(Release Date: October 21, 1988)
Executive Producer Moustapha Akkad spent a butt load of money to reclaim the rights to this series from Universal and ol' Dino's production company, and he got this, the fourth flick, released to coincide with the Tenth Anniversary of the release of Halloween (give or take four days). This film shares more than just that with the original Halloween. Like the original, this one was distributed by an independent company (albeit a different one). Also like the original... The Plot!
Writer Alan B. McElroy reaches back to the roots of the franchise here, not just with the imagery, but the themes and sequences of the original as well. It turns out that after the events of Halloween II, Laurie Strode had a kid whom she, appropriately, named Jamie. While it's strongly suggested that Laurie is every bit as dead as NBC's Coupling, we all know she's working as a telephone operator in Santa Mira, California.
But back in Haddonfield, Illinois, Jamie (played by young Danielle Harris, who is pretty much excellent) is brooding over her mother's loss (the only glimpse we get of Jamie Lee Curtis is a black and white photograph) and having nightmares about her uncle. And you know who that is, right? Yeah, ya do! Michael "The Shape" Myers (George P. Wilbur). I mean, you did read the title, right?
What follows is as familiar as Mary-Kate's face is to Ashley. Back in the home for the criminally insane Michael Myers is comatose (turns out that after the events of Halloween II, he was only MOSTLY dead) and just waiting to spring into evil action. Much to the chagrin of the ever stoic (but now badly scarred) Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald "There's something about that Guy" Pleasence), Uncle "Evil on Two Legs" is transferred by a couple of Douche-Bag Bureaucrats and on Halloween Day 1988, no less. The concept of Two and Two equaling Four springs to mind, then falls away.
Seeing as how the Mikenator spent the last seven years recovering from severe burns, he no longer looks like Tony Moran. You want to know who he looks like? Freddy Krueger! So, naturally, he wants to get back into a Devil's Rain mask as soon as possible, grab a knife and a Cable Guy's Coverall and start acting like a mother fucker.
From that point on, Michael is hunting his last surviving family member (Jamie) and Loomis is hunting his worst ever patient (Mikey). The cops get involved, some teenagers get interrupted during "play time" and a bunch of unsuspecting silly creatures get slashed, stabbed and scratched to death, uh-Blah-Blah-Blah, Yackity Schmackity!
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a definite improvement over the previous entry into the "Series", not only in the return to form, but in the acting as well. Harris transcends her youth in this film to deliver a very fine performance as Jamie, and she evokes some interesting memories of Will Sandin in her cute little Clown costume. Ellie Cornell is also pretty darned good as Rachel Carruthers, Jamie's protector and foster sister. However, so much of the rest of the film feels like a rehash of the first that we're left with less a feeling of "Roots" than "Copy/ Paste". Some inane lines follow the sub-plot of horny teenagers getting together to play Doctor, and once we get into the actual hotness, in the form of Kathleen Kinmont's Kelly Meeker, the camera seems almost adamant about not showing us her huge, yet perfectly formed breasts. Don't get me wrong, the shots of her in a Thong and Bra are nothing short of inspirational, but that peek make me beg for an eye-full. But then, eye-fulls are what she's generous with in other flicks.
The special effects transcend the 2.5 million dollar budget to be sure and the original music by Alan Howarth compliments John Carpenter's original creepy theme pretty darned well. Further, the interesting Myers action (though now standard) in the last half can be pretty scary. The foreshadowing of Jamie's nightmares adds an interesting new dimension to the original Laurie stalking, seeing as how she knows it's coming. The finale is satisfying, if ludicrous, culminating in an appropriate, yet predictable ending that is equal parts Halloween Part One and Indiana Jones. Make no mistake, this is a fun little slasher film, but it's far from the original, groundbreaking mastery of the first, or even second film.
The return to form is appreciated and pretty darned cool, but ultimately feels like a movie we've already seen. In this respect, Halloween is almost a victim of its own success. So many "unofficial sequels" have been made to Halloween (and the second official sequel was no sequel at all) that by the time another true sequel rolls around, we've seen Jason and Freddy do it, and all the assholes who copied Jason, Freddy and Michael about eight hundred million times. Two and One Half Stars out of Five for Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Incidentally, while it was seven full years (in real life, ten in continuity time) since we last saw Myers before Return, Michael Myers "Returned" less than 12 months after this film for the fifth installment The Revenge of Michael Myers. I guess you can't keep a good man down... unless you let smilin' Mr. Rob Straker direct his next filmed entry... Man, we'd be feelin' crunchy then, wouldn't we? See you in the next Trick-or-Treatin' reel.
|What's New?||Alphabetical Listing of Reviews!||SearchThisSite:||Advertise With Us!||About...||Lynx Links:||F*A*Q|