Halloween Marathon: 1989

I’m doing this because I haven’t seen them all and have a lot of work to do and need something to watch. It’s been about 20 odd years since I watched this original, so let’s delve back in…

Previously: 1978198119821988

Movie: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Released: 1989

Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard

Cast: Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glynn, Don Shanks

Plot: Having escaped the violent mob at the end of his second attack on Haddonfield, Michael returns the following Halloween in a second attempt to kill his niece Jamie.

Review: Well, this is terrible. The popularity of slasher characters like Freddy Krueger and Jason Voorhees in the 1980s led to renewed interest in Michael Myers, and his return for the fourth film was met with glee for a growing fanbase. Not wanting to miss this opportunity, producer Moustapha Akkad was quick to rush the follow-up into production for a release the next year. Sure, he met his release date, but at the cost of quality and basic story-telling.

Michael Myers (Shanks) escapes the vigilante group hunting him by crawling through a mine and floating down a river. Weakened, he winds up in a coma being cared for by a random old man for a year. Jamie (Harris) is mute and institutionalised, haunted by nightmares about her psychotic uncle. She’s still being watched over by her adopted sister Rachel (Cornell) and Rachel’s kooky friend Tina (Kaplan), while an increasingly unhinged Dr. Loomis (Pleasense) puts pressure on Jamie to find Michael for him.

Jamie’s nightmares (or something) causes Michael to reawaken and pursue his killing spree, and it doesn’t take long for the movie to begin unravelling. Although Loomis’ burn scar prosthetic is more realistic his characterisation is off-the-wall bananas. He’s supposed to be a rival to the killer but it’s hard to get behind him when he keeps screaming at a traumatised child and offering her up as bait. Jamie is rendered mute, and we’re left with some awkward scenes where she and her stuttering friend try to communicate with people. It’s an odd creative decision to make, given that it’s not necessary for the story to advance.

For the most part the movie is made up of scenes that are radically different in tone and follow no consistency. Rachel has gone from a capable and resourceful heroine to a numb-skulled airhead and is killed off early in the film, leaving “free-spirited” Tina and her shitty friends as our main characters. Michael Myers is now sporting some runic tattoo that doesn’t get explained, and there’s some shadowing man-in-black type getting up to something in the background. The story is that this character was introduced on the fly to patch up the plot-holes in the incomplete script, and at the end he seems to make off with both Michael and Jamie. I understand these elements reappear in future films, but right now it’s just confusing.

More perplexing that this is the two ‘whacky’ cop characters. They get introduced accompanied by clown sound effects, like horns and squeaks. They’re not especially funny, so it feels like they added this foley to try and boost the comedy, but if that is the intent than it failed miserably. It’s so out of place we couldn’t pay attention to anything they were saying.

The Revenge of Michael Myers does everything The Return of Michael Myers does over again, but worse. The mask looks cheaper, the performances lack consistency, the tone is all over the place and the story amounts to nothing. The only mild saving grace is another strong turn from Danielle Harris playing the young Jamie. A sequence when she’s hiding in a garbage chute is especially effective.

A few performers, including Harris and Pleasence, were reportedly unhappy with the change in direction from the previous ending, which set up Jamie to be the new killer, and we see their point. It could have been a fresh direction to take the series.

If there’s a point to hang up the overalls and kitchen knife on this series, this is likely to be it.

Rating: TWO out of TEN