the biggest thing they wanted to have answered was the identity of this guy.” He decided to take ot back to the mythology of the first film and did so by bringing Dr. Wynn back ‐ he was the one walking to the car with Loomis in part 1.
4. The woman playing the midwife/nurse who helps Jamie escape also starred in Audrey Rose. Farrands says they viewed it as stunt casting. “I didn’t quite get it,” he says. (Later, he also doesn’t get why the pickup-truck driver is having a beer in the rain. It’s a fair question.)
5. Howarth says the additional music in these restored scenes ‐ this being the version he originally composed for ‐ will soon be available on cd from his own label.
6. The man in black’s arrival at the Strode’s house was originally written as a POV shot similar to young Michael’s introduction in the original Halloween. Like many of the slower, spookier scenes from Farrands’ script it was cut on the day of shooting.
7. Danny’s name is a nod to Danny Torrence from The Shining.
8. Farrands originally hoped that Mike Myers (Austin Powers) would voice the radio DJ for obvious reasons.
9. The role of Dr. Wynn was originally written by Farrands with the specific intent of casting Christopher Lee in part because he was rumored to have been John Carpenter’s intention for the Loomis character in the original film. “The producers didn’t agree, they felt like this guy, the villain from Lethal Weapon would be a better choice,” says Farrands. “I still disagree.”
10. There’s apparently a rumor that Quentin Tarentino wrote a first draft of the film. “That’s completely untrue,” stresses Farrands. “Scott Spiegel, who’s very tied with those guys, he had come up with a treatment. I’m told Moustapha (Akkad) didn’t particularly like it.” He says a whole bunch of other writers came in for treatments before he received a call.
11. Duh nuh nuh duh nuh nuh dun dun, duh nuh nuh duh nuh nuh dun dun.
12. I took a break from listening to this commentary to go see Halloween III: Season of the Witch in 35mm with a post-screening “concert” by Alan Howarth. It was pretty damn cool seeing and hearing him perform several themes from some of Carpenter’s best films. This wasn’t technically something I learned from the commentary, but we have to be flexible on these things people.
13. Farrands’ original script featured a much grander and deeper conspiracy story that ultimately revealed much of the town of Haddonfield was in on the mystery. He also allowed a third act for the character of Jamie that brought her face to face with the Shape once again for one final battle.
14. Rudd does good work as a grown up Tommy Doyle, but Farrands really wanted Brian Andrews ‐ the child actor who played the role in Halloween ‐ to male a cameo in the film. Specifically, he wanted Andrews to play the train station counter agent.
15. Haddonfield, IL in the fall was played by Salt Lake City, UT in the late fall/early winter, and if you look even somewhat closely you’ll notice mountains in the background. Snow-capped mountains.
16. The script is loaded with references and nods to earlier Halloween films and other Carpenter movies. The Strode parents are named John and Debra after Carpenter and original producer/co-writer Debra Hill. There’s also a mention of a “stomach pounder” during breakfast, and that’s a nod to The Fog. The lady who runs the boarding house, Mrs. Blankenship, is named after a character mentioned in Halloween III.
17. When Kara dives out of the window in the theatrical cut Farrands sees it as the movie diving in quality too. He’s not wrong, but he still acknowledges that even the producer’s cut remains troublesome from that point onward.
18. Sadly, Donald Pleasence died as the film headed into re-shoots, and Farrands recalls the body double they had on set at the time. “It was this very strange moment where you kind of looked at him and wondered, is he back?”
19. There were multiple scripted endings including one where Kara, Tommy and the baby ended up back at the bus station only to see Kara in the baby disappear leaving Tommy “holding the bag” and looking guilty for much of what happened. Another one saw Dr. Wynn fly away on a helicopter only to have it explode due to a bomb in his bag. So that’s a bullet dodged.
20. Chappelle, or someone else, suggested the scene where Tommy uses his “magic acorns” to stop Michael. “I mean they could have given us at least a special effect, a ring of light or something,” Farrands says regarding how the rune bit fails to play. “’The power of the runes stopped him,’” he says. “You gotta love that line.”
21. Kevin Williamson’s initial treatment for part 7 originally acknowledged the events in 4, 5 and 6, but it was dropped to avoid confusing and complicating things for viewers.
22. Howarth thanks Farrands at the end. “I’ll have to be honest with you,” Howarth says, “I didn’t remember the details to this until we watched it.”
Best in Commentary
- Farrands: “It’s good to know she [Danielle Harris] gets some residuals off this movie because they do have a flashback of her in this version.”
- Howarth: “Silence is as effective as making a lot of noise.”
- Farrands: “I just don’t think we needed all these guys in dark robes running around a mental hospital.”
This is a fun and informative commentary, but it’s mostly Farrands’ doing as Howarth only chimes in periodically to volunteer information about the music or ask a question of the writer. That’s not a bad thing as composers rarely have much to add to stories of a film’s production, but Howarth manages to make his time count. Farrands meanwhile is absolutely overflowing with anecdotes and thoughts regarding the film only allowing for a handful of dead spots where the film’s audio comes back into play. The best commentaries are often thought to be the ones with big, recognizable names, but these two deliver a highly entertaining listen.