CONTAINS SPOILERS AND SURPRISES, WHICH IS IN ITSELF SURPRISING GIVEN THE REST OF THE SERIES
One of the pleasures in devoting October largely to rewatching horror movies from decades past is suddenly realising that a film you wrote off back in 1989 was actually perfectly decent, a worthy entry in its franchise and with some genuinely good qualities. There's no suggestion that this fourth chapter of the Michael Myers saga is scary, frightening or remotely logical, but coming after the woeful Halloween 4, it's a drastic improvement, much more fun and much more interesting. (Let's pretend that the saga ends here rather than petering out with the dreadful Halloween: Resurrection, a film that actually gives Rob Zombie's brace of misbegotten reboots a stand-up fight for the position of Worst Halloween Movie.)
As shown in an opening recap from Halloween 4, Myers did indeed fall down a mine shaft at the end but manages to crawl out unharmed and hide in a hermit's shack for precisely a year. Now, in Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers, he puts his bleached William Shatner mask on again, kills the hermit and heads off to Haddonfield yet again, where his young niece Jamie (Danielle Harris) is now living in a children's hospital and watched over by crazy Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasence). But Jamie has some kind of telepathic link with Michael....
Donald Pleasence and Danielle Harris are both incredibly good in this, a project which frankly doesn't deserve them (it is only Halloween 5 after all, it's not as if it's Halloween 1). Pleasence is always good value anyway, and Harris has the hurdle of her character not being able to speak for half the film; the music score quotes the iconic Carpenter theme just enough without overusing it, and there's enough of a body count to keep things moving. Against that, some of the victims are utter idiots who behave incredibly stupidly, and while I don't want to suggest they were practically asking for it, it's frankly a relief when they get pitchforked and the film doesn't suffer from their loss.
Obviously it's nonsense: it completely ignores the question of what Michael Myers does for the other 364 days of the year (indeed, it actively suggests he just lies on the floor of a riverside shack until October 31 rolls around again). Furthermore, there's a new plot idea woven in featuring an unseen character, the Man In Black, releasing Myers from custody at the end, a twist which sets up the next unnecessary sequel. Still, for all that I enjoyed the film far more than I was expecting given that I didn't really like it when I saw it at a film festival over 20 years ago; possibly it was screened late at an all-nighter and I nodded off a little. Considering the low levels of Halloween 4 and 8 (Resurrection) in particular, Halloween 5 might actually be the best of the sequels. It's certainly a long way from being the worst the Myers saga has to offer.
Evil on two legs!