One year after the shock ending of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, we learn that Michael is still alive and up to his old tricks. As October 31st rolls around once again, we see that Jamie (Danielle Harris, reprising her role from the last film) is doing some time in the mental ward of an Illinois children's hospital. None other than Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance again) is the man in charge of her treatment, though Jaime's step-sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell, also reprising her role from the last movie) and her friend Tina (Wendy Kaplan) help out where they can. Jamie hasn't uttered a single word to anyone since the events that finished up the last chapter in the series, so no one is aware that she's somehow developed a mental bond to her uncle Michael.
Having recently come out of a coma, Michael's intent on finishing what he tried to accomplish last time - killing Jamie. This time around, however, Michael has a plan: he's going to use Tina and Rachel as bait. Jamie knows that if she wants to save her step-sister and her friend she's going to have to leave the relative safety of the hospital where she's spent the last twelve months, though at the very least, she'll have Loomis on her side. That said, there's this mysterious stranger clad in black running around the area that seems to have some ties to all of the mayhem...
Halloween V: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is more than a little bit disjointed in terms of plot and continuity. It starts off focusing on Jamie's shattered psyche but soon loses that focus and throws that subplot away in favor of the 'mysterious stranger' aspect that doesn't really do the story any favors, though it does carry over to the sixth film in the series. When one of the key characters is murdered fairly early on in the storyline, Michael is left with nothing more than a stable of one dimensional characters to choose from and the film turns into a by the numbers stalk and slash picture, the kind we've seen time and time again.
Thankfully, there are a couple of aspects that alleviate what could have been a very painful experience for Halloween fans, the first of which is another good performance from Danielle Harris as Jamie. Once again, she does a good job with the material and turns in a surprisingly believable effort on her end. When her character is supposed to be afraid for her life, we believe that she is afraid for her life and when she's supposed to be showing concern for family members or friends, again, we believe her. She's just a solid actress and her presence here, even at a young age, goes a long way towards making this lesser entry watchable. Also helping things out immensely is 'the presence of Pleasance.' While Pleasance is older and his character is starting to show serious signs of insanity himself, Dr. Loomis turns out to be the best part of the film. Pleasance really goes for it this time around, chewing through the scenery in a pretty entertaining way and along with Harris, he winds up carrying the picture. Pleasance's acting and his character's literal obsession with Michael and the Myers family bloodline is one of the more interesting aspects of the production. Also worth noting are the kills scenes, which carry a reasonable amount of impact when you consider that most of the murder victims are little more than cardboard cut-out characters. When dealing with slasher film genre conventions, it's important to ensure that the kill scenes work and thankfully they do, highlighted by a fairly tense sequence involving a few teenagers and Myers in a barn.
Although it is one of the weakest films the Halloween series, Halloween V: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is worth seeing for fans of the series but as it deals heavily with the continuity from the fourth film, it's not the best starting point for those who may be new to the characters. It can be enjoyed as a quirky slasher film on its own merits but at this point in the series, it seems that the writers were starting to run low on ideas.The Blu-ray:
Anchor Bay presents Halloween V: The Revenge Of Michael Myers on Blu-ray in an AVC encoded 1.85.1 widescreen transfer that is quite sharp and colorful looking. Detail is improved over the DVD release as is color reproduction while shadow detail also seems a fair bit stronger. There aren't any obvious issues with compression artifacts or edge enhancement nor is there any obvious noise reduction. Film grain is present but outside of some minor specks here and there you won't see any serious print damage. Texture is impressive in the costumes that the various characters wear in the movie though, as it was with part 4, so too is it with part 5 - Pleasance's make up appliances look a little dicey here. Regardless, you can't fault an older modestly budgeted slasher film for looking like an older modestly budgeted slasher film in that regard, it's just par for the course. All in all, the movie looks quite good here, fans should be pleased.Sound:
The English language Dolby True HD 5.1 on Halloween 4 was weak but the track for Halloween 5 sounds much better. Bass isn't going to rock your roof off but it is definitely much stronger here than on the earlier film and the levels are more consistent and show better balance. A few good directional effects are noticeable while dialogue remains clean and clear for the most part. Is this a reference quality mix? No, this isn't demo material but is it a nice upgrade from the DVD? Absolutely. The score sounds good, some subtle directional effects help out a few scenes by adding to the tension they intend to create while the performers all remain perfectly audible. No problems here.Extras:
This Blu-ray release contains one exclusive new extra, a commentary track, this time featuring Don Shanks, the man who played Michael Myers in the film, moderated by author Justin Beahm. Shanks needs a bit of prodding here and there but Beahm keeps him fairly engaged as they talk about everything from the opening scene and the 'killing' of the pumpkins to what it was like working with Dominique Othenin-Girard to the co-stars he worked with and the murder set pieces and more. Shanks talks about having to exist in the shadows, being referred to as both Michael and as The Shape during the production, where various costumes may or may not have come from, and about the scene where you get to see Michael's eyes. It's a decent commentary, more interesting than you might think, as they talk about the occasional playfulness of Michael Myers and other things that you may not necessarily think about. This commentary is mislabeled on the packaging as a commentary with Director Dominique Othenin-Girard and Justin Beahm, but Othenin-Girard is not involved in the track. He is involved in the track carried over from the last DVD release, however, which pairs him up with Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman. This is a fairly active track and the three have a good vibe going here as they talk about what it was like on set, some of the ideas that come through in the picture and what it was like working together. This commentary is also mislabeled on the packaging, which states that it includes 'Actors Don Shanks, Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman.' Weird.
Also included here is the On The Set Of Halloween 5 (16:17) featurette, a rough, VHS sourced assemblage of footage that was shot on set during the production of the film. Beau Starr and Wendy Kaplan appear on camera and talk about their characters and about the movie. This was included in a shorter version on the last DVD release, though the version included on the Blu-ray runs about ten minutes longer. The film's theatrical trailer (a very short 0:36) and an additional promo spot (5:50 - a vintage spot made by Magnum Films to promote the movie before it hit theaters) are included here, we've seen them before, as are animated menus and chapter selection.
Not carried over from the last DVD release is the fifteen minute Inside Halloween 5 featurette and the intro from Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell.Final Thoughts:
Halloween V: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is not a high point in the series but it's entertaining enough if you go in with your expectations in check. Anchor Bay's presentation is a solid one, however, offering up a nice transfer and pretty good audio and while they didn't carry over every single extra feature from the last release, what they have included is good. This might not be an essential purchase for the casual movie buff but for Halloween diehards, it offers a nice upgrade and comes recommended.