“Halloween” Retrospective: HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989)

“Halloween” Retrospective: HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS (1989)

Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Starring: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan

“I prayed that he would burn in hell, but I knew that hell would not have him.”

Much like how Halloween II picked up with the ending of the first one, the fifth entry in the series picks up toward the end of the fourth film as we see Michael Myers being shot down a mine shaft. Despite Dr. Loomis (Pleasance) telling everyone he was dead, we should all know better than that. He slips out another exit of the shaft and floats down the creek.

One year passes for our characters; Jamie Lloyd (Harris) is now spending time in the Children’s Clinic in Haddonfield due to the incidence that occurred at the end of the fourth film. The psychological effects Michael (Shanks) has had on her had left her mute as well as possessing some sort of psychic connection to him. She has her bad days as she suffers from the continual nightmares, shakes, and sweats, but she does have her good days full of huge smiles. Her only way of communicating is by minimal sign language and leaving messages and drawings. Dr. Loomis has overseen her recovery and knows due to her recent attacks that Michael must be back.

This film also marks the first appearance of The Man in Black. He is a mysterious stranger that arrives in Haddonfield that has some connection to Myers. He has a symbol tattooed on his arm and heads to the old Myers house. Fans of the franchise will notice they use a completely different house that looks nothing like the Myers house used in previous films. The concept and introduction of The Man in Black is poorly executed here. He makes a brief appearance in the middle of the movie and then comes back at the very ending. There is no real thorough explanation or reason why he appears in this movie. It really makes no sense until you watch the sixth movie. What would have happened if that never got made? 

I criticized the second and fourth movies for having poor character development compared to the first movie. Maybe I should have considered myself lucky. We are introduced to more of Rachel’s (Cornell) friends including Tina (Kaplan) and some other truly obnoxious and annoying friends. Rachel is a smart character, so why is she friends with these idiots? You actually look forward and hope the Michael kills them off. Is that wrong of me to say?

Kudos to the make-up department for making Donald Pleasance burn make-up look far better than it did in the fourth movie. His character Dr. Loomis is getting more and more gruff and cranky with each movie. I actually think he gets a bit too rough with Jamie when he pleads for information out of her. He later goes so far as to use her as bait to trap him.

This is the only movie in the franchise that I have mixed feelings about. For being the fifth in a series, it really has some positive aspects to it. Don Shanks is one of the better actors to don the Myers mask and jumpsuit. The death scenes are getting far more gruesome and violent with each passing movie which makes it a bit more frightening at times. According Don Shanks in the audio commentary, the movie originally received an X-Rating due to the graphic nature of the kills. The stakes are higher for Dr. Loomis and Jamie which elevates the desperation and fear they each have of Michael. The camera work and over all film making is better here than in the fourth movie. My focus starts to veer and my patience wears thin with The Man in Black twist. They were probably trying to think of ways to continue the story or take it in a new direction, but they were not quite sure how to carry it out. The idea of a traumatized Jamie Lloyd in the hospital is all too reminiscent of Halloween II which feels like a cop out. You really need to watch 4 and 5 together, but 5 is the better movie. 

RATING: ** 1/2 (2.5 out of 5 stars)

My Ranking of the Franchise
1. HALLOWEEN (1978)
2. HALLOWEEN II (1981)

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