Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

“You talk about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago.”

The Scoop: 1988 R, directed by Dwight H. Little Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris

Tagline: Ten Years Ago HE Changed The Face Of Halloween. Tonight HE’S BACK!

Summary Capsule: 10 years after his first murderous Halloween night, Michael breaks out for more nighttime madness

Kyle’s Rating: This is the true sequel to Halloween. Clearly 4 follows 1, just as mathematics teaches us, right? Right!?! Answer me!!!

Kyle’s Review: To me, the Halloween films are possibly the coolest horror series ever, because whereas the Friday the 13ths and Nightmare on Elm Streets are ultimately slasher goop (yep, “goop,” that’s no typo), the Halloween movies are slasher goop with some true creativity and thoughtfulness thrown in. Well, not really. They’re all trash, aren’t they? But still, I love it! I love it all! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Actually, lots of people who deign to consider these things regard the Halloween series as one of the lesser series, due to an excellent first film and needless sequels rapidly declining in quality (in their opinion). They kinda have a point, I must admit. Halloween kicks ass, no about about it. H2 is a lame continuation of that night, exemplary only in its powerhouse ending. H3 (Season of the Witch) is unrelated to the other films, and I’ve never seen it. H4 totally diminishes H2’s ending, but is a pretty solid installment so it’s okay. H5 is ass, no doubt about it. H6 exists in 2 versions, the theatrical version and the ultra-rare producer’s cut, and the theatrical version is pretty whack (though Paul Rudd is good) so try to avoid that one. H7 (H20) ignores 3-6 and is okay for a post-Scream teen-slasher, though only Jamie Lee Curtis saves it from the heap. If you want the essential and most satisfying Halloween experience, watch the great Halloween, fast forward to the good last 15 minutes of H2, take a bathroom break, then finish the night with the entertaining H4. Then go to sleep and have groovy nightmares! Yeah, baby!

Let me bring you up to speed for H4. In Halloween, 6-year-old Michael Myers killed his sister then went catatonic, emerging 15 years later to attack Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends on Halloween night. Only Michael’s obsessed doctor, Sam Loomis (the wonderful Donald Pleasence), knew that Michael was on the rampage and had to be stopped and managed to save Laurie at the end of H1. In H2 Laurie spends the rest of the night in a hospital while Loomis searches for the seemingly unkillable Michael and finds out that Laurie is Michael’s sister, which explains Michael’s spree. H2 ends with Loomis blowing up himself and Michael to save Laurie, who is then free to go on and live a life of religious fulfillment. It’s all over! Go home, folks!

Oh, wait, here’s H4 saying not so fast. Turns out Loomis just got slightly burned and hobbled and Michael survived the blast as well, though he’s been in a coma for 10 years. Michael has nothing to do, since Laurie died in a car accident while he was sleeping. But wait, Laurie had a daughter before she died, maybe killing his niece is enough to bring Michael out of his coma. Yep, it is, and once again Michael tears and rips his way to and through Haddonfield (in a new and crappier mask) to reach his niece with Dr. Loomis hot on his trail yet also one step ahead of him, both men willing to do whatever it takes to reach their goals. Michael is really really mad after 10 years in a coma but if Jamie can last long enough then perhaps a team effort from state troopers and drunken rednecks can finally end the threat of Michael Myers. Too bad it’s true about history repeating . . .

H4 is just slasher trash, but great performances (especially the fabulous Pleasence) and fairly clever characters (nobody does any overtly stupid stuff, which makes them clever for horror characters in my book) elevate it to slasher goodness. Pleasence is just awesome and he makes the nearly-psychotic Loomis one of the coolest doctors ever. Michael looks dumb in his new mask (there’s no Shatner factor!) but makes up for it in the relentless and brutal departments (giving special attention to the fragileness of necks and skulls). He is really angry and unlike H1 he doesn’t mind people seeing him, since in a few minutes he’s going to be spearing them to the walls. There is a fast pace and the general feeling that everyone is at risk, which ups the ante in suspense and dread. H4 is a solid well-devised film with cool settings (including a satisfying reason for everyone being trapped together in a big house) and cool scenes (when Loomis and the sheriff first see Michael [or do they?] is really cool stuff). That rooftop chase scene is madness! If you’ve got the time and iron stomach for the Halloween experience, H4 should be your last stop, and what a note to end your viewing night on! Happy trick-or-treat-or-viewing!

Somehow a kid in a clown costume is scarier.

Intermission!

  • An opening scene showing Loomis (Donald Pleasence) being rescued after the ending of Halloween II was shot but never finished. In the scene, Loomis tried to stop firemen from extinguishing Michael Myers, shouting “Let him burn!”
  • Michael’s new mask sucks. No wonder he’s so pissed in this movie. But at least they show him get it and give him an excuse. But jeepers, you’d think a town that had a massacre by a masked madman, no matter how much time has past, would not stock the same kind of mask he wore! Good work, Haddonfield Food & Drug!
  • Michael’s eyes were shot out by a gun in Halloween II, but now they seem to have healed up completely.

Groovy Quotes

Jack Sayer: You’re huntin’ it, ain’t ya? Yeah, you’re huntin’ it alright, just like me!
Dr. Samuel Loomis: What are you hunting, Mr. Sayer?
Jack Sayer: Apocalypse, End of the World, Armageddon. It always has a face and a name. I’ve been huntin’ the bastard for 30 years, give or take. Came real close a time or two. Too damn close! You can’t kill damnation, Mister. It don’t die like a man dies!

Dr. Samuel Loomis: You talk about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago.

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1 Comment

  1. Pingback: SCREAM QUEEN OF THE MONTH-OCTOBER 2012-DANIELLE HARRIS « Written in Blood

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