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review added: 10/31/00



Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
1989 (2000) - Anchor Bay

review by Dan Kelly of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers Film Rating: D

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/A-/C

Specs and Features

96 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, full-frame (1.33:1), single-sided, dual-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, theatrical trailer, introduction by stars Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell, Inside Halloween 5 documentary, animated film-themed menu screens with sound, scene access (26 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 and 2.0), subtitles: none, Closed Captioned


Some things get better with time. Others, sadly, just get more and more harebrained and contrived. Such is the life of the Halloween series. Halloween was one of the best movies of the 1970s, and was hailed by critics for its eerie blend of suspense and virtually gore-free scares. With accolades like that, there's nowhere else to go but down, it seems. Though Halloween 5 has its moments of inspiration and a few scares sprinkled throughout the mixture, it's ultimately an especially weak entry into the series.

Halloween 5 picks up (for a brief few moments) right where Halloween 4 left off and starts right away with the silliness. After Michael Myers is shot and left for dead in an abandoned mine, he finds a way out and floats down river to safety. He takes shelter in the shack of a generous hermit and hibernates for a year, then butchers the hermit and heads off to find his precocious little niece. Jaime (Danielle Harris) is now living in a children's hospital and is so traumatized by the events in the past film that she doesn't speak anymore. Her foster sister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell), is also struggling to get on with her life and decides to party her problems away. Naturally, Michael will make his way toward Jamie and kill a handful of teenagers, and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) will wave a gun around madly and act like an idiot.

Early on in the movie, the filmmakers try to pull a Hitchcock and kill off Rachel. Though Danielle Harris is a competent actress (even at a young age), the movie suffers a great deal after this point in the film. Cornell's character was one that created a lot of sympathy and, unfortunately, the same can't be said for the other lead, Tina (Wendy Kaplan). There are a million reasons I could go into as to why she was bad for this movie, but why bother when there's other horrible things to mention?

The powers-that-be decided a flashier look should be applied to Halloween 5 and hired European director Dominique Othenin-Gerard to helm this installment. That may be the biggest downfall of the film. Up until this point in the series, all of the Halloween films had been filmed with simple camera angles and editing. This is a very busy looking film, with lots of cuts and strange angles. Distracting as they may be, they don't take your attention away from the poor story, bad editing and overall goofiness of the whole film. If you want someone to blame for the horrendous “thorn” plot that weighed down the next film in the series, look no further. It's all here, and it's just as contrived and desperate as it was in Halloween 6. Halloween 5 is good for a few things, but most of those are unintentional laughs. A few tense scenes don't make up for the shoddy filmmaking that pervades most of this film.

Strangely, the picture quality on this DVD is quite nice. Though not quite up to par with the stellar special edition release of the original Halloween, this DVD produces a very good picture. Colors are rich and textured and skin tones are natural, smooth and bright without being oversaturated. As with any horror film, black level is vital to the overall quality of the picture and this release doesn't disappoint. Blacks are solid and dark and never impose on the integrity of the picture. There is an intentional grainy look to the film, but on a few occasions, I noticed some digital artifacts in the transfer. Edge enhancement is visible sporadically, but doesn't present too much of a problem. Anchor Bay created a new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for this release, and it turns out to be a pretty good one. There's a satisfactory amount of bass to the mix, adding some needed depth to a track that could otherwise be horribly dated. The intensity is immediately noticeable during the opening credits montage, as the knife tears through the pumpkin. Surround channels are used to good effect throughout the film, and dialogue is aptly maintained in the center speaker.

Though the packaging boasts of a documentary on the making of Halloween 5, there really is nothing of exceptional interest on this release. The documentary is not without its revelations, but its short, 15-minute running time prevents it from getting too in depth. It was interesting to find out that nobody on set (including the man playing him) knew the purpose of the “mysterious” man in black who pops up now and again in the film. If that doesn't tell you loads about the quality of this film, I don't know what would. The promise of a deleted scene on the packaging is more than a bit deceiving and is a big let down. What you get is thirty seconds of low-quality home video footage (with cameras and crew in frame) of an inconsequential scene taken from the set. A short introduction (taped during the documentary) by Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell precedes the film and the theatrical trailer and is the only other feature on the disc. I have to mention the menu transitions here. I will say this - technically, they're very well-done and utilize both sound and animation. But do we really need to see poor little Jamie convulsing madly in bed while we go from the main menu to the extras? It's kinda sick looking, I must admit.

Halloween 5 looks and sounds pretty dang good on this DVD. Still, I don't know that I can recommend this movie with a clean conscience, if brain cells are something you hold in high regard. This disc may only be worth a rental for the casual horror fan, but followers of the series may want to pick it up to complete the collection. If you want it, it's there. If not, you're not missing out on anything.

Dan Kelly
dankelly@thedigitalbits.com




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