In 1978, John Carpenter made what is, in my opinion, the best film of all time. There isn’t a single film that rivals my love for HALLOWEEN. I’m also fond of the second film, though I’ve never been a fan of the sister/niece/nephew/you name it angles that the franchise decided to take throughout the years, beginning with the Laurie Strode revelation in Part 2. I’ve always thought that the simplicity of Michael breaking out of the hospital and going back home to stalk and kill a group of teens solely because Laurie decided to drop off the key at the house was a scary touch. The countless different attempts to explain Michael, add family members, and kill off characters that we loved always seemed to frustrate me. With that being said though, I do find the first five HALLOWEEN films very enjoyable. Are any of them as good as the first, not at all, but they are pretty fun to watch, so for this “Look back at” article, I thought I’d focus on where the franchise started to go off of the rails a bit. I’m talking about the sometimes scary, but mostly weird as hell HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS.
The last time we left the folks in Haddonfield, Michael had decided to wake up from a 10 year coma after being in the hospital explosion that he and Dr. Loomis were in at the end of HALLOWEEN 2, and decided to go back home to look for his newly introduced niece Jamie (played by the always great Danielle Harris). He pretty much took out tons of folks, this time with the strength of an ox (he threw a guy in the air and into power breakers, impaled Kathleen Kinmont with a shotgun, the list goes on and on), I mean wouldn’t someone who had been in a coma for 10 years be pretty weak still? This is a slasher film though, so naturally logic is not a pre-requisite for watching it. By the end of that film, a whole team of police pretty much mowed Michael down with about a million bullets, and threw a good amount of dynamite into a large whole that he had fallen in as a result of said bullets. Before he was blasted to hell though, Jamie walked up to him and grabbed his hand, which meant nothing until the very end of H4, when all was well…until Jamie put on a clown costume and decided to stab her foster mother. Of course, this made Dr. Loomis scream and run with his gun like every other HALLOWEEN film, and made us as viewers believe that the evil had been passed from Michael to Jamie. Not ideal, but that twist was actually a really interesting one and people began wondering if that was the angle that we’d get in HALLOWEEN 5. Well…it wasn’t.
THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS begins with the events of the fourth movie, but we now find out that right before the dynamite went off, Michael escaped through an opening in the hole he had fallen into, and decided to go drifting down the lake, ending up at an old man’s cabin. Michael tries to take the old man out, but is pretty fatigued and wounded from being shot A HUNDRED EFFING TIMES!! and falls down. We then skip ahead a year and find out that Michael and Jamie (who is now in a children’s hospital and can’t speak) are somewhat linked telepathically (she sees what he does at times..hey I didn’t come up with it). Michael wakes up and kills the old man who has taken care of him for a year, and heads back home (where else would he go?) to wreak some havoc.
After reintroducing a few characters from the previous film(s) (Loomis is back being crazy, and Jamie’s foster sister Rachel is still around), we then get introduced to what has got to be the most annoying character in the series: Tina. Holy moly this character is frustrating to watch. I can’t even spend more than a sentence focusing on her without my blood boiling so moving on, we then get one of the scariest and best scenes in the movie: Michael stalking Rachel. This scene plays out like it would have been in the original film. The mood, the music, it has all of the ingredients that made me love the first HALLOWEEN so much. I only wish the rest of the film would feel like this scene. What ALMOST kills the scene though, is that in the middle of it, Rachel runs outside and a couple of bumbling cops are introduced. Their performances, along with the three stooges-type music that accompanies them STILL makes me scratch my head and wonder “How did ANYONE think this was a good touch?”. Luckily though, it doesn’t last long, and Rachel goes back into the house and eventually meets her end via Michael and some scissors.
We spend a good amount of time from there on out going back and forth between Loomis begging Jamie to tell him what she knows about Michael, a random man dressed in black walking around, and Rachel’s friends getting ready for a Halloween party at a barn. If I were Rachel, I would have begged Michael to kill me sooner if I were friends with these kids. Yikes. I don’t remember being as annoying as these brats when I was younger. That’s what sets this entry apart from the first couple HALLOWEEN films. Aside from Loomis, Jamie (who spends most of the movie silent) and Rachel, who is obviously dead at this point, you don’t care about a single character in the film. The first HALLOWEEN had characters that you felt bad for when they died, the second one did as well. Hell, even I felt bad when Brady died in 4. In 5, you’re counting the minutes until these kids DO get taken care of.
Eventually they do get theirs, and Jamie bails out on the children’s hospital and goes after Tina, trying to save her. Michael gets to Tina, and Loomis saves Jamie, but then decides to tell Michael to meet him at the Myers’s house, “Where it all began”. This is where the movie goes into “huh?” territory, with the police force and Dr. Loomis using Jamie as bait to get Michael to come home. Obviously he takes the bait, and dispatches every cop at the house, and goes after Jamie, until Loomis attempts to reason with Michael, thinking that would do the trick. Michael tilts his head for a sec, ponders it, then says “nah” (he doesn’t really say that, but hey it’s my article) and gives good ‘ol Sam a slice before throwing him aside. We then get another one of the scariest scenes in the movie, in which Jamie tries to get away from Michael by climbing up a laundry chute. It’s a pretty intense scene, with Michael stabbing into the chute and nearly getting Jamie, there’s even a shot of her stepping on the knife as it stabs through. Rumor has it, in the original cut, Michael did get a stab in and got her in the leg but it was cut out (bummer).
Scenes like the laundry chute and Rachel’s death scenes are what make me so pissed at this movie at times. It has so much potential and there are quite a few interesting scenes (Don Shanks does a good job making Michael more like the original film in his performance), but there are so many parts of HALLOWEEN 5 that just don’t live up the scenes that happen before them. Whether it be the bumbling cops, the annoying teens, the telepathic link, or the effin ending to this movie. What ending, you ask? Let’s see:
As Michael is about to get to Jamie, Loomis pops up and saves her, but not before holding her in front of him telling Michael “here she is, come get her!” and using her for bait yet again. By this point in the series, Loomis is just as crazy as Michael is, it’s interesting. Michael walks towards Jamie, Loomis drops about a ton of chains on him, and then proceeds to beat the hell out of him with a 2×4 and has a heart attack because of it. Are they dead? Of course not. We then cut to Michael chilling out in a jail cell (wearing his mask still…yeah), Jamie gets taken out to a police car and everything is all good until the random man in black that we’ve been seeing periodically through the film decides to rush into the police station with a machine gun and shoot everyone. Jamie creeps into the police station and then sees that man in black has broken Michael out. The movie ends with her crying.
Even as a kid, I didn’t get this ending WHATSOEVER. It made no sense, and if you listen to the commentary on the recent bluray release, even Don Shanks who played Michael and the man in black, didn’t quite know where they were going with it. It’s obvious that with how successful HALLOWEEN 4 had been, that this one was rushed into production without really knowing which direction they wanted to go. It’s still an entertaining movie though, even with its plot holes and warts and all. Plus, it’s not half as insulting as the explanation that was given for it all in the sixth film. I’ve always said that HALLOWEEN 5 is a decent movie with good parts scattered here and there. Does it work as a whole, I don’t think so, but if you have watched the first four HALLOWEEN films to the point of exhaustion, then this one will do. While it’s far from perfect, it’s not as cringe-worthy as the three that followed. At least we didn’t get a CG mask in this one (I’m talking to you HALLOWEEN:H20), or worse yet, karate kicks from Busta Rhymes.