Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Michael Lives, And This Time They’re Ready!

After Michael Myers fell into a mine shift which was then blown up by the police for good measure, Haddonfield thinks that it has seen the last of the killer. But they don’t realise that he managed to crawl out through another tunnel and ended up near a river. One year later on Halloween and, after fully recovering and resting, Michael heads back to Haddonfield to continue the quest to kill his niece.

 

After the negative (and undeserved) reaction that Halloween III: Season of the Witch got for not featuring Michael Myers, producer Moustapha Akkad brought him back for 1988′s Halloween VI: The Return of Michael Myers, one of the best sequels of the series and one which was a commercial success. Attempting to strike lightning twice in quick succession, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers was rushed out a year later. Featuring the same principal cast and being more-or-less a repetition of the same story, Akkad failed to recapture the same magic and squandered the good-will that bringing back Michael had gathered. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers isn’t the worst of the sequels, but it’s not far off.

Basically a feeble excuse for another cash cow based around one of horror’s most iconic characters, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers is one of the poorest of the sequels. It is content to recycle previous material from the series in a dull manner and also introduces new ideas which ultimately killed the series. For a start it decides to ignore the true ending of the previous film and opts to end it where Michael was ‘blown up’ in the mine, pretending that the scene with Jamie stepping into her uncle’s shoes was just a nightmare. Taking the true ending, which from reading other opinions seems to have gone down well with fans, could have opened the series up to new possibilities. But running with that was obviously the riskier choice and so this sequel just reverts to type, becoming a tired 80s slasher that aimlessly throws as much as it can at the screen in the hope that something will stick. It plays it safe, featuring a bunch of annoying teen characters who seem to have stumbled off the set of a Friday the 13th film.

To say that this sequel was non-descript is putting it lightly. Director Dominique Othenin-Girard has no visual style and doesn’t seem to have seen any of the previous films. There’s little suspense, tension or mood. Scares aren’t built up well and there are too many false scares (spot the ‘cat jumping out of the cupboard’ scare!). The pacing is also well off, with the middle section really dragging its heels as it tried to build up the new characters. Compared to the sleek pacing of the original, this one is almost dead-on-arrival. Michael rather weakly slashes his way across the town looking for Jamie, taking out the usual array of teenagers (and a couple of annoying ‘comic relief’ cops) in the process. Even the kills, likely to be the film’s only saving grace, mostly happen off-screen. They don’t need to be gory but at least let us see something….anything worthwhile!

Perhaps the most vilified addition to the series that this sequel makes is the whole notion that Michael is linked to some sort of cult. It’s an idea which may have sounded good on paper (on second thoughts, it doesn’t) but one which completely ruins and waters down the character. Being an unexplained force of evil was a far better angle for Michael to have, rather than being the henchman of the Thorn cult. Everything about his character being a pure force of unstoppable evil is suddenly washed away when it turns out that he’s simply been programmed to be that way by the cult to do their bidding. It’s an idea that the next sequel would unfortunately run with as well. There’s also the bizarre and unexplained telepathic link that Jamie develops with Michael. It comes from nowhere, provides a few convenient plot points whenever it needs to and then disappears. Don’t even get me started on the scene where Michael cries!

At least the returning cast make the best with the material. Danielle Harris still maintains her sweet innocence and vulnerability to give us someone to root for as little Jamie, even if she spends most of the film mute. Donald Pleasance is back as Dr Loomis, crazier than normal and looking very fragile it has to be said. He’s still the best thing about the later sequels but the introduction of the Thorn cult plot was just as damaging to this character as it was to Michael. Everything that Loomis stood for and the whole dynamic between him and Michael was thrown out of the window with this revelation and it gave him little purpose to go after Michael – he should have been going after the cult instead. Ellie Cornell also returns as Rachael but for some reason, the film sees fit to reduce the part her character plays and instead replaces her with Tina. Rachael was someone we empathized with in the previous film and to be fair, someone we cared for. We sat through her entire ordeal and it would have been easy for the script to keep her the main focus. But no, we get Tina. Whilst she’s not badly acted by Wendy Kaplan, she’s still the stereotypical 80s teenage fodder.

 

It’s blatantly obvious that this is a rush-job sequel and in his eagerness to milk audiences of their cash after the previous film was successful, Moustapha Akkad did irreparable damage to the series with the direction he was taking the central character of Michael Myers. Stripped of his enigmatic aurora, the character became just another 80s slasher. At least Freddy was firing off really bad one-liners and Jason was dispatching armies of teenage fodder in the most gruesome ways possible. Michael…..well he works for someone now. Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers has rightly been condemned as one of the worst of the series. It takes some beating but it’s a benchmark to which some of the follow-ups would try hard to lower.

 

 ★★★★☆☆☆☆☆☆ 

 

 

Related Movies

Post a comment