Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (1988)








DIRECTOR: Dwight H. Little

WRITERS:

Benjamin Ruffner
Dhani Lipsius
Larry Rattner
Alan B. McElroy

CAST:

Donald Pleasence
Danielle Harris
Ellie Cornell
George P. Wilbur
Sasha Jenson
Beau Starr
Kathleen Kinmont
Michael Pataki

PLOT:

Ten years after the horrific events that took place in Haddonfield. Michael Myers who has been in a coma while he was institutionalised. When he is being transported from one institution to another, he awakens when he overhears that he has a seven-year-old niece and kills everyone that is transporting him. Michael Myers has now escaped and on the loose. He is heading back to Haddonfield to finally finish what he started a decade ago. Little does he realise that Dr Loomis also survived the hospital explosion and he's on the hunt to stop Michael Myers once and for all.







In my review for Halloween III: Season Of The Witch. I stated that one of my biggest issues with the film is that it just didn't feel like a Halloween film. Being slapped with the Halloween namesake is a bit of a letdown when you discover that it has nothing to do with the first two Halloween films. So after finally viewing Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers, I was excited to see the return of 'The Shape' and sadly, this fourth entry in the franchise is just a complete mess. Gone is everything that made the first two and even the wildly bonkers third entry so enjoyable.

The movie begins with our reintroduction of Michael Myers. After the critical mauling of Halloween III: Season Of The Witch, they decided to bring back the character and continue with a less interesting entry into the Halloween franchise. So it appears that after John Carpenter and Debra Hill sold their rights to this new producer Moustapha Akkad, it's like this series lost all its life and energy. Halloween 4 may be the return of Michael Myers, but when following in the footsteps of two very enjoyable films before it, this falls woefully short.

Halloween 4 brings back Donald Pleasence as Dr Loomis. Somehow this doctor is as indestructible as Michael Myers, himself. After blowing himself up in Halloween II, he has managed to come out of this raging inferno with only scarring to his arm and one side of his face. Also, Michael Myers is alive and well and can still see out of both eyes after they were shot and burnt out of his skull. It doesn't take long for Michael Myers to escape and head straight back to Haddonfield so the cycle of killing can continue. It's Halloween night, and Michael will plunge the town of Haddonfield into complete darkness once more.

In Halloween 4, the way that they've continued the Laurie Strode and Michael Myers story is one of the most annoying aspects of the movie for me. They've killed Laurie Strode off by saying that she was killed in a car crash. It's an extremely weak end for such an awesome character. We will later learn in H20 that Laurie Strode is alive and this never happened. In that time though, she conveniently gave birth to a girl named Jamie who is now with a foster family. This creates two completely separate timelines in the franchise. I think for me, Halloween 4 is where we see the real decline.

With the exception of Dr Loomis, every single character in this film is simply terrible. This includes Danielle Harris in her debut film role as Jamie Lloyd. While I thought of some of the characters in the original Halloween as somewhat disposable, they are highly likeable by comparison to the new Laurie Strode replacement. We also have a teenage girl named Rachel who is clearly chucked in to replace the void filled by an absent Jamie Lee Curtis. She sadly doesn't hold a candle to Jamie Lee Curtis as an actress or the Laurie Strode character.

Some of the elements of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers that worked for me was the ending of the film. Even though it felt like a TV series finale cliffhanger, it was a pretty dark and bleak way to end the film. I also think Halloween 4 delivers the most intelligent moment out of the first four Halloween films yet. A scene where four vigilante rednecks are on the hunt for Michael Myers, and they choose to hop in their truck and rescue Jamie and Rachel instead of acting gung-ho and storming a school to stop their target. They even say that they will leave it up to the state troopers. I thought this was easily the smartest thing in the film.

When it comes to the gore and bloodshed in Halloween 4, I thought I may have seen a cut version of the film. It felt like a lot of the death scenes were edited in a way that they were cut just before a lot of the violence takes place. The entire movie feels very edited for television. I think overall, the film feels more in line with a TV movie, not a theatrical release. Reading the trivia for this film explains that they had to bring in an effects guy for one day who added more gore to the film. Only two scenes in the film really look brutal. A great scene involving a thumb through the skull and someone's jaw being ripped open. The rest is poorly edited.

Lastly, I want to bring up some of the moments that I found pretty cheesy. There is a scene where Michael Myers climbs onto the back of a moving pick-up truck and starts stabbing people. It feels like a scene out of an action movie and not a Halloween film. It feels out of place to me. I also have to bring up the fact that characters are killed off and never brought up again. This is a lot of aftermath and not enough on camera carnage. I sadly think the change in story and characters is really felt and hurts the series more than it helps it.








DEATH TOLL: 18

BLOOD AND GORE:

- A nurse has his head repeatedly smashed into a wall.
- Michael Myers rams his thumb through someone's skull.
- Two rednecks are stabbed with a kitchen knife.
- A man is accidentally shot dead by a group of rednecks.
- Michael Myers is repeatedly shot by a group of police officers.
- A redneck has his jaw completely ripped off.
- A construction worker is thrown into an electrical power station.
- A woman is heard screaming and believe to have been killed with scissors.
- A redneck is thrown off the side of a moving truck.
- A man's skull and neck are crushed.
- Someone finds a police officer dead.
- A female officer is found dead with her arm sliced off.
- An ambulance is found in a river soaked in blood.
- Five ambulance workers are believed to have been killed.
- A woman has a shotgun rammed through her stomach.
- A woman's body is found in a gas station.
- A mechanic has a crowbar rammed through his stomach.







Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers may bring back 'The Shape', but this feels like a completely neutered version of him. While the writers and director do their very best in continuing with the whole Laurie Strode story without her, her not being there is really felt. With minimal suspense, tension and gore and some seriously cheesy and out of place moments, this is the first time I've felt like a Halloween film really misses the mark. It's dragged down by unlikeable characters and an almost TV movie sort of quality. The elements that I enjoyed about the movie were the bleak ending, Donald Pleasence and a couple of great uses of makeup effects. Other than that, I wasn't buying what they were selling.

2 comments:

  1. I liked this one.I didn't love it but I enjoyed seeing Myers come back once again.I did think that there were a few ropey moments in this.I thought that the posse looking for Myers was a bit lame.I found the killing off of Laurie was an awful plot mistake as she is integral to the story of Halloween.I liked that Loomis was brought back even if it was hard to believe that he was still in one piece after the second film.The kills were decent enought but the part when he threw the guys off of the truck was a bit silly.I did like it overall despite its flaws.Great review!!

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  2. Thanks for reading and commenting on the review Amanda. Even re-watching this one again quite recently, I still just don't love the whole Jamie Lloyd trilogy. Much prefer the series when it returns to H20.

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