Many Tales To Tell (Tales of Halloween, 2015)

Tales_of_Halloween_posterThe horror anthology format is one that can yield tremendous success (Trick’r Treat, Creepshow) or terrible results (Creepshow 3, V/H/S 3).  It has a somewhat spotty history, but the tradition holds strong.  Probably the most ambitious, but not entirely successful were the two ABC’s of Death films, which each contained 26 short films.  Tales of Halloween keeps it to ten stories, which is probably the limit for getting a good yield of stories.

The film uses the framing device of a small town where every Halloween the dead walk, ghouls play and monsters eat.  Guiding us through the tales is (in a pretty obvious homage to her role in the fog) radio host Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow, Swamp Thing).

The stories are hit or miss, with an uneven tone, but when they hit?  They are terrific fun.  Standouts include The Night Billy Raised Hell, the Ransom of Rusty Rex, Bad Seed, and Friday the 31st.  What makes all those stories work is their sense of humor.  All are having more fun than trying to be scary.

This Means War starts out strong, but ends kind of weakly.

Friday the 31st starts out like a slasher story, complete with an obvious Jason type…but then takes a complete left turn.  The Ransom of Rusty Rex tells a tale of ambitious kidnappers who grab a rich man’s (John Landis, director of American Werewolf in London) son while he is trick or treating.  Except, the boy is a bit more of a hellion than anticipated.

On the other hand, Sweet Tooth goes more for the traditional monster/urban legend territory…and it ends exactly like you expect it to.  The Weak and the Wicked lacks any real life in it’s narrative, and for being a short, fails to do much in it’s premise of revenge.

In the end, I found the film an enjoyable watch, with some good humor, fun cameos and even a few scares.  It is not quite Trick’r Treat, but it is some good Halloween fun.

It’s All Treats (Trick’r Treat, 2007)

trickrtreat_posterYou know, usually when a movie sits on a shelf for two years, there is a good reason for it.  But in the case of Michael Dougherty’s Trick’r Treat?  I cannot see why Warner Brothers took so long.  It was ready in 2007, yet Warner Brothers was hesitant to release it.

When I sat down to watch this film, I had built up some high hopes.  The trailer looked good and people I respect were singing it’s praises.

It’s easily the best horror anthology since Creepshow.  Horror Anthologies are a mixed bag, and filmmakers get them wrong far more than they get them right.  All to often they are silly in the wrong ways, lack punch, have a lame host, are to reliant on the host, etc.  The framing device can also make or break a film.  Creepshow’s comic book framing device is an example of getting it right.

Trick’rTreat’s framing device is the small town Halloween celebration.  We are treated to a series of four stories that are loosely connected, as characters wander in and out of other stories.  The stories are also unified by the presence of Sam, the creepy childlike trick or treating creature who appears ever so randomly in all but one story, where he plays a larger role.

The cast is stellar, with Anna Paquin playing the young virgin seeking her first partner, Dylan Baker as the creepy Principal and Brian Cox as the guy who hates Halloween.  Part of what really works is the film’s dark sense of humor.  The film is clearly meant to be fun, not merely a frightfest.  It’s gory, but not like Saw, where it is a slow indulgence…the gore serves the film, not the other way around.  Oh, and pretty girls.

There have been comparisons to Pulp Fiction, mainly because the film has that whole “jumping around in time” thing going on.  But that is really part of the fun, you see glimpses of event or people wandering by, and later you discover just where they were coming from.  The way the stories are intertwined is a wonderful bit of storytelling.  Director and writer Michael Dougherty tells some great stories, and shows that he understands visual storytelling and makes the most of his visuals.  There are so many moments that are just… awesome to see (including two instances of houses immersed in pumpkins).  I really feel like I cannot say much without giving away the many great moments.  This is a love letter to Halloween, which makes it perfect for me.  Halloween is honestly my favoritest holiday.  Just let me say, rent Trick’r Treat or better yet?  Buy it.  I agree with Jeffrey Wells, Warner Brothers has a potential franchise here.  I hope Dougherty gives us at least one more.

A side note…Cox wanted the make up people to make him look like John Carpenter-director/writer of Halloween.  Dougherty was only all to happy to oblige.

The Ultimate Halloween

There have been a lot of box sets of film franchises. Often, the series is owned by one studio. This gets tougher for many horror franchises. Child’s Play is owned by MGM, the other films are owned by Universal. Paramount owned the first eight films in the Friday the 13th series, New Line had the later films. Halloween was owned by multiple studios, with the first five films settling in under Anchor Bay and the sixth film on belonging to Dimension Films.

Earlier in 2014, Shout Factory’s horror line Scream Factory announced a pretty big deal. They got Dimension, Universal and Anchor Bay to agree to allow a box set with every single Halloween film. All ten films. And you get the television versions of Halloween and Halloween 2. I watch the television version of Halloween every year. But the real big shocker? The never before released in America Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6: the Curse of Michael Myers. It has been long rumored to be vastly superior to the (admittedly abysmal) theatrical version of the film.  I addressed that earlier this week.  They also include the unrated versions of both Rob Zombie films.

2014-10-12 21.35.112014-10-12 21.35.59

The packaging is terrific.  A nice box houses ten individual cases, black instead of the traditional blue.  The cover art is the classic cover art.  The box has some really good and atmospheric painted art.

2014-10-12 21.36.38 2014-10-12 21.36.53

Every disc includes special features related to the individual film.  These are made with care and the producers  manage to get a lot of the original teams to return and discuss their experiences on the film.  If you love to dive into special features (as I do), this is a very rich set.  The set includes a bonus disc with new special features (mostly relating to Halloween’s 3-5).

Some of the special features were on previous releases (Considering Anchor Bay has released a 20th Anniversary Set, 25th Anniversary Set and 35th Anniversary set, there was a lot to use).  Considering the Halloween:H20 DVD years ago claimed to have special features that  were not actually on the disc, it is nice to finally get to see interviews and behind the scenes stuff that was promised.  In the end, I think the only thing missing from the deluxe set was the Halloween 25 Years of Terror DVD set.  And they include some of the special features from that.  Keep in mind, the non-deluxe version of the set does not have the Halloween II Television Version or the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6.

The picture quality is great, keeping some of the grain, but the blu-ray transfers are never muddy, allowing us to never miss some of those great out of the shadow reveals.  This is how a box set should be.  I truly wish the Shout Factory had been in on the Friday the 13th and Chucky box sets…because we would more than likely have gotten a pretty sweet deal out of it.  The Shout Factory has set a standard here.  This is not that surprising, they have spent years making themselves stand out as kind of the Criterion Collection for pop culture.

The Next Night He Became a Zombie (Halloween 2, 2009)

h_two_ver4_xlgRob Zombie returned for the sequel to his fairly successful reboot.  My understanding is he had not intended to, but was talked into it.  And from the outset, this one is a total mess.

It opens with a bit of text regarding the psychological significance of a white horse.  It then gives us a flashback to young Michael and his mother having as loving a moment between a mother and son as you can have at a sanitarium.  This right here is continuing a wrong foot.  In the original films, Loomis talks about how Michael was quiet and interacted with no one, to the point where everyone grew complacent around him.

The film just jumps ahead fifteen years, to the end of the previous film.  In an imitation of the original Halloween 2, there is a hospital sequence, but it is only about 25 minutes long and then Laurie wakes up a year later.  Was it a memory?  A dream?  The film is unclear.

We learn Laurie is in therapy and has rage issues.  Loomis, on the other hand is now a psych-babble hack who uses Michael as his money-maker.  This is an unpleasant take on the character, which makes him far less sympathetic.  He is convinced Michael is dead, even though no body has ever been recovered.

Michael, very much alive, has been hiding out, building up his murderous rage.  He is haunted by dreams of his mother, and an avatar of himself as a little boy who speaks to the vision of the mother.  There are instances where Michael grunts as he kills that seem out-of-place.  A completely silent Michael makes for a better Michael.  Michael also spends a lot of time with no mask, which just seems wrong.

Laurie seems to have a sudden psychic connection to Michael that comes out of nowhere.  And Laurie has become an entirely unpleasant.  In fact, nobody is really likable in the film beyond maybe Sheriff Bracken and Annie.  But most everyone else is just hard to like or care about.  This is a bad thing for your lead.  It is hard for the viewer to invest our time and emotion to care about a character we cannot even really like.  And to pretty much have her cast her lots in with Michael (this is the same problem the recent Texas Chainsaw Massacre sequel had) is troublesome.

The resolution of the film is nonsense leaving this a complete (as stated earlier) mess of a movie.  It robs Laurie of any actual strength, and ultimately punishes her.  It is pretty clear that Laurie Strode was accepting Michael’s ways.  Her deviant smile before the cut to black is far to dark to be interpreted as triumph over the evil of Michael Myers.

There are some great shots, as Zombie has a real eye for framing shots, especially when going for a creepy vibe.  And there are some solid performances, especially from McDowell, Dourif and Harris.  People need to give Dourif more roles like this.  He shines in the film.  And Zombie (as usual) peppers his film with tons of character actors who clearly had a lot of fun in their roles.

But in the end, the writing and ideas are inconsistent, the characters overwhelmingly unpleasant and a Michael Myers who does not feel at all like Michael Myers.

The Night He Became a Zombie (Halloween, 2007)

zombie-halloween-posterAfter the failure of Halloween Resurrection, The franchise regrouped and tried to figure out their next step.  And they were stumped.  So what they decided to do?  Reboot the franchise.

Rob Zombie had two films under his belt, and while the response to House of a 1,000 Corpses was tepid, exploitation fans ate up the semi sequel the Devil’s Rejects. The producers decided Zombie could rev new life into the franchise.

The end result is kind of mixed.  To begin, the original gave us very little of Michael’s childhood.  He puts on a clown mask, kills his sister, his parents come home…BAM!  Jump to the present.  The film was more focused on Laurie and her friends, with little attention given to Michael’s past.  All that we really got was he came from a standard suburban family.

Zombie changed all that.  Instead, we were introduced to a little boy from a white trash home.  his stripper mom has an abusive boyfriend…his sister Judith is verbally abusive and mom boyfriend leer at her…and so on.  He is bullied at school, and little Mikey Myers has issues…he kills animals and gets into fights.  And he actually kills before he kills his sister.  He actually goes on a killing spree that culminates in his sister’s death.  The only person left is his baby sister and mother.

Michael continues to be creepy and violent in the hospital.  He grows up to escape, being hunted by his psychiatrist Sam Loomis.  We are almost halfway through the film before we meet the teen  Laurie Strode and her friends.  So, the film tends to be a rush to get to the end, with Michael slashing what seems to be half the town.

The most enjoyable part of the film is the cast.  It is a horror and exploitation who’s who.  Brad Dourif (Child’s Play), Malcolm McDowell, Danielle Harris (Halloween 4 & 5), Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead) among others play either prominent characters or have cameos.

This is a bloody exploitation take on the franchise, unlike prior attempts.  Depending on the version you watch, it can be potentially triggering for a viewer.  The theatrical cut has Michael fighting a bunch of guards to escape…in the unrated cut, he escapes when the sleazy asylum employees drag a girl into Michael’s room so they can rape her on his bed (?!).  It is a pretty sickening scene that was not needed.  And truth be told, I might like the film more if is was just Rob Zombie’s Exploitation Horror Movie.  But calling its lead “monster” Michael Myers and having the title of Halloween invites a lot of comparisons.

The biggest is that part of what made Michael Myers scary in the original was his ambiguity. What little we could see was he appeared to come from a middle class family.There appeared to be no abuse.  Michael appeared to lack any warning signs.  That question made him very frightening.  Rob Zombie’s Halloween gives us a view of a textbook case of the “childhood of a serial killer”.  Michael has everything working against him.  Michael should be haunting and this new back story ruins that.  It makes Michael a predictable monster, rather than a foreboding shape.

Michael kills more in the reboot…and we get more profanity.  The exploitation approach does make it stand out from the other horror reboots…rather than a glossier reboot, Zombie gives us a grittier one.

The standout for me in Rob Zombie’s Halloween films is probably Brad Dourif’s Sheriff Bracken.  He remains a good-hearted heroic type angry with Loomis for what has been unleashed on this town he protects.  Dourif does not seem to get a lot of those roles, and he is actually quite good at it.

The Night He Jumped the Shark (Halloween Resurrection, 2002)

halloween-resurrection-posterSo, if Halloween H20 tied everything up nicely and gave closure for the character of Laurie Strode, what did they do for number eight?  Why completely undo it of course!  No doubt, H20 was a strong enough success that they decided to take a couple years to create the next installment of the series.

They brought back a director from a previous film (Rick Rosenthal, who has racked up quite a decent career in directing genre shows like Buffy, Smallville and Veronica Marsas well as director of Halloween 2), which might seem like a decent start.  Then they announced that it was a Michael Myers installment and Jamie Lee Curtis was returning.  That good and bad news.  Then there was the title…”Halloween: Resurrection”.

Michael has long been lumped in with the “undead slasher” group of Freddy and Jason.  This is not accurate, as Michael Myers never died.  So he never came back from the dead.  Unkill-able slasher?  That’s accurate.  Undead?  Inaccurate.  Michael always manages to survive.  Now, truth be told, I wish they would have just brought Michael back from the dead.  He could have been like the headless horseman and carried his head in his arms.

But nooooooooooooo.  They have to undo the end of H20… (spoilers beyond this point)

In doing so, they wreck the closure the last film gave the series.  So, Laurie did not seperate Michael’s head from his body.  What actually happened was that Michael grabbed a rescue worker, crushed his windpipe and switched places.  So Laurie killed an innocent man and it made her crazy.  Laurie spends her days in an institution now.  And so the movie kicks off with the reveal that she has been waiting for Michael to return.  And being the caring big brother he is, he shows up a few nights before Halloween.  In a fight, Laurie loses.

That is the extent of it.  No one from the institution is connected to the story.  Instead, it focuses on a bunch of college kids doing a web broadcast from the Myer’s household.  Yes, web broadcasts is how they show that Halloween in moving forward.  It’s the reality programming trap, which has rarely been effective.  Outside of Series 7, it really has not worked.  It often feels like an absurd and preachy device.

So, with Jamie Lee dead…what’s our big hook to draw the audience in?  The reality show is run by Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks!  As an aside, this Halloween film has more black people than the other sequels combined.  I am actually not joking.  The Halloween series is whiter than Michael Myer’s mask.  Anyways, the other big name of the film is Thomas Ian Nicholas of the American Pie movies.  None of these are the priary characters, of course.

Our leads are Sarah (Bianca Kajlich, currently of Undateable), Rudy (Sean Patrick Thomas) and Jen (Future Geek crush Girl Katee Sackhoff), all who have won a part in a reality web cast where they search the old Myers homestead.  The house is rigged with “scary” stuff that is supposed to be from lil’ Mike’s childhood-stuff that explain why he went off the deep end and killed his sister.  People die on camera, but never when anyone is looking.  Luckily, Sarah has been chatting online with a buddy Deckard (Ryan Merriman) who goes to a Halloween party and watches the show.  So, using text messaging (uh, yeah, I can’t fathom how Busta didn’t have a “no cell phone” rule or his show) Deckard helps the survivors avoid Michael.

In the end, though, there can be only one survivor.  So Sarah, being the plucky heroine is it.  Tyra does not even get the dignity of an on screen death (see, in horror, it’s more insulting to die off screen).  But everyone else gets to die gruesome deaths… impalings, beheadings, all that jazz.  And I lied…Busta makes it out alive, allowing his character to learn a valuable moral lesson.  Because that’s what Halloween movies are really all about.  But seriously, between the weak story, run of the mill bland characters and destroying the ending of the previous film (taking away Laurie Strode’s triumph)?  This is a lackluster followup.  It’s not exciting, it does not draw you in to root for any of the characters.  While H20 was two steps forward, Halloween Resurrection is four steps back.  It’s barely better than the Curse of Michael Myers.

Lucky for all involved, this was not a career killer (pretty much everyone involved has kept trucking on).  It’s just a real step down from the heights they had achieved for the franchise a few years earlier.

Hell, maybe for # 9 we can see the return of Conal Cochran.

The Night He Goes to School (Halloween H20, 1998)

halloween_h_2_o_posterBy 1997, slashers had almost seemed like a dead genre. Frankly, Halloween 6 could have been the death bell. Yet, 1996 was also the year that slasher pics got a shot in the arm. A little movie called Scream-a satirical look at the genre was a major hit that had people talking. It seemed to poke fun at the conventions of the slasher film, while following them quite a bite (though taking opportunity to turn some of them on their head). Scream proclaimed Halloween the grand-daddy of them all. And that got producers talking.

There were, as I recall, talks to bring back Carpenter (which I thought was exciting). Then there came talk of involvement from Kevin Williamson, writer of Scream (both one and two). This also excited fans. But the thing that really got people talking? Jamie Lee Curtis was back in the game. This brought about an interesting turn.

A few facts. Donald Pleasence was dead by the time they were writing this. Laurie Strode was dead according to previous films. So what did they do?

Spoilers ensue…

The filmmakers took an approach that both wiped the slate clean and yet adhered to some film continuity. It’s clear that none of the events in 4-6 happened now. As far as H2O is concerned? The series started with Halloween and the story had ended in Halloween 2. And now, the story was continuing 20 years later. For some this was upsetting, to others? It was a bit of relief.

The director Steve Miner (a veteran of the Friday the 13th series) had taken quite a task. Dimension was giving a big push to this new film. The end result is satisfying. I would say that it is one of the best of the sequels. The story is told at a fast pace, and they make sure not to confuse the audience. It’s clear from the start that Dr. Loomis has passed. And we rapidly learn Michael is still alive and still obsessed with his sister…a woman the world thought dead. But it turns out she has gone underground to avoid the pressures of the fame. And to avoid Michael. She’s now pretty much a functional alcoholic single mom. She is the head of a prestiges private school in the middle of nowhere.  She is haunted by images of Michael.

Her life of paranoia is driving an ongoing wedge between her and son John (Josh Hartnett) -What?  Not the family name?!  At first she is prohibiting him from going on the school camping which aggravates him as he was looking forward to being with his girlfriend Molly (Michelle Williams).  But as slasher films tend to go, Jon and Molly slip aside and stay at the school with their rebel friends Sarah (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) and Charlie (Adam Hann-Byrd, whose career pretty much halted after this film-apparently to go to college).

So this leaves the school empty, except for Laurie, her boyfriend (and fellow faculty member) Will (Adam Arkin) and the security guard Ronny (LL Cool J) .  The kids, of course are hiding out and decide to have a night of romantic fun and reckless sex (or reckless fun and romantic sex, I don’t know). Michael is quietly stalking the grounds by this time, not quite as carefree in his slashing as the earlier films.  Sarah and Charlie are clearly knife fodder and Michael dispatches them quite ruthlessly.  These are some of the most intense sequences the franchise has seen in a long time, with some genuine discomfort and suspense.

John and Molly seek out Laurie, who is not to excited at the sight of her big brother.  Getting John and Molly off the campus, she turns back and decides this must end.  Grabbing an ax she starts to stalk Michael.  We get a very solid cat and mouse sequence that finally appears to result in Michael’s death.  But Laurie is no idiot, after Michael’s body is loaded into an ambulance in a body bag, she steals the vehicle, waiting for what she knows is going to happen.

Michael rises from the body bag, so Laurie intentionally crashes the ambulance.  Michael is pinned between a branch and the ambulance.  There is a somewhat touching moment, where Michael reaches out to Laurie in an almost child like fashion.  And for a moment?  Laurie hesitates, ax in hand.  Then she swings the ax and takes Michael’s head off.

All in all, Halloween:H20 works extremely well.  Easily the best of the sequels.  And as sequels go, it makes sense without having seen the original-without relying heavily on “plot exposition” guy.   The actors all do fine jobs and the direction and cinematography is good, with a great use of shadow.  Really, this film works well.  And had this been the last movie?  It would have ended the series on a high note. Of course, it was not the last, so the really high note they could have ended on?  Squandered.  But I still like this one.  It offers closure to the story, and Laurie comes out heroic and on top.

The Night He Came Home (With Reinforcements) Redux (Halloween 6 Curse of Michael Myers: Producer’s Cut,2014)

halloween_6_producer_cut_Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers was terrible.  It was Plodding, confusing and a genuine mess.  I went back and revisited it and even realized I had filled in the blanks.  The cult that oversees Michael is barely seen.  Oh, we meet some of the characters, but it is unclear why or how they know stuff.  Instead, I was filling in my memory with stuff I had heard about the ideas behind the film.

After almost two decades, we have finally gotten a legit copy of the often bootlegged Producer’s Cut.  This is the film the producers wanted to release.  And you know, had the succeeded?  Part 6 might have had a better reputation.

Oh, yeah, there is still creepy stuff like Jamie being impregnated by her uncle Michael Myers.  But other things are more explicit, like the cult that has overseen Michael.  It makes the talk of the voice that called to Michael to kill his family make a bit more sense.  And the ending is far better.

In a lot of ways, this is a very different film.  Far superior to the theatrical release.  Of course, it still falls short of being a great film.  Frankly, I still do not find the “Michael is controlled by a Cult” storyline particularly compelling.  And considering the seventh film ignored this plot point entirely… I am not alone in such a feeling.

But it is a lot of fun seeing the new footage of Donald Pleasence.  The ending was chopped short, with Sam Loomis bidding farewell to Tommy, Kara and her little brother.  We just see Michael’s mask on the floor and a distance scream from Loomis suggesting Michael killed him offscreen.  In the version, Loomis walks back into the hospital they had the showdown with Michael in and sees Michael still standing…joined by Dr. Wynn (Mitchell Ryan)… Sam Loomis is not killed in the producer’s cut…but rather faces a cruel fate worse than death.  It is actually pretty inspired and ties back to the original in a ironic way.  If you have  not seen it and are a fan of the franchise, I recommend this one.  The blu-ray also includes some great featurettes exploring the history of this film.

The Night He Came Home (With Reinforcements) (Halloween 6: the Curse of Michael Myers, 1996)

Halloween-Curse-of-Michael-MyersI think it would have been cooler if it had been Halloween:the Musical!!! Seriously, whose heart would be untouched at the sight of Michael Myers dancing across the stage, knife in hand? But alas, that was not to be. The biggest surprise for me in re-watching number six recently? Paul Rudd. Or as the movie says: Introducing Paul STEPHEN Rudd. But yeah. It’s this Paul Rudd. I’ve been a fan of Rudd’s for years, but I somehow forgot he was in this…uh…poor showing.

He plays a grown up Tommy Doyle (the kid Jamie Lee was babysitting in the original). The sixth film tries to ties all the films together. Except three. So follow along for spoilers.

This movie picks up some vague and indiscriminate time after # 5. Some girl is giving birth, surrounded by a bunch of people in robes. Shortly after she is helped by one of the cult members (you got that the people in robes were a cult-right???) to get away. after her escape with her baby, the woman who helped her escape hears a noise and gets scare. She backs away…right into Michael Myers who kills her.

Yes, Michael is part of a cult in this film. Not really a member, more a product of their evil deeds. In every generation there is one and all that jazz.  And so we discover that the girl who gave birth is Jamie-Michael’s Niece from 4 & 5. She is trying to save her newborn kid from Michael. And for reasons…that make no sense?  Said baby is Michael Myers child.  Yes.  Apparently he impregnated his young niece.  Ew.  The film quickly introduces Rudd as Tommy Doyle (who ends up being a somewhat creepy version of his nice guy persona) and the return of Dr. Sam Loomis (Again played by Donald Pleasence-who passed on shortly after the film finished). Another old character is introduced…that of Dr. Wynn, who was last seen in the first Halloween.

This is how it all gets messy. They are trying to tie up loose plot lines from a series that had been off the market for about six years. And some of these questions they try and answer are intriguing. But back to the plot. Michael succeeds in killing his niece, but only she manages to hide the baby and call a radio show talking about Michael Myers. Thank God Tommy Doyle is obsessive and records the show, because he manages to figure out where the baby is hidden.

In the meantime the audience also meets another young woman with a kid. She is part of the Strode family, which apparently all deal in Real Estate, just like Laurie’s dad in the original. And of course, it’s revealed that they all live in Michael’s old house, because in 20 odd years they could not sell the home.  None of the Strode family is aware of this.  They have no clue they are living in Michael Myer’s childhood home.  A girl springs it on one of the Strode family members…and I have to ask… HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW YOU LIVE IN THE MOST FAMOUS HOUSE IN YOUR TOWN’S ENTIRE HISTORY?!

None of the characters draw you in, so each death lacks fear or suspense. n top of that, the film is rather confusing. The cult’s motives seem foggy and there is some hokey stuff suggesting that Michael was a generational thing passed through the centuries. I don’t know, it was a real mess.

Mind you, the producers seem to agree. Apparently, they had meant for something a little tighter for the continuity of the series. It was going to be revealed that the shadowy guy from # 5 who set Michael free was Dr. Wynn. It was supposed reveal that Dr. Wynn had trained Michael the years he was growing up. Afterall, Wynn is a member of an evil cult that…well, has something to do with Michael Myers.

So, in the sixth movie, they seem to have gone down a path that is unalterable. Unchangeable. Myers is not the boogey man. He’s the servant to a cult. Sounds like they are stuck now….right? Why look…a seventh film came along three years later…surely it addressed these things….right?

The Night He Came Home (Yet Again) (Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, 1989)

Halloween-5-posterSo, in Halloween 4, the franchise returned to Michael Myers.  And it was a somewhat decent return.  And apparently did well enough that Halloween 5 was trotted out before the masses a short year later.

The surviving cast from the previous film are back to run an obstacle course of Michael related terrors.  Spoilers are on their way…

As with the last movie, the film doesn’t resurrect Michael.  Instead it shows us that he never actually died at the end of the previous film.  When Myers was shot up and fell down a hole he crawled off right before they dropped explosives down after him.  I supposed this is why no one thought it was important to go down and get Myer’s body.  Myers is found by an old bum before going comatose.  So the old bum keeps Michael alive (never removing his mask, apparently).

The film jumps forward a year to re-introduce us to little Jamie (Danielle Harris), Michael’s niece from the previous film.  Remember how she had killed her step mother with a scissors?  Apparently that was all just a tragic dream.  The events of the previous year were so traumatic that Jamie no longer speaks and is being kept in a children’s hospital.

Her step sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) visits with a friend Tina (Wendy Kaplan) who was not in the previous  film, but apparently was close to Jamie for quite some time.  Apparently, Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) shows up from time to time, being creepy and intense.  He does not believe Myers is dead.  Afterall, he’s been in, like, three sequels now.  He knows better.  And so does Jamie.  See, now she has a psychic connection to Michael.  Poor kid.

So, of course, as Halloween nears, Michael Myers suddenly wakes up from his hibernation  and kills the man who nursed him to health from all those bullet wounds.  Gee, Michael has bad manners.  But then, Michael has work to do, such as killing off survivors from the previous film.   So, I guess you can’t blame him to just saying thanks to the old guy.

And yes, by survivors we primarily mean Rachel.  DUH.  Loomis and Jamie can’t die yet.  Michael cuts through a ton of towns people after killing Rachel and managing to stay one step ahead of the police (The sheriff dealt with Michael in the previous film…so he is not a dummy who ignores the reckless teens and crazy doctors).  At some point, we meet a guy in a pair of steel tipped boots and a trench coat (that’s all we really see of him).  He doesn’t say anything, he just steps off a bus and we don’t ever see him for the rest of the film.

Loomis decides to use Jamie as bait and brings her to Michael’s old house (which, for having never been owned by new residents since the first movie?  Looks like a completely different house).  He sets a trap for Michael.  Michael, of course is not so easily duped and gets past Loomis.  But Loomis manages to lure Michael back out and drop a big metal net on him.  Then Loomis appears to have a heart attack and dies.

Michael is taken into custody.  As he sits alone in his cell there is the sound of gunfire and…OH YEAAAAAAH…it’s the guy who stepped off the bus, here to break Michael out of Jail.  HOLY CRAP!  Did not see that coming!  WHAT’S NEXT?! The credits?  Are you kidding me?

Now, it’s one thing to end on a cliffhanger when your next film comes out the following year-like say, the Lord of the Rings Films.   But Halloween 6 didn’t get released until 1995.  That’s a long time to make your fans wait for resolution.  Okay, they probably did not intend for that long of a wait.  But seriously, the ending is totally out of left field, especially for a slasher film.

This was a definite decline.  Jamie is a more annoying character as a mute than as a screaming or crying child.  Loomis is now obsessed with Michael in a really creepy fashion.  Yeah, in the fourth one he was intense, but I never really saw Loomis as the time to put a child at risk.  I did feel there was one really strong moment in the film.  Myers has Jamie cornered in the attic and she asks him to take off his mask.  And he does.  It is bizarrely touching as the audience does not get a look at Michael, but his niece sees her uncle’s face for the first time ever.   There is also a creepy moment where Michael is wearing a different mask (one that belonged to a guy he’s killed-Tina’s boyfriend) and driving a car with Tina believing it’s her boyfriend (this seems to happen a lot, women thinking Michael is their boyfriend).  It’s one of the few really tense moments of the entire film.

On the other hand?  It’s still better than Halloween 3.

Blog at

Up ↑