Friday, September 20, 2013

Movie Review: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (Crap and a 1/2)



     Like the connection between the original Halloween and Halloween II, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers picks up right where Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers ends (although it soon jumos ahead one year to the next Halloween) to continue the story with most of the same characters. Released in 1989, Halloween 5 is an incredibly disappointing sequel. Where Halloween 4 left us with one of the most shocking scenes in the entire franchise where a seemingly dead Michael Myers has seemingly transferred his evil powers to his niece, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Halloween 5 leaves us with the cinematic equivalent of a smashed pumpkin: it starts off with some promise, but quickly is dashed apart into a real mess. It's lacks the suspense of any of the previous films, dwells far too long on things of no interest, and really doesn't seem to have any real plot. It also has an ending that's completely unsatifying. There are films that end on a cliffhanger or a shocking scene and there are films that end with no resolution. Halloween 5 falls squarely into the latter category. Want to hear more reasons why it's so bad, along with a brief summary of a few decent elements? (Even a smashed pumpkin has seeds that you can toast and enjoy!) Then join me after the break...

     While the last movie left us with a pretty creepy plot development of Michael's curse and powers seemingly being transferred to Jamie (who stabs her mother with a pair of scissors in an eerie recreation of the murder of Judith Myers), here Jamie's in a children's clinic in Haddonfield and simply begins having visions of what the newly resuscitated Michael is doing. Is Michael trying to kill Jamie? Well, maybe, but he doesn't really seem to be too focused on that for most of the film. Instead, he just seems to be going around killing random teenagers in a part of town completely oppoiste from where Jamie's staying. I think the biggest problem with this movie is that I have no clue what is supposed to be happening. Michael Myers, like most good movie slashers, is typically a pretty focused guy. He doesn't need a complex plan; he's simply motivated and unwaivering. Here he seems like he's just happy carving up random teens. He spends most of the movie chasing Tina (Wendy Kaplan), a friend of Jamie's adoptive sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell), someone who seems to have no ties to Michael Myers at all.  It isn't until Jamie tracks him down herself and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) coaxes him into a trap that Michael seems to be doing anything with a focus. Loomis has definitely gone off the deep end in this movie, though, and probably should be forced into retirement. He shakes little kids while yelling at them, points his gun at random people, and uses Jamie as bait to catch Michael.
     The movie suffers from a lack of likable characters with any type of motivation. Pleasance's Loomis is typically the high point of the Halloween films and here he's still dedicated to tracking down Michael, but he's completely unbalanced and we're given no hint as to what exactly Loomis is trying to do. He rants about Jamie being able to assuage Michael's rage, but nothing ever comes of it. Kaplan's Tina really becomes the main character in the film, and I'm not sure how to feel about her. She's equal parts attractive, funny, and obnoxious, so you're always caught off balance by her, but not in a good way. There's also a subplot with a mysterious man in black that seems like it's going to pay off in someway, perhaps by explaining Michael's supernatural source of power that's tied to Halloween, but it never goes anywhere. I really feel that director Dominique Othenin-Girard either just didn't understand the Halloween series or was too pressed for time (as this movie was released less than a year after Halloween 4) as the film just isn't up to the quality of the previous installments. It often just gets flat out boring, especially in the middle of the movie where nearly everything just drags. It also has the most boring intro of all the first five films. Usually a Halloween intro starts playing that familiar John Carpenter tune alongside images that really get your blood pumping like pumpkins and old Halloween decorations. This one is just uninspired.
   Is there anything good about the movie? Yeah, there are a few decent things. There's a good scene where Michael Myers stalks Rachel through her house, a stupid but funny scene where Michael impersonates Tina's boyfriend by wearing a rubber mask and picks her up in her boyfriend's car, and a creepy scene at the end of the movie where Dr. Loomis tries to recreate the Judith Myer's murder in Michael's childhood home. Still, unless you're planing on watching through all of the Halloween films, just skip this one. It just doesn't live up anything that comes before it and really misses the Halloween vibe that permeates the first four films.

Confirmed: Crap and a 1/2

1 comment:

  1. Typical...just more of the same. People have been repeating the same lies about this movie for 3 decades now. This is actually FAR AND AWAY the closest of the sequels to the original, in terms of both style and substance. I have to wonder if some of you people have ever actually watched it. What made Myers what he was, back in 1978? He was, first, last, and always, the ultimate stalker. He seemed to be playing a game to whose rules only HE was privy. He was utterly enigmatic and cryptic....his motivations were completely inscrutable, assuming he HAD any...He'd watch someone for an hour, and then leave without molesting them. Or he might kill that person on the spot, without any delay. Remember Annie in the original, in that scene where she got stuck in the window when she was doing her laundry? He refused that kill, even though she was there for the taking...and then killed her, anyway, about 15 minutes later....ON HIS TERMS. This sporting, almost ARTISTIC, quality, was what set Myers apart...and ONLY Halloween 5, out of all the sequels, brought that motif to realization. Rachel, in her big, quiet, house..then Tina, waiting in the SAME place, moments later....As brilliant as this sequence was, it pales next to the barn scene...The barn sequence from Halloween 5 takes the whole 'cat and mouse' concept to the level of an art form....it's never been done better, and that INCLUDES in the original. The seasonal ambience is absolutely ideal..it has never felt more like the Harvest season in the Heartland...As for unlikeable characters...this is a series with Busty Rhymes and P.J. Soles in it...these characters do not stand out, either in a good or bad way...But the girls are the most beautiful in the entire series(ESPECIALLY Sami)...That trailer park triumvirate from the original couldn't get a job in Hollywood mopping floors today....Halloween 5, along with 2, is easily the pinnacle, as far as sequels go....Whether it be the cinematography, the score, the specific sequences, the rich autumnal ambience....it is unparalleled. As for Loomis, I think they made a conscious decision to make up for the anemic role that Halloween 4 offered the legendary hero. In 5, he was more angry, obsessive, and determined than ever...and it worked to PERFEECTION. His dominant role here was a direct and unmistakable rebuke to 4 for their mistake in lessening his screen time...One of the most powerful moments in the series, is when Loomis is on the porch, watching the police drive away, and turns to go inside...but pauses, turns, and says, "Now you'll come, won't you, Michael?' It would come down to Loomis and Michael...as it should have ALWAYS been. THIS is the film for people who love Halloween...THIS is the final realization of the original concept...Never again has the original triangular hunt-Myers stalking victims, and Loomis stalking HIM-been dealt with with such unabashed reverence. I have never seen a film of this caliber absorb so much absolutely absurd criticism.

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