The Cult of Myers
By JAMIE BERARDI
With the brand-new season of American Horror Story: Cult premiering last month and the highly anticipated next entry in the Child’s Play series, Cult of Chucky, being released October 3rd, it’s safe to say that the next trend in the genre are cults – and I couldn’t be happier. Cults have always instilled a primal fear in me for the sole reason that they are operated by real humans, who are fully aware and accountable for their actions and purpose. There is no supernatural presence or benevolent force at work here – just real people, like you and I. With all this talk about cults and Halloween right around the corner, it got me thinking about the man who originally introduced the idea of a cult into the storyline of a major horror franchise. This man is Daniel Farrands, the writer of 1995’s Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers – my favorite sequel in the Halloween franchise (I have the thorn tattoo and everything). The plot of Halloween 6 revolves around a cult in Haddonfield that has been protecting Michael Myers since his first killing in 1963, and this is how he has been able to continue his killing rampage over the years. The unique plot and controversy surrounding this sequel is what has given Halloween 6 a massive cult following over the years. The controversy surrounding the film started during post-production, after filming had already ended. The legend goes something like this: Dimension Films hosted a test screening for Halloween 6 to an audience of predominately youth. The response from the audience was negative, therefore Dimension went back and re-shot the entire second and third acts of the film. They added a more over the top, action-packed ending, less Donald Pleasance (Dr. Loomis), more gore, and more inventive kills; all while getting rid of key scenes which further explained the cult of thorn storyline. The end result was a completely different film from what writer Daniel Farrands had originally envisioned. Luckily, someone had a copy of the original version of Halloween 6 (before the re-writes) and started distributing this version of the film online. This infamous version of Halloween 6 became known as Halloween 666: The Producer’s Cut. This version of the film became the ultimate collectible for die-hard Halloween fans to own. People (including myself) would pay anywhere from $50-$200 just to get their bootleg version of the Producer’s Cut from eBay or Amazon. Thank god for the internet because this version of the film was much better than what we witnessed in the theatrical version of Halloween 6. After many petitions from fans online, Halloween 6: The Producers Cut finally received an official Blu-Ray release in 2015. This version of the film was beautifully remastered and included the restored footage from the original second and third acts of the film. I received the opportunity to interview the writer of Halloween 6, Daniel Farrands, for this segment of Sinister 7. Enjoy!
Question #1: In the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6, we saw a very different second/third act of the film, was this what you had intended for the film to be?
Farrands: Part of it yes, part of it no. It certainly tells a more complete and cohesive story, but it still wasn’t what I had intended for it. When the producer’s wanted the re-shoot I think they made more mistakes than what we had previously started with, when we all we had to do was make minor improvements here and there. I will say that the Producer’s Cut was closer to the intent of my original script.
Question #2: If you could go back and change anything to the ending of the Producer’s Cut now would you? And if so, what would that be?
Farrands: I would have had more of those classic Halloween “cat and mouse” chase scenes and more importantly, I wouldn’t have killed off the Jamie Lloyd character so early in the film. She would have survived until the very end to help the protagonists (Tommy Doyle and Kara Strode) escape the catacombs and even though she would have been injured, she would have had one last epic showdown against Michael Myers. I think that would have been a more satisfying payoff for her character.
Question 3: Do you think it’s possible for a single Halloween film to connect all the entries from the franchise and tie up all the plot holes that have been created with each new entry throughout the years?
Farrands: Had our sequel been done right, I think they would have continued the cult of thorn storyline to 7, 8 and even 9. The original treatment I wrote was big enough that there were supposed to be two films to explain everything. I remember Moustapha Akkad (producer) calling me and telling me that he loved it all, but it was too much for one film. The original reveal was that there was a secret society or coven operating in Haddonfield that controlled Michael Myers. Almost every citizen in Haddonfield secretly knew about it and there was a much bigger conspiracy unfolding. The people of Haddonfield were so terrified by the myth of Myers that they ended up revering him as a deity of all sacrifices on Halloween night. The original concept had more of a Rosemary’s Baby or Shirley Jackson’s The Lottery, kinda-vibe.
Question 4: What are your opinions of the entries in the Halloween series after your sequel?
Farrands: I felt that a lot of them lacked passion and felt very cookie-cutter to me. Jamie Lee Curtis coming back for Halloween H20 was a great idea in theory, but I felt that the character was lost. I felt like she wasn’t playing the vulnerable Laurie Strode that we had all remembered. It’s as if she was playing an exaggerated version of herself. Then we get to the Rob Zombie Halloween entries, which were so brutal that I felt I couldn’t even be entertained by them. They felt so ugly and crass that I couldn’t get invested in the story because it got so lost in this very dark and cruel world, that wasn’t fun to be in. Up until our sequel, the entries were all about escapism, but I never felt the need to take a shower after watching one. Just not a big fan of torture porn.
Question 5: Where would you like to see the future of the Halloween franchise go?
Farrands: It would have to be a hybrid film that acknowledges the past and doesn’t write off everything that has happened in the past sequels (except for Zombie’s films), while still offering a new and fresh world of characters and storyline. It is nice to have those stable Halloween universe characters, but there has to be a reason for the story to continue.
Question 6: In the final scene of the Producer’s Cut (after Dr.Wynn transfers the curse of thorn to Dr. Loomis) who is the man in black wearing the boots? I assumed it was Myers, but with all the re-shoots, I wasn’t sure how to interpret this, can you touch on that?
Farrands: What happened was that Michael Myers had switched his costume with Wynn’s costume – if you notice at the end, it was revealed that Wynn was wearing Michael’s mask and jumpsuit in order to trick Dr. Loomis – so, the man wearing the boots and big black hat walking off into the night in the last frame of the film was indeed, Michael Myers.
Question 7: Were you happy with the official release of Halloween 6: The Producers Cut?
Farrands: What makes me most happy about the release is that I don’t have to hear another person ask me when the Producer’s Cut is being released because it’s already out now. I have been fighting for this version of the film to be released for 20 years and I have to give all credit to Scream Factory for helping me accomplish this. Fun fact: The original prints for the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 were being held in a vault in Toronto, Canada (without those prints there would have been no means to restore this film).
Writers notes: Blumhouse Productions announced that they are working on a new Halloween film set for release in 2018. Jamie Lee Curtis is returning to reprise her iconic role as Laurie Strode, but no further details have been released at this time.
Also, this year (2017) marks the 22nd anniversary of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers.