Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Written by Alan B. McElroy
Directed by Dwight H. Little

Dr. Sam Loomis...Donald Pleasance
Jamie Lloyd...Danielle Harris
Rachel Carruthers...Ellie Cornell
Michael Myers...George P. Wilbur

It's been ten years since the events of Halloween 1 and 2, and Michael Myers (who somehow survived the explosion at the finale of the previous entry) has been imprisoned at the Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium, a bandaged invalid cared for by the doctors there but watched over by the untrusting eye of Dr. Loomis (who also somehow survived the explosion). The federal government, geniuses that they are, decide to transfer Michael back to Smith's Grove...on October 30th, of all days.

A few murders and a car crash later, Michael Myers is in route back to Haddonfield to find the last surviving member of his bloodline. No, not Laurie Strode--she died in some unspecified manner not too long ago--but Laurie's daughter Jamie...Michael's niece, who has been taken in by the Carruthers family.

Having been both in a vegetative state and out of the public eye for a decade, Michael had to somewhat reinvent himself here. Initially found with his face countenance completely obscured by bandages--his cocoon, one might say--as soon as he learns of the existence of his niece, he emerges from his vegetative state with new wings.

That's right. I compared Michael Myers to a butterfly.

He once again kills a mechanic for his coveralls in a nod to the original film, and steals a new version of his trademark mask from the local drugstore.

Speaking of the mask, something seems a little off about it here. I can't place my finger on it, but it seems somehow stiffer. More of a prop than a second skin. But maybe it's just me.

On a side note, how dumb can the people of Haddonfield be? It's not bad enough that nobody ever believes Dr. Loomis when he says Michael is back until it's too late; but don't you think they would stop selling the Michael Myers mask by now? How many innocent people need to be killed by accident before they're pulled off the shelf!?

True enough, the "psychic link" (or whatever) that Jamie initially seems to share with her uncle is never really explored or explained, and is practically dropped as soon as it's introduced. And sure, the local yokel lynch mob that Loomis helps to incite doesn't really do ad much as it seems like they should. And yes, Michael Myers has lost a great deal of his mystique and has turned into something of a Jason Voorhees clone.

But so what? We all knew going in that this wasn't going to be the classic that the original was. Nothing will be.

I, for one, was thrilled to see the return of Michael Myers after the affront-to-the-franchise that was Halloween III. I know this entry doesn't top anyone's list, but I thoroughly enjoyed it for what it was: a slasher flick in the classic vein.

Rated R
88 Minutes
United States

"Jesus ain't got nothin' to do with this place."

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