Starring: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Wendy Foxworth, Don Shanks
“I prayed that he would burn in Hell, but in my heart I knew that Hell would not have him.” (Dr Sam Loomis, Halloween 5)
While Halloween 4 wasn’t the greatest slasher ever made, it did at least have a cracking ending that suggested the inevitable fifth film would take the series in a twisted new direction. This makes Halloween 5 all the more frustrating then, because not only is it a pile of pish but its predecessor had practically spelled out how it could have done it better.
(spoiler alert for Halloween 4 in the next paragraph, folks)
Halloween 4 ended with young Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) going a tad mental and stabbing her foster mother while dressed up in a clown outfit, much like young Michael Myers did at the start of the original Halloween. Many took this to mean that Jamie was going to follow in her uncle’s footsteps and continue his killing spree. Instead Halloween 5 decides that her foster mum survived and Jamie was sent to a children’s psychiatric hospital, where she recovered. Bottlers.
(spoilers end now, innit)
When we join Jamie at the start of Halloween 5, she’s been in a psychiatric hospital for the past year. The trauma of the events in the previous film have led to her losing her voice, but her foster sister and her friend Tina (the annoying Wendy Foxworth) visit her regularly to bring her gifts and the like. She’s also got a little friend, a fellow nine-year-old called Billy who’s clearly trying to get fired in even though she’s not much of a talker. Good man Billy, beggars can’t be choosers.
As expected following his rather unconvincing “death” at the end of the fourth film Michael Myers is alive and well, his body having floated down a river for a while until a loner found him and took care of him in his cabin for a year. When the next Halloween comes around though, Myers wakes up and batters his rescuer (that’s gratitude for you) and heads to Haddonfield once again to finally teach that bloody niece of his a lesson once and for all.
We saw a brief glimpse of Jamie’s psychic bond with Michael in the previous film where she started having visions of him as he was making his way back to Haddonfield, but this time her brain’s more or less locked into his so every time he kills someone on the way home she goes into a fit, convulsing and “screaming” (silently) until she’s calmed down. The doctors think they’re just random fits but Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasance), who’s back once again and is in full-on ham acting mode this time, isn’t having any of that pish. He knows Myers is on his way back so he concocts a plan to use Jamie as bait to finally catch and kill him once and for all. Good luck with that one, mate.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and without the knowledge that there was an even more ridiculous film on the way next I’d have said back when Halloween 5 was released that it’s clearly the low point of the series. A good slasher film generally has blood, brains (inventive deaths) and boobs (for the horny teens in the audience), and Halloween 5 more or less draws a blank in all three categories. Almost every death is bloodless and generic, and the one kill with even an ounce of originality (involving a pitchfork) had already been done before in a Friday The 13th film a couple of years prior. In fact, there isn’t much in Halloween 5 that hadn’t already been done (better) before.
By far the worst addition to Halloween 5 however is the bumbling cops who appear at times and act typically brainless. That’s not an exaggeration, they’re deliberately meant to be dumb cops, to the extent that dopey music plays when they appear complete with “boink” noises and slide whistles. I wish I was joking.
Also bemusing are the presence of a mysterious man in black who appears from time to time (and is involved in the horrible ending), and a similarly mysterious tattoo on Myers’ wrist. They aren’t explained until the sixth film, but it’s revealed in a documentary on the DVD that the screenwriter actually had no idea what they meant and they were going to try to make something up by the time the sixth film came around. Nice.
At a time when the Nightmare On Elm Street series was pushing the level of fantasy in its films and the Friday The 13th movies were coming up with ever grittier kills, the Halloween series was carefully trying to walk both lines (it wanted to be a jack-o-lantern of all trades, if you will). With Halloween 5 it fell flat on its arse, resulting in a film with fantastical elements that lacked the “fantastic”, and traditional kills that were less exciting than tradition dictated. Believe it or not, it was set to get even worse when the sixth film came around, but that’s for another time…
WHERE CAN I SEE IT?
Halloween 5 is available on DVD from Amazon but isn’t availble on Blu-ray. It isn’t available for streaming on LOVEFiLM or Netflix.