Halloween 4 and 5 on Blu-ray

Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:11

The cover for the Halloween 4 Blu-rayGet ready to don your William Shatner masks and carve up your pumpkins, because Anchor Bay have released fantastic new Blu-ray editions of “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” and “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers”. Relive the horrors of Haddonfield, Illinois like you have never seen them before, in sparklingly clear high definition. The unstoppable butcher is back in business!

Donald Pleasance (“The Great Escape”, “You Only Live Twice”) returns to the slasher series as the increasingly loopy Dr Loomis, a man as driven to put an end to Myers’ killing spree as Myers himself is compelled by sheer hatred and evil to slaughter all in his path. Danielle Harris (“The Last Boy Scout”) plays Jamie, Michael’s eight-year-old niece, and Ellie Cornell (“Free Enterprise”) is Rachel, Jamie’s teenage foster-sister.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SOME PLOT SPOILERS

Those familiar with “Halloween” and “Halloween 2” will know exactly what to expect from the fourth instalment as it represents a continuation of the tried and tested formula, and is actually pretty close to those movies in quality. The potent mystique of Michael Myers is retained, and the silent, unknowable, stalking psycho successfully scares the socks off the viewer from start to finish.

Myers, like Jason Voorhees from the “Friday The 13th” series, is a true icon of horror cinema, and “Halloween 4” does not devalue his persona. The boiler-suited freak is reminiscent of the Terminator in his persistence, resilience and unblinking pursuit of his prey, which ultimately is Jamie, by way of a dozen or more unfortunate folk who get it in the neck, torso or head!

Director Dwight H Little (Prison Break, Bones) utilises all the tropes of the genre to successfully maintain the scary atmosphere, including plenty of smoke and fog, billowing curtains, torrential storms and doors that appear to open of their own accord. He is aided by Alan Howarth’s creepy score that also reminds us just how great John Carpenter’s theme tune is!

Halloween 5 comes to Blu-rayEssentially, “Halloween 4” is a case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’, which is unfortunately more than can be said for “Halloween 5”. Set one year on from the events of the previous instalment, the makers see fit to introduce some new elements that are sadly detrimental to the movie rather than give it a new lease of life. It is not a complete disaster but number five is definitely the weaker of the two, and perhaps the weakest of the entire series.

Firstly, Jamie, a survivor from part four, gains some kind of telepathic or psychic link to Myers, such that she can sense his presence and indeed tell when he is about to kill somebody. It is a story device that has certainly worked in other movies (for example “The Eyes of Laura Mars”), but in this case it becomes quite annoying at the hands of a shrieking, crying child who is unable to speak for most of the story. Harris is one of the better actors in both instalments, but the requirement for her to be either in spasms or mental distress for most of the movie is wearing and tedious.

Secondly, Myers stops becoming the terrifying, shadowy figure and appears to gain too much guile and intelligence. The former tsunami of terror starts to pick and choose his victims and their time of death much more selectively, toying with them and becoming a bit more like a regular serial killer, and less of a supernatural force. There are also too many false alarms, making the action frustrating rather than scary.

The characters in part five are less likeable than in the previous film, so whilst you want them to die, director Dominique Othenin-Girard (“Omen IV: The Awakening”) strings their deaths out far too much. These movies are supposed to be about gory gratification, and “Halloween 5” does not deliver enough of it in my view.

Pleasance’s performance is strangely strained and off-key, and he seems a shadow of his former self. Loomis’ increasingly manic hunt for Myers is entertaining, but the actor does not put in as commanding a performance as in the previous entries.

Special features included in “Halloween 4” are:

  • Discussion panel covering parts 4 and 5 (amateur interview footage from a screening)
  • Commentary track featuring the director and author
  • Commentary track featuring actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris
  • Trailer

 

Special features included in “Halloween 5” are:

  • Featurette: On the set
  • Original Promo
  • Commentary track featuring actor Don Shanks (Michael Myers) and the author
  • Commentary track featuring the director and actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman

 

The commentary tracks provide plenty of insight into the movies, making up for the rather light-weight video content. Best of all, though, both “Halloween 4” and “Halloween 5” look tremendous in their new high-def guises, with fine detail, bold colours and excellent clarity throughout. Fans will surely lap these releases up, especially at the bargain price of £9.99 each. Now if only they would release parts two and three on Blu-ray in the UK as well!

“Halloween 4” (1988) and “Halloween 5” (1989) are out now, courtesy of Anchor Bay. The main features have respective running times of 84 and 96 minutes approx, carry an ‘18’ certificate and retail for £9.99 each on Blu-ray, or less from www.culttvstore.com

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 October 2012 09:17

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