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review added: 10/31/00



Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
1995 (2000) - Dimension (Buena Vista)

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers Film Rating: C-

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B-/C/F

Specs and Features

88 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), single-sided, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (14 chapters), languages: English and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English and Spanish, Closed Captioned


What a sad, sad disc this is. Just when you thought Disney's days of piss-poor quality discs were behind them, we're given this lazy excuse of a DVD. Before I get to how awful this lackluster Disney DVD is, I should first address the movie itself. Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers isn't a real winner either, but it may be worth at least a viewing. If you want a really improbable story of what happened with Mikey Myers after he was kidnapped by the man in black at the end of Halloween 5, then by all means check this one out.

The action picks up six years after the last installment of the series, and Myers is now part of an underground cult. His niece Jamie (who should be about 14 but looks like she's in her 20s) gives birth to his child. Shortly after Jamie escapes from the cult (with her new son in tow), she is murdered Friday the 13th-style by Michael on some farm equipment. Bound and determined to kill off every single one of his family members, Michael returns to Haddonfield in search of his brand-spankin' new grand-nephew/son.

Once in Haddonfield, not only does he find his grand-nephew/son, he also finds some newly manufactured family members living right in his childhood home. I won't get into the whole Myers bloodline (they're more sordid and in-bred than the Clampetts), but we're assured they are related to him somehow. Living next door to the Strode/Myers clan is the little boy Laurie Strode was baby-sitting back in 1978 - Tommy Doyle (Paul Rudd). Tommy's now all grown up, and given all the trauma he went through at such a tender young age, he's as creepy as you'd think he would be. He peeps through windows at half-naked women, steals babies from bus terminals, has a terminally short temper and really bad posture. He gets in contact with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence, who died shortly after this film wrapped) to help him track down and kill Myers.

All this is banal enough, but what makes it even more far-fetched is the continuation of the "thorn" theme that was introduced in Halloween 5. This film further explores Michael's goofy connection to the ancient druids and his pattern of killing. It's all in the stars, man. There isn't a whole lot that is done well in this film. The direction is really poor (there are a lot of continuity problems), and the acting is awful in parts (Paul Rudd overacts a great deal). What saves this film from being completely unwatchable are some genuinely good scares and a nice moody feel. I jumped in my seat on a few occasions, and there are just enough gory death scenes to keep your attention. That said, and in all honestly, this film is still only for the real die-hard Halloween series fans.

The transfer used for this DVD is the same widescreen, non-anamorphic master used for the original laserdisc release. The picture is decent, but is far from reference-quality material. Blacks are appropriately dark, but seem a bit grainy throughout the film. There's also a fair amount of artifacting, which is most apparent during many of the darker scenes. The rest of the transfer is good, but is only slightly above average quality. Color balance is on target, flesh tones are accurate (if just a little gray looking) and edge-enhancement is apparent only on a few occasions. What infuriates me about this release is the lack of anamorphic enhancement. This goes double when you consider that the new, direct-to-DVD release of Hellraiser: Inferno (also put out by Buena Vista) is given full anamorphic treatment with extra features to boot. There's simply no excuse for this laziness on Disney's part. On the audio side, the Dolby 2.0 "Ultra Stereo" mix is flat and boring. There is infrequent use of the rear speakers (though they do come in handy during some zinger moments in the soundtrack) and bass is a little on the shallow side. Dialogue is maintained in the center speaker and is always audible, but there is little separation between the front channels. This is not a horrible mix, but it lacks any "umph" or strength.

The extras are where this disc really falters. There is NOTHING here at all, not even the theatrical trailer for the film. Absent also are the long sought after additional scenes that are present in the "never-before-released producer's cut" of the film. The now obligatory Disney promotional trailers start this disc off, but they have nothing to do with this film. The upside of that (and I really hesitate to call it an upside) is that you can now skip through them by hitting the "menu" button on your remote. The last thing I want after shelling out $33 is an advertisement.

This DVD is quite simply not worth the high asking price. Those who were hoping for the additional scenes that are currently available only on poor quality bootlegged copies are out of luck. I can't recommend this disc EVEN to fans of the series. There's just nothing on this DVD to make it worth having. I suppose if you've got bottomless pockets and won't settle for VHS, by all means spend your money. Just don't say I didn't warn you.

Dan Kelly
dankelly@thedigitalbits.com




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