10 Things We Learned from ‘Halloween: The Complete Collection’
Halloween: The Complete Collection Blu-ray is a monumental undertaking of contract negotiations at least. The first five films have switched ownership many times before Miramax took on the series with the sixth film, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. By the time of the Rob Zombie remakes, the Weinsteins had taken the property to their new Company.
As it is, the set of all 10 films is a co-release by Scream Factory and Anchor Bay, and it is a doozy. All 10 films, some with multiple versions, existing bonus features and tons of new ones. Most of the films look like the same transfers as previous Blu-rays so for this review we wanted to focus on the revealing new bonus features encompassing the whole series.
There have been so many editions of the original Halloween, there’s really nothing new to be revealed, although even that Blu-ray includes a new commentary track featuring cinematographer Dean Cundey. Halloween II and III, Resurrection and the Zombie films have all their previously released content, so most of these tidbits relate to Halloweens 4, 5, 6, H20 and Resurrection, which is fine with me.
I’m Franchise Fred. I always feel sequels get the short shrift in DVD/Blu-ray collections because all the focus is on the classic original. The sequels were all full productions that took a year or more and made an impact on society too. So here are 10 things I learned about the Halloween sequels from the Complete Collection Blu-ray.
‘Halloween 4’ and ‘5’ Both Had Deleted Opening Scenes
Halloween 4 screenwriter Alan B. McElroy wrote a scene explaining how Dr. Loomis survived the hospital explosion in Halloween II, by being blasted out of the building. It was nixed and now the only explanation is Loomis’s burn scar. Halloween 5 filmed an opening where a homeless man with a parakeet found Michael’s body and tattooed the cult symbol on Michael’s arm, which would pay off in Halloween 6. Producer Moustapha Akkad hated the scene and had it reshot to the current opening of Halloween 5.
Donald Pleasance’s Girlfriend Had Loomis’s Scar Changed
Speaking of that hospital explosion at the end of Halloween II, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) has a scar on his right cheek and right hand in Halloween 4. But watching dailies, his girlfriend said it looked like he had a fried egg on his face. So the makeup artists designed a new scar and reshot all of the scenes he’d filmed so far. However, the editing still mixes in takes with both scars. It is particularly noticeable in the scene where Loomis rides in a truck with a preacher.
‘Halloween 5’ Filmed with an Unfinished Script
You don’t say! Hollywood is littered with sequels that didn’t take enough time to work out their stories. After the success of Halloween 4, they went right into 5 with an unfinished script. The cast questioned a lot of the plot developments, like Jamie (Danielle Harris) becoming mute and Halloween 4’s final girl Rachel (Ellie Cornell) getting killed so unceremoniously by Michael in the beginning of the sequel. Also, elements intended to set up the sixth film, like the Man in Black, were undeveloped so they didn’t really help The Curse of Michael Myers make sense of it all.
Pleasance Breathed Bourbon on Little Danielle Harris
Danielle Harris kind of outs the late Donald Pleasance in her behind the scenes interview, but affectionately and it’s a great story. She recalled that as a kid, she wondered what Pleasance’s breath smelled like. Now that she’s a full grown woman who’s had her fair share of drinks, she recognizes the smell. It was bourbon.
Why Danielle Harris Wasn’t in ‘Halloween 6’
In a candid interview, which was clearly shot as part of the behind the scenes on 4 and 5, Harris explains why she didn’t reprise the role of grown-up Jamie. She got herself legally emancipated to be able to work the hours needed because she was still 17 at the time. But, since Jamie in Halloween 6 is what we affectionately call a “Janet Leigh part,” they only wanted to pay her scale. She had already spent her own money in legal fees to go through with the emancipation. And the incest subplot where she’d give birth to Michael’s baby freaked her out. But really, the disrespect made her walk away. However, she remains good friends with J.C. Brandy, who took her place, to this day.
Both Versions of ‘Halloween 6’ Are Terrible
It’s always great to see alternate versions of a film unearthed, especially when it’s as drastic as Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. The restoration of the famed “Producer’s Cut” looks great, but it’s no better a movie than the theatrical. If anything, seeing Michael run around dimly lit caves with people in robes is kind of undignified. It is certainly more boring than the jazzed up electrifying theatrical ending. But don’t get your hopes up.
Jamie Lee Curtis Wanted Mike Myers to Cameo in ‘H20’
Laurie Strode has a sense of humor. In the new audio commentary for Halloween H20 she reveals that she wanted comedian Mike Myers to appear in a cameo, just crossing by her in the street and she’d do a double take. She said Myers declined immediately and did not even entertain the offer. Director Steve Miner seems to give Myers the benefit of the doubt that he had other reasons for turning it down, but Curtis isn’t convinced.
Jamie Lee Curtis Tried to Have the Director of ‘Virus’ Fired
This isn’t really about Halloween but it’s on the Halloween H20 commentary. Jamie Lee Curtis has often derided her own film Virus, but this is the first I’d heard that she actually tried to get the director, John Bruno, fired. It comes up because Miner recalls meeting with Curtis while she was making Virus, and the conversation takes a scathing turn.
‘Halloween: Resurrection’ Was Planned on the Set of ‘H20’
Jamie Lee Curtis’s pitch for returning to the Halloween franchise was that Laurie Strode would finally confront Michael Myers and kill him for good. Just before production began, producer Moustapha Akkad said they couldn’t kill Michael. So Curtis was stuck committed to a movie that wouldn’t portray the story she agreed to tell. It was screenwriter Kevin Williamson who came up with the ending, where she could decapitate Michael Myers, and the subsequent movie could reveal it was not Michael Myers. Curtis was satisfied that in Laurie’s mind, she’d confronted her tormenter, but she also had to agree to do a cameo in Halloween: Resurrection.
Jamie Lee Curtis’s Lost Beauty School Pitch
Jamie Lee Curtis is full of great ideas on the Halloween H20 audio commentary. Be sure to listen through the credits where she discusses having long hair in Resurrection, because Laurie has been committed for years and stopped cutting her hair. Curtis pitched an idea that the institution inmates were test subjects for a local beauty school, so would be walking around with bleached blonde hair and full makeup, like zombie Marilyn Monroes. That would have been awesome and kind of made the undermining of H20 worth it for that visual, but no one listens to Jamie Lee.