Thursday, October 11, 2012

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 5/5
Creepiness 3/5

After the commercial failure of part III (which has become a favorite among many genre fans, including yours truly), the news of a part 4 was met with feelings of immediate failure. Especially so when considering that the slasher genre was on its way out by the time it was released. But it performed fairly well at the box office even though it seems to be a mixed bag for many critics. For me, it's one of the best in the series and for my money, one of the best horror sequels of all-time.

Ten years after the events in parts 1 and 2, Mikey Myers is in the process of being transferred to another psychiatric care clinic. He happens to overhear word that he has a niece who happens to be living with her aunt and uncle in good ol' Haddonfield. Of course, the transfer doesn't go as planned and Michael makes his way back for some sweet revenge.

Laurie Strode's offspring, Jamie, is a sweet girl who's haunted by dreams and visions of a psychopath uncle whom she's never met. The family who's brought her in has been as much of a family to her as they possibly can but she yearns for the feelings that can only be satisfied by the love and care of blood relatives.

Enter Michael who has anything but sympathetic feelings or the need to bond with this little girl. He only sees red and is hellbent on killing Laurie's brood and leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

What makes this installment so intriguing, is the fact that Jamie survives the ordeal but becomes the heir apparent to Michael. She becomes the opposite of who she was at the beginning and takes up the psychopath of the family mantle. It seems like her visions were more of portend of what was to come than a series of nightmarish episodes.

Unfortunately, the rest of the series went downhill from here. But this installment stands tall with parts I and II. Check this one out if you haven't done so already. It's great Halloween viewing.

Cortez the Killer


Jack Thursby said...

Yeah Halloween 4 isn't too bad a film. Especially considering how terrible part 5, 6 and 8 are. Dwight Little's direction is very good. The opening credits are particularly well done.

It's interesting to note that both this film and Friday the 13th part 4 both played with the idea of a child taking over the killer's identity. Here it's Jamie, while in Friday 4 it was Tommy Jarvis.

It's a shame that neither followed through with the idea as I think it could have been an interesting new direction.

Planet of Terror said...

Jack, my sentiments exactly. Both series dropped the ball by not exploring this idea (or at least they didn't very well). Even Halloween 5 basically made it out to be a footnote, revealing that Rachel didn't kill her step mom only severely injured her. I wonder if it was due to the taboo nature of the child killer and filmmakers shying away from further exploration in subsequent installments?

Emily said...

4 is definitely better than it could have been. Danielle Harris was and still is awesome, and it's a shame the series didn't continue with the darker story.

MarkusWelby1 said...

I do have fond memories of this one. Of course none of the sequels were "necessary" but I guess if you have to have least have them be decent and this one was. Plus I can never get enough of the Donald.

Anonymous said...

Jamie is Danielles character Rachel is her older adopted sister :)

Planet of Terror said...

@Emily, indeed, 'tis a shame it didn't. Talk about missing the boat.

@Markus, Donald was the man, in all of these films. Especially so in this one with that rad scar he got as a result of the fire in part II.

@Anon, bah! You're right you mysterious corrector of errors! Corrected and noted. Thank you.

P.S. I really need an editor sometimes.

Alan Ryker said...

This is my second favorite of the original series. My third favorite is probably 7. They're the ones where Michael Myers is pure. I can't stand it when he gets clever with his slashing.

Doug Brunell said...

Part III was pretty darn good, and parts of it were filmed near my house. It's rare when an American horror film goes after kids in such a fashion.