Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

After successfully bringing back the Halloween franchise from the brink of obliteration due to the apparent demise of the main antagonist at the end of the second film, the screenwriters and filmmakers listened well to the fans that had been disappointed and brought back the masked killer everyone had come to know as Michael Myers.  His whited out mask with the crazy tuft of hair on top had become well known and had brought fear to all who’d seen the films.  It was a train that had been building up speed and power with the first two films and solidified itself even more after the 1988 sequel where the slasher icon was resurrected and was now back on the horror movie map.

The filmmakers of the 1988 follow-up productively solved the problem of Laurie Strode’s absence by having her death explained in exposition and introducing her daughter she left behind as the new target of Michael Myers.  But after that sequel, where do you go from there?

do remember seeing this film in the theater—as I was steadily going to see movies during the 80s as horror movies were big then and constantly being released during that decade—and had my reservations about it as it was playing out before my eyes.  Years later, as I’ve seen this movie countless times—being that it’s a staple of my October movie-watching experience—I’ve come to scrutinize it even more.

Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard, he was able to keep the feel of part four within the film, but the story, as a whole, seems a little forced and uneven.  Whether it’s because of his direction or the performances of the actors and actresses, I’m not sure.  But there definitely were some decisions on the tone of some of the scenes that are questionable.  I’ll get into that a little later.  First, let me synopsize.

The film takes place right after the events of part four, showing Michael Myers (Don Shanks) being able to get away as he’s injured and clinging to life.  An old blind man (Harper Roisman) takes him in and nurses him back to health over the course of a year.  When Halloween arrives, Michael awakens, kills the man, and continues his pursuit of Jamie (Danielle Harris), who is now mute and is a patient at the Haddonfield Children’s Clinic under the care of Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). 

Now, as this sequel continues with most of the cast of part four, featuring Jamie’s adopted sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell), I felt it was a return to what we saw in the previous movie.  But as the shift
changes to focus on the character of Tina (Wendy Kaplan), Rachel’s friend, I felt this was the downfall of the film.  Kaplan’s performance was so irritating and annoying…it made me cringe at times.  I used to wonder to myself, “Who’d be friends with that chick?”  She was so overly happy and joyful, being loud and obnoxious, it seemed a little unreal.  She established herself as someone I wanted Michael to kill off right away…especially when she chooses to go off and party after Jamie recovers from being mute, begging Wendy to stay with her! 

Another big mistake that the director made is incorporating too much comedy with the inclusion of the bumbling cop characters (Frank Como and David Ursin).  It was bad enough to show them as a couple of dumbasses, but they were given a sort of clownish music theme.  It’s as if the filmmakers thought, “Well, the audience might not know that they’re a couple of idiots so let’s make sure to hammer it home by giving them some cartoon melody complete with silly honking horns whenever they’re on screen.”  I didn’t think it was funny whatsoever.

All in all, the movie has some good moments, but one thing you’ll see is that you really don’t care about any of the characters Michael kills off.  Most of them you’ll want dead when you first see them, so you really can’t connect with them.  The filmmakers were too busy to give each individual within the movie clich├ęd characteristics that they didn’t realize how superficial they were going to turn out.

You can still enjoy this movie for the simple fact that Michael is still continuing his stalking and killing ways.  Really, there are no surprises that you’ll find here until the end of the movie.  It all starts with confusing glimpses of a man in black with no explanation as to who he is or why he arrives in Haddonfield and leaves you with even more confusion at the very end of the film.  Although we get sort of clarification in part six (a mere six years later), it’s a very contrived explanation that I’ll go over in that film’s review.

So, my final “bit” on Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers?

The last of the Halloween films within the decade of the 80s that doesn’t completely disappoint and actually has a few good scenes within it, I usually enjoy it during my annual October viewing and will continue to do so every year.  It’s not the best of the lot, but worth your time if you have the urge to watch a slasher film that correlates with the Halloween season.

Thanks for reading and have a Happy Halloween!

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