Franchise Expansion (or Implosion) is a column that looks at franchises that have new installments or releases forthcoming. In looking at a franchise, each entry in a franchise will be given a review and then be examined as part of the bigger franchise. (i.e., Was this sequel a worthy expansion of this franchise or was it an implosion of sorts?)
Most folks, myself included, go to certain movies around the holidays. However, my favorite holiday of Halloween did not gain a film that genuinely celebrated it until 1978’s Halloween. John Carpenter’s classic slasher flick is rightfully considered one of the best horror movies ever made. It gave us an icon of modern horror in Michael Myers. More than that though, it created a franchise that spanned 11 movies, 4 continuities, and 40 years With the upcoming 11th entry, Blumhouse’s Halloween, set to be released on October 19th, I’ll take a look back at the Halloween franchise. In doing so, I’ll trace precisely how one of the most convoluted movie franchises in history got to the already divisive entry and why we need it. In the latest column, I’ll be looking at the prime example of a rushed film, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers!
Oversaturation, it’s something that happens to every popular film genre. I know I might get called to the carpet for saying this, but I think oversaturation is occurring with comic book movies at the moment. Don’t get me wrong; I dig the golden age of the comic book based movie we’re currently living. It’s just that too much a good thing or at least, a particular genre can be exhausting. I mention this because the same kind of oversaturation also occurred in the Slasher subgenre that ruled the 1980s. However, by late in that decade, audiences were tiring of seeing charismatic killers cut through the box-office.
Still, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) was highly successful. It was clear that audiences craved seeing The Shape observe his favorite holiday. Thus, producer Moustapha Akkad was going harvest the Halloween franchise for all its worth. Later, Akkad would admit to being “Drunk with success,” over Halloween 4. Hence, why pre-production on Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) began immediately after its predecessor’s release.
There were problems from the start with Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. It seems as though there wasn’t much actual filmmaking involved. Instead, it just feels like the process of making this motion picture was a mad dash through a cornfield. The screenplay for this film is an amalgam of different ideas from several different writers. Such collaboration was not intentional, but instead is a result of a few unfinished Halloween 5 scripts. In fact, the movie in review went into production without a complete screenplay. Even so, a director was quickly hired for this picture; French filmmaker Dominique Othenin-Girard. After getting the gig (thanks to Debra Hill’s recommendation), Othenin-Girard did work on the film’s screenplay himself.
Picking up one year after its predecessor, Halloween 5 is a continuation of the same story. Uncle Michael Myers (Don Shanks) returns, yet again, to Haddonfield, Illinois with one thing on his mind. That is, finally finding and killing his young niece, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris). The young protagonist is at a disadvantage this time as she’s become mute due to trauma, and is under the care of a children’s hospital. She is also under the observation of (the world’s worst)child psychologist turned Van Helsing, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence). Yet again, Loomis must stop Michael from killing Jamie this Halloween.
Being a continuation of the previous film, Halloween 5 has many of the same issues that Halloween 4 does. However, the singular element that the film in review does have going for it, style. More to the point though, Othenin-Girard and cinematographer Robert Draper understand what a film in this particular franchise is supposed to look like. The cinematography of this entry at least attempts to bring back the visual mood and atmosphere of these series. In doing so, warm autumn colors of course utilized. On top of that, gothic imagery is added to the mix; which I found enhanced this picture. Unfortunately, though, style is all the movie in review has going for it; because there’s undoubtedly no substance here.
Otherwise, Halloween 5 amplifies all the problems of its predecessor and adds a few new ones. This movie is a boring slog of a picture. Worse yet, no longer are there likable characters to pull you through it. Nope, not one single appealing character. Danielle Harris, while still talented is given nothing to do here. Meanwhile, Donald Pleasence seemingly screams every line and plays Loomis like a man who’s completely lost his damn mind; not in a fun way either. Of course, it’s hard to take any of these seriously when Michael Myers looks like he bought his mask at a dime store.
Then there are the new characters, all of whom are teenagers of course. Every one of these teens is deplorable. As with the last entry, Halloween 5 once again asks us to identify with the killer. And still, that’s a mistake, as that’s not how this series is supposed to work. Instead, this sequel feels more like a Friday the 13th flick than anything else. A sluggish, uninspired, bad, Friday the 13th film.
Halloween 5 is hands-down, one of the worst movies in this franchise. Sure, Akkad achieved his goal of getting this movie into theaters in less than a year. But at what cost? I said last time that Halloween 4 is worth watching if you’re at home with the flu. Well, Halloween 5 is only worth watching if you’re hospitalized. Style’s not enough to save this sequel; which is the lowest grossing in the franchise. Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers is a tedious, terrible Franchise Implosion!
I’m Beginning to Question If This Franchise Can Be Saved. Join Me When I Review The Next Installment, Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, To Determine This Series’ Fluctuating Fate!
In the meantime, you can also treat yourself to the other Franchise Expansion (Or Implosion) Reviews in the Halloween series:
Halloween II (1981):