Stuff I Watch in October: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

halloween 4

Happy October and welcome! All 31 days this month, I will be reviewing all the films I watch in the month of October. They’re mostly a selection of horror or suspense films in my own library or films and shows that have been recommended to me.

Please enjoy and leave a comment!

And if you missed any of our past reflections, take a look:

The Phantom of the Opera (1925)
Psycho (1960)
The Haunting (1963)
It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966)
The Other (1972)
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
Young Frankenstein (1974)
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
Halloween (1978)
Alien (1979)
The Shining (1980)
Halloween II (1981)
The Evil Dead (1981)
Halloween III – Season of the Witch (1982)
Ghostbusters (1984)
Teen Wolf (1985)
Aliens (1986)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Predator (1987)
The Monster Squad (1987)
The Witches of Eastwick (1987)
The Lost Boys (1987)
Evil Dead II: Dead By Dawn (1987)

Our next film is…

WATCHING: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

halloween 4

DIRECTOR: Dwight H. Little, who went on to direct the terrible “Phantom of the Opera” remake in 1989. Then he did “Free Willy 2”. He was mostly a television director and had more success doing that than making films.

WHAT IS IT?: After we got the silly “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, sans Michael Myers, we got Michael Myers back!

THE PLOT: “Halloween 4″ opens with a subdued montage of shots of the Illinois backwoods which is the calm before the storm.

Following that, the film brings its audience up to speed: Michael Myers isn’t dead. He’s been a Federal prisoner in a Federal hospital for the last decade after he was nearly killed in that blast in “Halloween II”. Also, Dr. Loomis survived that blast. So he’s around, returning to his role of bossing the cops around and telling them how they should do their jobs.

Laurie Strode is gone having been “killed in a car wreck”. She has a daughter here named Jamie who has visions of Michael Myers attempting to kill her in hyper-kinetic pseudo-dream sequences. And, of course, Michael learns about Jamie and wants to kill her.

halloween 4

WHAT DID CRITICS THINK?: They hated it, naturally. The New York Times was upset that Michael Myers went from being a bogeyman of sorts to becoming completely supernatural and unkillable, while The Washington Post thought the lack of fear and scares was a major flaw. For some reason, there are modern critics who adore this film after “re-examination”.

WHAT DID I THINK?: Well…it’s not terrible.

Director Dwight H. Little (“Murder at 1600” & the Robert Englund version of “Phantom of the Opera”) does his best to make this a decent thriller and had some challenges. The guy playing Myers wasn’t as imposing and had to wear hockey pads to make himself look more imposing. The original Myers mask was gone so they had to buy a new, cheaper one that makes Myers look somewhat less threatening..

The one thing which holds the film together is young actress Danielle Harris who is insanely convincing as Jamie Lloyd. You care about her from the beginning of the film and Ellie Cornell makes a sympathetic sister-figure for her as Rachel even though one does miss the presence of Jamie Lee Curtis as the adult female lead.

The main problem I have with this movie is that, by now, Myers has been turned into something of an inhuman zombie, incapable of being killed, hurt, or even knocked silly unless you’re knocking him off of a roof, outright hitting him with a car, or taking shotgun round after shotgun round from the local police — and, even then, he’s getting up.

Still…”Halloween 4″ is not as disjointed as “Halloween II” and actually keeps the main character in focus.

GRADE: C+

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