Blu-ray Review: Halloween 5 - The Revenge of Michael Myers / Cert: 18 / Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard / Screenplay: Dominique Othenin-Girard, Michael Jacobs, Shem Bitterman / Starring: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr / Release Date: Out Now
Hot on the heels of its financially lucrative predecessor, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is a mixed bag of squandered opportunities, excellent set pieces and a string of teenage characters that beg to be knifed, gouged, and mutilated in every conceivable manner.
Eager to jump on the bandwagon, director Dominique Othenin-Girard (After Darkness, Omen IV: The Awakening) rushed production and released this turkey in under a year to immediate worldwide scorn. Despite doubling its money on the opening weekend, Halloween 5 slipped from the charts and made a poor return on video sales. And it’s easy to see why. The original screenplay was significantly altered to create an odd, jumbled event which can’t begin to reach the greatness of Carpenter’s first two instalments.
We begin with stock footage of the end of Halloween 4. Michael is shot, dumped in a grave by the local police, then blown up for good measure. This - and it shouldn’t come as any surprise - doesn’t kill him and he escapes via a river, only to be found by a local hermit, credited as Mountain Man and played by the late Harper Roisman. Mountain Man inexplicably cares for Michael over the course of the next year, Michael having fallen into a coma for this entire time. No attempt to explain Mountain Man is ever made and after Michael wakes up and kills him (just before Halloween) it ceases to matter.
So far, so uninspired.
At the end of Halloween 4 we also saw little Jamie (Danielle Harris) taking up Michael’s mantle and killing her mother with a carving knife in the bathtub. The expectation being that little Jamie would then become the killer for Halloween 5, or at the very least a sidekick/apprentice. However, this wasn’t to be. The idea was at least briefly entertained before producers decided to play it safe and keep Michael as the big bad. Consequently, it’s revealed that little Jamie didn’t kill her mother. It was all just a bad dream - although she does hold a psychic connection with Michael.
Michael predictably bumps off the final girl of the last film, Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell) a standard trope for Jason Voorhees of Friday the 13th fame. He’s obviously been taking notes. He goes on to slaughter the sullen boyfriend and hunts down Rachel’s best friend, Wendy Kaplan (Wendy Foxworth). All part of Michael’s plan to lure little Jamie out of the children’s hospital, apparently.
Amidst the ensuing carnage we have plenty of unintentional laughs. Halloween 5 is very much of its time. Fashion and hair is in full ‘80s mode and a welcome blast from the past. This reviewer particularly liked the sullen boyfriend character with a single ear piecing to indicate his gritty on the edge rebel persona. Quaint by today’s standards.
The bumbling authority figures, Loomis aside, are played strictly for humour, and the teenage party scene was clearly written by somebody who has never been to one.
There are so many things wrong with Halloween 5 that it becomes fun in a really bad, guilty pleasure, kind of way. The plot meanders along with plenty of padding and subplots to bore even the most ardent of fans, but just when your hand hovers over the fast forward button, a gruesome death scene is thrown in and it’s business as usual.
Halloween 5 was originally released in 1989 around the end of the slasher craze where we were treated to the likes of Friday the 13th, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Nightmare on Elm Street. All three franchises having signed their death warrant the same year with the uninspired likes of Jason takes Manhattan, The Dreamchild and Leatherface. Halloween 5 fails somewhat spectacularly to offer anything new to the genre, instead falling back upon tried and tested formulas every step of the way. Small wonder then, it took six years before the next Halloween instalment reared its ugly head.
Still, it’s not all bad. No, really, it’s not. Donald Pleasance delivers a convincing performance as the increasingly harassed and seemingly indestructible Doctor Loomis. Danielle Harris can actually act: a rare treat for the franchise. Towards the end, Halloween 5 manages to deliver its one scary scene (hats off to Dominique Othenin-Girard for at least getting that right) with little Jamie hiding from Michael - the Shape - Myers in a laundry shoot while he tries various different ways of prising her out.
Almost from the start of Halloween 5 we are introduced to fairly repugnant characters, so it should come as no surprise that we want Michael to kill these annoying one-dimensional teenagers, in scenes that are as bloody as they are ridiculous. Demand it we say. After a while, it’s possible to sympathise with Michael’s need to kill bimbo after bimbo. We mean, who wouldn’t want to kill a self-obsessed, fashion conscious, neo-adolescent. Are we right, or are we right...
Well, perhaps not. If you’re a fan of the series, then the Blu-ray will complete your collection. Just don’t tell your mates. If you fancy a walk down memory lane to a simpler time when monsters were monsters and teenagers were killed in predictable but sufficiently gory ways, then this also is the film for you.
If not, then you probably want to pick up Rob Zombie’s reboot and forget this ever happened.