Sunday, November 1, 2015

31 Nights of Terror 2015 #39 - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Director: Dwight H Little
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris
Format: DVD

Plot: Ten years after his original massacre, the invalid Michael Myers awakens and returns to Haddonfield to kill his seven-year-old niece on Halloween. Can Dr. Loomis stop him?

Every Halloween night I like to watch one movie from either the Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Halloween franchises. Having watched Halloweens 1, 2 and 3 in recent times I decided on this, the fourth entry and, as the name suggests, the one where Michael Myers returns (after being absent for part three, the producers decided they needed The Shape back).

As a movie in its own right, Halloween 4 isn't anything great. Most of the plot is rehashed from the first movie (Michael escapes and heads to Haddonfield, teenage babysitter, friend who's the Sheriff's daughter, Dr Loomis etc) and Little's direction lacks the artistic eye of John Carpenter. But on the other hand there's something infinitely rewarding about hearing that theme song and seeing Michael creep around killing people, like putting on a pair of well-worn pants.

Obviously we all know that Danielle Harris has turned into a modern scream queen and darling of the horror nerds, but even as a 10-year-old here she's pretty great. Her scared facial expressions are really effective. The rest of the acting is pretty much just there, although of course Donald Pleasance hams it up as the ever-more-crazy Loomis. Also worth a mention is a brief but funny appearance by Carmen Filpi, whose comedic performances in Wayne's World and The Wedding Singer ("I used to be much stronger") make him a legend in my book.

The kills are unfortunately pretty mundane and the gore factor is pretty low. What does make this movie stand out in the memory is the ending. It's a nice little twist and I wish they'd continued with it into the next movie, but of course they ignored it and went back to the tried and true.

Overall part 4 is nothing spectacular, but it's a helluva lot better than what was to come. Hey, at least there's no crappy rapper kung fu fighting Michael, right?

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