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Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers (1989)

Reviewer: Lance Vaughan


After a six year hiatus Michael Myers's return in HALLOWEEN 4 was met with resounding enthusiasm, naturally a new installment in the resurrected franchise was immediately green-lit. At this point the boogeyman was unstoppable and poised to retake his crown from current champ freddy krueger. Much of the surviving cast was reunited and it seemed Haddonfield's bad boy had nowhere to go but up. Enter French Director Dominigue Othenin-Girard whose calling card, 1989's NIGHT ANGEL should have been warning enough. Not everything is wrong with Halloween 5 but enough was wrong to put Michael back into slasher limbo for yet another six years.

From it's opening, 5 seems bound and determined to destroy any good faith created by it's predecessor. I can understand the dropping of the storyline that had Jamie murdering her step mom. (We are told by Loomis later that she did indeed stab her, though) What I can't understand is Michael's year long stint in a hobo's riverside shack. whether it's an homage to FRANKENSTEIN or just shabby writing I do not know, but I'd just as soon not know where Michael spends his time between Halloweens if this is what they come up with. Another grievous error is the early murder of Ellie Cornell's character Rachel who would have been great to have around for a couple more installments. What we're mostly talking about here is a blatant disregard to the earlier installments. Sure Loomis is back to spread the word to the nonbelievers but Michael's mask looks like crap, the Myers's house has expanded into a gothic mansion and suddenly we're not only dealing with psychic links but a mysterious man in black whose Identity was to be kept under-wraps for a frustratingly long time.

The Halloween films have a distinctly middle American feel to them regardless of where they are actually shot, and it seems to be entirely missing in this installment. You have to do more then tape up a bunch of paper pumpkins to get the tone right. I'm sure the director was trying to add something new to the series but the fact is the series didn't need it. In fact, the audience had just gotten it's beloved franchise back after the fiasco that was part 3 (I secretly love part 3) why mess around with it? To be fair Othenin- Girard was not completely inept, The laundry chute scene could probably hold it's own with any other set piece in the series. It's actually wonderfully edited and can still make me flinch a little. But one scene does not a film make and it's too little too late after the audience has had to spend an inordinate amount of time following dead Rachel's "wacky" (read: annoying) friend Tina about town.

On the other hand, Danielle Harris is pretty amazing. Rendered mute for an extensive amount of time, she does an incredible job emulating terror and frustration and pretty much carries the entire picture. In short , she makes Dakota Fanning look like an amateur. Running away from CGI aliens is easy, try being jostled about like a plastic dog toy by both Michael Myers AND a foaming at the mouth Donald Pleasance! Was this girl at least nominated for a Saturn award? Even though in my humble opinion this is an inferior film to 4, I have to admit that Danielle's performance is probably better in this film, considering all she was required to endure, and that includes keeping a straight face when uncle Mikey pulls off his mask to expose a tear.

All in all, the years have been kind to part 5, knowing that most of it's unwelcome additions didn't stick makes me feel a bit more forgiving. I actually do have a soft spot for it. Sure, it makes the indefensible decision to play circus clown music whenever the bumbling cops arrive and yes it may be the most sloppily overdubbed film in cinema history, but it's a Halloween movie and by-golly it was 1989 and all involved wore the clothes and listened to the crappy music to prove it. Who amongst us can really resist the sight of Michael trying to run down a couple pre-teens in a barely lit field at night? Did I mention the opening credits are really cool?, and that the barn yard kittens are cute?...Oh, who am I kidding? i can't get over the fact that after his arrest the cops let Michael keep his mask on! oh well at least Tyra Banks wasn't in it.



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