- BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region A Locked
- 1080p/AVC MPEG-4
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- Audio Commentary
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Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (Blu-ray)
Starz/Anchor Bay / 1989 / 98 Minutes / Rated R
Street Date: August 21, 2012
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Reviewed by M. Enois Duarte
Thursday, August 16, 2012
If your audience can't sit still in silence long enough to be scared, then your movie has some serious problems. I'm not implying I use this approach as a proper gauge for the quality of everything I watch, but it plays a major role for sure. I'm also not referring to those times when you lean over to the person sitting next to you in the darkened theater and whisper how cool or scary a scene is just as it occurs. Hopefully, you do that with someone you know because it happened to me once with some dude who forgot his friend was sitting to the left of him, not the right. It made for an awkward viewing the rest of the movie, the title of which I've altogether forgotten, but I still remember the interruption clearly. Weird. I'm talking about simply sitting there and enjoying the movie in peace, not cracking remarks at the screen out of boredom or talking about what you did that day.
Unfortunately, that's precisely what happens when watching 'Halloween 5.' Not the part of some dude whispering over my left shoulder in the privacy of my own home. That would be freaking terrifying, a million times worse than Michael Myers doing essentially a repeat of part four — turning around to find no one there and thinking you must be going crazy. It'd be something straight out of one the 'Paranormal Activity' movies. Come to think of it, I've been meaning to try out that cool trick with a camera mounted on an oscillating fan. We keep hearing bizarre noises really late into the night and can't figure out if it's the dog or some ghostly presence. Then again, the house is from the 1930s, so it could just be the normal creaks and groans of an aging structure.
Any-hoo, back to a movie about Myers chasing after little Jamie (Danielle Harris), who is now serving time in a children's psychiatric hospital for attacking her foster mother. The trauma from the last movie has suddenly turned her into a mute (or perhaps taking part in this fourth sequel has rendered her so) and communicates through violent spasms which only Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance) and a stuttering pirate boy Billy (Jeffrey Landman) are able to decipher. Once Myers awakes from his year-long beauty nap, the movie quickly returns to its comfort zone of the "Shape" standing in the distance as if no one would notice and his slow-menacing walks which always seem faster than running. Even when driving a beautiful '68 Camaro RS convertible, Myers is still slower while mowing down old-man Peabody's pine-tree farm, yet manages to gun it at the last second to wrap the car around a tree, which explodes on impact.
But don't worry, Myers is able to walk away from the wreck unscathed. That's the genius of a script by Michael Jacobs (I can't figure out if he's the same guy who also worked on 'My Two Dads' and 'Boy Meets World'). If it is, then that should give you a general idea of how effective the movie is at scaring you silly. Director Dominique Othenin-Girard, who made his American debut with 'Halloween 5' but has mostly disappeared from making anything remotely worth noting after the TV movie 'Omen IV: The Awakening,' also took part in fine-tuning Jacobs's screenplay. About the only thing they bring to the franchise that's of any interest is in expanding the Samhain and the occult angle first hinted at by Loomis in 'Halloween II,' and also makes a possible connection to 'Halloween III.' All we see, however, are tattoos of a Druid rune and blacks boots, but still.
What bugs me the most is the filmmakers' treatment of the wonderful Loomis character, like he's some kind of old, crazy kook rambling on about evil but everyone tolerates him nonetheless. I understand the events of the previous stories have taken their toll upon his psyche and Mr. Pleasance, of course, plays the part with convincing charm, but it also ruins his character somewhat, taking away a bit of what we've come to love of the doctor. He's now a disturbingly fanatical loon pushing his assertive frustrations upon Jamie. With a subtitle that tries to make the movie seem more menacing than it really is, 'Halloween 5' is a lame treat for the spookiest season of the year but edible nonetheless after eating all the good stuff. The biggest challenge of the whole thing is figuring out how Mike (Jonathan Chapin) heard Tina (Wendy Kaplan) call his name from really far away while driving along the road at high speed. I'm still scratching my head on that one.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
Starz and Anchor Bay Entertainment bring 'Halloween 5' to Blu-ray on a Region A locked, BD50 disc inside a blue eco-vortex keepcase. At startup, the disc goes straight a regular menu selection with full-motion clips and music.
'Halloween 5' stalks Blu-ray with a slightly better 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode than part four. The picture is a clear improvement over its standard-def counterpart, most apparently during daylight exteriors. Fine object and textural details are crisp and sharp with lots of bold primaries everywhere. Facial complexions appear healthy and revealing. Overall definition is generally strong with some slight wavering and a few blurry shots throughout, and highlights tend to be a tad overblown, causing posterization in some spots. Contrast is mostly steady though, and black levels are well-balanced with many nice, deep shadows. A natural grain structure is always present, giving the transfer a nice film-like quality, making this a rather pleasant video presentation.
The audio presentation, on the other hand, makes a great impression with a wide and engaging soundstage. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack exhibits excellent clarity in the mid-range, keeping gunshots, explosions and the music fairly distinct. Channel separation is well-balanced and particularly appreciable as some of the off-screen effects move between the front speakers seamlessly and convincingly. Low bass doesn't pack a significant punch, but it's there nonetheless to provide a bit of weight to the action. Dialogue reproduction is clean and intelligible, yet often somewhat distant and hollow. Some of the ADR work is the chief offender, but a few of the conversations are also guilty of the weird anomaly. Although it fails to create a strong immersive experience, rear activity offers a few good moments of discrete ambiance.
Much of the same stuff from previous DVD releases, but missing the "Inside Halloween 5" featurette of the DiviMax.
- Audio Commentary — Stars Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landham, who played Billy, have a mildly amusing conversation with director Dominique Othenin-Girard, accidentally named Don Shanks on the back of the packaging. This isn't a bad commentary as it's quite active and full of interesting information, but it's also not all that engaging. Nonetheless, their chat offers several good anecdotes of being on set, working together and providing a nice perspective of what the filmmakers were trying to achieve.
- Halloween 5: On the Set (SD, 16 min) — Although ten minutes longer than what's seen on the DVD, this is still the same VHS recording of interviews with Wendy Kaplan and Beau Starr talking about their characters, careers and the plot. Plenty of BTS footage of the after-party sequence makes for a decent watch.
- Halloween 5: Original Promo (SD, 6 min) — A vintage EPK piece with interviews of cast & crew discussing their characters and the plot.
- Trailer (SD) — A TV promo finishes the set of bonuses.
Like in 'Halloween 4,' this Blu-ray edition comes with one high-def exclusive which will attract some of the hardcore fans.
- Audio Commentary — Although wrongly labeled on the back of the packaging, this commentary track actually features Don Shanks, who played Michael Myers, not the movie's director Dominique Othenin-Girard. Author Justin Beahm of Halloweenmovies.com interviews the stunt performer/sometime actor about his performance and the preparation for getting into character. Sharing plenty of great memories of being on set and the work that went into making the movie, the conversation is great listen and fans should be genuinely satisfied.
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With a new director and writer contributing their ideas to the Michael Myers mythos, 'Halloween 5' arrives with a less than satisfying storyline about a mute Jamie with a telepathic connection to her murderous uncle. The fourth sequel plants the seeds for expanding Myer's rampage with the occult, and Pleasance, as always, is a pleasure, but the movie is ultimately one of the weaker installment to the franchise. The Blu-ray arrives with an improved but not very impressive picture quality and a much better audio presentation. The same bonus features are carried over from the DVD, but this Blu-ray edition offers one high-def exclusive that's sure entice the hardcore fans.
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