HALLOWEEN 4 AND HALLOWEEN 5: A DOUBLE DOSE OF SLASHER-HORROR FILM REVIEWS BY SANDRA HARRIS. © HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1988) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. DIRECTED BY DWIGHT H. LITTLE. STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, GEORGE P. WILBUR, BEAU STARR AND ELLIE CORNELL. HALLOWEEN 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS. (1989) BASED ON CHARACTERS CREATED BY JOHN CARPENTER AND DEBRA HILL. DIRECTED BY DOMINIQUE OTHENIN-GIRARD. STARRING DONALD PLEASENCE, DANIELLE HARRIS, ELLIE CORNELL, BEAU STARR, WENDY KAPLAN, TAMARA GLYNN, MATTHEW WALKER AND DON SHANKS. Ooooooh, I do love a nice bit of HALLOWEEN at Halloween, or in fact on any night of the year. Pure undiluted slasher-horror cinema was surely born in the ‘Seventies and ‘Eighties, with marvellous franchises like this one and FRIDAY THE THIRTEENTH and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET kicking and screaming their way into our world through the tight but surprisingly accommodating birth canal of VHS and Beta-Max, lol. I’ve chosen to review these two films together because HALLOWEEN 5 is a direct continuation of its predecessor. You might remember that the superb horror series took a break from the silent but deadly serial murderer Michael Myers in HALLOWEEN 3 (an excellent horror film in its own right if you can stop bemoaning the absence of Mikey for five f***ing minutes…!), but Michael is back with a bang in instalments 4 and 5 and, trust me, he’s literally never been deadlier… Michael escapes from state custody while he’s en route to another sanatorium and, as usual, where does he make a beeline for? Why, Haddonfield, Illinois, of course, the place where, in 1963 when he was only six years old, he brutally murdered his older sister Judith by ‘stabbing her in the tits,’ which is how they refer to it in the latest film in the franchise, HALLOWEEN KILLS (2021). It’s also a mere ten years since he slaughtered a bunch of people, namely innocent babysitters and horny teens just trying to ‘get some,’ in that same unfortunate hometown of his, and created a role for himself (in perpetuity, mind you) as that town’s very own boogeyman. As in: ‘If’n y’all don’t eat yo’ vegetables, Michael Myers gonna git y’all and carve y’all up into little pieces…!’ Or words to that effect, anyway. A killer who wears a white mask, never speaks a single solitary word but possesses the strength to kill other grown men with his bare hands in a variety of colourful and unusual ways is surely a mighty effective boogeyman and enough of a horror to scare manners into the brattiest of bratty kids, you must admit. Anyway, this time Michael’s off to Haddonfield to kill his niece Jamie Lloyd, beautifully played by Danielle Harris. She’s the daughter of Michael’s (apparently) deceased sister Laurie Strode, aka the wonderful Jamie Lee Curtis from HALLOWEENs 1 and 2, making her Mikey’s niece. And why does he want to kill his adorably sweet and pretty little niece? Well, for no reason other than that she’s family, and Michael always seems to make a point of murdering his kith-and-kin. Silly Michael. He just can’t seem to work out the connection between having a family and being happy. Still, if he could, he wouldn’t be our stabby boy, would he, the murderous little dickens…? Aw, bless his expressionless white mask and natty boiler suit. He’s our boy for sure. There are certain things standing between the impassive-faced Michael and his murderous goal, though. In HALLOWEEN 4, the pretty blonde Rachel Carruthers is Jamie’s doting new step-sister and she ain’t gonna let no non-talking, knife-wielding serial killer hurt her precious little sis. Well, not unless that serial killer kills Rachel, that is, which would appear to be his aim, but Rachel and Jamie have the protection of the town sheriff and his slutty daughter Kelly, whose pert backside the sheriff should surely have paddled when he so nearly caught her making out with Rachel’s faithless boyfriend Brady. If ever a young lady needed a good spanking, the practically pantsless blonde bombshell Kelly Meeker surely fits that bill…! In HALLOWEEN 5, which by the way ends with a wicked twist, as does the fourth film, Jamie is protected by Rachel’s best friend Tina, a super-annoying young lady who actually shares a car journey with the masked serial killer without knowing it. He’s wearing a really freaky borrowed Halloween mask and looks utterly terrifying, but Tina just starts laying into him straightaway about ‘his’ (she thinks he’s her boyfriend Mike, aka ‘the Fonz…!’) supposed shortcomings as a significant other. It’s actually really surprising that Michael doesn’t twist her curly, fluffy little head right off her shoulders for bitching at him non-stop about nothing. Dressed like Cyndi Lauper in the ‘GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN’ music video, she’s bubbly, full of life and chat and as irritating as a rash in your private area, but her heart’s in the right place. As long as Michael doesn’t get his gigantic, organ-crushing paws on it, that is… (I was re-watching this film recently with my adult daughter, and, after watching this scene between Michael and Tina, in which Tina nags him into stopping the car at a store so that she can buy cigarettes, my daughter turns to me and says thoughtfully: ‘So, Michael is just as susceptible as ordinary men to being nagged to death by women…!’ Darling Dr. Loomis is in both films too, with the lovely cuddly old Donald Pleasence reprising his role as Michael’s psychiatrist from the earlier movies, possibly the one man who realises the full extent of Michael’s terrible capability for doing harm to people. All burned in the face and hands from a previous confrontation with the Silent One, Dr. Loomis bends over backwards to try to save the folks of Haddonfield, and in particular little Jamie, from another deadly encounter with Michael. Of course, he meets with the usual resistance, scepticism and even incompetence along the way but, once the body count starts climbing, people suddenly all start singing from the same hymn-sheet. By this time, however, Dr. Loomis has pretty much nearly lost his mind after all the years of Michael-induced terror, and he starts to forget that little Jamie is just a child, instead bullying her into helping him to find and manipulate the serial killer. The poor doc’s fairly well battered and exhausted, and his lovely old trademark ‘COLUMBO-‘ style overcoat in shocking need of dry-cleaning, by the time the story rolls to a close in the very place where it began, the old Myers place which has gone to rack and ruin in a few short years. The town obviously didn’t take the best care of its very own murder-house… The violence is extreme and frequent in both films and the character of Michael Myers has great craic killing people in ever-more gruesome and grisly ways. Both these movies are terrific fun and I wouldn’t consider them inferior to the earlier ones at all, although it would have been nice if Jamie Lee Curtis had been in them too, then we would have had a full complement of HALLOWEEN past pupils, as it were. Still, we have Michael and dear old Gloomy Loomy, and that’s good enough for me. I’ll just end by boasting (I mean casually remarking) that I saw John Carpenter and his band perform his famous movie soundtracks live in Dublin’s Vicar Street in October of 2017, I think it was. He was one sexy mutha, all dressed in black with his silver hair tied back in a ponytail, and when he played the theme tune to HALLOWEEN, the whole place went wild. Best night of my life so far. Long live HALLOWEEN, John Carpenter and Michael Myers, a magnificent triple threat by anyone’s standards.
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.
Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, poet, short story writer and film and book blogger. She has studied Creative Writing and Vampirology. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, women’s fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra’s books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:
Her debut romantic fiction novel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books:
The sequel, ‘THIRTEEN STOPS LATER,’ is out now from Poolbeg Books: