In Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), it was revealed that Michael Myers wasn’t alone in his evil-doings. Michael was part of The Cult of Thorn. The idea of an evil killer linked to a cult appeared in another work of fiction. The television show Millennium (1996-1999) was centered on former FBI profiler Frank Black. Frank had the disturbing ability to enter the criminal mind and understand it. He used his gift to apprehend savage murderers and deranged individuals who represented a tide of increasing evil as the year 2000 approached.
Frank worked for the Millennium Group, who were a privately funded team of investigative consultants. The FBI and local police departments would hire the Group to help them with difficult cases, usually those that involved serial killers. As the story evolved, Frank became suspicious of the Millennium Group. The Group’s inner workings, intentions and methods were shrouded in secrecy. However, Frank couldn’t deny that something unexplainable was happening in the world. He had encountered a few killers who were manifestations of a demonic presence in society.
Halloween 6 came out in 1995, as Millennium was already in development by Chris Carter (who also created The X-Files). It’s not unusual for similar ideas to spring up almost simultaneously. Millennium came out the same year as another television series that dealt with a character who could get into a killer’s head – The Profiler. However, these works were created independently of each other. Simply watch some early X-Files episodes from 1993 and themes of evil and secrecy are already prevalent there.
Whereas the Thorn Cult members wore dark, hooded robes and conduct sacrifices at an altar beneath Smiths Grove Sanitarium, the Millennium Group was more subdued. Its members wore regular clothes, but they did partake in some rituals and had to take a blood oath. The Millennium Group’s leader was the Old Man who lived in the woods, away from the daily workings of the Group.
The Cult of Thorn’s leader, Dr. Wynn, had several tasks. He had to protect Michael Myers, and that meant he had to follow Michael, provide Michael with a place to live, get Michael to participate in the Cult’s rituals and, occasionally, shoot up an entire police station to spring Michael from jail. In addition, Wynn had to persuade Dr. Loomis to join him and he had to plan the kidnapping of Kara Strode. Wynn also had to run Smiths Grove Sanitarium.
The Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 presents the Cult of Thorn as heavily involved in pagan rituals and superstition. The Theatrical version of the film hints that a secret cult exists, but leaves out many references that involve mysticism. The Cult in the Theatrical version is more concerned with science, it seems. It is comprised, for the most part, of medical doctors, surgeons and nurses that apparently conduct genetic research and experiments.
The Millennium Group also engaged in scientific endeavors. In the final two episodes of Millennium, “Via Dolorosa/Goodbye To All That,” it was hinted that the Group used neuroscience to replicate evil in order to study it. This was an idea that was vaguely present in Halloween 6. Glances of genetic charts and human fetuses were shown, but never discussed, explored or explained.
Granted, a story arc can be better developed in a television series. The Millennium Group was fleshed out over Millennium’s three-season run. The Cult of Thorn evolved from a single character from Halloween 5 (1989), the Man in Black. The Man in Black’s identity was unknown even to the film’s writer/director (listen to the Halloween 5 commentary track). Halloween 6 turned one character into an entire cult and conspiracy (in both the Producer’s Cut and Theatrical version).
The ambiguity surrounding the Cult of Thorn in Halloween 6 is as much frustrating as it is debate-worthy. It has led to interesting observations and theories from the fans.
If you’ve never watched Millennium, it was a show that was ahead of its time but cancelled before its time. Lance Henriksen played the part of Frank Black. Its style, look and themes have influenced other programs such as Criminal Minds and CSI, as well as novels and movies such as No Country For Old Men (2005, 2007). Here’s a promotional teaser that Chiller ran for Millennium: