(Release Date: October 13, 1989)
In actuality, "The Shape" is really doing the exact same crap he's done in every film (save the third one) over and over again. If Halloween 4 was a return to form that felt a little too derivative of Halloween, Halloween 5 is derivative of just about every slasher flick out there. You won't find anything new in Halloween 5, but fans of the Halloween series are sure to have fun watching it, if for no other reason than to see Michael Myers do what he does worst all over again!
We kick off the story right where the last one left off with a repeat of some of the final scenes from the last film (complete with George P. Wilbur's appearance as Michael), as we see him riddled with bullets, dropped down a mine shaft and blown up, all to save sweet little Jamie Lloyd Carruthers (Danielle Harris). But, as you might expect, Michael Myers was only MOSTLY dead. Instead of becoming worm food, the SHAPEly one (now played by Don Shanks) floats down the river and wanders into the hut of an old hermit (a la Bride of Frankenstein) who (for some reason) nurses him back to health... must be a Devil's Rain fan.
You can predict how Mikey-boy repays the man for his kindness.
Before long, the Haddonfield Hillbilly is back on the warpath looking for poor Jamie all over again and generally acting like a motherfucker to anybody who gets in his way.
How does Jamie feel about being back in her uncle's bad graces? Well, folks, she's speechless. Literally. She hasn't said a word since her psychic bond with Uncle Mike caused her to attack her step mother. For the past year she's been in a mental clinic under the kind protection of none other than Donald "There's Something About That Guy" Pleasence. Yep, Doctor Sam Loomis is back too, but this time he's over-acting like mad. Look, I realize the guy has been through a lot but Donald, dude... calm down.
You can guess what day we're approaching, seeing as how we're almost exactly one year past the events of the last film. Yep... Haddonfield's least favorite day, Halloween! So, what is one to do with an emotionally damaged child who was traumatized on Halloween by her psychotic and immortal uncle who killed the rest of her family on various Halloweens? Well, isn't it obvious? They put her in a Halloween Costume and enter her into a Costume Contest! I have to ask... what medical board passed Loomis, man?
Luckily, Jamie still has people who love her, like her little stuttering buddy Billy Hill (Jeffrey Landman) and her adoptive family, represented by Ellie Cornell's Rachel Carruthers and the hopelessly (and super-sexily) stuck in the '80's Wendy Kaplan's Tina Williams! Unluckily, they're both more interested in Halloween parties than in helping her through her traumas.
While the gore and scares are intact here, there's really very little soul. Many a major character is killed and the rest of the cast merely forgets that they existed without even a "Hmmm, that's peculiar" about their absence. Perhaps this is why Pleasence had to over-act here. He needed to fill the passion void from the other characters.
Michael Myers' singular mission to kill as many people as possible (especially family) is most definitely still present here, however this feels much less like a continuation of the themes set by creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill set out over a decade before and more like an excuse for the same expandingly elaborate means to kill teenagers at every opportunity. In short, this is primarily just another slasher flick, this time with a mighty fine pedigree.
The areas in which director Dominique Othenin-Girard (who co-wrote the screenplay with Shem Bitterman and Michael Jacobs) attempted to add to the story are still enigmatic to this day. This surrounds (primarily) the strange "Man In Black" (also played by Don Shanks). Further, at some point within the last eleven years, the old Myers Abode must've been fed steroids, because the quaint old residential homestead is gone in favor of what looks more like The Haunted Mansion from Disneyland! No wonder Loomis is so sure Michael will go back there... he's going to go for a ride with the Gracey clan!
Disneyland wouldn't be all that far off for these teenagers, actually. For all the blood and violence in this film, Othenin-Girard is almost prudishly careful about avoiding virtually any hint of nudity in this entire film. A behind-the-translucent-shower-curtain scene with Ellie Cornell (or, more likely, a body double) is the closest we get to any real nudity. Am I just being lecherous here? No. Well, yes, but... why is showing kids chased with cars, bashed in the brain and killed with a fork okay but the beauty of the most motherly of mother nature's creations still taboo??? I'm not kidding... even during the sex scene the nudity is nil. Ditto for the "Skinny Dipping" scene. The party-goers loudly declare that they are all going skinny dipping... and the camera doesn't follow them. I guess that's what they get for filming in Utah!
The basic repeat of other, more original slasher flicks, the clichÚ of the two bumbling cops (accompanied by the silliest music Alan Howarth could muster) and all manner of prudishness and plodding repetition prevent this one from being a great film. It's not a torturous experiment in gruelling boredom either, but you're better off going for the original Halloween or its first sequel. Still, it beats the packaging peanuts out of Halloween III!
Two Stars out of Five for the Entertaining, yet unoriginal Halloween 5! Michael still had one last "final" appearance in Halloween 666: The Curse of Michael Myers, then two more in Halloween H20 and Halloween Resurrection (depending on whether you consider those two to be the "Same" series). Give Michael Myers a chance to rest and he's really got it happening. In this case the "revenge" never quite happens (or, really, even gets hinted at) and Michael seems like he's just been dropped down a mine shaft... but hey, you gotta love the guy, right? Yep. Time may be different, but the horror greats are still the horror greats, no matter how much older you get (or how watered down THEY get). Stay tuned for more of THE SHAPE of things to come. Until then, I'll see you in the NEXT reel. Happy Halloween, folks!!!
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