Years ago Michael Myers escaped from a mental institution to torment his sister Laurie but was stopped in his tracks by his doctor Sam Loomis. Now, after spending some time strapped down to a hospital bed, Myers is ready to begin his reign of terror once again, only this time his target is his niece Jaimie, the youngest surviving member of the Myers family.
I once got really depressed about getting dumped by an ex and slept for nearly a week; I literally didn’t get out of bed for seven days while I got over the loss. She was a really sweet undead girl who did a great job of hiding her rot and I loved her. We did all kinds of things together. Went on an eating spree, shopped for Cover-All products, and even spent time patching up each other’s damages. I was devastated and I almost didn’t get over the loss; if it wasn’t for a friend who reminded me that consuming human flesh was way better than dating, I probably would have stayed in that bed for years. As it was I only lay there a week before I got back to eating my way through humanity one meatsack at a time. Why the sob story before a review? Well, Michael Myers in this flick has been shot in both eyes, blown up, and lay strapped down to a hospital gurney for years before he got back to his old mischievous ways. I’m undead, if I don’t move my muscles just grow stiff but they get back to normal by just moving around for a bit. With a living human, not moving around for just a few months leads to muscle atrophy and a complete loss of mobility, yet Myers goes on a killing rampage after laying in a hospital gurney for years. I’m all for suspense of disbelief but come on, that’s just a little much.
Our fourth installment of the series begins on October 30, 1988. Michael Myers, after somehow surviving what happened to him at the end of Part 2, is being transported back to Smith’s Grove from Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium via ambulance. On the way to his destination Myers overhears a conversation stating that his sister, Laurie Strode, gave birth to a little girl, Jamie, before poor Laurie died in a car accident. Where Jamie’s dad is no one knows but for now the young girl has been placed with a foster family. The news of a new relative causes Michael to violently react and kill everyone in the ambulance before crashing the vehicle into a river. The setting shifts over to young Jamie having a nightmare about Myers despite having never seen him before. This is supposed to foreshadow the connection the two somehow share (something that will never be fully explained). The next day (Halloween), Jamie’s adopted sister is upset about having to watch the young girl on Halloween night, but she’s not the only person fuming over an unwanted situation. Miles away, a furious Doctor Loomis is yelling at the chief resident of Ridgemont about Myers’ transfer when they both receive the unpleasant news that the mass murderer has escaped and is on the loose once again. Loomis takes a trip to the scene of the accident and immediately knows what he must do, he must track Myers down and stop his path of destruction once again. As Myers heads to his old stomping grounds with Loomis hot on his tail, the town of Haddonfield begins to celebrate its most worrying holiday and young Jamie awaits a family reunion she may not survive.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers sees the Halloween series veer away from its more creepy and atmospheric origins and turn more toward basic slasher standards. I’m not saying that it doesn’t have its spooky moments, it’s just that for the most part everything is focused on Michael Myers killing as many people as he can. I know the other movies were about him killing anyone that stood in his way but they didn’t focus on that; the first two flicks were more about the eerie and unnerving ambiance that came from Myers’ quest to kill his last living relative. By this point it’s all about the carnage of Michael Myers’ rampage. I’m not saying it makes the movie horrible, just more common than its predecessors.
The story is actually fairly enjoyable…for the most part, and they did a good job of figuring out a way to bring Myers back into the story…for the most part. It takes a lot to overlook what happened to Myers at the end of the second flick as I’ve already mentioned, but if you can, the story isn’t bad. It’s true that he sat in a hospital bed for years after the second flick ended but before the events of the first film he hadn’t really moved much for 15 years either so that one ought to be easier to ignore…somewhat easier anyways. As you can tell with the beginning tirade, it’ll bug you at times regardless. The biggest part is getting past the whole shot in the face (through both eyes no less) and then being blown up thing. It’s not easy to do and no matter how hard you try, you will find yourself still going “How the fuck did he even see that?” but I’d recommend just giving this one up to the magic of the horror gods and Hollywood money and moving on because if you can do that, the story isn’t too bad. They even throw in people from the first couple of flicks in small doses so it feels more like a complete story.
The effects aren’t too bad, but haven’t seemed to improve as much as I would have liked them to over the years. There is definitely some brutal ways people are taken out but not a lot of imagination put into them and very little is shown. Speaking of very little shown, there are a high number of “unknown” deaths for this one. Each movie has had one or two people that were just found dead, but this flick has a low estimate of seven. I say low estimate because I think more than that died off camera but I’m only going by bodies shown. A whole police station is taken out at one point in the movie, but they only show it after the devastation is over. I’m sure there were more people killed but they only show two dead officers so that’s all I can count. There are five other instances where bodies are just found. One of the most enjoyable part of watching a slasher flick is watching the killer murder people in various ways but out of sixteen deaths seven are done off camera. Major complaint in my book.
Where this film really shines is in the acting. Newcomer, at least at this point, Danielle Harris does wonderful as Laurie Strode’s daughter Jamie, and I thought her performance was excellent. Ellie Cornell as Jamie’s foster sister did a great job as well. I don’t think anyone played their part poorly, even the actors whose only job was to die do so with some real talent. Last but not least Donald Pleasence is, of course, once again wonderful. His performance as Doctor Loomis just gets better and better as the films move on (even though considering he was in the room when Myers blew up at the end of Part 2, he should probably be dead as well). Still, I’m glad that once they decided to bring back Big Bad Mike they decided to bring back Loomis as well and managed to get Pleasence to resume his role as I don’t think anyone else could ever replace him (I’m looking right at you Malcolm McDowell…again). In fact, I’m starting to think he’s more important to this series than Myers. There is once specific scene at the end of the film that really shows what an amazing actor he is. After Myers is stopped yet again (come on, like you didn’t know that was going to happen) Jaime has become so emotionally disturbed that she (look away if you don’t want this minor bit spoiled even though it’s in the first scene of the next film) stabs her foster mother multiple times. When Loomis hears the woman scream he comes running to the foot of the stairs only to see Jamie standing at the top of the stairs, knife in hand, covered in blood, and wearing the same costume young Michael wore when he made his first kill. Loomis screams in desperation and tries to shoot her. It’s an amazing scene and is only so because of Pleasence’s performance. You can really see the hopelessness and despair in the man’s face as he is confronted by his biggest failure starting all over again. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s probably one of the greatest scenes in the entire series.
All in all, this isn’t the greatest flick but it is worth watching if you’re trying to go through the Halloween series. You won’t be majorly impressed but I think you’ll enjoy it.
The Undead Review
Michael Myers’ Kill Count:
Skull Destroyed: 2
Unknown: 7 (8 Series Total)
Pole Impalement: 1
Face Torn Off: 1
Shotgun Impalement: 1
Thrown from Vehicle: 1
Stabbed: 2 (6 Series Total)
Myers Total Kills This Film: 16
Myers Total Kills: 30
Directed By: Dwight H. Little (Blood Stone, Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid)
Starring: Donald Pleasence (Halloween 1, 2, 4, 5, and 6, The Great Escape, Escape from New York), Danielle Harris (Stakeland, The Last Boy Scout, Urban Legend), Ellie Cornell (Room 6, House of the Dead), and George P. Wilbur as The Shape (Stunts on various films)
Written By: Dhani Lipsius, Larry Ratner (Horseplayer, Genuine Risk), Benjamin Ruffner, and Alan B. McElroy (Wrong Turn, Spawn)
Released By: Trancas International Films, Galaxy International Releasing, and Anchor Bay Films
Release Type: Theatrical
Release Year: 1988
MPAA Rating: Rated R
Rotten Heads: Three Out of Five Heads