9. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard.
Starring Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan and Tamara Glynn.
Released less than a year after the previous Halloween – and rushed through post-production as shooting started just five months before release – Halloween 5 is almost impressive in its thorough badness, making even its limp predecessor feel spry and thoughtful by comparison.
After the customary “Previously on Halloween…” opening, the shock reveal is made that, of course, Michael Myers survived his fall down a mine-shaft, swimming off to spend a year convalescing with an old hermit in a cabin. Right.
Jamie Lloyd is back at least, and bless her, young Danielle Harris really is trying here, but her material is a total flatline. Infuriatingly walking back Halloween 4‘s daring ending by revealing that Jamie’s stepmother survived her presumed-fatal stabbing, Jamie instead gains an inexplicable psychic link to Michael that’s likely to inspire more giggles than intrigue.
It is a script rife with ill-advised creative decisions; killing off the appealing Rachel (Ellie Cornell) in the opening 20 minutes; introducing bumbling cop characters and annoying, horndog teens, all of who are just meat puppets for Myers; and throwing in a shadowy accomplice for Michael for “good” measure.
By the time Myers is chasing down Jamie in a car, teleporting around like magic, unmasking and crying, it’s clear the series now has virtually nothing in common with the 1978 original beyond the mask and Carpenter’s legendary theme.
In addition to Harris’ decent effort, Donald Pleasence is at least having some fun here. You can feel Loomis’ exasperation, and his desperate desire to end Michael feels like an unintentional meta-comment on the series itself at this point. While Pleasence’s Big Acting eventually gets a little too funny for its own good – especially when grabbing Jamie and screaming at Michael, “Come and get your little girl!” – he does seem to be the only actor acutely aware of just what he’s starring in.
In terms of suspense and gore there’s very little to write home about here. The kills are straight out of the Friday the 13th playbook, and Dominique Othenin-Girard’s deeply bad direction goes full, offputtingly camp with its zany dramatic zooms. The wildly overdone finale, meanwhile, tries to be all things to all fans and yet accomplishes nothing skilfully. And then the absurd sequel-baiting ending arrives, and fans are forced to consider if they ever wanted to see a Halloween movie that concluded in a hail of machine-gun fire.
It’s peak absurdity for the franchise, but Halloween 5 commits the far more egregious sin of also being rather dull.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★
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