Any long-term run of success will have a valley or two hidden amongst the glorious peaks. After all, Babe Ruth’s Yankees didn’t win every World Series. I’ve already mentioned how Cade and I relish the fact that horror movie sequels were a ubiquitous feature of the 1980’s movie landscape*. Unfortunately, when expediency is favored over quality (a natural happenstance when a sequel is released twelve months after the entry that preceded it) you end up with Halloween 5 on your hands. I suppose this is to be expected. After three stellar films (four when you count the Myers-less Halloween 3 featuring the Man’s Man known as Tom Atkins) the Halloween franchise was bound to eventually slide into one of those valleys. And slide it did. With apologies to Donald Pleasance and Danielle Harris, whose efforts deserved better, grab your trick-or-treating bags and follow The Doctor as I reluctantly trudge back to Haddonfield for Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers. Maybe if we knock on enough doors, we will find the household that is handing out airplane mini-bottles of Bombay Gin. If you pour one into a glass containing ice and a piece of candy corn, you will have a Gin Corny. Don’t go anywhere, I’m just getting started. Hey, get back here!**
THE FILM – HALLOWEEN 5 (1989)
Oh boy, here we go. Let us start with an epic newsflash: Michael Myers, once again, is not dead. This is of course a necessary leap of faith for the fans of Halloween and Friday the 13th. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are unkillable. Halloween 5 does not deserve demerits for showing Michael surviving a baker’s dozen of shotgun shells and a long fall into a condemned well. It deserves demerits for almost everything that happens afterward. Michael is swept down the rapids of a rushing creek before finally dragging himself ashore next to a dilapidated shanty where an old hermit lives in solitude with his pet parrot, Snooky. There Michael falls on a cot and lies in repose for one calendar year. Okay, I suppose nothing is terribly troublesome at this point. After all, we have to start somewhere. Halloween 4 kicked ass and we are on the hook for what follows.
What follows is a meandering narrative with poor pacing and bad acting, Pleasance and Harris excluded. Harris reprises her role (for the second and last time, unfortunately) as Jamie, Michael’s young niece. Jamie has been rendered mute since the events of Part 4 and is living in a children’s psychiatric institution. She has developed a telepathic bond with her mass-murdering uncle and now goes into violent seizures whenever Michael is about to kill. Whatever. The eleven-year-old Harris was gamely up for the challenge, but in my opinion, it was a senseless development. Up until that point in the Halloween universe there hadn’t been a supernatural element to Myers. This was always part of his charm – er, uh, I mean it was always part of what ultimately made him so terrifying. There is no turning back from the moment when this construct of Myers is introduced, and Halloween 5 (and all of us) are the worse for it.
Donald Pleasance heroically injects what he can into the proceedings, but the character as it was written for Part 5 was beyond nonsensical. Dr. Loomis is now barely one or two winged creatures short of the battiest bell tower in Eastern Romania. He was prepared to shoot Jamie in the final scene of Part 4 before his gun was wrestled away by Sheriff Meeker, so it is entirely unrealistic that he would have any access to Jamie ever again. However, instead of Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium – one gets the feeling that his office was surreptitiously cleaned out months earlier – Loomis has inexplicably taken up residence in the children’s hospital, where at any moment the already traumatized children can look up from a color-by-numbers session to see the burned visage of Loomis leering at them from outside their classroom like a goblin from some twisted fairy tale. Jesus Christ, and pass the Thorazine.
Unlike every previous installment in the Halloween series, there isn’t much more to say about the performances in Part 5. Ellie Cornell and Beau Starr return all too briefly in their respective roles as Rachel Carruthers and Sheriff Meeker, and it’s quite possible that much of their best work was mistakenly left on a cutting room floor. Otherwise we are left with some cliched – if not downright annoying – teenagers/young adults whose long-term health no one could give a shit about. We also have a pair of intentionally dimwitted Haddonfield cops who bumble around and come equipped with their own bells-and-whistles circus music soundtrack. On my recent re-watching of Part 5 I came to the realization that I do not blame the two actors – Frankie Como and Troy Evans – who play the cops. I think that they did what they were told to do, and probably with screen direction and lines that were written that morning on a grease-stained Denny’s napkin. Over the years I became so increasingly disaffected with this movie that I failed to be fair with maybe one or two elements. The delivery by Como and Evans isn’t bad; rather, it is the inclusion of these characters in the story that should be derided. The roles should have never been created in the first place. The Doctor read somewhere that the comic relief of these two ding-dongs was an homage to the incompetent, small town cops from the original Last House on the Left***. I suppose anything is possible. There is no way to prove or disprove such a claim but considering that Halloween 5 appears to have been literally made up as it went along, I’d have to lean towards calling Bullshit on any sort of intentional Last House tribute. That sounds like a desperate grasp at revisionist film history.
I wish I could say that was the creative nadir of Halloween 5, but lies are unbecoming where a man of science is concerned. No, the low watermark would be the introduction of the mysterious “Man In Black” and his steel-spurred cowboy boots, who shows up in Haddonfield disemabarking from a greyhound bus and shadows Michael’s movements until the film’s confusing conclusion. What in the blazing hell? Actually, Why in the blazing hell? The Man In Black made no sense in 1989, it made no sense in the years in between, and it makes not a modicum of fucking sense now. Like I said earlier, once the supernatural construct of Myers was introduced, the original Halloween story and continuity went down a path that it would, in truth, never fully recover from. The introduction of the Man In Black – and whatever he is supposed to represent in Halloween 5 – was a categorical mistake. I consider myself openminded, but I won’t hear any arguments to the contrary, and neither will Cade. It was a ham-fisted attempt to save a wreck of a film, and it failed miserably, both on its own and as part of the overall context.
At 95 minutes of running time, Halloween 5 seems like a long, drawn out affair, even though it is only seven minutes longer than Halloween 4. This is because Part 4 was a tightly made and acted movie, whereas Part 5 was atrociously written and conceived. It cannot be overstated that the writing and pacing of Part 5 are what ultimately serve to condemn the movie.
Like most horror sequels, Halloween 5 ends on an ambiguous cliffhanger. Unlike most horror sequels, six years would pass before the next installment, placing us halfway through the new decade before Michael Myers returned to the silver screen in 1995. Halloween 5 is only for DIEHARD fans of the series, and even we don’t like it. Cade and I would not be the professionals that we are, however, if we failed to include our thoughts on this entry in our retrospective on the Halloween universe. I’d warn everyone to steer clear, but the background might be necessary in order to fully enjoy Halloween 6: The Curse Of Michael Myers, which Cade and The Doctor will discuss in the near future. Let us just state that things do get better. Happy Trick or Treating.
* Sticking to just the eighties, the Halloween franchise was somewhat reservist based on the standards of the day; there were only four total Halloween films released between 1981-1989. Contrast that with five Nightmare on Elm Street movies released between 1984-1989 and a whopping eight Friday the 13th movies released from 1980-1989. There were no Children of the Corn sequels in the eighties, but that franchise made up for lost time in the next decade with six films released between 1992-2001. On and on I could blather, but I am sure that someone else who is much more interested in documenting this then I am has already done so.
** The Doctor’s favorite Halloween candy, hands down, are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Although the days of the sexually charged “You stuck your chocolate in my peanut butter!” commercials have sadly long since passed, the Cups are still delicious. They don’t even require gin, which is the ultimate compliment coming from me. And peanut butter is a protein-rich, healthy snack. Don’t worry about the milk chocolate coating, you can’t have everything, dammit, isn’t that the theme of this review? Sorry, I didn’t mean to get animated. I blame my outburst on having to watch Halloween 5.
*** For a truly inspired movie that actually does pay homage to Wes Craven’s The Last House On The Left, watch Matt A. Cade’s feature horror film Underbelly starring everyone’s favorite Doctor. Click here it’s free!
THE CIGAR – LIGA PRIVADA NASTY FRITAS by DREW ESTATE
When I first had the idea of reviewing all of the Halloween film entries leading up to the most recent release this October, I planned on pairing each movie The Doctor reviews with a premium cigar that for whatever reason struck a chord with me as far as connecting to each individual movie. It could be a faint tie-in at best, but it would be personal and the pairing would make sense TO ME as a lifelong devotee of the Halloween series. That’s all that mattered as far as my thought process. As we began this jump into the mythological world of Haddonfield, I soon realized that this would be a perfect time to discuss and review some Drew Estate cigars that we had acquired throughout 2018 on our many adventures working for DE on the road doing various video and editing work for the company. So I will be reviewing a Drew Estate cigar within each of these initial posts (I imagine that I’ll be mixing in some non-DE offerings down the line but we shall see… there are no rules) AND I will be breaking TNCC tradition by rating each cigar as I go along. Why? Because it’s Halloween, my favorite time of year, and I’m the boss so I can do what I want. I hope you enjoy these posts as much as we are going to enjoy sharing them with you.
So I’m watching the Sunday Night NFL game of the Houston Texans VS the Dallas Cowboys as I smoke the newly released Liga Privada Nasty Fritas cigar. I lived in Houston for nearly a decade so I really want to root for the Texans but their head coach seems like a total dickbag so I just can’t get behind them no matter how hard I try. It reminds me very much of Halloween 5 in that I love Donald Pleasance and Danielle Harris, they both play characters that I desperately care about, but I just can’t get behind a film that won’t get behind itself. It’s a terrible entry, by the definitions above it’s a very NASTY entry, and it’s the second to worst film by far in the entire series.
Much like the Houston Texans inaugural season back in 2002, I had such high hopes for Halloween 5. I called the 1-900 number shown above (sadly it wouldn’t be the last 1-900 number I called under the cover of darkness, much to my poor mother’s chagrin), I read the Fangoria articles over and over ad nauseam, and when opening day finally arrived I was ready goddamit! And then, much like Texans rookie quarterback David Carr getting sacked a record 76 times that year, my hopes and dreams were brutally sacked by a hack director and a script seemingly written by a room full of drunk monkeys.
I could go on and on about this cinematic turd but The Doctor captured my thoughts rather completely so I’ll just leave it at that. Hopefully tonight’s cigar fairs far better… and I’m fairly confident that it will. I lit up my first Nasty Frigas in Las Vegas this past summer at the IPCPR trade show and I really enjoyed it. But, with all cigar lines, consistency is key so let’s set fire to this baby and see if she sinks or swims!
Size: 4 x 52
Wrapper: Connecticut broadleaf Oscuro
Binder: Brazilian Mata Fina
Filler: Nicaraguan and Honduran
The Nasty Fritas are the new sibling to Drew Estate’s Papas Fritas cigars and they are similar in that they both incorporate leftover tobacco from the manufacturing of the Liga Privada No 9 and Liga Privada T52 lines. The Nasty Fritas features a twisted cap and a closed foot so there’s obviously going to be zero hints of anything but blocked air on the cold draw. There is, however, a faint aroma of hay and barnyard when sniffing the medium brown wrapper.
Chocolate and dark roast coffee immediately flood your palate upon torching the foot. There’s a little pepper through the nose but it’s overshadowed by a creamy vanilla note. Once that closed foot burns away, the chocolate disappears along with it leaving you with only rich coffee and delicious cream. Poor baby. Maybe we should start a GoFundMe campaign to get your precious chocolate flavors back wah wah wah… oh boy, I’m so sorry folks. Watching Halloween 5 really put me in a sour fucking mood and I’m taking it out on you. It won’t happen again.
I barely clipped the cap and the cigar is drawing like a dream and the burn line is pretty damn straight. Due to the placement of the band you’re forced to remove it early but it slides off effortlessly. My internationally recognized cigar expert senses tell me that the chocolate might just pick again in the second half due to the unique shape of this cigar (a conical vitola) but we shall see…
The solid ash drops right around the halfway point. Soon after, the creaminess fades away leaving the bold coffee note all by its lonesome. Actually that’s not entirely true, as a subtle hint of pencil shavings emerges and it remains throughout the duration of the cigar. Oh and my spidey senses betrayed me – the chocolate does not reappear. But I’m not complaining, the Nasty Fritas is a tasty short smoke with flawless construction and at a great price point.
I’ve smoked the hell out of the original Papas Fritas line and I see myself smoking just as many, if not more, of the Nasty Fritas. Unlike Halloween 5, this cigar delivers as promised and actually lives up to its brand name. And the Texans beat the Cowboys 19-16 in overtime, so congrats Coach Dickbag!