Eric D. Snider

Halloween 5

Movie Review

Halloween 5

by Eric D. Snider

Grade: C-

Released: October 13, 1989


Directed by:


(Reviewed in 2002 as part of a retrospective on the "Halloween" series.)

Donald Pleasence gets his name above the title in "Halloween 5." After turning in brilliant performances in such noteworthy films as "Halloween" and, um, "Halloween II," he finally got his due with "Halloween 5." Surely upon being told the news, he retired to his trailer and drank bourbon until he passed out.

(I don't know if Donald Pleasence was really an alcoholic or not. But looking at him, I can't imagine him being anything else. He face looks genetically predisposed to being pressed against a barroom floor.)

The posters for this movie called it "Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers," but the onscreen title is simply "Halloween 5," which is good, since Michael doesn't really get revenge on anybody in it. Kills some folks, sure, but they're mostly strangers, not people he had vendettas against. In fact, the two people he would have the most reason to kill -- Dr. Loomis and little Jamie -- are the two people he DOESN'T murder. "Halloween 5: The Failure of Michael Myers" would be more accurate, though admittedly not as appealing in a mass-marketing sense.

After an opening credit sequence featuring a pumpkin being carved -- an act the filmmakers seemed to think we would find scary -- and after a few minutes of clips from "Halloween 4," we are brought to the present day: Halloween Eve 1989. Even though Part 4 ended with Jamie -- the young niece of Michael Myers -- becoming evil and apparently the New Michael, now, a year later, she's just a disturbed child who can't talk (hooray!) and who's being kept in a home for creepy children. Why isn't Jamie evil after all? I dunno. Apparenly, Part 4 was only kidding about that.

She does have a psychic connection with Uncle Mike, though, and can tell when people are in danger of him. Also, a lot of townspeople THINK she's evil, and they throw rocks through her window with notes attached to them that say, "The evil child must die!" Just add that to the pile of terrible, terrible things that happen to this girl in the interest of traumatizing her beyond the point of humanity. I would not be surprised if both the character and the actress who played her later turned to a career in pornography. In fact, I would be disappointed if they didn't. (The actress, Danielle Harris, did go on to appear in "Urban Legends," which is sort of the same thing.)

Jamie's foster parents are out of town this weekend, but she's safe and warm at the creepy-children's hospital, under the disquieting care of half-melted Dr. Loomis (played by the aforementioned Mr. Pleasence). Loomis is pretty frustrated with the fact that Jamie can't talk and help him find Michael; how he knows Michael is even still alive is beyond me, since Michael died at the end of Part 4.

Michael is still alive, of course; he swam down a river and then stumbled into a shack belonging to an old man, whom he killed (but not before taking a nap). It is unclear when this takes place. We see him escaping the mine shaft he fell into at the end of Part 4, and we see him swimming down a river. Then he enters the shack and passes out, exhausted from the chase. This all happened moments after the events of Part 4, right? Right, except that then it's a year later and Jamie's in the hospital having psychic connections with Michael ... who is still in the shack, where no time seems to have elapsed. The shack exists in a wormhole, apparently, the Shack That Time Forgot.

Anyhoo, somehow Dr. Loomis figures out Michael must still be alive -- probably all the freaking out Jamie does clues him in -- and wants to catch him, and the police cooperate but are really, really stupid and do more harm than good, adding more weight to the argument that we shouldn't even HAVE police in this country.

Jamie's foster sister Rachel, left over from the last movie, gets killed before long by Michael Myers, who doesn't even bother hiding anymore. He pretty much just stands around where anyone could see him, often in broad daylight, and yet no one sees him. You'd think a town that had been victimized just a year earlier by a Halloween-themed serial killer would be more alert on the anniversary of it. You'd especially think Rachel would be on her toes and not in the shower all the time, considering she was one of Michael's primary targets last year. But who am I to judge? No one's ever tried to kill me with a knife. Maybe I'd pretend it never happened, too.

Anyway, Rachel gets killed, which is fine with me, but her replacement as heroine is her annoying '80s friend Tina, a bedenimed vixen with a loathsome boyfriend and an even loathsomer fashion sense. Because she is the most irritating person on the face of the earth, it is in keeping with the perverse sense of justice employed by these movies that she is destined to live until the movie is almost over.

Michael seems to have killing Jamie as his goal, but he is easily distracted from it. He comes upon a Halloween party attended by randy teens ("Friday the 13th" was on its Part 8 by now; the "Halloween" folks obviously had been watching and taking notes), where he decides he ought to kill all of them, all of them, I tell you! How he thinks this will help him kill Jamie, I don't know. Maybe he's just practicing. At any rate, a really blond couple, including a nearly bald teen-age boy, is having sex -- he with his pants on and not even unzipped, don't ask me how -- when Michael skewers them with a pitchfork. You like to see that happen. I do, anyway.

Loomis has it in his head that if Michael kills Jamie, his "rage" will be quieted, and he'll stop killing. So he uses the poor girl as bait, back at Michael's childhood home, which has grown into a Victorian mansion. The question is whether she is just bait to lure Michael there so they can kill him, or whether the insane Loomis actually plans to deliver her up to her murderous uncle. There are hints of good filmmaking in all that.

Another hint of quality comes with a mysterious dark figure who lurks around the movie and in the end busts Michael out of jail. It is merely a hint, though, as it is not resolved in this film, and it is patently unfair to introduce such major plot points solely for the purpose of setting up a sequel.

When all is said and done, it turns out that maybe, all Michael needs is to be loved. Or to kill people. It's very heartwarming, anyway. You'd be hard-pressed to call the movie "good," but it's less dull than Part 4.

Grade: C-

Rated R

1 hr., 36 min.

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This item has 10 comments

  1. Danielle Armstrong says:

    I dont know, Halloween 5 was ok, although it left me with a lot of questions. It also had so many bloopers that I could point out in almost every seen! But the way Jamie was scared and running away, that made me a little fustrated and mad because HELLO!!! when are you just going to stand up to him or at least stop him, instead of sitting around crying like a baby! But I was happy when she at least ended up trying, like in the seen when she sais "uncle". I dont know, I'd give it a 3-star movie. But it really could have been better!!!!!

  2. Danielle Armstrong says:

    My two favorate seens of all were the ones when Jamie, Billy, and Tina were getting chased by the car by Michael Myers, and the other seen when Jamie tries to hide in the laundry shoot from Michael Myers, those (to me) were probably the most interesting parts of the movie!

  3. Chris says:

    That review is mostly spot on, but I wouldn't say that the introduction of a dark, mysterious figure is a hint of good film-making. I'd say that it's a hint of desperation because the simple concept of a madman killing people was wearing thin by then, so they had to do something to keep the interest. Also, it's completely unoriginal - a six year old could think it up. Overall though, a funny read, which really does highlight just how ridiculous the film is. Why I still enjoy watching it is beyond me.

  4. michael Crosby says:

    I don't really care if the review is spot-on or not, its still pretty vicious. I mean, saying that Danielle Harris would end up doing porn? That's a little un-called for. Whatever you may think of the film, Harris is absolutely amazing as a child performer.And the fact that she is still making major motion pictures (or any motion pictures, for that matter) is a testament to her bravery, skills and intelligence. "Halloween 5" is by no means a good film (or even a good horror sequel), but to belittle everyone associated with it - calling Donald Pleasence a drunk - is to show complete ignorance for the filmmaking process. No one - from Spielberg all the way down to the sleaziest independent producer - sets out to make a bad film. People have to to go to work six days a week for weeks at a time, often enduring incredibly harsh conditions to get the film made. I thnk this reviewer;s harshest moment may have been running out of Cheetos or when Mom made him start paying rent.

  5. Jacob Dell says:

    This crtique in some parts is with all fairness to the worth of the film, but with great immaturity it maliciously criticizes the puissant performance of Danielle Harris who to this day is successful in her role as Jamie Lloyd and her work today.

    Halloween 5 gets three stars from me - a descent sequel for a slasher series that presents signs of an artistc director and cast.

  6. Olivia says:

    I'm confused, why can't jamie talk in halloween 5??

    I watched Hallloween 4, but i don't see why she can't talk.

  7. DebS. says:

    If a reveiwer calls any part of his website "Snide remarks" he isn't likely to not offend the easily offended. I thought his review was spot-on and funny. Olivia, I think Jamie can't talk because she's traumatized by events. The movie doesn't say it but in reality there are people who become mute as a result of psychological trauma.And I think Jamie was definetly psychologically traumitized.

    Halloween 5 goes into the "So Bad it's Good" category. But the scariest thing about it was how we all dressed in the 80's.

  8. Tom Stevenson says:

    In quotations of what Danielle harris is to have said about her role in Halloween 5, I doubt very much that she spelled the word SCENE as it is spelled throughout the above. SEEN is plural for SAW. Please allow us good grammar on the net.

  9. On the Subject of Good Grammar says:

    Tom Stevenson says:

    "SEEN is plural for SAW. Please allow us good grammar on the net."

    Actually Seen is the past particle for See, has nothing to do with plurals.

  10. Ray Crowe says:

    I agree that Halloween 5 is riddled with flaws and plotholes, but I love its European atmosphere created by the cinematography and score. It's also the only Halloween I saw in the theatre, so I believe it has some sentimental value for me and others who caught it on the big screen.

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