Monday, September 7, 2015

Halloween 4 (1988) & Halloween 5 (1989)

By Daniel Epler

"I prayed that he would burn in hell but in my heart I knew that hell would not have him."

A bit of a rip off of a famous Dawn of the Dead quote, but a good quote none the less.

First, a comment about both films. What's going on with his mask? Why does his mask look so different in each of these films? In a Friday or Nightmare sequel I know I get to watch Jason or Freddy (Friday 5 excluded). It's nice getting to see the characters again. I don't feel like that with these films because he doesn't even look like Michael. The look of Michael in the original Halloween might be my favorite look of any Slasher villain ever (although that doesn't make Michael the character my favorite). The difference is subtle in part 4, but I'm still not a fan. In part 5 I cannot begin to fathom how awful the stupid mask is. I would honestly rather he wore a totally different mask. And he does for a moment in part 5, and it's an improvement.

Oh, and this will be spoiler filled.

It makes me laugh that the three sequels after 3 had to have Michael's name in the title just so audiences knew there would be no robot fighting Tom Atkins.

There's a whole lot to like about 4. It's really not a bad film at all. The greatest strength by far is the characters. Young Danielle Harris takes center stage as Jamie, Michael's niece. It's a bold move for a horror film to make a child it's main character, but much like Friday 4, the movie pulls it off. Danielle Harris is a terrific actress and she comes across incredibly genuine. Ellie Carnell co-stars as Jamie's foster sister Rachel, and is a wonderful character. The movie clearly cares about them and their relationship and gives them a lot of heart. As a result, we the audience care if they live or die, and that goes a long way.

Donald Pleasance also returns to the franchise and is very over the top. Surprised? He was such a wonderful character in the first and has been on this terrible decline ever since. Maybe that's the point. That his obsession with Michael has driven him to the breaking point and he's losing his sanity. I'm sure I'm on to something there, but he's still a little tough to take. I suppose I should give him a break for having almost been burned to death in part 2.

The film is a very standard slasher film, and that's it's weak point. It's essentially a rehash of the original, and while its not badly done, it lacks the masterpiece quality of Carpenter's film. There are some curve balls thrown in, such as the angry lynch mob of rednecks that recall an old Frankenstein film, and it's nice to get something different. There is very little to no suspense or scares here. I wasn't expecting to get scared, but it would be nice to have some tension. And as I said before, I'm constantly annoyed by Michael's mask. Is the original mask really that hard to make?

Then there's the ending. It's dumb. It's out of left field. It makes so sense. Whatever. It's kind of funny to me and I enjoy it. It's just so over the top and Jamie does look creepy there. It also suggests the series will go in a new and interesting direction. Spoiler alert: It doesn't.


Of all the Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street movies I've yet seen, this is my least favorite. This movie is terrible.

Even though I have my problems with Halloween 2 and 4, I think the series up to 4 is pretty solid. I wanted so badly to like Halloween 5. But it is just terrible.

The ending to the last film is basically disregarded. I think they try to explain it away but I never really understood it. It's barely mentioned. And now Jamie is mute because reasons. She now has a psychic connection with Michael. Since she can't talk Loomis has no way of knowing this, but he does. And because mute Jamie gets upset Loomis then "knows" that Michael is on the loose. No other reason. Jamie gets upset and says nothing. Loomis is completely insane now. He's barely a character anymore, he just stands around and yells.

Rachel is back in this one, and let me just say she looks amazing here. She wins most attractive character in the franchise. But it's not just her looks, I just really like her as a character. She so charming, adorable and likeable. But then she gets killed in the first 20 minutes in a scene that is given no weight or impact. She is just stabbed and the camera cuts immediately and she isn't mentioned again. Until of course her dead body shows up later to scare Jamie. It's total garbage and I hate it.

All the new characters are insane. Tina is beyond annoying. Why do they kill off Rachel who is wonderful and then suddenly focus on Tina who I hate? Then there's Spitz. Spitz is so completely insane that I can't tell if I hate him or love him. But I do know I'm fascinated by him. He's the gayest straight horror character since every character in Nightmare 2. He's always singing and giggling like a complete freak. And his girlfriend is completely gorgeous! They have one of the weirdest and most terrible "sex scenes" I have ever seen. I almost want to say the film is worth watching just for him. He has to be seen to be believed! So much of this film doesn't make sense and the dialogue is borderline nonsensical. Conversations will go on between the teen characters and I will have no idea what they are talking about. And I don't think It's because the genius of this script goes over my head.

I know the direction they took with the Myers house is strange with turning it into a gothic mansion. But I like it. It's adds a cool atmosphere and is a high point of the movie. There is also a suspenseful chase sequence of Michael chasing Jamie in the house, and it works. The laundry soot scene really works. Even if it doesn't make sense how she gets back up the shoot. Honestly, even though I much prefer 4 over 5, I think 5 wins in the suspense department. But I think the very best part of the film is when Jamie gets Michael to take off his mask and we see a tear come from his eye. It's a very strangely human moment given to a slasher villain. I found it very interesting and a welcome change from the slasher formula. Even if just for a moment.

I don't like this movie. However, I can't call it all bad. There are difentley highlights here. In fact, give Rachel center stage over Tina, and fix the mask, and there might really be something good here. But over all, this is really where the series take a decline.

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