Halloween 5 The Revenge Of Michael
Following the restoration of the iconic boogeyman, Michael Myers to the staple horror franchise ‘Halloween’ co creators and long time partners John Carpenter and Debra Hill got their horror series back on track. The exclusion of the William Shatner masked monstrous kill from the third installment of these films was not only a critical failure but more importantly, a dismal fox office flop. In the movie business bad ratings are par for the course especially in horror films past the trilogy milestone but when they require the application of red ink in the bottom line ledger it’s bad for the filmmakers. The illustrious and horrific duo stepped away from the production of the film reviewed here, ‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’ except for a ‘Characters created by’ credit. This is a common occurrence in the middle to later offerings of a horror franchise. bolstered by the financial success of the previous film, ‘Halloween 4’ the studio was so inclined to provide another budget, albeit the lesser amount of $3 million hedging their bets against another fiscal boon. This movie not only failed in critical response, as expected, but it fell far short of even recouping as fraction of its investment. I9t would take an additional seven years before the studios would once again permit the resurrection of the menacing Mr. Myers and eventually the franchise would be taken over and rebooted by another horror oriented filmmaker to carry the legendary killer into the new millennium. As it stands Anchor Bay has included this film in their re-releases for high definition treatment. Although the contents may not be the best examples of the franchise but at least it looks and sounds better than we have ever experienced it before.
Perhaps the baby boomer generation is more conducive to leniency regarding films of this sort. After all but h time many of these movies we were already in our thirties and starting to exhibit some inclination towards nostalgia for the horror films that cast are predisposition for the slasher genre. I, like many film buffs of my generation, began a lifelong love for films in the old neighborhood movie theaters and the dilapidated former places of cinema than came to be known collectively as grind house theaters. In establishments such as these the top popular films were not the typical film on the marquee. The financial existence of these theaters was the ‘B’ flicks, particularly in the sciences fiction, exportation or creature feature variety. The exploitative horror films were crudely made; quick and cheap, relying on the visceral shock value found in massive quantities of animal viscera, gallons of fake blood and a few young women devoid of any inclination towards modesty. The slasher films of the eighties were the direct descendants of these grind house horror films with a sizeable dollop of Saturday matinee creature feature blended in for good measure. As such we tend to view these late in the franchise offerings with a touch of reminiscence for the ‘B’ films we enjoyed in a much less complicated time of life.
If you look hard enough the film does have a story utilized mainly to provide a scaffold for what you really want to witness, gruesome, elaborate murders. As fans already know the original survivor girl from the first "Halloween film, Laurie, was in fact the sister of the deranged homicidal maniac, Michael Myers (Don Shanks). This makes the second generation scream queen introduced in the previous film, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), the niece of the iconic monster. True to the trope she represents Jamie managed to just barely survive her last encounter with her uncle. The encounter did render her psychologically mute and with an uncanny supernatural link to Uncle Mike. This places her in a particularly tenuous position of realizing what dastardly deeds her uncle was up to. The psychiatrist that has been involved with Michael’s career of terror, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), is aware of the connect Jamie has with Michael and tries unsuccessfully to warn the police. Meanwhile, Michael renews his habit of cutting a bloody swatch through the local teen population. What ensues is a lot of screaming, running and of course, a trail body parts and blood trails that would overwhelm and CSI technician.
As mentioned to previously it is not particularly necessary when applied to the slasher film. After all, you don’t watch this type of movie for an intricate story, plot twist or character development. You want to see death doled out in copious quantities with camera angles designed to bring the audience up close and personal. To this end the co-author and director, Dominique Othenin-Girard, does an acceptable job. This was a very early opus in her resume she would go on to a career of horror flick albeit on mostly in Germany. Her inexperience in the intricacies and demands of horror movies was evident. This was highlighted by the comparison to the previous films helmed by John Carpenter. He took years to master his signature style. To expect this director to live up to his standard is unrealistic. The result was a loss of pacing and a narrative that was slim to begin with is entirely lost. The gore is present but there is a feeling that is missing. In Carpenter’s film’s there was the sense of listening to a classic campfire ghost story told on a dark summer night. This is the one element of a horror film that has to be present; a connection to the stories that frightened us as children. You might want to consider this for a Halloween party with ample supply of beer and pizza at hand.