Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) [Mini Reviews]

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Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Screenplay: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman
Cast: Donald Pleasence (as Dr. Sam Loomis); Danielle Harris (as Jamie Lloyd); Ellie Cornell (as Rachel Carruthers); Don Shanks (as Michael Myers); Wendy Kaplan (as Tina Williams)
A Night of a Thousand Horror (Movies) #64

Around Part 5 is when you can see the cracks start to appear in the Halloween franchise. Some will have justified arguments that it practically broke here, but for me, as it follows Michael Myers again terrorising Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) again, there's still a great deal to like in the film before the wheels could've come off the wagon. There's still a solid slasher film here if you're willing suspend disbelief as its more supernatural content, as a mute Jame is living in a home for mentally disturbed children after the shock ending of Part 4 and has a psychic link now to Myers, brings a greater absurdity to the content. The idea of what was originally a realistic film about a killer with a knife becoming more and more supernatural - Season of the Witch (1982) notwithstanding - is exceptionally strange as this series of viewings have gone on, to think that to literalise the bogeyman the productions had to be this ultimately the real flaw of the sequels when, for fans, a metaphorical take of Myers as a psychological threat that Halloween H20 would go back to is more potent.

Thankfully this isn't Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993) where you need a relative of Jason Voorhees with a magical fantasy sword now to kill him, the psychic link a simple McGuffin to a vicious, ominous movie, one which manages to get away with a young girl being terrorised by an adult, even trying to run her over in a car at one point, and depicting it with teeth to it you don't find in any of the Myers related sequels so far in the series. Stylistically, this is still as memorable as Part 4, everything from night time onwards having a great atmosphere that adds tension, especially in prolonged sequences such as in an isolated barn at a Halloween party, fake jump scares actually succeeding throughout the film unlike others because the environments are swamped in shadow and slow building pace.

The aspects which will divide viewers are, ironically, the idiosyncratic traits unique to Part 5. The psychic subplot does feel very unexpected, fully immerging as some form of symbol of Jamie's relation to her uncle, taking an extreme with the idea of inheriting his bloodline, the horrible reputation of his crimes like a real life family of a murderer,  whilst giving an excuse for creepy POV shots. Everything involving a faceless man in iron toed heels, so evil he punts a small dog to the side, is a bizarre decision to try to sustain the series when you have hindsight; that after it finishes with shocking the viewer with mayhem and a jailhouse on fire, the sequel did so bad at the box office it took six years for the next film in the series, with another company, to be made, dampening this intentional rug pull. Then there's the most controversial aspect, Donald Pleasance's performance as Dr. Loomis as a man fully losing his mind and spending most of his time screaming at a young girl to help him like a madman. It's either an apt depiction of him breaking down, desperate to end Myers, or the biggest slice of bowl of ham acting you'll ever see.

Part 5 also starts to have utter stupidity in terms of creative decisions, traits that if the series didn't get unplugged for the next six years would've lead to utter disaster sooner. Mainly it's the soundtrack that betrays this film, somehow spitting out something as dreadful as the Romeo Romeo song, which appears in a transition scene for no reason, or the infamous comedy trumping sounds for the dumb cop duo. The entire thing with Myers suddenly having a Samhain tattoo on his wrist is also absurd, crow barring the cultist back-story where it doesn't belong. These are little defects which thankfully don't destroy the final film - this isn't a steaming piece of garbage - but certainly warnings of what could've happened. 

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