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Movie Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (Galaxy International Releasing, 1989)
Directed by Dominque Othenin-Girard
Written by Girard, Michael Jacobs, and Shem Bitterman

Halloween 4 did enough business at the box office to put a rush on a sequel to come out for the following Halloween season. Much like Part II was to the original, this is a direct continuation of the events that occurred in Part IV.

It’s one year later, and after her attack on her foster mother, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) has been spending time at the Haddonfield’s children hospital. She is being treated by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and helped out by her foster sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell) and Rachel’s friend Tina (Wendy Kaplan), who was in one scene from the last film.

Michael, meanwhile, has been in another pesky coma and is being tended over by a homeless dude who lives by the river that Michael fell into at the end of Part IV. The guy is so nice to Michael he hasn’t even removed his mask for some reason. Michael conveniently wakes up when we get nearer to his favorite holiday and after killing his help, sets off to track Jamie down again.

Jamie has been having psychic episodes that would seem to link her mentally to Michael, which is about as far as the writers get in trying to touch on the cliffhanger from the last film. After Michael murders Rachel, Jamie has a screaming fit and makes Dr. Loomis aware that Michael is back in action.

In an attempt to lure Jamie out of the hospital, Michael tracks Tina to a Halloween party where there are plenty of drunk and horny young adults for him to kill. This eventually leads to a showdown at the Myers’ house, which is apparently now a gothic mansion, where Jamie and Loomis face off against Michael for hopefully the last time.

In another subplot there is a mysterious man seen around Haddonfield wearing steel-toed boots. Once Michael is finally caught, and instead of being killed gets put in prison, and once again gets to leave his mask on, the steel-toed boot man breaks him out. The breakout ended up being the mysterious cliffhanger that fans would have to wait six years and a studio change later to find out who he is and what he wants with Michael. But that will be in the next review, so as for the movie at hand…

Halloween 5 is not that bad of a slasher film, but it is so much like the last installment that in the end it seems rather pointless. Killing off Rachel so early on was a huge mistake since Cornell was actually damn good in her role in Part IV and no offense to the acting of Wendy Kaplan, but the character of Tina is pretty annoying to help carry the rest of the film.

Danielle Harris continues on with another courageous performance as does Donald Pleasance, but we saw the early stages in the last film of Loomis becoming a fairly routine character, and it only gets worse in this film. How Pleasance could keep such a straight face having to say garbage like “I prayed that he would burn in hell, but in my heart, I knew that hell would not have him,” is impressive in itself. However, that’s not even the most laughable piece of dialogue for poor Mr. Pleasance. At one point he confronts Michael, and utters this little gem of a monologue:

“Michael, it will destroy you too one day. Michael! This rage which drives you. You think if you kill them all it will go away? It won’t! You have to fight it in the place where it is strongest! WHERE IT ALL BEGAN! If you want to get rid of this rage, Michael, go home. GO HOME! Go to your house! I shall be there waiting for you! You will find HER waiting for you!”

Like in Part IV everyone is just trying way too hard to make this a deeper film than it would ever have any right to be. As a straight up slasher film this could have been a lot of fun, but to add all of this cryptic nonsense ruins any attempt for it to be anything worth watching.

Ideas like Jamie’s psychic connection are just lost later on, so why even bring them up in the first place. And while the mystery man that breaks Michael out of jail is kind of fun, it’s obviously an afterthought or just outright padding to a film that even at 96 minutes seems to run a little too long.

The series’ ability to get a good cast to play the teenage victims apparently ended with the last film because the kids here have paper thin personalities and are mere setups for the slaughterfest that will come later on. Dominique Othenin-Girard (Omen IV) has no identifiable style in his directing and is just copying the better filmmakers that have worked on the series before him.

Frankly, the whole thing is pretty boring and really hard to sit through. There are a few decent sequences: The killing of Rachel at the beginning of the film is handled fairly well, and there is a tense sequence with Jamie hiding in a ventilation duct. But overall, there is not much here to recommend. Audiences in 1989 must have felt the same. The box office take was barely over 11 million, which is the least amount grossed by any film in the series; even the much maligned Halloween III made more money. Maybe if a little more time was spent on the script and this wasn’t such a rushed production, something better could have been made. I guess we will never know. However, how it stands, this is one of the least interesting installments in the series.

Follows: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Next: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers


Sam Loomis

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