Halloween 5 (1989) aka Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Directed by: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Starring: Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Jeffrey Landman, Tamara Glynn, Jonathan Chapin, Matthew Walker, Wendy Foxworth, Betty Carvalho, Troy Evans, Frankie Como, David Ursin, Don Shanks
1/2 (out of 4)
Finally – the makeup sex.
Warning: Some spoilers ahead
The success of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers proved to Moustapha Akkad that audiences will only show up to a Halloween movie if it features boogeyman Michael Myers slashing folks. So he immediately cranked out Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, because, you know, it’s a friggin’ cash cow. As with most slasher sequels, not much time is really spent on good writing, characters, or direction, but I think in the end Halloween 5 could have been a lot worse. It certainly starts off pretty bad, stays bad through the middle section, but picks up a bit in the final act, with a highlight where Myers attacks his 9 year old niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) while she’s trapped inside a laundry chute. You might remember this film as the one that introduces the mysterious “man in black”, but I will remember it as the one that terrorizes a little girl for most of its running time. Danielle Harris, around 11 years old at the time, is traumatized so much in this movie she deserves multiple medals.
The last film saw Myers shot multiple times by police and then fallen down a mine shaft. Naturally he escapes, making it out to a stream where he drifts along to some hermit’s shelter somewhere. Exactly one year later, Myers (played by Don Shanks) awakens (from a coma?) and kills his benefactor, then makes his way back to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. What’s up with that hermit, anyway? He keeps a comatose body on a table in his cave for an entire year and doesn’t tell anybody? Were they roommates? Did Myers pay his half of the utilities on time? Anyway, Halloween 5 takes its cue from Friday the 13th and backtracks on its tease from the last movie that promised to turn little Jamie into the new Michael. We find out that her stepmother somehow survived her attack, and now poor Jamie, like Tommy Jarvis, resides in a mental home for kids. She can’t speak, but she has a psychic link to Uncle Mikey, so she goes into seizures every time Michael is about to kill somebody. We are reintroduced to Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell – don’t expect her to live long) and her goofy, annoying friends Tina (Wendy Foxworth) and Samantha (Tamara Glynn). They are there to be killed by Michael in a barn sequence that is much more laughable than suspenseful.
“Are you sure there’s nothing else? Anything… anything but Halloween 6…”
People do very stupid things in this movie. A girl showers alone with her front door open. She yells “I’ll be right there!” at a ringing phone (maybe it’s one of those sentient phones). People leave a costume party and walk into a darkened barn for no reason at all. Dr. Loomis (Pleasence) is now so unbalanced that he should be in a mental hospital himself, but somehow he’s free to walk in and out of the kids clinic so he can occasionally manhandle little Jamie into giving him information. Of course, local cops are incompetent and can’t shoot straight.
There are a few scenes worth watching. Tina’s boyfriend Mikey (Jonathan Chapin) is in love with his car, and Michael Myers takes a hand cultivator to the paint. Myers puts on another creepy mask and picks Tina up in the guy’s car (probably his one and only “date”). It’s interesting that while wearing the “creeper” mask he doesn’t kill the girl (he even stops so she can get cigarettes) and only gets in the killing mood when he puts the Shatner mask on. The final stalking sequence where he chases poor Jamie around in the old Myers house is fairly well done, and this is where Harris earned her paycheck. There’s hardly a scene where she’s not crying, screaming, throwing fits, or in some kind of pain. When she’s finally cornered in an attic, she cries “Uncle”, a nice little bit with a double meaning.
Danielle Harris tries to escape but the chute leads right into Rob Zombie’s Halloween.
Why Myers wants to kill family members is still never explained (in retrospect, that plot point should have been abandoned after Halloween II). Then there’s the unknown man-in-black, connected to Myers through the symbol of the Thorn curse, which is also never explained (until Part 6). His only job is to lurk in the shadows and perform a jail break at the end. I’m not as concerned with the man in black as I am with the fact that the quality of filmmaking has dropped considerably since the first Halloween (there’s even a noticeable drop from Part 4). Director Dominique Othenin-Girard and DP Robert Draper are just not capable of the style of Carpenter and Dean Cundey. Other than the costume party, events in Halloween 5 could have happened on any day of the year. And I don’t know what possessed Girard to give two bumbling cops their own goofy/cartoony theme music. As for Pleasence – well, this has been just a paycheck for him since Halloween II, but his over-the-top performance here is no longer haunting, merely comical. At least the film ends on a dark note. Halloween 5 is a good example of a franchise’s diminishing returns, but hey – at least it’s not Halloween Resurrection.
– Bill Gordon
Buy Halloween 5 on DVD
Buy Halloween 5 on Blu-Ray
The DVD edition of Halloween 5 comes from Anchor Bay and features an occasionally amusing but forgettable commentary by director Dominique Othenin-Girard and actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman. There’s on-the-set footage, a featurettte called Inside Halloween 5, trailers, and a cute brief introduction to the disc by Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell. The presentation is in anamorphic widescreen. The Blu-ray is similar but it also has a brand new commentary track with Actor Don Shanks and Author Justin Beahm.