We're coming up on the one year anniversary of the first Terror Tuesday column on BAD, which was a defense of Halloween 4, my personal favorite sequel of the series (and was screening that night as part of Zack's Alamo screening series from which this article got its name). And since it's been a while since I've done a Minute by Minute, I figured I'd take a crack at Halloween 5, another movie I find myself having to defend, albeit not as vigorously. While not up to the levels of the others, I think it's certainly better than any entry that followed - but how MUCH better? Only one way to find out...
...let's Minute by Minute this sucker!
00:00 "Moustapha Akkad Presents". Take that, Universal! This standard series credit was removed from the recent Halloween II blu-ray, and Uni has yet to apologize and/or explain why the change was made.
01:00 A knife slash. Halloween 5 was not only the last non-Dimension film of the series, it was also the last to have a great opening credit sequence, most of which revolved around pumpkins. Here we just get a bunch of quick cut shots of slashing knives in between the credits (which are over black), and at the end it's revealed to be a very creepy Jack O' Lantern.
02:00 A shot of Michael's hand laying motionless on the ground. As this film was a direct continuation of Halloween 4, we get to watch a condensed version of its finale. Part of the reason why this is the longest entry in the original series!
04:00 Michael climbing out of the river.
05:00 The old hermit looking around. This is one of the most confusingly edited sequences in the entire series; I've watched this movie at least a dozen times and I still have no idea what is going on when the two men meet up. I also can't understand the parrot; is it saying "Can't believe it"? Why?
06:00 More H4 footage, this time the POV from Jamie's masked eyes as she makes her way toward her mother. Random side note - H4 was the first movie of the series that I ever saw, so the film's climactic homage to the beginning of the original was completely lost on me.
07:00 The first shot of the goddamn Thorn tattoo on Michael's wrist. So now we all know the exact moment when the series started to completely unravel.
08:00 A shot of Michael as he kills the hermit. Also, our first close-up of his new, terrible mask. The face isn't TOO bad, but the awful hair and ridiculous neck flap makes it look like a bad knockoff.
09:00 Jamie being tended to by panicked doctors.
10:00 Daytime establishing shot of the hospital that Jamie lives in now.
11:00 Rachel talks to Tina, her friend that is also quite possibly the most obnoxious major character in the entire series. At least the people in RZ's remakes were SUPPOSED to be awful people, what the hell is her excuse?
12:00 Loomis!!! Donald Pleasence is at his most nutty in this entry, which is part of why I have a soft spot for it.
13:00 Loomis and Rachel going outside to chat. I like that they're friends.
14:00 Rachel and Tina make their way home. Worth noting - this was shot in Salt Lake City, same as the last movie, so there's actual continuity for the town of Haddonfield.Curse of Michael Myers shot there as well, albeit in different parts of town. But RZ shot his sequel in Georgia so everything looked different from his original Pasadena locations, Resurrection was shot in Canada, and H20 didn't even have any Haddonfield scenes.
15:00 Michael POV as he stalks around Rachel's house.
16:00 Rachel in the shower, possibly foreshadowing the Psycho-esque twist that will occur shortly.
17:00 Loomis on the phone, yelling.
18:00 Loomis on the phone, not yelling.
19:00 Max brings home a dead squirrel.
20:00 Loomis terrorizing Jamie. Let's assume he means well.
21:00 Rachel checks out her not particularly sexy sweater in the mirror.
22:00 Rachel walks slowly into a room to investigate. She won't be around by 23:00, which was a pretty ballsy move and a great shock the first time I saw the flick. By killing one of our heroines so early in the movie (but not in an opening scene like Friday the 13th Part 2), it actually made 11 year old BC fear for Jamie whenever she was in danger for the rest of the movie.
23:00 Loomis arguing with Meeker. Meeker was a great sheriff/character; he deserved a better sendoff (it's never even clear if he died in the massacre at the end of this movie).
24:00 Tina walking up to Rachel's house, unaware that her friend is dead. It should have been you, Tina...
25:00 Tina running around the house, giggling.
26:00 Now she's running around shrieking.
27:00 Michael watching Tina and Sammy leaving. Wait he was in there and didn't kill her? What the hell, Mike?
28:00 Tina and Sammy talking about satin sheets. This is the section of the film where it is perfectly understandable to me why people dislike it.
29:00 The girls, still talking, but you can see Michael in the background (in the trees). One thing about this movie that it doesn't get enough credit for is that Michael is sort of a playful stalker, as he was in the original. Unfortunately, because this aspect of his character was largely abandoned in the other entries, it just seems kind of silly now.
30:00 A shot of Jamie in her bed, experiencing a nightmare. Danielle Harris is really solid in this movie; she spends the first half of it mute and has to play a lot of harsh sequences throughout the runtime. Also it further solidified young BC's crush on her.
31:00 Michael slowly walking down the stairs after Jamie. This is a terrific chase sequence, btw.
32:00 Jamie is saved by a janitor.
33:00 Harris endures a booze-breathed Pleasence leaning over her as Loomis scares Jamie more than Michael just did.
34:00 A bus pulling up to Vincent Drugstore, which fans of the TV movie of The Stand will recognize as a location from that film (where Nick Andros met Julie, if memory serves).
35:00 Loomis walking around the "Myers House". I put it in quotes because this house is in no way shape or form anything like the house we saw in the other movies. Granted the real house was a bit small and probably wouldn't work for the finale of this film, but did they have to go SO FAR in the other direction?
36:00 Loomis walks out of frame just before the Man in Black (sigh) enters it.
37:00 A rat.
38:00 Tina and her asshole boyfriend Mikey about to make out in his awesome car.
39:00 Another obnoxious character, Spitz, talks about stealing beer with Mikey.
40:00 Mikey puts the stolen beer in his trunk. Also it's suddenly dark out.... wait a minute: obnoxious "comic relief" characters, car fetishes, disregard for day/night continuity - did Michael Bay direct this sequence of the film?
41:00 Michael drags Mikey's body away.
42:00 Some kids in the Halloween contest. I like that this one focused on kids for a bit; a shame that they didn't set more Myers scenes at the hospital. Not that any of them would die (I think?), but it would have added to the "back to basics" feel. Since Jamie is sort of in the Laurie Strode role now, having extra kids to protect would have been in line with the original.
43:00 Tina giggling and begging "Mikey" to open the door of his car. I wonder if they figured that if Michael killed her too soon we wouldn't look at him as a villain but instead more of a hero?
44:00 The only good part of this sequence, when she kisses Michael (thinking it's "Mikey") over his mask.
45:00 Tina whining about something.
46:00 "Cookie woman!"
47:00 Tina walking out of the store.
48:00 A shot of a now talking Jamie. I like that she regains her voice at the exact halfway point of the movie.
49:00 Tina comforting Jamie. As obnoxious as she is otherwise, I do really like her "other big sister" relationship with Jamie.
50:00 Oh Christ, these two. At least this scene doesn't have their slide whistle/kazoo based "theme song". Seriously, what the fuck was going on during the screenwriting process of this movie? I feel so bad for the casting team. "OK so we need two cops that walked out of a Police Academy movie, a hermit with a parrot, a guy wearing all black who has the same random tattoo as Michael Myers, a guy named "Spitz"..."
51:00 Loomis accidentally terrorizes a little girl thinking it was Jamie, as they had the same costume. Like, seriously, kids? There are only like 20 of you in the joint, couldn't you coordinate to make sure that everyone had a different costume?
52:00 Michael arrives at the Tower farm Halloween party. I like that Haddonfield deftly blends rural and suburban areas. Wonder if there's a "downtown" section too.
53:00 The two dork cops playing Crazy Eights.
54:00 Shot of light coming through some cracks in the barn wall.
55:00 Tina wandering around the barn.
56:00 See 55:00.
57:00 Sammy reacts to a creepy noise.
58:00 Spitz (in Michael's mask) stalking Sammy.
59:00 Spitz and Sammy starting doing the do.
1:00:00 Hey it's been a minute and they're still going at it, so Spitz proves he's not as speedy as Bob or Judith's boyfriend from the original movie! Go Spitz!
1:01:00 Michael approaches Sammy with a sickle. This is around where 11 year old BC, home alone on Halloween night, had to shut the movie off the first time I watched it. See, both my parents and my sister had gone out to parties that started at different times, and there was like a one to two hour window in between where my parents left for theirs and my sister came home from hers, so they let me stay home alone (first time) rather than hire a sitter for such a short period. Also, from my position on the couch, I had a direct line to a kitchen window, the one that I was sure the actual Michael Myers would appear in any second if I kept watching the movie. So I shut it off until someone came home. Fucking wuss.
1:02:00 Some dude hits on Tina at the party.
1:03:00 Tina looking around for Sammy and Spitz.
1:04:00 Tina discovers the two dead cops. The audience cheers at the reveal.
1:05:00 Michael trying to run Tina over. One could wonder why he wants to kill her NOW despite having several opportunities to do so when she was IN the car, but hopefully you're too caught up in the excitement to question it.
1:06:00 Tina tends to Billy, who was more or less hit by the car. I had seen The Blob remake not too long before I saw this movie, so the idea that a kid could be killed in a horror movie was a very real possibility to me.
1:07:00 Jamie looking at the now-crashed car.
1:08:00 Cool shot.
1:09:00 Billy and Jamie making their way through the woods.
1:10:00 Tina on a gurney being taken away. No sheet over her, so I always wondered if they meant to leave her fate vague in case an immediate sequel was commissioned and thus the character could be brought back if audiences liked her. Same with Meeker and Loomis, now that I think about it.
1:11:00 Loomis talking to Michael. Another thing this one got back to (a bit) was the fact that Loomis was indeed Michael's doctor; he was largely in Ahab mode in the previous film but here he's talking to him in a calm voice, trying to lure him out. Also, the first time I saw this scene on DVD I was amazed to discover that you could actually see Michael in the woods before Loomis starts talking. The VHS was too murky to ever make him out until later. Yet people defend the format.
1:12:00 A concerned looking Loomis.
1:13:00 Jamie brushing her hair. By now I HAD seen the original but I still didn't pick up on this little homage to Judith until I was a bit older.
1:14:00 The cops running away.
1:15:00 Loomis entering the house.
1:16:00 I love how no one bothered to give poor Jamie a bandage for the giant cut on her forehead.
1:17:00 POV shot as Michael walks up to the house.
1:18:00 Loomis talks to Michael.
1:19:00 Michael tosses Loomis over a railing, which you'd think would kill a 70 year old man who had already been slashed and put through a window (not to mention BLOWN UP a few years back), but Sam Loomis is just as indestructible as Michael Myers.
1:20:00 Action Troy Evans. Troy Evans with Kung Fu grip sold separately.
1:21:00 Meeker yelling outside the children's hospital.
1:22:00 Michael, knife in hand, making his way down the stairs.
1:23:00 Michael POV as he walks toward the laundry chute.
1:24:00 Michael stabbing away inside the laundry chute. This is a terrific/terrifying sequence, with poor Jamie/Danielle screaming the entire time and Michael at his most unrestrained in the entire film (series?) as he stabs/beats the shit out of that chute trying to get to her. In fact he actually does stab her through the ankle at one point, but the shot was cut per MPAA (you can still see the wound later on).
1:25:00 Cops driving back to the house (I think?)
1:26:00 Jamie sees a coffin in the attic.
1:27:00 Jamie in the coffin as Michael raises his knife above her.
1:28:00 Jamie reaching out to touch Michael's unmasked face. This is the first time since the original that we've gotten a glimpse of his face, and it's a bit screwed up (no scars of any sort on it, even though he shouldn't even have eyes anymore, technically), but still a cool moment. Also, random side note - Michael is played by Don Shanks in this film, who heroically "saved" me and a dozen others from a stuck elevator at a Halloween convention a few years back by prying open the door with his bare hands. Good times.
1:29:00 Our hero Loomis, now seemingly crazier than Michael.
1:30:00 Loomis beating Michael with a 2x4 while yelling "Die!" over and over. It is, to say the least, awesome.
1:31:00 Michael in a jail cell WEARING HIS MASK! I love it.
1:32:00 Jamie being put in a police car.
1:33:00 Jamie walking through the police station, which has just been wiped out by the Man in Black.
1:34:00 A shot of the burning cell door that for a long time would serve as the seeming final image in the series until the 6th film finally went into production over 5 years later.
1:35:00 Credits, mostly grips and set designers. Nothing of interest.
1:36:00 Credits for KNB (back when all three of KNB were in the group!) as well as "Additional Photography", which would be reshoots. Not sure exactly what parts of the film were reshot, though the IMDb mentions something about the Man in Black scenes being reshot for the UK for whatever reason.
And that's it, the credits/movie ends just shy of the 1:37:00 mark.
So basically we have a "best of the worst, or worst of the best" sort of scenario here. The movie's not terrible, but it's got some truly annoying teen characters and introduces the horrid Man in Black subplot. Also, it admirably pays tribute to the original in many ways, but in others seems to disregard Carpenter's film entirely (i.e. Michael's mask and house looking nothing like they should). But it has a handful of terrific chase/stalk scenes and some top notch Loomis/Pleasence work, plus I always liked Michael being a little more human again. And as I grew older, I learned to appreciate the way they worked around the intended scenario for the film (with Jamie as a killer) that the producers wouldn't let them actually do without ignoring it entirely (like Jason Lives did with the "murderous" version of Tommy Jarvis). Finally, not to open a can of worms since its fans tend to Hulk out whenever the film is slightly critiqued, it has a lot more personality than Halloween II, which is a perfectly decent slasher, but if you swap the Myers mask it could easily be mistaken for every other slasher movie from 1981 (I've also never shined to the fact that Laurie Strode spends most of the movie lying in bed doing nothing).
Also, it's the last of the 80s masked slasher movies. Literally! It came out in October of 1989, and neither November or December produced any of note (unless you count the gory Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englund, directed by Halloween 4's Dwight Little). So it ended an era, and did so on a somewhat solid note, long after the sub-genre had more or less been killed as late 80s horror focused more on FX driven films. And, again, it was the last entry before Dimension took over and just completely fucked up the series for good. So you can look back on it fondly as the last time a disappointing Halloween film was unusual, not the status quo!