Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers
Limited Edition Expanded Theatrical and Producers Cut Soundtracks
Alan Howarth Incorporated – 2014
When producers at Dimension Films saw Director Joe Chappelle’s version (known as “The Producer’s Cut) of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (aka Halloween 6) they demanded a bunch of changes. They wanted more action and gore, which is usually a big mistake and proved to be true again if you saw the movie in the theaters like I did. I can never understand why the business men mettle with true storytellers of films (directors) and ruin pictures in the process.
This alteration of the film also necessitated changes to the film score, which were done by Music Composer Alan Howarth. Now for the first time, you get a chance to hear both versions on this Expanded Edition 2-CD set.
I have yet to see the Producer’s Cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers but after listening to this Limited Edition, it contains music more in line with the original John Carpenter approach with moody subtlety and nuance. For this reason, I’d be curious to see it.
CD ONE: PRODUCERS CUT begins with “The Birth Ceremony.” This track oozes with ambience as airy keyboards lines breathe the foretelling of something wicked coming. The notes literally hang in the hair like noose floating from above. “Halloween Newborn” signals in the rebirth of the all familiar main theme from Halloween.
“Haddonfield Jock Rock” has the higher pitch distorted guitars and electronic drums so prevalent in the 80s.
I really like the dark slippery feel of “Separation.” Synth lines slowly snake around the legendary Halloween notes to create a sinister, foreboding atmosphere.
The deliberate pace of “What Will We Do”, makes it seem as doom is all but certain.
Sullen piano and soft strings take us back to “Strode House.” This recognizable theme brings warmth to the family residence and in a small way connects this film with the original storyline.
Laurie’s Theme is integrated in “Be Still” with a quick, rapid paced rendering of the franchise theme. “Night of Shadows” uses Laurie’s theme with equal success.
Old historic practice with evil exudes from “Druids.” The somberness that Howarth generates adds not only tremendous air of dread but makes it feel like the Celtic heritage was real.
“Thorn” is a cross between Ennio Morricone’s heartbeat theme in John Carpenter’s The Thing and what Howarth & Carpenter did in Prince of Darkness. Shadowed notation moves underneath a consistent rhythm pattern, while organ embellishes the 8 ½ minute cue.
“Michael’s Curse” begins with a reprise of the famous Halloween theme. I loved a minute into the track when Howarth individually spaces out the single notes, which sounds cool and different yet relates to the melody. This was a smart move on the composer’s part and rounds out the 47 minutes and 20 seconds of the first disc.
CD TWO: THEATRICAL CUT – I love the darkness “The Birthing” brings. You wouldn’t normally associate darkness with the arrival of a child but in this movie series, such is the case. The choir-like instrumentation adds some gloom to the mix.
A super fast, metronome click propels “Halloween Curse.” This tune utilizes electric guitar, bass and drums to rockify the presence of the knife wielding psychopath.
Howarth uses the principal motif to help “Jamie’s Escape.” Bolts of synthetic keyboard distortion shoot out of “Bus Depot.” You get a good sense that wouldn’t be a good idea to visit “The Chambers” or “Runes.”
The high pitched airy quality of “Look Out” makes it a super suspenseful piece. “Nightscape” is one of my favorite tracks from disc 2. I’m a big fan of the guitar and Howarth captures a cool, creepy vibe with the chords he plays on the instrument.
“Grab The Ax” is a fear inducing tidbit. “Michael’s Back” teeter-tooters between the chief theme and Laurie’s Theme, with some stingers thrown in for good measure.
“Thorn Ritual” is a subdued affair that in some ways reminds me of something you’d hear in Halloween III: Season of the Witch. You get a strong sense of danger from what’s “Across The Street.”
A sharp audio blow tells you to “Run For Your Life.” Knowing the white-faced “Boogeyman” is hot on your tail encourages you not to look back and take heed of the warning.
“He’s Coming” has that slow, yet relentless musical push that was used so effectively in the original film when Laurie Strode walked across the street to check on Annie.
Alan Howarth includes the taping of a metallic instrument to heighten the tension of “Shape Assault.”
Ghastly ambience drifts in with “Thorn Sacrifice.” It’s like the fall wind carries the promise of death, which drifts along with fallen tree leaves amongst autumn current of air.
“Thorn Runes” uses the heartbeat motif established on the first disc track “Thorn.”
“No Place To Hide” offers no sanctuary from the pasty-faced madman.
The longest track on disc 2 is the second to last “Hallway Out” running almost 7-minutes. It features all sorts of stingers and hits to make you jump out of your seat. Drums and percussion go crazy about 1-minute in and are taken over by the familiar high pitched tapping sound associated with Mr. Myers. I do like the different instruments used to convey the major recurring melody within this cue.
I wouldn’t say that Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers is my favorite score in this franchise, but it is definitely worth having. It’s not only part of the Halloween film series legacy and completes a trilogy that began with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), continued into Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. That fact is Alan Howarth has done another first-rate job of giving us two different musical versions of his score. I’d say this 2-CD set are most certainly an intriguing part of the Michael Myers saga.