As you may already know by now (especially if you read my other piece on the subject): I love Halloween 6. Buried under the muddled origin story and weird druid stuff is not only a solid Halloween sequel, but a really great slasher film. It is, in my opinion, the last time Michael Myers was actually scary onscreen. Unfortunately, multiple reshoots, continual edits, and tensions on set resulted in a film that didn’t feel very cohesive and left the audience with more questions than it did answers.
It was probably a decade after the movie came out that I started hearing rumblings on the internet about lost footage from the film. I don’t know if it was being designated “the Producer’s Cut” at first, but that’s the official title it took on over time. There were rumors and speculation popping up on message boards, people claiming they’d seen the footage and that it was an entirely different movie. Needless to say, I was extremely excited thinking there was the possibility of an alternate cut out there. It wasn’t too long after that, people started posting actual scenes that had been cut from the film, albeit terrible quality. But it confirmed what had been pure hearsay up until then: alternate footage — and possibly an alternate version — did exist.
Soon, people were splicing these scenes together and inserting them in the original, creating their own fan version of “the Producer’s Cut”. They were even selling them on eBay for exorbitant prices. You can even find some versions on Youtube, way back from 2010. As thrilling as it was, I could never bring myself to watch more than a few minutes of any of the clips. The quality was so bad that I was afraid it would unfairly affect my judgement. So I held off, and would occasionally ponder about the day when an official version of the movie would be released.
Flash forward to 2014: it is announced the Producer’s Cut would be included in the complete collection Blu-ray box set coming out that September. Unfortunately, I already owned four copies of Halloween (and just one copy each of the sequels; I’m not crazy or anything), so dropping $100 for what would essentially just be one DVD — the Producer’s Cut — didn’t seem like a sensible choice. So again, I dreamed.
Lo and behold, earlier this year, news came out that the Producer’s Cut would be sold as a stand alone Blu-ray and for only $10! I immediately jumped on Amazon and put my pre-order in. And it came yesterday! Finally, decades after merely wondering about this mythical beast, here I was with it in my hands!
I suppose I really didn’t have any expectations going into Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut, but I definitely didn’t realize just how different it would be from the original version I’m so familiar with. The one thing that has changed in this new cut — and is something I do appreciate — is there are a lot more scenes with Donald Pleasence. As the sequels went on, he was usually just inserted to give his “Michael is pure evil” speech and maybe give the impression that he would finally be able to stop him once and for all (but did we really ever think or believe that?); and while, yes, most of his re-added scenes in the Producer’s Cut are “Michael is evil!” type scenes, it’s still nice to see this new unearthed footage of Pleasence is his final role, the one that helped make him a household name.
But man. I’ll be honest: The rest is pretty bad. Now, I’m assuming this Producer’s Cut Blu-ray is the version that was submitted initially to the studio, the version that was supposed to make it to the big screen before it was re-shot and re-edited. And if that is indeed the case — if this Blu-ray isn’t just some slapdash version of all the unused scenes — then the editors of the final cut deserve an award. The theatrical version of Halloween 6 is downright awe-inspiring compared to the Producer’s Cut.
I don’t want to harp on the subject too much, but I’ll just say everything is incredibly off: the music is sparse and never heightens the scene; the pacing is really bad; there’s hardly any blood or gore, so the deaths feel limp; and there is a strange overuse of the crossfade transition, which makes it feel like a TV movie. Not to mention it’s in widescreen which automatically makes it feel like something is off, makes it feel cheaper somehow. Oh, and the druid stuff? It’s somehow more cartoonish. It’s like that one episode of The Simpsons. Seriously.
In the end, I’m glad I was finally able to see the fabled Producer’s Cut from a pristine work print, the way it should be seen. But, having seen it, I now appreciate the theatrical version that much more. Whoever was responsible for cobbling together a final cut that was not only enjoyable and scary and fun — even if it didn’t make a lick of sense — deserves major kudos.