Before I dive into this write-up/review of Phil Rosenberg’s ‘Halloween 666: The Origin’ script, I feel that it’s worth pointing out that any writer brought in to follow up 1989’s ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’ was doomed from the start; whoever was to follow up that film would be inheriting a mess of half-baked ideas left behind by that that films creative team. Years before the decision to hit the reset button, beginning with 1998’s ‘Halloween: H20’, the ‘Halloween’ franchise still had a singular continuity, broken up only by an experimental entry that had been intended to shift the franchise into anthology territory beginning with 1982’s ‘Halloween 3: Season of the Witch’ – but that intended direction failed to take off as fans demanded more of Michael Myers and his reign of terror on the small town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Aside from that one unrelated film, the Michael Myers saga from ‘John Carpenter’s Halloween’, ‘Halloween 2’, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers’ and ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’ all followed a linear path.
While Celtic mythology and lore surrounding druid rituals regarding the festival of Samhain have been no stranger to the series, first introduced in the novelization of ‘John Carpenter’s Halloween’, and then briefly alluded to by Sam Loomis in ‘Halloween 2’ – and, even serving as a plot point in the Myers-less third film – it was ‘Halloween 5’ that really forced these ideas into the franchise. It was this film that revealed the mark of thorn on Michael’s wrist, and it was this film that introduced the mysterious new figure known as “The Man in Black”, who periodically appeared through-out the film before showing up at the Haddonfield Sheriff’s office and springing Michael from his cell in the conclusion. The problem here is that these things, particularly the Man in Black, were thrown into the film without any real game plan moving forward; not even the creatives responsible knew who this figure was, or what his motives were – perhaps aside from the fact that it was linked to the mark of Thorn on Michael’s wrist. Essentially, the creatives behind the fifth film really set up any future hired guns for failure, because the follow up film would have to address the fifth film’s cliffhanger ending, and give a definitive answer regarding the mystery surrounding these newly established elements to the series.
Again, as mentioned above, this was at a time before the series was split by multiple timelines as a “choose your own adventure”, back when the series still had one continuity, and ignoring what came before wasn’t really an option being considered. The worst part of these additions is the fact that neither really had a place or relevance to ‘Halloween 5’; After-all, if you take these things away, it wouldn’t have a major impact on the movie. Sure, they would have had to go with a different ending, but that isn’t really a new problem as endings being changed on the fly happen all the time in Hollywood, and finding a new resolution to best work for the movie wouldn’t have been a challenging feat for the creatives behind the camera. Taking these useless additions away would have actually been beneficial, especially considering that removing these things would have cleared the franchise of a necessity to delve into the druid angle and provide an explanation.
Imagine what ‘Halloween 6’ could have been had it been free of these baseless details? But that’s what happens when a film is rushed into production without a finished script.
In a way, these last-minute decisions backed the series into a corner moving forward. This is not to say that all of the problems of ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers’ or even this rejected script are off the hook from their own share of problems, because both, the film that we got, and the script that this article revolves around feature some equally questionable decisions themselves. I bring up ‘Halloween 5’ only because I feel that it is partially responsible for dictating some of the unfavorable story elements that have plagued this franchise.
Finger pointing aside, following the box office failure of ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’ in 1989, longtime series producer and caretaker, Moustapha Akkad, had taken on the personal belief that there should be a significant gap, by at least two years, between the sequels. Early attempts to get the ball rolling on ‘Halloween 6’ were briefly stalled, due to unspecific legal battles, and in 1994 the series would finally get major studio backing as the then Disney owned Miramax Pictures would acquire the distribution rights to the franchise, to be released under their genre banner of Dimension Films.
Several writers were brought in to pitch the sixth film, and Moustapha Akkad eventually commissioned a screenwriter named Phil Rosenberg to draft a screenplay. Akkad and Miramax’s owners, the Weinstein Brothers, had turned to Writer/Director/Producer Scott Spiegel (Co-Writer of the 1987 cult classic ‘Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn’) to direct from Rosenberg’s script. Spiegel’s friend, Quentin Tarantino, who is a fan of ‘John Carpenter’s Halloween’ and ‘Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers’, had offered his support to Spiegel, and considered a producing role – Spiegel read Phil Rosenberg’s script, titled: ‘Halloween 666: The Origin’, and strongly disliked it. In an interview with Fangoria Magazine, Spiegel opened up about his thoughts of the script, and said it was “unfocused and corny”, and it reminded him of ‘Friday the 13th’, and that he was relieved it was tossed out.
After reading the script, I am also relieved that the script was rejected.
Just as with my previous script review, I’ll be providing a link to the PDF at the bottom for those interesting in reading it. Even though I don’t care for the script, who knows, maybe some of you will?
As for the story:
It begins with a new lead character, Dana Childress, having an Urban Legend like nightmare of driving down a deserted road during a torrential downpour, anxiously looking in the mirror feeling that she’s being followed. As her gas gauge nears empty, she happens to find an isolated gas station. She pulls in and is greeted by a creepy attendant, who pumps her gas and cleans her windshield and back glass; suddenly the attendant starts attacking her car, smashing away at the glass until his throat is slit. Dana turns to see Michael Myers in her backseat, and just as he swipes his blade toward her, she wakes up and jots the details of her nightmare into a notebook.
The following day, at her therapist’s office she discusses her dreams, where we learn that she continuously has them, always between the hours of midnight and one o’ clock. Her therapist suggests that they could be the manifestation of some childhood fear or desire that’s lurking within, but this sequence ends abruptly in the middle of the session, and while that specific time-frame does come into play later in the script, this scene adds nothing to the story aside from foreshadowing that time-specific plot point.
Dana returns to work after her session, where it’s established that she’s the newest member of the Channel 6 news team based in Chicago. In a staff meeting with the producer, who’s written as a hybrid of Perry White from ‘Superman’ and J. Jonah Jameson from ‘Spider-Man’, she pitches a potential story regarding the town of Haddonfield lifting the five-year ban on the celebration of Halloween, believing that it could be the story of growth and healing, and she’s given the assignment. Dana and a handful of colleagues; senior journalist Robert Clifton, sound guy Tony, cameraman Blake, and the driver, Andy, then venture to Haddonfield for Dana’s first big story.
Meanwhile, mask-less Michael Myers is living on the streets as one of the homeless, and after killing a group of drunken frat boys dressed like droogs from ‘A Clockwork Orange’, who assaulted him while he was just trying to catch some shut-eye in an alley, he ventures to a homeless shelter where he is established as a regular. Michael receives several nods from his fellow homeless upon entering, but is soon distracted by a Channel 6 promotional ad for Dana’s story about Haddonfield, setting Michael on a trek back to his old stomping grounds.
Back in Haddonfield, grown up Tommy Doyle lives in his own attic while renting out the rest of the house to a couple of dick-head teenagers who constantly make fun of him. Tommy, it turns out, has been obsessed with Michael Myers and is trying to learn the secret behind the evil that lurks within him. Now this is where the script really loses me as it ventures into terrain not meant for this particular franchise: Tommy has a high tech set up of computer equipment, including a Virtual Reality Ouija, which he uses in an attempt to seek out the origin of Michael’s evil, but he’s constantly hitting a roadblock and can’t go beyond a certain point. This device comes into play later in the movie, and it gives us an unnecessary and far-fetched glimpse into the event that ultimately caused Michael Myers to become The Shape, but more on that later. Tommy also keeps himself occupied by protesting against the town lifting the ban of Halloween via shouting incorrect victim names through a megaphone – one of the many franchise inaccuracies featured in the script that makes me question if Rosenberg even watched or bothered to pay attention these movies – as Tommy feels that removing the ban and allowing the citizens of Haddonfield to celebrate the holiday disgraces the victims, as well as fearing that it will bring Michael Myers back.
Dr. Sam Loomis is only featured in one scene in the script, in what is meant to be a passing of the torch from Loomis to Tommy. Tommy attempts to find Loomis, hoping to convince him to return to Haddonfield with him, as he feels that Michael is sure to return; however, Loomis has committed himself to an institution following his heart attack at the end of the fifth film, believing that he carries too many demons. Now, at this point in time, Donald Pleasence’s health was in question, so I suppose I understand the need to establish a new obsessive pursuer of The Shape, and Tommy is a logical successor, but I feel that the sixth film that we did get, ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers’, did a much better job at handling the passing of the torch from Loomis to Tommy, and on top of that, it proved that the legendary Donald Pleasence was able to handle a meatier role, despite health issues.
Also wasted in this script is one of my favorite characters in the franchise: Ben Meeker. For those who may not be too familiar with the series, Meeker was Haddonfield’s sheriff in both ‘Halloween 4’ and ‘Halloween 5’, and his fate was left in question following the Man in Black’s assault on the police precinct. Although ‘Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers’ doesn’t directly reference the character, it can be assumed that the character was killed; here, he has survived, but there’s no mention of how. He’s mentioned a few times, even once by Loomis who claims that Ben is starting to sound like he used to, but he’s only shown in two scenes here, despite having probably one of the more interesting perspectives in the script. At one point, while keeping a watch out from within the Myers house, he comments on how him and his wife have to endure kids running around wearing the mask of the man responsible for killing his daughter years earlier. It is of my opinion that Meeker’s perspective is one of the strongest character moments of the script, but is unfortunately glossed over in favor of characters I don’t give a flying fuck about. This is a huge missed opportunity, at least in my opinion.
While still following the continuity of the fourth and fifth films, the script strays from the Jamie Lloyd plot. It’s established here that she’s been missing since 1989, but instead of continuing with that character, she’s brushed off, mentioned once earlier in the script, and referenced a little later on. This script attempted to set up a brand new story-line by side-lining the previous.
When Dana and the rest of the useless Channel 6 news team enter town, they encounter a strange character named Father Carpenter, who is incorrectly listed as “The priest from Halloween 4” — but, there is no Father Carpenter in ‘Halloween 4’ – and it would appear that the character was supposed to be Reverend Jackson P. Sayer, who gave Loomis a ride into Haddonfield in ‘Return of Michael Myers’, although the treatment of the character here doesn’t quite match with the character from the fourth film, who claimed to have been hunting evil. Here he’s an accomplice to it, as much later in the script, it’s revealed that he’s wearing black boots with silver tips, indicating that he is the Man in Black who shot up the police station and freed Michael from captivity.
Dana and her team conduct several interviews through town, and Dana runs into Tommy, who warns her to not get too close to her story. After the two part ways, Clifton informs Dana that Meeker gave them a list of survivors – although when she asks Clifton if the name Tommy Doyle means anything, he responds with “No”, which is odd because you would think that he would be on the list, but this script has many logic and continuity errors at this point, so it doesn’t surprise me. Later on, they interview Meeker from the Myers house, and then they follow it up with an interview with Frank and June Wallace, parents of Lindsay Wallace from the first film, who have stayed in Haddonfield because they love the town, and here it’s casually mentioned that they were once friends with the Myers family. The Wallace’s show old home movie footage to Dana and her crew, and here it is revealed that Dana is another long-lost sibling to Michael Myers.
While Dana and her crew have been interviewing people through-out the day, they have been unknowingly stalked by Michael, and as they talk to the Wallace’s, Michael waits outside. At one point he approaches the door, and rings the doorbell multiple times. Frank Wallace answers the door angrily, believing that it’s just someone from the town who ignores the candles lit for the victims, and as he tries to close the door on Michael, Michael sticks his hand between the door trying to prevent it from closing, but instead the door crushes his hand and draws blood. Michael withdrawals, blurs the peephole of the door with his blood, and leaves – at least seemingly – after Frank closed the door. Frank brushes off the incident as just being a prank from one the disrespectful punks from the Doyle house across the street. After the home movie is finished, Dana decides that she wants to talk to Tommy Doyle, and her and the crew venture over while their driver Andy sleeps in the van.
At the Doyle house is a large Halloween party put on by Tommy’s teenaged roommates – who earlier in the script stole Judith Myers headstone – and as Dana’s crew navigate through the party to get to Tommy’s room in the attic, they are unsuccessful at reaching Tommy because he’s once again strapped into his Virtual Reality program. The team leaves, looking to head back to the Myers house one more time just as Tommy finishes; as the news van takes off, Tommy notices that the Channel 6 logo has a bloody alteration with two more sixes added to it. Unknown to everyone, in the shrubs outside of the Wallace home is the deceased body of Andy.
In the rear of the van, Dana and her crew are jolted by the vans excessive speed until they come to stop. Dana expresses a desire to get out of town as soon as possible, to which Clifton agrees once their business is done at the Myers house. The crew exit the back of the van to find that they are not at the Myers house, but are instead in the middle of nowhere, stuck in a bog. The crew then find that Andy is missing as the front cab of the van is empty. Tony and Blake go searching for Andy while Clifton stays with Dana at the van. After twenty minutes passes and there’s not a word from any of them, Dana and Clifton venture out from the van and discover Blake’s camera; they watch the footage, witnessing the deaths of Tony and Blake, and they then hurry back to the van. Dana climbs into the rear while Clifton makes his way to the front. Michael shows up, but they’re able to get out of danger. While on the road not too long later, Dana informs Clifton of what she discovered of her heritage at the Wallace’s, but they’re brought to a sudden halt as Father Carpenter steps into the road. As Father Carpenter spews his cryptic messages regarding the time between twelve to one, Michael manages to catch up and kills Clifton.
Panicked, Dana flees as heads back to the Doyle house. She manages to get through to Tommy, and after some persistence, Dana tries the Virtual Reality program in an effort to learn of Michael’s origin so they can stop him. Michael isn’t too far behind and crashes the party (not as cool as that sounds) and as Dana experiences the Virtual Reality simulation, he tries to get to the attic. Dana uses Tommy’s Virtual Reality Ouija program to see where the curse of their bloodline really began, desperate for a clue on how to stop him once and for all. Going back to an ancient Celtic settlement around 1,000 BC, it’s established that there was a young man known as “The Sacral King”, who had a full year to live his life to the fullest and experience all the pleasures he could withstand, before he would be sacrificed in a druidic ritual to please the gods. The Sacral King speaks to the Minister as he begins to have doubts and second thoughts, but the Minister explains that he must do this or they will suffer the wrath of the gods. Afterwards, we’re brought to the night of the ritual, where the Sacral King, wearing a deer head mask, arrives. The High Priest completes the ritual by slitting the throat of the Sacral King, but afterwards, when the deer head mask is removed, it’s revealed to be the Minister, who was bound and gagged and put in the place of the true Sacral King. This had angered the gods, and the true Sacral King flees the village as it comes to ruins – as this happens, The High Priest vows to curse this man’s bloodline; to fall at the hands of one of his own, on a night when the constellations would align the same as they do this very night. It turns out that on Halloween night in 1963, the constellations aligned, and a vapor mass arises from the ground, up into the mask of six-year-old Michael Myers. Through this Virtual Reality simulation/revelation, Dana discovers that between midnight and one o’ clock, a portal would open up at Judith Myers grave site, and the only way to stop Michael would be to lead him there and send him through the portal, returning his evil to where it belonged. Also, through this simulation, we are given a glimpse of Jamie Lloyd, who cries out from a cell made of bone, but nothing is really elaborated with her fate. And yes, you read all of that right.
Michael busts his way through the attic, but Dana gets away and desperately attempts to reach the grave yard with limited time on the clock. Michael follows her, the portal opens and after a brief struggle, Dana manages to send Michael through.
Just after, Tommy and his annoying roommates show up, and they place Judith’s headstone back where it belonged, sealing the portal. Exhausted, Dana walks away, seemingly victorious, but Father Carpenter happens to be hanging around and laughing, and that’s when Tommy notices that it’s well after one o’ clock, leaving the door open for any potential sequel to follow.
It is not my intention to talk shit about writer Phil Rosenberg here; the script is properly formatted, and aside from a few grammar issues, and lapses in logic, it is consistent in style while it also reads at a brisk pace.
My problems here are the muddled details of the previous films which read as if Rosenberg didn’t really know or understand the franchise he was writing for, as well as some of the story choices presented here: the Virtual Reality Ouija is an extremely lazy plot device, and the explanation of Michael’s origin seems out of place for this franchise. Having the story end with a portal that opens up from Judith’s grave is the cherry on top of this shit flavored sundae. While there may have been one or two scenes that I liked and could see working on the screen, I feel as if this script lacks tone and atmosphere and just overall seems out of place with the franchise. At least ‘The Curse of Michael Myers’ felt grounded and less ridiculous in its approach –well, in comparison to this script.
As a long-time fan of this franchise, I am grateful that this script never saw the light of day. But that’s just my opinion. Be sure to check out the link to the script below and make up your own minds! Did you love it? Like it? Enjoy it? Hate it? Or are you indifferent to it? Would this have been better than ‘The Curse of Michael Myers’? Please let us know your thoughts!
The script can be found here:
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