Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard
Produced by Ramsey Thomas
Written by Michael Jacobs & Dominique Othenin-Girard and Shem Bitterman
Director of Photograpy Robert Draper
Music by Alan Howarth
Cast: Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr, Jeffrey Landman

1989/98 mins/Color/Dolby Digital 5.1
1.85:1 anamorphic/English/USA/NTSC Region 1

Review from the Anchor Bay Entertainment DVD

"The mask still doesn't look right."

Following the success of HALLOWEEN 4, Moustapha Akkad had HALLOWEEN 5 rushed into production. The film opened one year after HALLOWEEN 4 had premiered and was revealed to be a pretty bad movie and the worst movie of the series (until HALLOWEEN: THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS arrived). HALLOWEEN 5 has been re-released in a new special edition DVD by Anchor Bay.

(SPOILER WARNING: In order to describe HALLOWEEN 5, I must divulge the ending of HALLOWEEN 4. So, read with caution if you haven't seen HALLOWEEN 4.) HALLOWEEN 5 picks up a year after HALLOWEEN 5. Michael Myers had been shot multiple times and in the resulting melee, fell down a well. As the film opens, we see that an old man has nursed Michael back to health. Now that it's Halloween night again, Michael arises, kills the old man, and heads for Haddonfield. Meanwhile, young Jamie (Danielle Harris) is in a children's clinic. The events of the previous Halloween have left her mute and suffering from violent nightmares. However, she now appears to have a psychic link with Michael, and despite the fact that she can't speak, she tries to warn Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Jamie's stepsister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell), and her friend, Tina (Wendy Kaplan) try to comfort Jamie and promise to see her on Halloween night arrives.

As Halloween arrives, Tina plans to go to a party with her boyfriend, Mikey (Jonathan Chapin), and another couple, Samantha (Tamara Glynn) and Spitz (Matthew Walker). The party is being held on a farm, and Michael Myers follows the teens there. Meanwhile, Jamie gets her voice back and convinces her young friend, Billy (Jeffrey Landman), that they must get to the farm to stop Michael. In the mean time, Loomis has convinced Sheriff Meeker (Beau Starr) that Michael Myers is back and that a trap should be set for him. As the various characters try to avoid or catch Michael Myers, a mysterious man in black boots arrives in town.

Despite the fact that I've seen both a few times (don't ask me why), I sometimes get HALLOWEEN 4 & 5 confused. But, then I remember that HALLOWEEN 5 is the movie where Michael Myers drives a vintage Camaro for 1/4 of the film and I recall just how bad this movie is. While HALLOWEEN 4 wasn't a great movie but it at least tried to have some respectability, HALLOWEEN 5 borders on being garbage.

As usual, the problem comes down to the story. In according to find a "hook" for HALLOWEEN 6 (according to the commentary), a new subplot, the man in black, was added to the movie. Here's a tip: When you movie doesn't really have a plot, don't start adding subplots. Presumably, the man in black is meant to be intriguing and give the motivation to learn his identity. Instead it takes away from the film's main story (which is pretty paltry to begin with). And then we have mute Jamie. Is her inability to talk really a reaction to trauma or the result of the fact that the writers couldn't think of anything for her to say? The introduction of new teenaged characters only hurts the film and Tina (who looks like the singer from Quiet Riot) may be one of most annoying movie characters ever. And don't get me started on the comic relief cops who are accompanied by sound effects which would be ejected from a Warner Bros. cartoon.

At best, HALLOWEEN 5 is boring and contrived, but in its worst moments, the movie is incredibly stupid. Yes, we learned in HALLOWEEN that Michael Myers can drive a car, but that doesn't mean that we want to see him do it. This is a killer who is known for his slow, deliberate walk. Thus, it's truly idiotic that he spends a good portion of the film behind the wheel of a Camaro, using it not only as transportation, but a potential weapon. Is this supposed to be scary? (Spoiler warning) And then we have the film's nadir, when Michael Myers is in a jail cell still wearing his mask. Are you kidding me? Is this Arkham Asylum all of a sudden? A talented director would have done something like have Michael's face in shadows in the cell and then panned over to the mask in an evidence bag on a desk. (That's merely a suggestion.) But no, director Dominique Othenin-Girard gives us a notorious mass-murderer who is arrested and allowed to keep his mask on. That must have been one hell of a mugshot. (End spoiler)

The abysmal nature of HALLOWEEN 5 raises an important question for HALLOWEEN fandom. Are you a fan of HALLOWEEN as a piece of cinematic art, or are you a Michael Myers fan? I fall into the former category, as I think Carpenter's film is a masterpiece of style and minimalism, and while I find the sequels interesting, I think they're derivative. But, there are legions of fans out there who like the Michael Myers character and will watch him in anything. For one, I find HALLOWEEN 5 insulting to both groups as Myers stops being a stalker and becomes a killing machine not very dissimilar to Jason in the FRIDAY THE 13TH films. FRIDAY THE 13TH has long-since been called a copy of HALLOWEEN, but by the time HALLOWEEN 5 it was difficult to tell who was copying who.

HALLOWEEN 5 drives a Camaro onto DVD courtesy of Anchor Bay Entertainment. This newly released DVD replaces the previous DVD which came out in 1999. The new transfer is part of Anchor Bay's DiviMax series which is a high-definition transfer process. (Not to be confused with HD-DVD or BluRay). The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. As luck would have it, this awful movie looks fantastic here. The image is incredibly sharp and clear. There is no visible grain and no defects from the source material. The clarity of the image gives it a great amount of depth and the colors look great. I spotted some mild video noise, but otherwise the video is very good. The DVD carries a Dolby Digital 5.1 track which offers clear dialogue with no hissing or distortion. The music sounds fine. Stereo effects aren't as prominent as I would have hoped, but the occasional sound from the rear speakers is acceptable.

The DVD has a few extra features. An AUDIO COMMENTARY featuring director Dominique Othenin-Girard, and actors Danielle Harris & Jeffrey Landman can be found on the disc. This is a pretty good talk as Othenin-Girard and Landman have very good memories of the film's production and are able to share many anecdotes. Landman in particular does a nice job of pointing out (and often clarifying) questions that fans of the series have about the film. "On the set of HALLOWEEN 5" (7 minutes) is a very dated looking video which offers behind-the-scenes footage from the film's production. There are many shots of the director working with the actors and brief comments from Donald Pleasence, Beau Starr, and Wendy Kaplan. We get a fairly standard making-of featurette with "Inside HALLOWEEN 5" (15 minutes) which presents behind-the-scenes footage and new and archival comments from Don Shanks, Harris, Ellie Cornell, Moustapha Akkad, and Othenin-Girard. The final extra is the film's TRAILER (which is only 30-seconds and plays more like a TV spot), which is 16 x 9.

(It should also be noted that along with the new DVD releases of HALLOWEEN 4 and HALLOWEEN 5, Anchor Bay Entertainment has released a documentary entitled HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR. The main attraction here is the 90-minute documentary which examine the entire HALLOWEEN cycle, examining every film in depth. There are many clips (which is surprising considering the various rights holders to the films), some behind-the-scenes footage, and a slew of comments from cast and crew from every movie. The doc comes from the folks behind halloweenmovies.com and they've clearly done their homework. Even die-hard fans of the series may learn a thing or two here. The 2-disc set is loaded with many extras, most of which are simply footage from the 2003 "H25" Convention. The documentary contained in HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR is good and will satisfy most fans, but it's not the kind of thing that one would watch more than once. And the barrage of "H25" footage grows tiresome after a while and will appeal to those who want the feeling of being there.)





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Review by Mike Long. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©