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‘Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers’

By Richard Harrington
Washington Post Staff Writer
October 16, 1989

 


Director:
Dominique Othenin-Girard
Cast:
Donald Pleasence;
Ellie Cornell;
Danielle Harris;
Beau Starr
R
Under 17 restricted


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"Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" is a prime example of the principle of diminishing reruns. Indeed, we have already seen this story before, three times ("Halloween III" digressed), and with each retelling it gets more basic: Serial killer Myers, who cannot be killed, escapes, kills and kills, is killed and killed, until it's time for another sequel. Then he either dies (not really, of course), is captured (never for more than a year, long enough to shoot a film) or vanishes. In "5," he does the latter, in what is obviously a setup for "6," due in theaters for Halloween 1990 and involving a mysterious stranger who is either Michael Myers's long-lost twin or a new pledge to the Psychos R Us fraternity that includes Myers, Jason Vorhees and Freddie Krueger. In a field where dumb segues are the rule, this looks to be the dumbest yet.

Why do these films get made? Let us count the reasons: one dollar, two dollars, three dollars ... all the way to $200 million just for the "Halloweens" (lagging three sequels and $150 million behind the bloodier "Friday the 13th"). Unfortunately for the filmmakers, Halloween will never fall on Friday the 13th.

Five starts off with a lengthy quote from the end of "4," in which Myers first met his 9-year-old niece Jamie (Danielle Harris). In the family tradition, Jamie's now in a psychiatric hospital, suffering from bad dreams, premonitions and sloppy scriptwriting. She knows what Myers is up to, but has been rendered mute by her encounter with him in "4" and must rely on anguished twitching to express her horror and warn potential victims (usually too late). This is another nasty turn for child actors in the slasher genre; it's as if terrorizing teenagers is no longer enough. Harris is actually pretty good, but you wonder about her parents and agent.

Also back is Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, who is turning out to be as much of a psycho as Myers. Looking much the worse for wear after three "Halloweens," he's becoming more of an Unpleasance, rendering a flat two-note performance as the obsessive psychiatrist who has been tracking Myers since 1978. You may also wonder about his parents and agent.

Michael Myers is played by Donald L. Shanks, who spends the film behind an expressionless mask. Like Charles Bronson, he may make a career of it.

The "script" is, of course, simply a frame for the killings: 11 on screen, four off and a final sequence in which another eight victims of the Mysterious Stranger litter the floor of a police station. Director Dominique Othenin-Girard resorts to frenetic camera work several times, but most of "5" is like its predecessors: a lot of stalking and red herrings, the sort of psycho foreplay that ends in bloodshed. Maybe these films are subtle sex education tracts, since sex on Halloween inevitably leads to Michael Myers. At one point Dr. Loomis says, "You're afraid the whole thing might start over again." Actually, you can bet on it.

"Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers" is rated R and contains some coarse language, brief nudity and non-dietary slicing and dicing.

   
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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