Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Film Appreciation - Haddonfield: Part II

Jay Burleson braves the streets of Haddonfield, Illinois for a three part, reverse order Film Appreciation look at the Halloween franchise.

Part II covers the Jamie Lloyd trilogy.


This film comes so close to being a great entry into the Halloween series, but ultimately ends up being just so-so. It feels more like a Halloween movie than H20 or Resurrection and even manages to show us a grown-up Tommy Doyle (one of the kids from the original Halloween) and reintroduce the Strode family and Myers house while just simply recapturing the feel of Haddonfield that Halloween 5 did lack.

The problem is that the film does itself in by way of a ridiculous answer to Michael's madness: he's overseen by a cult of lunatics and appears on Halloween only because a constellation (which is tattooed on his wrist) appears in the sky. It could be worded to sound better, but that's basically the plot of Curse of Michael Myers in a nutshell. It's laughable.

This would be the last appearance of Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis, as he passed away shortly after completing the film. I absolutely adore Pleasence in this film. Loomis has aged and is much calmer than in 4 or 5, and Pleasence absolutely nails his delivery on basically every line. He comes across as a nice old man, which could never be said about any other version of Dr. Loomis, especially the insane maniac from Halloween 5.

This film would've been a lot better if Thorn was erased, the Tommy Doyle angle was explored better, and Danielle Harris returned as Jamie Lloyd and was still the main heroine. The lead female in this one is not interesting to me at all, and her friends aren't exciting in any form or fashion. This film with Danielle Harris as a grown-up Jamie and no Thorn would've most likely been a huge success.

On a personal level, I can remember being on a road trip as a child and seeing a theater marquee advertising Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers. I told my parents that we had to stop and watch the film, an idea that my mom immediately shut down. Some time later I arrived at one of our local mom and pop video stores and was quite shocked to see Curse of Michael Myers sitting on the shelves. Unfortunately for me, it was checked out, and I had to wait another day before seeing it. This was a big day in my life as I was also getting a new dog. I feverishly awaited the arrival of my new pup and the chance to go back to the video store. The following day turned out to be a huge success as both things went off without a hitch.

HALLOWEEN 5 (1989)

If anyone doesn't know how much of a crush I have on Halloween 5, then I suggest you read my defense of it from last year. I'll sum up the feeling here to keep things detailed.

I don't have any personal memories attached to this one other than renting it over and over again from the local video stores as a child. It came out when I was only two years old and I didn't discover any Halloween films until I was 5 or 6.

Halloween 5 has much more of a European look than the previous films in the series, and long gone are the overly-done blue gels on basically every night time lighting set-up. This film takes a few liberties with the story, turning the Myers house into a gothic style mansion, and introducing the elements that end up becoming "Thorn" in Halloween 6. The best parts are an even crazier Dr. Loomis, and a strong but mostly silent performance from Danielle Harris as Jamie Lloyd. The beauty of Tamara Glynn doesn't hurt either.

The story is simple as the film takes places one year after the events of Halloween 4. Michael Myers returns and kills a bunch of people, and I personally think his mask looks pretty cool. Definitely cooler than the mask they used in --


This film is very similar to the first Halloween, and was a conscious decision to return the series to the roots of the original after Halloween III: Season of the Witch did not feature Michael Myers.

Halloween 4 isn't bad, but for whatever reason it has never been a favorite of mine. It definitely has the most outright '80s feel and features all the great elements that make a good entry into the franchise: Michael Myers in Haddonfield, likeable victims for him to prey on, and a strong performance from Donald Pleasence as Dr. Loomis. The screenwriter enabled a way for Michael Myers to shut off the power in Haddonfield which made for some great dark house settings for our main characters to inhabit. The music, all by Alan Howarth (the man behind the scores of all the films in this portion of the franchise) is quite good and Danielle Harris makes her first appearance in the series as Jamie Lloyd.

There are also some really great atmospheric setups, such as the opening credits playing over shots of Halloween decorations in the countryside outside of Haddonfield, and the opening sequence of Myers being transferred from Smith's Grove in the pouring rain.

The big hang-up for me is the mask. In my opinion, it is hands down the worst mask of any Halloween film. H20 has another slightly strange or off mask, but if you applied that mask to Halloween 4, this baby would feel a lot more complete.

I will conclude this series in my next Film Appreciation article. I had intended to finish all of this off in October, but I've been way too busy. I also missed out on a chance to see the re-release of the original Halloween, which would've been great for writing about that one. I do have something very special planned for finishing this out, though. By the end of the next entry, you will see a trailer for a Halloween film that no one has ever seen before. Shot by yours truly! Stay tuned.

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