Movie Review – Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers

Halloween V: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Written by Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard, and Shem Bitterman
Directed by Dominique Othenin-Girard

So after leaving audiences hanging with a pretty great cliffhanger in Halloween IV, the producers decided to retcon it immediately and handwave it away as a dream. I wish I could say I was joking. Jamie Lloyd kills her foster mother in the final scene of Halloween IV, wearing a clown costume similar to her uncle’s. It was a daring, shocking frame to close the movie on, hinting at the hereditary nature of the evil within Michael. But then this movie opens by showing where Michael ended up after being riddled with bullets and proceeds to show that the whole foster mommy stabbing was a bad dream Jamie had. It was a clear sign we were bullshit territory.

Jamie (Danielle Harris) is now a mute one year after the events of Halloween IV. She’s in Haddonfield’s Children’s Clinic suffering nightmares about Myers when in actuality, they are visions. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) realizes she can see through Michael’s eyes and wants to use this to track the killer as he goes about another killing spree on Halloween night. Michael tracks down Rachel, Jamie’s older foster sister, and kills her in a baffling turn that then makes the teenage protagonist of the movie Tina, a friend of Rachel’s who suddenly has a close relationship with Jamie. Michael does his stabby-stabby thing again and ends up chasing after Jamie in the old Myers house. Eventually, the police capture Michael and he awaits transport to a state holding facility. But then a mysterious figure shows up and busts him out. To be continued.

This was an absolute bore to get through. I particularly hated how they pulled the teeth from the last film’s ending, which set up an interesting new twist for the franchise. Danielle Harris said in interviews years later she had thought she was going to get to be Michael’s sidekick in the next movie. Even Donald Pleasence argued with producers after reading the script that Jamie should have become another “all-evil” character like Michael. However, Pleasence was contractually obligated to keep making these movies, and he needed the money, so he went along with the production despite his big problems with the direction of the story.

There’s also a bizarre angle with the elements that made this the middle part of the Thorns trilogy. When Michael washes up on the banks of a river, he’s found by a hermit. However, in the original script, this was a young man who was some sort of cultist, aware of Michael. He performs a ritual that brings back Michael, who then kills the young man. This was changed to the current state of the movie, yet the series will continue to go with this cult angle. The mysterious man who arrives in town is an element that will come back in the Curse of Michael Myers. I think the producers had no idea who this guy was and what he meant for the franchise when they made this movie, though. They wanted some mystery element, so they put him in the film, thinking they would figure it out in the next movie.

It makes no sense that Rachel gets killed off so early in the film. Even the actress said she was looking forward to being in the sequel when she found out she exited the story within the first half-hour. She’s immediately replaced by Tina, a character Jamie doesn’t have the same bond with due to the previous film, but immediately is the person Jamie clings to. I don’t understand why they didn’t just keep Rachel around and just develop her character more. Tina’s friend group are completely obnoxious cliche slasher movie teens who we can’t wait to see Michael slaughter. Then we have the addition of two semi-bumbling cops who even have a cringe-inducing comedy theme accompanying them when they show up on the screen. So much about this movie just doesn’t make sense or is even coherent. 

Danielle Harris and Donald Pleasence are doing their damndest, almost in defiance of a shitty script, to try and salvage something from this movie. The final shot once again is a pretty good one, Jamie standing amid destruction and chaos with Michael on the loose again. Yet once again, the producers would scrap all the time invested in building up the Jamie Lloyd character. Six years later, we’d get the final installment in the Thorns Trilogy and see just how off the rails the Halloween franchise had gone.

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