Unlike the Friday the 13ths, which saw new installments arrive almost every year, Halloween sequels were not churned out on a regular basis in the '80s but yet hot on the heels of Halloween 4 in '88, suddenly we had Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers in theaters the following October. After striking gold with 4, producers had a newfound urgency in getting Michael Myers back on screen.
As it turns out, they really should've pumped the brakes and taken the time to put together a movie that was as well-crafted as 4. But hey, where's the fun in that? Better to rush through something shitty that will immediately blow up all the new momentum the series just got.
But at the time, from the fan's perspective at least, it felt pretty cool to be getting a new Halloween movie so soon. After 4, there was every reason to feel like things were in safe hands so there wasn't the feeling yet of "Oh, here we go again with another shitty sequel." And things had been so dry on that front throughout the '80s that it didn't seem so bad that the producers were eager to make up for lost time.
Halloween sequels in back to back years? Hell yeah, finally!
And hey, we can all agree that the trailer looked pretty good:
Ok, this is great! Loomis is back, Jamie Lloyd is back. Michael's back. We're picking up from where 4 left off and everything is awesome.
Then, of course the movie comes out and, well...
But hey. 1989 was a bad year for slashers all around with Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street and Halloween all hitting rock bottom at once. It was probably the only way that the '80s could have ended, with all the big slasher franchises putting out their worst installments in one miserable year and everything collapsing into a trash heap.
Just the same, as time has gone on, I've learned to savor every Halloween sequel that gave us more Donald Pleasence, the true lynch pin of the franchise, the cinematography is the most stylized of the old school sequels, KNB's FX work (as much as the MPAA allowed to pass through) is solid, and it has to be said that Danielle Harris was excellent in her final performance as Jamie Lloyd. So Halloween 5...not a complete wash, in my adjusted for nostalgia opinion.
The craziest thing about 5 remains its cliffhanger ending. As much as it might've been a poorly planned move, I will attest that it really got the attention of my crowd back in '89. Who is this Man in Black? What the fuck is even going on?
As much as I'm glad we now live in a time where there's much more forethought given to sequels and where storylines are mapped out far in advance, I will say there is something charmingly bullshit about the way things used to be done.
I just wish that we had been able to get a Halloween 6 in 1990, with a still young Danielle Harris continuing as Jamie, Donald Pleasence still in good health and a more timely reveal for the Man in Black.
It would have been pretty wild though, don't you think, if we had never gotten another Halloween and 5's ending was the last we saw of Michael. Man, what an end to the franchise that would've been.