The Past, Present and Future of Michael Myers: Halloween 5 (1989)

Halloween 5 is one of the most wasteful movies in the franchise.

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Following the events of Halloween 4, Michael Myers escapes from the mineshaft he fell in after having been gunned down by state troopers. He crawls out while one of the troopers tosses a stick of dynamite down the hole after him. Then Michael floats down a stream, only to drift ashore near an old man’s house. Not even a house, really — it pretty much looked like the burnt remains of a crack house or Jason Voorhees’s shack from Friday the 13th Part 2. Oh, and then he sleeps on this hermit’s floor for an entire year. Yeah, and that’s just the opening.

The financial success of 4 of course meant bringing Michael back again for Halloween 5, but this time under the questionable direction of Dominique Othenin-Girard; an involvement Debra Hill may have arranged when she introduced him to Moustapha Akkad. Moustapha championed Halloween 5’s production, just as its predecessor was still in its theatrical run. Production began in early May of 1989 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Danielle Harris returns as Jamie Lloyd, but not as a new killer. Ellie Cornell, Donald Pleasence and Beau Starr also returned.

When we’re reintroduced to Jamie, she’s in a children’s hospital a year later. She’s aware of her uncle’s existence, telepathically able to sense him. Well, at least for half the film. Unfortunately for her, and the audience, Jamie has become mute and her main source of communication is from the Billy character, whose interest in her is much more obvious than Tina’s boyfriend Michael’s hatred of her. (I believe he threw the rock through the window.) Rachel comes and visits her every so often, along with her friend Tina, played by Wendy Kaplan (Foxworth).

The adoptive parents are said to be camping. I hardly believe that, seeing as bitchy Darlene had a line in part 4 shortly before she and Richard left; saying that their little dinner that night was the difference between an expensive vacation somewhere and visiting their grandparents in Ohio. She’s too high-maintenance to go slumming it in the woods, and Richard doesn’t strike me as the type who’d know how to pitch a tent, much less where to buy one. Sorry, I digress.

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In a shocking twist, Rachel is killed off early on – not even in a fitting way. She didn’t even put up a fight. Tina, her friend Samantha and their boyfriends become Michael’s new targets. Maybe more annoying than some of these new characters, Alan Howarth insults the audience with an obnoxious circus cue when two dimwitted cops are introduced. What the hell are they even there for? Why would Ben Meeker ever allow two ignoramuses on the police force? Yeah, there was a massacre at the police station just a year prior, but that’s no excuse to hire just anyone. The rest of Alan Howarth’s score works as well as always, but I find that damned carny cue to be bothersome.

One of the problems with this film is,the characters are terribly undeveloped and used as one-dimensional flesh for Michael to cut away at – and quite unfortunate, too. I personally thought Tamara Glynn’s character Samantha had potential and Wendy Kaplan’s Tina Williams actually doesn’t annoy me the way she ostensibly annoys a lot of the fans. I feel as though the aforementioned actresses were, just like Danielle, Ellie and Donald, victims of horrible writing.

Many fans believe this would have been a better film if Jamie was a killer. The young actress had proven herself just in her performance in the previous film, having had a lot of emotionally and physically demanding stuff to do, so having her play evil – perhaps alongside uncle Michael – would have worked. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t have. Halloween 5 toys with that idea early on, but later quickly dismisses any potential to furthering the downward spiral of an innocent little girl.

Several cuts in this film don’t make sense; the scenery makes it feel as though Michael’s out killing in the Summer rather than on October 31st, and the overall story suffers because it strays too far from a Halloween movie. Even with the mask utilized in this film, this could pass as any horror film from any horror franchise.

There were a number of accidents reported from the set. Don Shanks (Michael Myers) was not only injured in a car crash when the director forgot to yell cut during, but he also got his nose broken by Donald Pleasence during a climatic scene. Wendy Kaplan was nearly run over by a Camaro. The film was even a workout for Danielle, who was chased by the Camaro, actually laid in a coffin and climbed around in a laundry shoot. The budget was estimated between $5 and $6 million, and it raked in nearly $12 million. Of course, this too would inevitably be followed up. After all, Moustapha had told Dominique to add a mysterious element to his picture, some sort of hook for Halloween 6.

The director’s commentary track on the DVD release is, to put it mildly, cring worthy and embarrassing. He was joined by Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman (Billy). Being that they were merely children while shooting the film, they’re naturally inquisitive about what’s going on and why this happens and that happens. The director could hardly answer their questions, even asking Jeffrey what his character’s name is. It’s noteworthy that not only did Dominique direct this film, he co-wrote it as well.

While it is by no means the worst movie I’ve ever watched, I just feel it was rushed. The mask was terrible, the cops were terrible, the Victorian-looking Myers’ house was not even slightly acceptable, and Beau Starr didn’t even get much of a death scene. If there’s one thing the director got right, is was the way he had Michael in the background, in the dark, in the shade; totally keeping Michael mysterious.

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