blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Halloween 5 (1989, Dominique Othenin-Girard)

What is it with Halloween sequels and hospitals? This time it’s Danielle Harris spending most of the movie in the hospital. Sure, it’s officially a children’s clinic and appears to be shot in a converted house, but it’s still a Halloween movie where the lead damsel in distress is in a hospital bed. The plot decision may be a nod to the original Halloween II; Harris is playing Jamie Lee Curtis’s kid (Curtis wouldn’t be back to the franchise for another nine years, of course), so there could be some kind of analog between the two films and experiences.

Only, no, because even if director Othenin-Girard could come up with such a device, he couldn’t shoot it. And even if he could somehow shoot it, cinematographer Robert Draper wouldn’t be able to light it. And even if they managed to pull it off, Alan Howarth’s music would crap it out. Because there’s nothing good about Halloween 5, at least not in the filmmaking itself.

Harris is not bad. She’s effective. Because she’s a little kid, who’s being stalked by a giant, unkillable spree killer. Plus, her adoptive parents have abandoned her in the clinic since Harris tried killing the mom at the end of the last movie. End of the previous film, she succeeded; this one opens with a slight retcon. Mom survived but didn’t come back. So instead, adoptive sister—they call her a step-sister, which is weird—Ellie Cornell visits her a bunch, bringing along her super-cool late eighties friend, Wendy Foxworth. They’re possibly in high school. It’s never clear.

They’ve got a third friend, Tamara Glynn, and they’re all going to party at Cornell’s since her parents are out of town for Halloween and, therefore, the only intelligent people in the movie. Get out of town when it’s time for a new Halloween.

Foxworth and Glynn aren’t important except as potential targets for killer Michael Myers (played here by Don Shanks; it’s hard to tell if he’s doing a good job because the mask looks terrible and ill-fitting). Glynn’s got a dipshit boyfriend (Matthew Walker) who’s going as Michael Myers for Halloween, Foxworth’s got a dipshit boyfriend (Jonathan Chapin) who’s got a muscle car and is also named Michael. You know, in case a large part of the second act is going to be Shanks impersonating Chapin after stealing his muscle car. And then chasing Harris through a Christmas tree farm. With the image flipped, so he’s driving on the wrong side of the car. Because Halloween 5 is thirty years old and no one ever thought to fix one of the film’s goofs in the countless home video releases.

Harris doesn’t have the worst support system. For example, at the clinic, she’s got a nice friend in Jeffrey Landman, and nurse Betty Carvalho is good to her. But Donald Pleasence is apparently her attending psychiatrist, and he physically abuses her to force her psychic connection to killer uncle Shanks.

Halloween 5’s that odd combination of shitty and wrong. It’s a bad movie where they make poor creative choices.

Pleasence is risible. Halloween 5 definitely did not help his acting legacy. None of the teenagers are good. Cornell’s the best, then Foxworth, then everyone else is worse. Troy Evans is in it for a bit, and he’s actually good, which is weird. And Beau Starr is okay. He’s able to muscle through the trash script better than any of the other adults.

There’s a weird Die Hard connection with Carvalho and David Ursin appearing in the film; they both had bit parts in Die Hard. The movie also wants to treat Shanks’s Michael Myers like the Frankenstein Monster, opening with an “homage” to Bride of Frankenstein, then what appears to be a nod to the old blind man trope, but more from Young Frankenstein than anything else. Especially when there’s a “roll in the hay” moment.

It seems more likely it’s a coincidence since a Young Frankenstein deep cut seems beyond Halloween 5.

The only way this movie makes sense is if it were some intricate tax dodge or money laundering scheme. But, as a feature film, the badness is simply inexplicable.

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