Reviewing a Cult Franchise – Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

… Did they balls!

It’s such a shame. ‘Halloween V’ went so wrong in so many areas and the last movie was so promising. Don’t you worry, we’ll get into this but lets have a plot rundown.

It is revealed that Michael Myers (Don Shanks) survived the shooting that sent him plummeting down a mine-shaft. He was taken in by a good Samaritan and has been lying dormant for one year. But went Halloween rolls around again, Michael starts to stir. As for Jamie, she’s spent the last year in a childrens hospital. She suffered severe psychological trauma after attacking her foster mother and constantly suffers seizures. She also appears to have a telepathic link with Michael that could possibly have happened when she took his hand. They’re connected by blood so she’s susceptible… I think.

Given the end of the last movie, I think that the original plan was to have Jamie become Michael’s protege but that was fired out of the window without a care in the world.

I’ve seen a lot of documentaries about these movies and what happened after the sensation that was ‘Halloween IV’ was very interesting and worrying. The success of ‘Halloween IV’, ‘Halloween V’ was rushed into production without a finished script. That can easily be a deathblow to any film. The cast and the crew need a clear picture of what’s going on and who’s doing what. It may not be such an issue for the returning cast (Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr) because they already know their characters. But ‘Halloween V’ introduces a lot of new characters that aren’t up to much and get killed off so there’s no point in even knowing them. They fallen back into that dangerous trap of bringing in boring characters that don’t serve the plot just so they can get horribly murdered by Michael. There’s no point to the kills unless the audience cares about what’s happening. In fact, the only death that did suck was Rachel’s. Sadly, Rachel does die. From a character perspective, it could be because she escaped Michael last time and he’s just finishing what he started but from a story point of view, I think it’s so there will be no one coming to save Jamie and she will have to face Michael on her own.

Well, almost no one.

As ever, Donald Pleasence returns as the unstoppable Dr Loomis. At the start of the movie, he’s hanging around the hospital, trying to get some information out of Jamie as to Michael’s whereabouts. He knows exactly what Michael is and he knows that she’s linked to her uncle. When shit starts going sideways and Michael’s in full force, Dr Loomis sets up an elaborate trap to catch his former patient.

I’ve mentioned that there are too many characters but the one character with the biggest question mark hanging over her head is the character of Tina (Wendy Kaplan). She is a friend of Rachel’s and does care a lot about Jamie. When Rachel goes missing, Tina takes over the ‘big sister’ role. Tina cares for

Jamie so much that when Michael is about to go in for the kill, Tina jumps in the way and sacrifices herself so Jamie can get away. Here’s the kicker, there is absolutely no reason why the Tina character could have been taken out and Rachel could have been given more screen time and given a heroic send off. That would have been a more ‘satisfying’ (for want of a better word) exit for Rachel to keep the strong bond between the two sisters. But it was sadly not to be.

My main point of frustration is the aspect that was brought to this movie and the next. You know what I’m going to say. The curse of Thorn. What and why? It’s expanded on a little more in the next film but for now, all we’ve got is the mark of Thorn on Michael’s wrist and the wrist of the mysterious Man in Black. That’s pretty much all we get until the next film and believe me, I have my own opinions about that and I’ll have a good old rant in the next review.

The ending to ‘Halloween V’ is more confusing than the offside rule and wasn’t what I expected. Loomis knows that Michael is alive and will try to kill Jamie so he sets up a trap. He lures Michael back to the house, using Jamie as bait. Loomis traps Michael under a heavy chain, shoots him full of tranquilisers and beats him with a large piece of wood. As soon as Michael becomes unconscious, Loomis suffers a stroke.

Michael is taken to jail in chains and he will be taken to a maximum security prison where he will stay for the rest of his life. Just then, the Man in Black shows up and kills all the police officers, including Sheriff Meeker, and busts Michael out of jail. The last shot is Jamie looking at Michael’s empty cell. That is the last shot… What?

I don’t know. The majority of the content in this film is either deeply confusing or unnecessary. Director, Dominique Othenin-Girard did his best but this could have been so much better.

With a budget of $3 Million (and it shows), the film took in a meager $11.6 Million and was met with negative reviews.

I believe that this movie had so much potential if it was done right. Going in with an incomplete script was a bad idea and the potential for the main characters was wasted. Instead, the script did what all horror franchises do when they run out of ideas. Put in a load of boring and inconsequential characters that are subsequently killed off in increasingly gory ways. No more suspense, no more horror. Shame.

But still, there are plenty more disappointments to come.

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