I take a lot of flak for it, but I'm one of the few who will admit to liking "Halloween IV" more than the original. Because of this, I was pretty excited when Anchor Bay finally announced "Halloween V", which I hadn't seen before, and that it was getting the limited edition treatment. Although it's certainly one of the weakest entries in the series, there are a couple of moments that make it worthwhile, such as the car-chase with only one car and the infamous laundry-room sequence.
Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), the niece of Michael Myers introduced in the previous installment, was rendered unable to speak after the shock she experienced seeing those close to her slaughtered. Some sort of psychic bond has formed between Jamie and her uncle, and the obsessed Dr. Loomis tries to exploit this bond to again hunt Michael and attempt to end his reign of terror. Although the film's tag-line and trailer give the impression that, at long last, Haddonfield is prepared for Michael's third jaunt through town (well, 'third' if you consider that the first two films took place on the same night), this doesn't turn out to be the case. A mysterious man-in-black (no, not Will Smith or Tommy Lee Jones...or is it?!?) joins in on the fun, and though it's never explained who or what he is, this fella leads into the completely unexpected ending that leads into the next sequel. I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying that Michael doesn't die. I mean, I'm sure you're all aware that there are two more sequels after this... Anyway, it's far from great (although with classic lines such as "Kitten! I hear you, but I do not see you!", how can anyone dislike it?), but "Halloween 5" is still a marginally-above-average slasher, and Danielle Harris proves again that, yes, there were talented child actors in horror before Haley Joel Osment.
Video: Both anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and full-frame versions are presented on "Halloween V". The widescreen version looks great during interior shots and daylight exteriors -- no annoying edge enhancement, grain, dust, or other flaws. The same can't be said for many of the night shots and a number of the darker interiors (such as when Loomis first enters the significantly-larger-than-before Myers' house), which tend to be a bit on the grainy side, and the ever-present smoke/fog doesn't compress well. Not having seen "Halloween V" previously, I can't compare it to previous video/Laserdisc releases, but I think it's a pretty safe bet that this is the best the film has ever looked outside of its original theatrical release. Although it's not perfect and the frequent graininess is a bit annoying, the quality of video is good enough to keep me satisfied.
Audio: "Halloween 5" offers Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Surround 2.0 tracks. The 5.1 track is about what would be expected from such a remix -- dialogue is mostly in the front, the score and atmospheric sounds envelop the soundscape, and occassional effects and sounds come from the rears. A couple of lines of dialogue sounded the tiniest bit distorted, but by and large, the 5.1 mix was effective. There's quite a bit of range, particularly in the low end, and the score sounds great.
Supplements: Aside from the widescreen non-anamorphic trailer (which vastly misrepresents how 'ready' Haddonfield was for Michael) and a brief introduction by Ellie Cornell (Rachel Carruthers) and Danielle before the movie starts, the only extra is a 15-minute long featurette. One of the better featurettes I've seen, "Inside Halloween 5" includes on-the-set footage and interviews, as well as new interviews with producer Moustapha Akkad, Don Shanks (Michael Myers), Ellie, and Danielle (who, wow, has grown up to be quite a looker). It's a little disappointing that none of the handful of deleted scenes mentioned in the interviews were included, and the one additional scene (actually home video footage) included in the featurette is very odd and really required some sort of explanation.
The limited edition tin also includes a 5x7 card (which presumably is identical to the insert on the regular release) and a 48-page booklet containing behind the scenes photos. Unlike the booklet in the "Evil Dead II" tin, which featured an article from Fangoria spread over its 48 pages, the "Halloween 5" booklet doesn't include any accompanying text. As a result, it's probably not something you'll find yourself looking at (I hesitate to say 'reading') on a regular basis. Additional notes, an article from Fango, or anything similar would've been welcome. The photos thankfully are of a much higher quality than the overly-compressed screen caps from the "Evil Dead II" booklet.
Memorable moments: Here are some parts you might find worth another look...
0:17:19 -- the zany cops, complete with Zany Cop Theme Song©, make their first appearance. There's nothing particularly interesting about the cops themselves, but their goofy theme is so bad that it always gets a laugh...
0:19:38 -- Rachel turns around, looks almost directly at Michael, and then continues getting dressed. Probably not the best idea.
0:42:48 -- Great dubbing, particularly during the "Nothing, Mike! That's what I get! Nothing!" line.
0:45:40 -- That many cop cars, twenty feet from Michael Myers, and no one noticed him in the car and no one noticed him leave? I guess all the good policemen in Haddonfield were killed in part IV.
Conclusion: The "Halloween"-obsessed have already bought this disc, so this review is probably meaningless to them (or should I say 'us'?). Casual fans may be disappointed, as of the five Michael Myers Halloween movies currently on DVD, "Halloween V" is by far the weakest (or the second weakest, if you're reading this after the release of the theatrical cut of "Halloween VI"). I found "Halloween V" pretty entertaining and definitely worth a purchase, but I have a feeling most casual slasher viewers will prefer "Halloween V" as a rental. Also, for those of you trying to decide between the tin and the regular release -- the tins seem to be a 'love it or hate it' type o' thing. I really like my two tins, and although they don't fit perfectly along with the rest of my collection, they look nice separated from my other discs and spice up the look of my home theater a bit. When I ordered the tin, the price difference between the regular release (the actual discs are no different) and the limited edition was under $3. I don't feel ripped off paying another $3 for a nice looking tin, but I wouldn't pay the retail difference of $10. Anyway, both the regular release and the limited edition are recommended as a purchase and highly recommended as a rental (particularly with "Halloween IV").