Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) - Horror Film Review

It is that time of year again and as part of my Halloween plans I wanted to watch the rest of the Halloween films I had not yet reviewed. Previously of the originals I have done Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, I would have started with Halloween III: Season of the Witch but I wanted to lay in bed to watch a film and could not find my VHS copy of that one! Also as an aside this review was originally meant for Thursday but Blogger decided to delete the review I had planned to put up today.

Halloween 5 takes place exactly one year after the events of the fourth instalment. Believed dead after being shot to pieces, falling down a mine shaft and getting blown up (!) the psychotic Michael Myers has instead survived, spending a year being looked after by a hermit in the mountains. Myers niece Jamie (Danielle Harris) meanwhile now lives in a children's mental institution after her encounter with her uncle left her a mute and prone to psychotic episodes. She also seems to have picked up a psychic connection to him and so when he returns to Haddonfield once more she knows. With the manic Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence) again out to stop Myers will the killer succeed in his obsessive goal to kill Jaime?

By this point in a slasher series events have normally taken a turn for the crazy with a big drop in quality and a sharp rise in body count, Halloween 5 is no different. The Halloween series is my all time favourite and while I recognise this is not a quality film I still love it warts and all. My main complaint with this entry is just how dark it all is, previous entries had a build up to the horror but here it is pretty much non stop after the fifteen minute mark, all taking place in gloomy locations, I realise Myers is known as 'the shape' but it can be kind of hard to tell what is going on sometimes here. A lot of this has Myers playing hide and seek, appearing and disappearing as needed, though there are some quite humorous scenes when Jaime's step sisters best friend mistakes the killer for her boyfriend wearing a Halloween costume, made more funny that both her boyfriend and Myers share the same first name.

The plot is pretty bland and doesn't really go anywhere, the main story at least. Myers is on a quest to seemingly kill as many people as possible in as many different ways he can think of. There are around fifteen deaths here, quite a few off screen but we get to see him kill someone with a pair of scissors, a rake, a scythe, a pitchfork, and even finds time to hang someone out a window. As is the way with the Halloween series there is not much actual blood spilt but the practical effects are not bad. Myers himself again seems to be wearing a slightly different mask which doesn't seem to fit that well on his head. The killer has some decent scenes, including one where he actually sheds a tear! I did love that the supernatural elements hinted at in previous entries are again nodded at again; a strange tattoo on his wrist, and most notably a shadowy figure wearing steel toe caps whose feet we get to see wandering around various parts of Haddonfield, all add to the mythos that comes to a head in Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (and then promptly written out of canon). It makes sense to try and explain his apparent immortality, though to be fair not much actually happens to him here, the most damage done is by Loomis beating him up with a flimsy plank of wood at one point!

Harris does a fine job as Jaime, surprised making the film didn't traumatise her, yet it is Pleasence as Dr Loomis who steals the show again. His character gets more and more demented with each instalment, here he shows zero regard for any ones safety, and again spends much of his time in the completely wrong place before launching an ill thought out final plan. He does have the best lines though, the one that stuck out the most was; "I prayed that he would burn in Hell, but in my heart I knew Hell would not have him" which he says when explaining the events of the end of Halloween II. Dr Loomis really is the perfect adversary for Myers, both crazy in their own ways yet at opposite spectrums of insanity.

One thing the Halloween series never does wrong is the endings, here is no exception, leaving a huge amount of mystery, though lacking the gut punch of Halloween 4. This is not a great film by any stretches of the imagination, but if you are invested in the series then this is another fun entry, a slip in quality but solid regardless, and one I have watched many, many times.


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