The sixth entry in the profitable “Halloween” series may be an example of going to the well once too often. Run-of-the-mill horror item is notable only for final appearance of the late Donald Pleasance, to whose memory it is dedicated. Pic may even be able to stay onscreen through its namesake holiday, but will survive through many moons on vid shelves.
Since the classic original by John Carpenter in 1978, subsequent filmmakers have had to try to come up with a reason to have the masked Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur, billed in the credits as “the Shape”) come back and kill the residents of Haddonfield, Ill. Where once it was fornicating teenagers, Myers now seems to be driven by some ancient Celtic ritual of sacrificing an entire family. As the bodies pile up, it becomes clear he’s trying to track down those relatives he missed in the earlier films.
But the explosion of horror/slasher films in the 17 years since the first entry has made Myers’ antics seem mundane. Not even the addition of satanic rituals, farm implements or a Howard Stern-like shock jock (Leo Geter) is enough to paint over the creaky trappings.
Pleasance reprises his role as the psychiatrist who recognizes that Myers is pure evil. His subsequent real-life death lends the character an unintentional poignancy that will be lost on the primarily teen audiences.
Helmer Joe Chappelle tries some Carpenter tricks of misdirecting and surprising viewers, but it’s all pretty tired. The press notes point out that the six films together cost less than $ 20 million and have already grossed more than $ 200 million. With that sort of return, exec producer Moustapha Akkad has made a bigger killing than Michael Myers ever dreamed.