Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon: Halloween franchise (Part 4 and 5)
Halloween III wasn’t a huge flop. It was a minor success considering its $2 million budget and even the production wasn’t plagued with production problems. Everyone was having a good time creating something far different from the first two films. They thought it was a step in the right direction but critics and viewers disagreed. Thus, studios thought what they really wanted was more Michael Meyers and that’s what they did.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers does exactly what it says. Perhaps the most confusing thing is that Michael actually died with Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) at the end of Halloween II. That’s pure sequel proof. So instead they explain that he somehow surivied and slipped into a coma. I would be fine with that ridiculous explanation if they also didn’t have Dr. Loomis come back with burn marks and walking on a cane. With Michael, I can accept the fact that is possibly a charred and burned zombie but having Loomis also come out with minor burns is far more punishable. Continuity is easily scarified but things get a tad better from here on.
The focus of the movie is a young girl named Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) who is supposedly is the niece to Michael Meyers and keeps having trauma about it. You feel bad for her right away when kids pick on her about how her uncle is a serial killer. But she does have support on her side from her foster sister so at least there’s a sigh of relief. You really want Jamie to come out scratch free and I think what makes it work is how innocent Danielle’s performance is here. She’s vulnerable and seeks help from trusted allies like her sis and even Dr. Loomis at one point despite his frail condition.
Halloween 4 suffers from being a routine sequel with Michael going around and killing random teens. At least he has more creative methods but some feel laughable like when he stabs someone in the gut with a shotgun. Even more absurd is how after he breaks out, he goes and tries to get the same wardrobe he wore like the boiler suit and Shatner mask. At least in the first two films, there was this gritty feel to it where else here its too polished with a mask that has combed back hair and a physique of a bodybuilder with padded shoulders.
There is some charm here as it takes on cliches of the past monsters movies like the angry mob and some intense scares here and there like when the power to a house gets cut that leaves many in the dark. It really tries to set Michael a new and do something different but you can’t help but feel its treading what made the first two movies so good. Its not a bad entry by any means and it does have some creative liberties while being surprisingly entertaining. I just wish it was more dark and foreboding. Not half bad but it could have been worse.
In fact, the latter started to get worse. Halloween 5 can be described by one adjective; rushed. In fact, this entry was released exactly one year after The Return of Michael Meyers and it shows. Instead of having one focus, it tosses so many things up in the air that it hopes it will connect and somehow work. It doesn’t. There’s no payoff, no subtle build and little to nothing is salvageable. Danielle Harris returns as a far more petrified Jamie Lloyd who is in a children’s ward and mute. At the end of Halloween 4, an evil force takes over her and kills her foster mother. The supposed idea was for her to be the next Michael Meyers which I feel had potential. Instead, they make up some excuse by saying she has some form of psychic link without any deeper detail. Again, unique idea but it doesn’t pay off.
Worse of all, she is plunged into Hell as next to everyone doesn’t give her much help. Her foster sister and friends are more interested in partying than keeping a vulnerable girl safe. Worse of all, Dr. Loomis acts crazy to the point he’s a live action depiction of Elmer Fudd. In one scene, he bursts into Jamie’s room demanding to know what he sees of Michael while madly grabbing her and shouting for answers. Its probably the most mean spirited thing I’ve seen that I feel is far too out of character for Dr. Loomis. Sure, he’s obsessed with Micheal Meyers. After all, he was the doctor’s patient. But I never would think he would stoop so low to do things like capture him with a metal net or use Jamie as bait at one point. Its unsettling and I feel bad knowing how good of an actor Donald is. He even felt the idea of Jamie being the killer would have better than what we ended up with. But alas, the damage has been done.
Halloween 5 (aka The Revenge of Michael Meyers, even thought it doesn’t appear in the opening credits) is essentially two movies in one. At one corner is a psychological thriller that is paper thin and the other is a Friday the 13th clone as a group of annoying teenagers get axed off. They pull so many pranks on each other that it feels nauseating. And by the time they get killed, it feels like a sigh of relief. We don’t want that. We want to have a sense of fear for characters and care for them. They are not dead meat you place on a hook and forget about for hours. The rest of the movie tries to salvage itself near the end but nothing feels complete. Even a plot line about a man dressed in black is very unneeded. If that wasn’t bad enough, nobody had any idea what this character should be. You can cut every scene he’s in and it wouldn’t change the movie that much. He’s that useless. By the end, it feels a sequel is needed after opening this new can of worms with a unneeded and undeveloped character and some bits here and there that feel like build up to another entry. Bottom line, there is no need to see this one. Halloween 5 is just wall to wall filler. And in regards to its sixth film, its too infamous that it deserves it own entry. Check back tomorrow because your in for a wild one…
Posted on October 28, 2014, in Horror-Wood 2014 and tagged Danielle Harris, Donald Pleasence, Dr. Loomis, Halloween, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Horror-Wood Blog-a-Thon, Jamie Lloyd, John Carpenter's Halloween, Michael Meyers. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.