Director: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P. Wilbur, Michael Pataki
Ten years ago HE changed the face of Halloween. Tonight HE’S BACK!
It’s been ten years since Michael Myers where trying to kill his sister Laurie Strode on Halloween. He has been in a coma or trance ever since and has now woken up and is yet again out for blood. Laurie has died in a car accident, but he has learned that she had a daughter before she died and he is now after the 8-year old Jamie Lloyd.
Jamie Lloyd is living in Haddonfield with a foster family and she is having problems with bad dreams about a guy in a mask that are coming after her. Her older stepsister Rachel is going to be her babysitter on Halloween and they are going trick or treating. Dr. Loomis arrives in the small town again and tries to work with the local police to find Michael Myers before he is able to get ahold of new victims.
After the disappointing result of Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, producer Moustapha Akkad wanted to bring Michael Myers back on the silver screen. This also meant that John Carpenter and Debra Hill would not be involved in the series anymore. The decisions were understandable on both parts. For the producer it makes perfect sense to continue on the Myers story since that is something that is easy to sell and almost guaranteed to make money on. For the filmmakers Carpenter and Hill it makes little sense to keep on working on a story they felt was done after the first film.
The unknown director Dwight H. Little got the task of directing this new film and he got the part mainly because of his efforts on Bloodstone (1988). He wanted this new Halloween film to go back to the basis of what made the first one work and I have to say that he did an excellent job in capturing parts of the original for this film. He is of course no John Carpenter, but as a director of the fourth installment in a horror series he is quite competent. He later went on to do several enjoyable b-movies including Phantom of the Opera with Robert Englund, Marked for Death with Steven Seagal and in newer times Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid.
It was a very daring choice to make Michael Myers target a young child, especially in a role that demands a lot from the actress. Young Danielle Harris was cast as Jamie Lloyd and she was marvelous. Harris is adorable and instead of becoming another crying kid that hurts the movie, she really makes you want to protect her and keep the boogeyman away from her. She handles the emotional scenes very well and outshines everyone else on the film.
Donald Pleasence shows up as Dr. Loomis once again and he is again great to watch. His obsession with Myers has caused him to almost become crazy himself by now and he will not let anyone stand in his way of stopping Myers. The real heroine of the film, Rachel Carruthers played by Ellie Cornell, has been undeservedly overlooked due to the great performances by Harris and Pleasence but she is also really good in this film and deserves to be praised. Rachel is a very cute girl, who is both smart and mature for her age. She is likeable, good-looking and puts her life on the line to keep Jamie away from Michael. She could have worked as the main target for Myers in a different story and handled that with no problems.
The set pieces are done very well. The Meeker house is perfect for Michael to stalk his victims in and the lighting gives us a great atmosphere. What is not so great however is the mask that Michael Myers use here. I do not know why, but it looks like they made a cheap mask that you can pick up everywhere and it looks incredible cheap in the film.
Back to the good parts again, the ending is incredible. It is the best ending since the original and I like how everything came in full circle here. It is shocking, unexpected and works perfectly. I think the Halloween series could have ended with that final shot, or at least the Myers saga could have ended here.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a 80’s horror movie that goes for tension and atmosphere rather than gore and that sets this one apart from the rest of the slashers of the late 80’s. I think it is the best sequel in the series and one fine horror movie.