Written by: Matt Molgaard
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris
One of the most interesting aspects of Dwight H. Little’s Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, is that the film is riddled with script hiccups, detail disorientation, and very loose ties to the previous movies in the franchise… and yet it still manages to do an excellent job of entertaining viewers. If you spend much time lingering around the site, you may know that the first strength in a film that I personally seek out is pure entertainment value. I want to have fun while watching a film, no matter how flawed it may be. And truth be told, I still have a blast watching the fourth film in the Halloween franchise, which sees Michael Myers return after a single installment that completely eliminated the character, instead delivering a storyline whose only relation to the franchise as a whole is the title and the date in which the story is centered.
Just to bring anyone who hasn’t seen this particular installment up to speed, Michael once more escapes supervised custody. This time he leaves the bulk of the driving to paramedics and hospital personnel, but he brutalizes his way through those transferring him from one facility to another. After some flashes of ultraviolence Myers eventually makes his return to Haddonfield, and this time he isn’t targeting Laurie Strode, but her daughter – his niece – Jamie Lloyd.
But Jamie Lloyd is just a child. Michael couldn’t possibly intend to slaughter a 10-year old girl, could he? Yes and no. Throughout the film we get the very distinct impression that Myers does indeed plan on eviscerating a small child. But the final twist of the picture, which punches viewers in the chest as just seconds remain in the runtime, would indicate that perhaps Myers’ intention was to – somehow – pass on his homicidal tendencies to the young lady, thus spreading the familial history of serial killer terror.
Sure, the idea behind the movie is a little goofy, but there has always been something very supernatural and unexplainable about the masked murderer and somehow that alters the unintentional comedic tone. He’s essentially a fart in the wind until it’s time to slaughter a scantily clad teenager, then he morphs into a mammoth man with a paralyzing mask, and a strength unknown to all men.
But, back to the details of the flick… the story itself just doesn’t take enough risks to really turn heads. Virtually every taut scene begins to wilt immediately, and we either spot a sudden slaughter, or fall right into the pothole situated in the road, reserved for the uninspired who feel not only helpless, but at times mortified.
Halloween 4 isn’t a frightening picture. But from a technical stance it’s a pretty polished film that looks absolutely stellar on Blu-ray. It also succeeds in really turning the Halloween season into a believable backdrop.
Michael Myers doesn’t sport the most impressive mask we’ve seen, but the character itself is as menacing and intimidating as he’s ever been. The perfect suburban town makes for more of that powerful emphasis we place on misguided faith in a civilized man. Saying that… I retract that sentence about Halloween 4 not being a frightening picture. It is a frightening picture, it’s just frightening for reasons you may not expect.
Through all of the sketchy elements of the flick, it still manages to be fun. Myers is ruthless, even though a few of his kills are off-screen deaths, they work, and the introduction of Danielle Harris’ character Jamie Lloyd created a different wrinkle to the film, and would ultimately go on to produce some interesting moments from a colorful character that’s managed to surface in a number of Halloween flicks. Although the character we see in both of Rob Zombie’s movies are not the same character from this film.
Beyond the clearly visible mishaps there’s a fun to be had here. And that fun comes when you queue up the film having never seen it before. It’s still got a fine blend of 80s nostalgia with a level of animalistic cruelty to accompany the oddly contemporary feel the movie delivers. Talk about an interesting amalgamation of insanity!