Shalloween: The Cash-Cow of Michael Myers
HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS
“Michael lives. And this time they’re ready!”
Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard / Writer: Michael Jacobs / Cast: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Tamara Glynn, Jonathan Chapin, Matthew Walker, Betty Corvalho, Troy Evans, Frank Como, David Ursin, Don Shanks.
Body Count: 17-ish
Dire-logue: “Stay away, OK, you know you’re really creepy filling that little girl with all that boogeyman crap!”
1988 and 89 were notable years for the three big franchises, all of which saw releases in both years. A Nightmare on Elm Street 4 raked in the most but all of the ’88 releases far superseded their 1989 follow-ups, all three of which paled both commercially and creatively.
In later documentaries on the series, cast and crew freely admitted that Halloween 5 was taken on too soon, entering the stage of pre-production before the script was even finalised and eventually competing with the home video release of the far more successful Halloween 4 in October of 1989.
The narrative holes are evident from the outset, picking up immediately from the end of the previous instalment where Michael is gunned into the ground by the Haddonfield cops. He crawls off underground and tumbles into a river, eventually winding up at the shack of a hermit, where he collapses. One year later, we’re asked to believe that the hermit has looked after the comatose stranger for the whole fucking year without telling another soul! The ever grateful Michael, waking up on October 30th, kills his saviour straight away. How nice.
Little Jamie Lloyd is a patient of Haddonfield’s Childrens Clinic, is mute, and shares a psychic connection with Unkie Mike, aware he’s on the prowl again and coming back for her. Her sorta-sister Rachel and her good time gal friend Tina are dismissive while the increasingly loopy Doc Loomis plagues Jamie for information.
Michael kills Rachel and stalks Tina and her friends to a party at an old farm, casually killing off the bit-parters, a pair of ridiculously conceived “comedy cops” who come complete with their own circusy theme, and chasing down Jamie, who eventually agrees to Loomis’ plan to bait Michael back to his old house “where it all began…”
Things climax at the Myers house, which has inexplicably morphed into a mansion-sized clone of Garth Manor from Hell Night, where Jamie is stalked and terrorized beyond entertaining parameters into the uncomfortable arena of cruelty over kicks. Then there’s some stupid twist about the newly introduced ‘Man in Black’, something that fans of the series would have to wait six years to get answers for.
Halloween 5 is probably the least effective of the Myers films; clunky and strangely paced that generates more questions than answers about stuff we don’t really care about. Does Michael simply deactivate on November 1st every year? Who killed those people at the clinic? Why the hell did nobody spot that his mask looks funky throughout and needs to be tucked the fuck in!!? Overlong sequences of soon-to-be victims wandering around pad out the already testing running time and the mean spiritedness of killing Rachel and subjecting a nine-year-old to an endless array of running and screaming trample over the atmospheric imprint left by Halloween 4.
There are some workable elements in the film; the first two thirds are watchable stuff and consistent with a lot of themes of the earlier films, stronger than a lot of low-rent examples of the same era and only really disappointing in contrast to the strengths of its parent franchise and it packs Kaplan’s Tina, a divisive character many believe to be one of the most annoying people to cross paths with Michael but is also kind of a fun diversion – and, hey, she dies so who’s complaining?
Blurbs-of-interest: Pleasence, Cornell, Harris and Starr had all returned from the previous film. Danielle Harris returned to the series as Annie Brackett in Rob Zombie’s re-imagining and its sequel and also played Tosh in Urban Legend, was in Blood Night, the Hatchet sequels, and ChromeSkull: Laid to Rest 2; Pleasence was in five of the first six Halloweens, Alone in the Dark and also Phenomena; Don Shanks was a stunt double for Santa in Silent Night, Deadly Night, appeared in Sweet Sixteen and was the psycho fisherman in I’ll Always Know What You Did Last Summer.