I Was Wrong: Jerry Gives HALLOWEEN 5's Tina a Fair Shake
It's a strange thing, time. You spend so much of your life either loving or hating something, and without realizing it, you change. Whether it's your film preferences (I used to be a fan of everything AND the kitchen sink gore-fests and the more shocking the better, but these days, I have zero interest in films like A Serbian Film or Nekromantik) or just yourself in general, it's a given that we all change. Quite recently, something so shocking happened, that it sent my entire film-watching world into a frenzy. I found myself defending a character that I had previously spent every day since 1989 despising. It's odd how those things work, right, Ghastly Grinners? Like I previously said,...we change. So, in that spirit, I am happy to put that silly venom I spewed for so long regarding said character away and tell y'all about why I think HALLOWEEN 5's Tina is a very underrated and under-appreciated character. Have your tomatoes ready.
It all happened late one evening when my lovely wife and I were in the middle of our franchise marathons. Alexandra, my better half, had only previously watched the first films in most of the great horror series, so I made it my mission to show her all of the Friday the 13th, A Nightmare on Elm Street and my personal favorites, the Halloween series. It was awesome to revisit each film with an individual who had a fresh set of eyes to see each film. She noticed things I hadn't and had opinions that were quite different than mine, which I loved.
While knee-deep in the Halloween marathon, we set up our projector, made sure the screen was level (I hate spending so much time doing so, but I'm uptight about things being just right) and turned on the sound system, because, Ghastly Grinners, it was time for one of my FAVORITE sequels to John Carpenter's flawless 1978 film, it was time for Dominique Othenin-Girard's Halloween 5. Easily the scariest film in the series after Carpenter's original, Halloween 5 gave fans a film that I've always said is 70% absolutely terrifying and 30% bat-shit insane. Sure, we were given bumbling cops with weird sound effects, a mysterious man in black that served no purpose in the film aside from breaking The Shape out of jail with a machine gun (WTF)...and don't give me that H6 cult of thorn nonsense, the filmmakers behind H5 didn't even know where they were going with the man in black, we were given some ODD choices. What we were also given though, is a slasher film that had heavy giallo elements to it, brought back The Shape into being more of a stalker and in the shadows and some of the most terrifying moments in the entire series. With Halloween 5, we were also given a character that had zero bullshit to go with her, the loud, bossy and way out there Tina (Wendy Kaplan). Halloween 4 had Ellie Cornell's Rachel character being the protector of Jamie, H5 gave us a more complex protagonist with Tina.
What makes Tina such a great character is exactly what I spent years hating her for. In a film full of brooding, morose characters, Tina is full of energy and life and seizes EVERY single opportunity to be the life of the party. I found myself complaining about Tina to my wife and her response was one that caused me to step back and re-evaluate my feelings about a character I spent so much hating with a passion. "Why are you so bothered by her, Dahlia (our daughter) has quite literally the same exact personality."...and she was right. My daughter is a 0-60 at all times, bouncing off the walls and loud as all hell kind of human and it's never bothered me once. I think Dahlia's personality is quite charming actually.
Once that was said, I realized that I hadn't given Tina a fair shake and watched the rest of the film with a fresh outlook, which led to me seeing certain moments and actions in a different way than I had previously seen. While a lightning bolt of energy and yeah, Tina can be a bit much at times, what Kaplan did so well with her portrayal, is giving Halloween 5’s viewers a character that starts off somewhat selfish and only thinking of herself and the idea of a big party and slowly evolves her into someone who, without a single ounce of hesitation, puts herself and her life on the line, ultimately being killed by Myers, just so Jamie can escape. Tina is only frustratingly anxious the entire film because she's terrified as well. Her friends had a masked murdered come after them the previous year and now, that same murderer is stalking her and her other friends as well, and it all leads back to Jamie. That scares Tina and she leaves various situations because she's afraid to face the terror that will inevitably be right in front of her as well. That's a very human way to think and we'd all be lying if we said we wouldn't do the same. Maybe I spent so long despising the character of Tina because I didn't want to admit that I'd react the same way. While the Rachel character in Halloween 4 spent the majority of her time running away from the Shape, Tina changes it around when Jamie needs it and literally runs into danger to save Jamie and Grinners, I find that to be a very noble way to go out. Tina died, saving a little girl that was of no relation to her, a girl that had brought horror to Haddonfield and a girl who Tina had zero responsibility for. Tina faced the terror when it mattered and we should all give that character the respect she deserves for that.
So, Tina, I'm sorry for hating you for so long. You kicked ass when it mattered the most and I give you props for that. I will say this though: I will NEVER accept the "bup-buh-duh" dance. Ever.