Surprise! The knife is not yet blunt.
After the solid return to form in Dwight H. Little’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, things get really interesting in the darker and mythos expanding Halloween 5. Its critics condemn the fifth as brainless but, after watching the film on its blu-ray debut, one should save that description for the theatrical version of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers. Here, in the fifth film, one finds a solid attempt to reignite the story of Michael Myers and Jamie Lloyd with a psychic link and the mysterious man in black with steel tipped boots. In my youth, I always saw this as the beginning of the end for the series but, upon a new viewing, I see that I was wrong. Dead wrong. Oh, it's uneven to be sure but the new direction is inspired. Too bad the filmmakers never continued with the direction.
Writing as a fan of the original arch and Rob Zombie’s revamped vision of the series, Halloween 5 manages more than a few surprises in its rematch of Dr. Loomis vs Myers. In the fantastically claustrophobic laundry chute attack scene, a young Danielle Harris, returning as Jamie Lloyd, dangles her feet against the bloody steel of Michael Myers’ knife blade and tries to pull her poor little bruised body back up. It’s dangerous and fully realized by director Dominique Othenin-Girard who is to be commended for orchestrating some seriously fine POV shots into the Halloween fright.
After the shocking (and inspired) ending of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers which saw survivor Jamie (Harris) picking up a pair of scissors and stabbing her foster mom repeatedly, it is discovered that from merely touching the cursed hand of Myers a psychic link, rendering her mute with the ability to “see” her uncle, has been established between the two. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), knowing Myers is still out there and that Jamie can lure him in, lingers in the psych ward and waits for her to spill her guts on his whereabouts.
Dr. Loomis is tired of sounding alarms: he wants Myers dead; even if laws must be broken. Once again along for the ride is Jamie’s step-sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell) and, a newcomer to the series, her friend Tina (Wendy Kaplan). But Michael has plans of his own. Aided by a mysterious man in black, bonds are formed and bodies are burned as Dr. Loomis and the police force use Myers’ old home as bait for the Shape.
Let’s face it, Dr. Loomis is out of his mind and Pleasance takes every opportunity to chew some scenery as others look on. Pleasance is a still a joy to watch and brings enough anxiety and paranoia and cheese to the outing to make it worth viewing. Yet, again my hat is off to Danielle Harris. Every part of her young life is engaged here. She’s mute for most of the film which makes he job harder in selling the fear and, once again, she pulls it off with credibility. When her character shows fear for her life, we believe her. When she shows concern, again, we believe her. She's that good.
The kill scenes are a bit fresher this time out and one, showcasing how NOT to care for a classic muscle car, is actually very terrifying in its set-up. While most of Myers’ victims are worthless and undeserving of concern, their execution is solid and a bit sticky with gore and goo unlike the previous installment. It must be said that this visual style, punched up with a slight artistic angle, is strong throughout and makes even the establishing shots vocal. It’s part of the fun of this production.
Writer/director Dominique Othenin-Girard takes chances with Halloween 5 and even gets Jamie to convince Michael to show her his face (and he sheds a tear) before going in for the kill. Some fans might be turned off by the direction the series was going for before it came to a full stop with Halloween 6. It’s ambitious and, even when it doesn’t quite work, that’s a lot to be said for a series that continued to soldier on after the genre was passé.
MPAA Rating: R.
Runtime: 96 mins
Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Writer: Michael Jacobs & Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman
Cast: Donald Pleasance; Danielle Harris; Ellie Cornell; Matthew Walker
Tagline: Michael Lives, And This Time They're Ready!
Memorable Movie Quote: "Definitely not funny! Somebody could be dead right now!"
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release Date: October 13, 1989
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: August 21, 2012
Synopsis: It's one year later after the events of Halloween 4. Michael survives the shootings and on October 31st he returns with a vengeance.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - August 21, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Discs: BD-59 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo); Single disc (1 BD/DVD)
Playback: Locked to region A
Starz and Anchor Bay presents this AVC encoded 1.85.1 widescreen transfer of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers without much fanfare. The results, through, are stunning. Throughout the feature, images are sharp and colorful; greens are deep and blues are thick. There is much fine detail in the daylight and, also amped up, is shadow detail. Strong film grain registers throughout and adds a nice finessing of the image. Textures in facial features and clothing are strong as well. The English language Dolby True HD 5.1 is a more rocking affair than on Halloween 4 which is a good thing. Levels are high and deep throughout. It won’t blow your speakers but it’s a solid listening experience.
- There are two commentary tracks. The first features an interview with The Shape. While he needs much prodding from author Justin Beahm, Don Shanks, the man who played Michael Myers in the film, provides the commentary track. He discusses what it was like to work with the cast and crew and what his experience as Michael Myers was like. The second commentary features director Dominique Othenin-Girard, Danielle Harris, and Jeffrey Landman. This is a fairly active track. The three freely talk about what it was like on set, some of the ideas that come through in the picture and what it was like working together.
If vintage is your style, you might be a fan of the supplemental material here. Might. A very rough, VHS sourced assemblage of footage that was shot on set during the production of the film kicks things off. Featuring interviews with Beau Starr and Wendy Kaplan, it’s a grueling featurette to sit through and, unless you really care about minor characters, not very interesting. The film's theatrical trailer and an additional promo spot are included. Ho hum.
- On The Set Of ‘Halloween 5’ (16 min)
- Promo Spot (6 min)