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Halloween 5 - Digital Entertainment Print E-mail
User Rating: / 4
Written by Ed Fir   
Friday, 11 January 2008

AKA: Halloween 5: Michael Myers' Revenge
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Directed by: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Written by: Shem Bitterman, Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard
Produced by: Ramsey Thomas
Cinematography by: Robert Draper
Editing by: Jerry Brady, Charles Tetoni
Music: Alan Howarth
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Matthew Walker, Danielle Harris, Wendy Kaplan, Beau Starr
Year: 1989
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 96 minutes

Video: PAL R2
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Distributor: Digital Entertainement

Halloween 4” was a remake of sorts, bringing the franchise back to the silver screen after a long absence. “Halloween 5”, which followed just one year later, was a continuation, rather than a unique standalone outing. It told the rest of the story of what went on in the lives of the main characters in “Halloween 4”. Much as “Halloween II” existed simply to carry on telling us what Myers did on that first fateful night, “Halloween 5” exists to extend “Halloween 4”, and to move into new territory.

Halloween 5” resurrects all the major characters from the previous film. This includes Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, Ellie Cornell as the half-sister Rachel Carruthers, and ten year old Danielle Harris playing Myers niece, Jamie Lloyd. Along with these characters, Beau Starr once again plays the police chief, though his role here is little more than a cameo.

Whereas “Halloween 4” was a film reestablishing the Myers characters along with the horror of Haddonfield, “Halloween 5” was not at all afraid of clearing out the dead wood and moving into new areas. This includes a truncated, but still interesting, friendship Myers manages with a remote backwoods man, and the arrival of the mysterious “man in black”.

I can’t get away from the fact that the climax of “Halloween 5”, in respect to everything else that occurs in the film itself, makes little sense. A character is introduced through vague shots, but nothing is known of him – yet he ends this film playing a major role and leaving a huge cliffhanger. This means that while “Halloween 4” and “Halloween 5” could be considered two sides of the same coin, the narrative itself is still inconclusive, and you need to see “Halloween 6” to get the entire story (a gosh darn trilogy!)

This might frustrate some fans, who like their films to open and conclude in neat 90 minute slots, and surely at the time there was some confusion. After all, “Halloween 6” was going to be a long time coming, and some of the themes established in “Halloween 5” and left hanging must have seemed strange in the extreme. In retrospect, the solutions did finally arrive, but it was not a comfortable wait, and probably accounts for the dislike some have for parts 4 and 5.  It should also be noted that this mixing of one film into another will likely further confound slasher/body count fans. It seems to make no sense to run a franchise like this, as though it were some kind of psycho soap opera. Oh well, such is the joy of “Halloween”.

The sub-title on this one is “The Revenge of Michael Myers”. This appears to refer to the opening third of this film that dismantles some of what we saw in “Halloween 4”, as Myers takes revenge on those who had thwarted him.

The bottom line is, “Halloween 5” spends its time concluding the story introduced in “Halloween 4”, and leading you toward “Halloween 6”. It spends a brief amount of time constructing its own story (that of Tina and her boyfriend) but it’s merely a placeholder until the “Halloween 6” storyline can be introduced.


Fifth in the “Halloween” series and the fourth to feature the character of Michael Myers. It is close to “Halloween” 1989 and Jamie (the heroine of H4) is in Haddonfield's Children's Hospital after attacking her step-mother the year previously.  She is being treated by Dr. Loomis with the aid of her step-sister Rachel and Rachel's friend Tina but she hasn't said a word since the attack but to her horror discovers that she has a mind-link to her murdering uncle, Michael who has spent the year recovering from his wounds in a coma and awakes to again go after Jamie. His plan is to lure Jamie out of the hospital by going after Tina (who is going to a Halloween party) and by murdering Rachel. Jamie knows that she must leave the hospital to save herself and with the aid of Dr. Loomis set out to defeat Michael on his own home ground - The Myers house...  (Source: IMDB)


Before going into the details of this film its worth noting a key difference between these films and those in the other major slasher franchise, “Friday the 13th”. While on the surface these films seem to be cut from pretty much the same cloth, it should be clear to anyone actually watching the series of films that this is not the case.

Halloween 5” sits on the cusp of telling us of the origins of Michael Myers. It’s a strange story to be true, though perhaps in these days of medical advance, not so outrageous as once might have been thought. However, “Halloween 5” is caught in a trap. It only has 90 minutes to tell its tale, but it has to conclude part 4, grab an identity for itself, and then lead us into the future. That’s quite some task for a slasher flick.

In contrast, “F13” movies tend to be about the kills, and how inventive they are. The movie starts, Jason wakes up, he kills a few people, he dies. It’s the Hammer Dracula formula all over again. “Halloween” shares some of these rules of engagement, but overlaying that is a rather complex story – “Halloween” very much wants to deal with why Myers is the way he is, and where he came from.  It might seem like a subtle change, but it affects the overall feel of these movies. It also might explain why some “F13” fans just can’t get into Myers – they thought they were simply getting more of the same, but without the back story, Myers doesn’t seem to work as a simple “killing machine”. Of course, it’s because he’s not a simple killing machine. He has an overall purpose, and has never been about killing random campers or visitors to girls bedrooms (although in a pinch, he’s not against obliging the blood hungry audience).

Never was this more true than of “Halloween 5”, which finds itself trapped between two films. Sure there are some new characters here, and we get to enjoy their brief visit with Mr. Myers, but it’s mainly about where we’ve been, and where we’re going, rather than where we are.

Still, I shouldn’t suggest that the film is perfect, or that the bridging concept is its only problem. The first issue that ought to be dealt with is the cop out regarding Jamie Lloyd. “Halloween 4” ends of a real corker, with the girl imitating Myers as a child, and stabbing her adopted mother in a bath tub. All good stuff – or was it as it seemed?

Veering away from the worst horror of all - another Myers type character – “Halloween 5” tells us that rather than kill the mother figure, Jamie just wounded her. Therefore, Jamie is not a killer at all, just someone who was possessed for a period of time. It’s a pity, because the act of this young girl attacking her parental figure is shocking in the extreme. By writing it off here, “Halloween 4”, in retrospect, loses a bit of its power.

I will also mention at this point that for once, the young girl in the film (aged 9 years cinematically, 10 in real life at the time) does an excellent job. This proves once and for all that the fault of kids that come across as annoying precocious runts lies at the feet of writers and Director’s, and not the kids themselves.  Never once did I hate to have this little girl play part of the story, which is unusual for me (yes, I was one of those praying for Newt to die in “Aliens”).

For better or worse, we also have the two bumbling cops from “Last House on the Left” to contend with.  Worry not, Myers makes sure they don’t return.  However, their loopy music and “wisecracking” does nothing for the film, and remains another weak point. Frankly, I was cheering Myers as he dispensed (off screen) of these two.

But there is good here too.  Personally, I really enjoyed “Halloween 5” starting by taking a page from the script of James Whales “Bride of Frankenstein”.  Myers, having fallen down a mineshaft at the conclusion of the last film, finds a way out, falls into a river, and is washed away. Struggling to shore he finds a shack, with a lonely old dude living inside.  Apparently without friends or contact with the outside world, the old guy takes Myers in and looks after him for a year.  Sadly, this scene is heavily truncated, but its fun nonetheless.

Of course, the old guy makes a fatal mistake; he keeps that damn mask on the bed post! One year after being taken in, the old dude gets his just reward for not helping rid the world of the evil monster, and takes a knife in the back. We’re now deep into traditional “Halloween” territory.

You want death scenes? Well, in this film we have a couple of knife stabbings, a stabbing with scissors, a three pronged garden tool to the head, the old chestnut of two murdered lovers (one with a pitch fork) in a barn, a scythe attack, an attempted vehicular homicide (yes, Myers is driving!), a head beating, stomach slashing, and finally a hanging. Not bad all things considered.

Another scene that is very effective actually breaks one of the rules of “Halloween”.  We all know that Myers wears that Kirk mask – but in one sequence he takes it off, replacing it with a mask of an old mans head.  We all know this is Myer’s, but others don’t. It proves, among other things, that the horror of Myers character certainly extends beyond the iconic mask itself.  Even without it, with a totally different face, he’s as intimidating as all hell.

Talking of hell, Pleasance has the best line in the movie when he utters, “I prayed he would burn in hell – but in my heart - I knew hell would not have him!” Now that’s bad ass. 

Of course, Myer’s isn’t all hate and hell – and for once, we get to see his human side. Near the conclusion of the film, he has Jamie bang to rights, all he has to do is stab her and he’s done. However, she calls him, “uncle”, and their family connection kicks in. For a brief moment, Myer’s becomes the man he could have been, if something dastardly hadn’t happened to him. Taking off his mask, the girl says, “You look just like me”. Further, we get to see Myer’s cry! Sure it’s only a single tear, and he doesn’t seem to like the feeling much, since it sends him into a rampage, but what the heck, it was a nice moment. Or hokey, take your pick.

I can’t end this review though without saying something about that strange “Man in Black”. Spattered throughout the film we catch sight of the mysterious man, who plays no part in the main events of “Halloween 5”, but instead comes fully to the fore in “Halloween 6”.

If you thought the “Halloween” franchise had gotten a bit strange, how’d you feel about genetics? How’d you feel about DNA samples, artificial insemination, and a cult breeding the ultimate evil? Well, like it or not, “Halloween” is going headlong into the strange and bizarre.

Don’t try figuring any of it out from “Halloween 5” though, and indeed, even after “Halloween 6” you might be left scratching your head a bit. Just think of this as a trilogy of films, with one story blending into another, with a conclusion modeled on the Frankenstein monster. Good intentions (or for that matter, bad intentions) can sometimes turn and bite you back. Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it – and no-one has yet figured out how to tame madness.


1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic Widescreen
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Dolby Digital 5.1
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Ray Crowe  - Halloween 5     | |2011-09-16 12:22:49
Great review, one of the best I've read for this one. I like Halloween 5's
European atmosphere, and the enigmas it never explains is something I actually
admire about it. Plus it's the only Halloween I saw in the theatre!
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