Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Dir. Dominique Othenin-Girard (1989)
Michael returns to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie, who is now living in an institution.
By the fourth movie in the series, things were definitely starting to head downhill a little for the Halloween franchise. The new-and-not-so-improved mask and the familial additions shoehorned into the plot threatened to bring down the entire franchise, but there was still hope. After all, the series sitll had Donald Pleasance and new cast member Danielle Harris, and there was promise that Moustapha Akkad's production company could put together a new film that would return to the series' former glory. Those hopes would soon be dashed, however, by the first film in the series that lacked the direction, figuratively and literally, of the previous films in the franchise.
New series director Dominique Othenin-Girard, a practically-unknown director who would later go on to direct the worst movie in the Omen franchise, was given the reins for Halloween 5, and while it's not an unwatchable movie, it definitely has its shortcomings. Michael's mask is, once again, a weird look, with a newly styled hair and a more plastic look that appeared more cartoony than scary. He's also given a brand new personality, one in which he can not only drive a car quite well but also obliges when the woman he is taking to a Halloween part (?) wants to stop for cigarettes. Michael's previous inhumanity goes completely out the window, as he continually makes decisions that imply he puts more thought into his actions instead of just wantonly killing all that he comes across. It's a weird choice for the series, especially given the ending that makes absolutely no sense within the context of the series (and is unfortunately leaned into quite a bit for the next film.)
There are still great things about the film, however. Harris is excellent, returning as Michael's niece Jamie Lloyd, and despite the film's baffling decision to kill the previous Final Girl Rachel (Ellie Cornell) in the opening sequence, new Final Girl Tina (Wendy Foxworth) does a pretty good job a Jamie's new protector. Well, she does a terrible job as a protector, but she does a good job in the role she's tasked with playing. The violence is good, and the actual stalk-and-kill of Rachel is handled particularly deftly by crew. There are just so many things that are out of place that all of the good struggles to overcome it, making The Revenge of Michael Myers the worst film of the series. So far.
The ending of the film is definitely the biggest wtf moment of the series so far. Michael gets arrested (?) after Dr. Loomis uses Jamie as a lure to catch Michael in a giant net (?) and tries to beat him to death with a 2x4 (???). Loomis, of course, has a heart attack and dies on top of Michael, because why not? In the police station, a man with a gun walks in and starts shooting every cop in sight, eventually breaking Michael out of jail so that a new movie can be made.
I will at this point remind you that, at the end of the last film, Michael had just been shot roughly one thousand times by the same police. He survived by somehow winding up in the river, floating away, and getting up and continuing his revenge tour. Why in the world the filmmakers felt that Michael would have to be rescued from prison, or that he would even be taken to prison in the first place, is beyond me. Yet here we are, and we're stuck with all of the consequences of these choices as the series continues with Halloween 6: Are We Sure We Still Care.
Who this movie is for: Halloween superfans, Series completionists, Mask designers
Bottom line: Halloween 5 has some serious issues, and it's a jumbled mess for a lot of the runtime. That said, there's still plenty of Michael, Harris is even better than she was in 4, and there's enough unhinged Loomis to make the hardcore Halloween fans (a group I am happy to belong to) happy. And, really, when you get five films into a series, that's all you really have to make happy. I will still die on the hill that even the worst Halloween movie is leagues better than most of the better installments of the other franchises. Regardless, 5 can be a rough watch if you're not a diehard.