31 Days Of Horror: Halloween 5

We continue today with the next film in the Halloween series, Halloween 5 (1989).

Halloween 5 DVD
These DVD covers are not the most beautifully composed things in the world!

The film starts with a reprise of the last film’s ending, just like at the start of Halloween II.  We see how Michael escaped, ’cause obviously he escaped – he crawls underground into a river, nearly kills a hermit in a hut, then passes out.  We then get a ‘One Year Later’ caption and meet Jamie in the children’s hospital, still traumatised and mute a year after stabbing her mother.

Either Jamie’s nightmare (she’s very clearly mentally connected to Michael now) or the fact of it being Hallowe’en awakens Michael, and we see a strange symbol on his wrist.  He gets up and murders the hermit, and you have to wonder why the latter’s bothered to take care of an unconscious guy in a mask for a year without calling the authorities.

Dr Loomis has hung around for a year at the children’s hospital, obviously, but it’s still the case that the other staff don’t take him seriously and treat him as a crazy old man.

I’m not sure where Tina’s come from (she wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the previous film), but it’s nice to see that Rachel has friends now.  It’s also fun to hear some ’80s pop music (nothing you’d recognise – it’s all small local bands again!) while Rachel gets ready.  Unfortunately, she’s soon interrupted by a phone call from the hospital, as Jamie’s psychic ability is telling her that her sister’s in danger.

(The characters keep referring to the Carruthers family as Jamie’s ‘stepsister, stepmother’ etc., which isn’t accurate according to the last film – they were fostering her then and might presumably have adopted her by now.)

Rachel calls the police, and some comedy incompetent cops appear, accompanied by silly honky-tonk music.  I can’t stand this attempt at humour – it falls completely flat in the context of slasher horror.

The incompetent cops fail to find Michael in the house and tell Rachel it’s perfectly safe, meaning that she gets offed by Michael pretty quickly.  This is the first example we’ve seen of the interesting trope of ‘final girl from previous film gets killed early in next film’ – I’ll note this again in other films this month.

Tina shows up at Rachel’s house, and tells the frantically barking Max the dog that she’ll get him some water in a minute.  She fails to find Rachel, obviously, but her other friend Sam shows up, and so they both decide that Rachel must have gone out of town with her parents without telling anyone.  Annoyingly for the viewer, Tina never gets Max the water she promised, and her surmising about Rachel seems to be off – why would Rachel leave the dog tied up and alone for a whole weekend?  In general, both Tina and Sam come across as a bit thick.

Tina’s boyfriend Mike is a violent idiot, and I can’t wait for him to meet his namesake.

The other Michael arrives at the children’s clinic and chases Jamie through a deserted part of the building, but the editing is headache-inducing and you can’t see what’s going on.

A man in black (you never see his face, only his black steel-toed boots) shows up outside the drugstore where Brady and Kelly worked in the last film, having arrived in Haddonfield on the Greyhound bus.  He has the same symbol on his wrist that Michael does (a new tattoo trend?) and is clearly a bad guy, so I find it quite quaint that he used the bus!

Loomis goes to creep around the scary rundown Myers house, knowing Michael tends to return there when he’s on the loose.  The man in black has had the same idea!

As expected, Mike soon gets butchered by Michael, and we see the man in black watching as the wrong Michael picks up Tina for the evening in Mike’s car, wearing the mask she gave Mike instead of his usual whitefaced Shatner mask.  We don’t usually see Michael Myers attempting strategy like this (even if it’s not completely clear what his plan is) – I would have expected him just to dispatch Tina and head back to the children’s clinic.  In fact, what has he been doing away from the clinic all afternoon?  He nearly caught Jamie earlier, and it’s not like she’s under guard all the time.

Tina kisses the wrong Michael through the mask.  Ew!

I like the sequence with Jamie identifying the store where Tina is in danger, with help from her friend Billy.  ‘Cookie woman!’ she manages, and one of the cops immediately realises she means a poster on the wall of the store.  A rare example of Haddonfield police competence!

There are some odd inconsistencies with the ‘One Year Later’ caption mentioned earlier.  One year later (after the 1988-set Halloween 4) would set the film in 1989, the year of its release, but there are a few indications in the dialogue that it’s actually 1990 – Loomis talks about Hallowe’en 1978 as being twelve years ago, and Jamie is referred to as a nine-year-old girl, when she was seven in Halloween 4.  A possible indication is that Hallowe’en seems to fall on a weekend, as none of the teenage characters are in school – but as it fell on a Tuesday in 1989 and a Wednesday in 1990, that doesn’t help us!

At the party at the Tower Farm, we get some nonsense with teenagers playing pranks on cops, which is becoming a bit of a theme in the Halloween movies.  Tina, Sammy and Spitz all come across as annoying idiots, so I wasn’t exactly disappointed when Michael dispatched the latter two in the barn.

I quite like Billy and Jamie’s initiative in hunting down Tina by themselves.  Naturally, the incompetent cops from earlier don’t last long, and as the rest of the partygoers from Tower Farm have decided to go skinny-dipping elsewhere, the three of them are left alone with Michael, which results in an awesome sequence with Michael chasing down Jamie in a car through a wheat field (apparently she can run faster than a car!).

After Tina dies saving Jamie, Jamie agrees to Loomis’ dangerous plan.  The plan turns out to be to get Jamie to brush her hair in the bedroom in the Myers house, just like Judith Myers was doing when Michael killed her in 1963, and then fake an incident at the clinic so that Michael won’t be deterred by police presence.  The plan works, and Michael shows up as soon as the police cars leave.

Michael often attacks Loomis when he has the chance, but never actually kills him for some reason.  On this occasion, the injury is enough to put Loomis out of action for ten minutes or so, meaning that Michael can chase Jamie around the house, and we get the first of the Halloween laundry chute sequences, with Jamie hiding in the chute, which makes for a really tense sequence!

Michael has set up some kind of weird shrine upstairs with candles and a child’s coffin, similar to the gravestone he stole in the first film.  Jamie comes across the bodies of Rachel and Max here (poor Max!  I don’t know what Michael has against dogs), which makes for a good scare.

Jamie escapes downstairs and bumps into Loomis, who has come prepared with all sorts of gear for capturing Michael.  He throws a net over his ex-patient and beats him into submission, before collapsing himself.  Unusually, this actually works to subdue Michael, and the cops manage to take him into custody and put him in a cell!  Unfortunately, this is the point where the man in black shows up, kills all the cops in the station, and helps Michael escape.  We end with Jamie wandering alone and terrified through the destroyed police station.

This is another film where it’s not clear if Loomis is dead at the end, but as (spoiler alert) he shows up in the next film, I expect he’s been taken to hospital.

Halloween 6 coming tomorrow, where things will get really silly!

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