Anchor Bay // 1989 // 97 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // October 11th, 2000
And this time they're ready!
Yet another in a long line of horror sequels, Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers was released only a year after its predecessor, Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers. Anchor Bay has gotten its hands on a bunch of the Halloween movies for DVD (John Carpenter's original Halloween, Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers), and now takes a "stab" at the fifth installment. And, of course, the burning question that I'm sure is on your mind...is this DVD a trick or a treat?
At the end of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, Michael is shot into a mineshaft and then blown up with dynamite by the local police squad. He's dead, dead, dead. Gone. He's toast! As in blow out the candles and slice the cake, end of story. However, smelling the tight, sweet scent of revenue, the producers that be decreed..."He lives."
So, we got Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. See, Michael didn't actually die...he got away, crawling through the mineshaft and making friends with a lonely old hermit (such blatant shades of the film Frankenstein, but I won't even go there). In his little underground home the hermit feeds Michael, patches him up and gets him on his feet. Michael returns the favor by twisting his head around on his neck like a dreidel.
Michael then goes in search of his niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris), to kill her because...well, because it moves the plot along. The film then becomes a series of stalk 'em 'n chalk-outline 'em scenarios. Along the way, we get to see the late, great Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) overact, babbling on about how Michael Myers is evil incarnate with "the blackest eyes...the devils eyes" and how he alone has stared into those eyes and seen "nothing but emptiness."
You know, I stared at this move for over an hour and a half and saw "nothing but emptiness," but you don't hear me complaining, do you, Donald?
Towards the end, Dr. Loomis finally has an idea that might end Michael Myers reign of terror forever. But will it cost them all their lives? And who is that strange "man in black" that is walking around the streets of Haddonfield? And do any of you out there really care? Well, apparently someone does, because they made two more Halloween films after this.
Make no mistake about it, Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers IS a sequel to a sequel to a sequel. And boy, does it ever show.
Listen, I like this kind of crap. If you read my reviews, you already know that. I liked Friday The 13th Part 2. I waited 2 hours in line to see Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare. I am a connoisseur of crap. But Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is really scrapping the bottom of the barrel for scares. I've seen more terror on a Ron Popiel infomercial than in this piece of yak dung.
However, let us give Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers the benefit of the doubt. Let's talk first about a few things that the movie does have going for it. It has the sparse John Carpenter music score (arranged by Alan Howorth) that is always nice to hear. Effectively creepy. It does have some decent scenes of horror, including an impaling with a pitchfork and a sickle. It does have end credits.
That about covers it.
Anchor Bay has released Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers in its original widescreen 1.85:1 format enhanced it for 16x9 TVs (or, as I like to call it, anamorphic). Anchor Bay has done a nice job of taking what was a cruddy looking VHS film and making it look new again. There was no grain or digital artifacting that I could detect, nor any bleeding of colors. Blacks were solid and the picture crystal clear. A nice job all around by Anchor Bay.
Audio is Dolby Digital Surround 5.1. The actors dialogue was well matched with the sound effects and music, none of them drowning out the other at most spots. There were a few times where I strained to hear some words from the characters, but it seemed that this was not so much an audio mix problem by Anchor Bay as it was from the original film. A decent and fine mix by the boys at Anchor Bay.
In the extras department, we are treated to a full frame theatrical trailer. Interesting, but overall a throwaway. The big extra for this disc is a 15-minute documentary "Inside Halloween 5," directed by Mark Cerulli (and if this is the biggest project he could book, he needs to sit down and have a looooong talk with his manager). "Inside Halloween 5" includes interviews with the cast and crew, including recent interviews with stars Danielle Harris (Jamie) and Ellie Cornell (Rachael), plus on-set interviews with French director Dominique Othenin-Girard and director of photography Robert Draper.
You can see by watching "Inside Halloween 5" that the director, cast and crew all had high hopes for this sequel. During an on-set interview from 1988, Dominique Othenin-Girard ponders that "We're very close to the formula and set-up of the original Halloween ." Hmm, hard to argue with that kind of thinking, but I'll give in my best shot later on in this review. Included at the end of "Inside Halloween 5" is a deleted scene that was cut from the original opening. However, it's someone with a video camera taping the scene being filmed, so there's nothing to get to get very excited about. It was interesting to see how some of the actors had changed (including Danielle Harris, who has turned into quite an attractive actress), but over all the interviewees seemed to be stretching quite a bit to talk about their characters in depth, as if there were some significant subtext we all missed while watching the film. I think that fans of the series will find "Inside Halloween 5" a fun look behind the scenes, but for the rest of us it's little bit of nothing.
Finally, on the back of the insert in the keep case are some liner notes about the history of Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, written by Michael Fisher. Not a clue who that is, but apparently he knew someone up high, because he's written a good 4 or 5 paragraphs about the film.
Okay, where do I start? This is not a great film. This is not even a decent film. After Halloween II this series went downhill, and fast. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch had absolutely nothing to do with the Michael Myers storyline, instead focusing on killer robots making Halloween masks that turned kids heads into Quaker Oatmeal. Halloween 4 : The Return Of Michael Myers was almost as abysmal as Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. However, I will say on Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers behalf, Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers is even worse than all of the sequels combined.
However, that is no excuse for this putrid little film. The script is mundane and a rehash of everything the previous sequels were. It has no defining characteristics of its own, just more dead teenagers and tired dialogue. The performances are all only average, with no one really standing out. Danielle Harris does a fine job as Jaime, as does Jeffrey Landman as Billy (her small love interest). However, they are nothing spectacular, with the fault lying in the script than with them. The rest of the teen cast is all fodder for the meat grinder. As a special warning, if you're waiting for the obligatory "breast" shot used in most slasher films, you'll not find it here.
Donald Pleasence once again parades around the sets, letting all in earshot know that he is the only one who can stop "The Evil." Pity poor Donald. Was this the best he could do at the end of his long and distinguished career? I will say that watching Pleasence is one of the only enjoyable things in the film. However, the script calls for him to pop up whenever it feels like it, whether or not it's even logical. In hospitals, school classrooms and parties, Loomis is everywhere. He's like an uninvited guest at a party that no one knows, and nobody wants to ask him to leave for fear that he's crazy (and Loomis is most certainly that).
I also have a little theory. Stay with me on this, it does go somewhere.
In the Bible there is the story of the Prodigal Son. He leaves his father in search of a wasteful empty life. But eventually he returns home to his father, back to the home he grew up in.
I'd like you to read this except from Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers spoken by Dr. Loomis to Michael Myers:
"Michael, it will destroy you too. One day, this rage which drives you. You think if you kill them all it will go away. It won't. You have to fight it in the place where it is strongest. Where it all began. If you want to get rid of this rage, go home Michael! Go home! Go to your house. I shall be there waiting for you."
Hmmmm. How interesting.
In a way, Dr. Loomis is like the father, and Michael the Prodigal son. Dr. Loomis is asking Michael to come home, back to where he grew up. Loomis says he shall be there waiting for him, just like the Prodigal Son's father. Maybe there can be redemption for Michael. Maybe Loomis can help his "son" once more.
Maybe Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers goes deeper than just a typical slasher movie.
Or, maybe not.
Hardcore fans of the Halloween series will need to get their hands on this new Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers DVD, seen for the first time in its original theatrical aspect ratio. With the few extras it has, the price tag of $29.99 -- $24.99 is not too high, but if you are looking for a good slasher sequel, look elsewhere. I can't really recommend this to anyone who is even a marginal fan (and I'm a big fan).
Guilty as charged. To be locked away for a good long time until it learns how to get itself a fresh plot and better dialogue (sitting in the same cell block alongside parts 3, 4, and 6). This movie should be ashamed of itself.
Review content copyright © 2000 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 97 Minutes
Release Year: 1989
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* "Inside Halloween 5" Documentary
* Production Notes
* Theatrical Trailer