HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS is one of the best of the series and an enjoyable action/horror film.
Having stalled after HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, the series returned in a big way six years later with a new mythology that would turn into a trilogy of films at the heart of the Michael Myers mythos.
At the center of the film is the preteen Jamie (Danielle Harris), who as it turns out is the daughter of Laurie Strode. Both Laurie and her husband perished in car accident years before and Jamie has been adopted. Her new sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) is her rock, but Rachel is much older and doesn’t have much time for her adoptive sister even though she cares and sympathizes with her.
Having miraculously survived being blown up at the end of HALLOWEEN II, Michael Myers has been in a coma. Things are about to change when he’s being transferred to another hospital without Dr. Loomis’ (Donald Pleasance) permission or knowledge.
It turns out that Michael has been biding his time and he escapes and heads back to Haddonfield for some unfinished business. He missed out on killing Laurie so his niece Jamie will have to be a substitute for his inner rage.
If the original was a product of the late 70s than Part 4 is definitely one of the late 80s. Everything is turned up to 11 including the action and violence.
Dwight D. Little does a great job with the direction and keeps the film moving at a steady pace, ramping up the tempo and tension as it moves toward its inevitable climax. The film looks great and contains an amped up version of the iconic music this time handled by longtime Carpenter collaborator Allan Howarth.
One of the reasons I have a soft spot in my heart for this film is that unlike most slasher films where the main characters are ludicrously isolated from help or just make dumb decisions, the characters in HALLOWEEN 4 seem to be in the moment. The police are actively involved and take the threat of Michael’s return very seriously and even the town puts together a posse to hunt him down. To me this heightens the suspense because if Michael can circumvent all these obstacles to achieve his goals than he in turn, becomes a force to be reckoned with.
Many may not agree with my assessment of this chapter of the HALLOWEEN Franchise and if it helps you sleep at night, I’ll notch the film up as a guilty pleasure. But with that said, it’s a pretty darn solid horror movie and is not only respectful to the fans of the franchise but to the genre as well.