HALLOWEEN 5 THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS DIVIMAX SPECIAL EDITION Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment Film Year: 1989 Length: 98 minutes Genre: Horror/Thriller Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround English 2.0 Surround Subtitles: none Film Rating: U.S. SRP: $19.98 Release Date: July 25, 2006. Film Rating: / Scare Factor: / Starring: Danielle Harris (Jamie Lloyd), Wendy Kaplan (Tina Williams), Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis), Matthew Walker (Spitz), Ellie Cornell (Rachel Carruthers), Beau Starr (Sheriff Ben Meeker), Jeffrey Landman (Billy Hill) Written by: Michael Jacobs, Dominique Othenin-Girard & Shem Bitterman Directed by: Dominique Othenin-Girard Michael lives, and this time they’re ready! The blade shines bright in the light. It’s long and very sharp and the handler knows exactly what to do with it. It cuts deep inside tearing all of the outsides away. The tip of the knife jabs into the skin and the blood begins to ooze. The pain is unbelievable as the victim clutches the wound tightly and soon realizes it’s not the end… This is not a description of the film, but the event leading up to my viewing of Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. I was tearing off the plastic protective wrapping of this DVD with a knife. In my eagerness I was careless and stabbed my finger really good causing my blood to ooze all over my Halloween 5 DVD case. How fitting, I thought. I must be in for a good film while feeling the pain. …and I certainly was… [that was a true story] Bringing Michael Myers back to the screen proved to be a hit with Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers despite its lacklustre script and production. The response by the filmmakers was to make fifth film with a whole new crew even though many of the actors stayed the same and the storyline was continued immediately where the film was left off. Is Halloween 5 an improvement over Halloween 4? You bet!! The basic storyline doesn’t change: after everyone though Michael Myers was gone forever, one year later (on Halloween of course) he is still pursuing his niece Jamie and intends to kill. Jamie is still running, Dr. Loomis is still trying to convince the cops not to let the murders and the madness happen again, and people die. What is different with this film is the way the characters are set up, the pacing, and the way the action and horror is displayed on screen. Jamie, who is traumatized and is now in a psychiatric home for stabbing her stepmother in the previous film, now has a telepathic bond with Michael Myers. She knows when he begins his pursuit, she knows when and who he is going to kill. The demand on Danielle Harris for her part as this little girl increases dramatically both physically, mentally, and emotionally – and she pulls it off flawlessly. Her acting has improved dramatically from the last film, but admittedly there are less dialogue moments with her and other actors. The pacing of the film’s scares is also good; there is lead and development before each scare and the film also gives a feeling of entrapment and claustrophobia with the laundry chute sequence. What really shines is Robert Draper’s cinematography and this alone makes this film a much much better film than the previous one. It’s fast paced, creates and sense of rush and emergency, and also contains many interesting camera shots that make this film a better thriller. In fact, I’m not so sure I’d call this film a horror film – I mean it is horror to an extent, but to me it is much more of a thriller and a very effective one too. But this film isn’t without its flaws too. Donald Pleasence returns again as Dr. Loomis, but his character is very tired by now and he comes across as a persistent senile old man who is just in the way of everyone. He could have easily repeated all of his lines from Halloween 4 and no one would have ever known. There are no new developments to his character. Again, he claims to know the only way to kill Michael Myers – it didn’t work the last three times so I’m not so sure why he’s certain now…still, we shall see. I was also disappointed with the character of Rachel; her character turned from a sharp-minded girl in Halloween 4 to a murder victim who prances around naked or in her underwear before the her final moments. I thought, “did she really die?” because she disappeared until the end of the film. Unfortunately that was the case, and it was a shame because I thought it would have been good for the characters of Jamie and Rachel to be matched up again. Instead, she dies and we don't mourn it like so many other horror movie murder victims. Anchor Bay released this title in 2000 but it has now been upgraded one more time to special edition status with a DiviMax HD transfer. VIDEO QUALITY / This new DiviMax Edition (Anchor Bay’s terminology for transferring film to high-definition before down-rezing it to DVD) is much better than Halloween 4’s. There is a little bit of film grain and not enough to be distracting. Contrast is excellent like the other title but what makes this film a little more different is its use of colour. It is a more colourful film; on Halloween night in the children’s hospital there are bright red and green lights that cast the light on the characters. The detail is excellent and a very good sense of depth is displayed on my large screen. The same kind of compression artefacts are visible on this release as it is on Halloween 4 but to a lesser degree. Again, I don’t have the previous DVD release to compare. There is an odd effect that happens once in a while – it looks like we are looking at the characters through glass and we can see their reflections on it. Take a look at the outside of Dr. Loomis around the 11-minute mark or the left side young man’s face at 59.10; be sure to look “in the air” outside of the character. You will see a “ghost” in full colour of that character in this area. Those are just two moments in the film that I can point you to but there are many more. It’s a strange effect and wonder why this is. It’s not the typical ghosting we see on other DVDs and that is commonly referred to. It’s weird, and if anyone has an explanation about this I’d love to hear it. …and please, no jokes about it being a horror movie The aspect ratio looks correctly framed at 1.85:1 and is widescreen enhanced. What is missing from this DVD is the version to fill 4:3 televisions. That’s fine by me because with DiviMax that isn’t the intended market. AUDIO QUALITY / Like Halloween 4, the original soundtrack for Halloween 5 was Ultra Stereo. Both a 5.1 remix as well as a 2.0 surround option is available here. I reviewed the 5.1 Dolby Digital decoding and the results aren’t much better than what I experienced on Halloween 4. Firstly, dialogue has improved a bit more and offers more environmental integration. There is some occasional distortion with it, and some of it seems to be taken right off the set. The music soundtrack is more expansive and wraps around into the surrounds a little more. More instruments are used for the music, mainly guitar to give it the rock & roll sound to describe the female lead’s personality. Bass is also a bit more present in this film in the front channels while LFE stays quiet most of the time. TACTILE FUN!! / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON Ok…even though the LFE is almost non-responsive to the actions on screen, there are a few scare moments that have a little bit of bass with it. While you probably won’t feel it from your subwoofer, using the tactile transducer made the “jump” a little more effective. Therefore I’d leave your transducer turned on for this film. SPECIAL FEATURES / A new audio commentary was recorded for this DVD. Actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman speak with director Dominique Othenin-Girard. I highly recommend listening to this commentary, not because of the information, but I just think Halloween fans will enjoy the discussions because the three of them are such a pleasure to listen to. That’s my opinion! Two 4:3 featurettes are included (but framed properly when your DVD player is set for widescreen televisions). The new featurette On the Set of Halloween 5 (7m15s) is strictly behind-the-scenes footage put together to give a bit of insight to what happened on the sets. From the previous DVD release, viewers will still get the Inside Halloween 5 featurette that includes interviews with the cast and crew (some shared with a featurette on the Halloween 4 DVD. It also includes a cut scene and some behind the scenes footage. It would have been nice if some of the violent shots that were cut so the film didn't receive an X-rating were provided as an extra as extended scenes...that's now added to my wish list. The film’s theatrical trailer as well as trailers for Halloween, Halloween 4 and the Masters of Horror Collection are included all in anamorphic widescreen (they look like hell, though). IN THE END… Fans deserved this much better film after watching parts 4 & 5. I’m surprised that the actors appear to prefer Halloween 4 more (as told in the H25 featurette on the Halloween 4 disc. I disagree with them and I think this is a much better thriller because of a more creative crew behind the camera. It was still painful to watch – not content-wise but because of my finger. Given the fact that I cut my finger with a knife when I opened the DVD wrapper, I was surprised to see the knife-slashing opening credit sequence for this film. That was too weird. Maybe Michael Myers is trying to communicate with me too… Michael Osadciw July 10, 2006.