As if to confirm the pointlessness of these Halloween sequels, they were officially erased by last year’s direct follow-up to the original, and that sequel was inexplicably also called Halloween. Which means the complete Halloween canon now goes:
This is no great loss considering the quality of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (presumably meaning revenge against film critics), which was released less than a year after Halloween 4, and whose production was so rushed they didn’t even have a finished script. And it shows.
Michael Myers has been living with a hermit for a year (admittedly in a coma, it’s just funnier to imagine him as a housemate) before waking up just in time for Halloween and returning to Haddonfield to terrorise his niece Jamie (Danielle Harris), in the spirit of fellow Michaels like Jackson and Gove.
Meanwhile Jamie has developed a psychic connection with Michael from her hospital bed, where she’s receiving treatment for the trauma that left her mute (the best possible thing that could have happened to that character). This plot point rips off the equivalent Friday the 13th chapter but wisely avoids turning Jamie into a featureless husk like Tommy Jarvis (or any of the Friday the 13th characters for that matter).
The Revenge of Michael Myers improves slightly upon The Return of Michael Myers (though they’re basically as interchangeable as their titles) by giving us better kills (in that we actually see them) and a sequence in which Michael tries to run Jamie over, your enjoyment of which lasts only as long as it takes you to remember that cars traditionally go a lot faster than children. Since the murder of a child consistently proves too difficult a task for evil incarnate, Michael targets a tangential group of teenagers instead, including the irritating Tina (Wendy Kaplan).
In fact the only character who wouldn’t improve the film by becoming mute is Sam Loomis, the most irresponsible doctor since Ben Carson. Donald Pleasence gets more and more over the top in every instalment (and didn’t really have anywhere to go after the first one), reaching a fever pitch here in scenes where he shouts things like “Tears won’t get you anywhere!” at a traumatised 9-year-old girl.
Further proof that the script was unfinished involves a mysterious man in black whose presence is never explained because writer/director Dominique Othenin-Girard clearly hadn’t bothered to work out who he was beyond a deus ex machina. Othenin-Girard’s direction is generally drab and dull and dingy, and his inclusion of a pair of comic relief cops in homage to The Last House on the Left seems as misjudged as their inclusion in the Wes Craven movie.
All of which leads to a lacklustre climax where Michael removes his mask, and while it’s more effective than the many times we see Jason Voorhees’ face, it’s the final nail in the coffin of a horror icon. Michael Myers was once a terrifying monster doing William Shatner cosplay. Now it feels like the other way round.