As a side note, I managed to get ahold of a bootleg of the infamous Producer’s Cut, which is the version that was shown to test audiences before all the reshoots took place. It’s not a good movie in this form, but it certainly is better than the theatrical version by leaps and bounds.
Sure there’s still some stupid shit going down with the Strodes and the Cult of Thorn, but Loomis’ role is expanded, the Thorn mark is explained and the pacing is even and mildly suspenseful. Think of this version as Rosemary’s Baby as opposed to the theatrical version’s The Hills Have Eyes, Part 2.
The main difference is the pretty rad ending. We learn that Dr. Wynn (Mitchell Ryan), aka Cowboy Dude, is Michael’s watchdog. He sees over his ward to make sure he performs his Druidic duties by being their own personal undying killing machine to protect their sect. We also learn that the reason Michael is hell bent on killing members of his own family is that he has a sort of twisted conscience and he doesn’t want them to become cursed by the Mark of Thorn like him. However, Michael has begun to outlive his usefulness so Wynn has him rape his niece in order to produce a child they can pass his curse onto. Tommy learns about all the Druid rituals that could possibly end the curse (in some instances they resemble parts of the plot from part 3 in a creative twist), and instead of the massive bloodbath in the theatrical version we have a tense cat-and-mouse chase where Tommy, Kara and Loomis rescue Jamie’s son from the clutches of the cult and Tommy renders Michael powerless via a spell he casts with some runestones. Loomis, who was accidentally left behind by Tommy and Kara, finds Michael on the floor and upon further investigation discovers that Wynn released Michael from Tommy’s spell, allowed him to escape and dressed in his clothes and mask to lure his nemesis in… and passes the duties of the Thorn cult onto Loomis. The film ends with Michael on the loose and Loomis becoming his new watchdog.
It’s convoluted and cheesy, but it works a lot better than what I saw in the theater back in ’95 due to a more focused narrative and some actual tension that’s been developed due to it. It’s nothing mind blowing, but it’s worth a watch.
2 out of 5