Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (USA 1988)

halloween_4_06_storI did review this a few months back – but then I had a sudden attack of “morality”. I tried to reduce the sleaze on this blog, going on a Stalinist rampage, exterminating certain posts. This was one of the posts that got purged. But now its risen from the dead to live again. I’m helpless with the fact that the blog posts that contain nudity, or semi-nudity, get the most views. So its back teenyboppers. Large as life and twice as spicy. In all its nekkidness…

On with the insanity that is by-the-numbers-slasher flicks. They seem to exist to chiefly make the viewer feel cheap and nasty. Anyway, before ISIS and Black Lives Matter ruined the world there was Michael Myers. He was always being transferred from one mental hospital to another on the night before Halloween. The most effective aspect of The Return Of Michael Myers is how closely it adheres to the atmosphere and spirit of the original, and though there is a clear effort made to incorporate some overt bloodshed to please fans of the ’80s splatter cycle, this offering faithfully duplicates the deceptively ominous leaf-strewn streets of Haddonfield, the manic fervor of the returning Dr. Loomis, and, most importantly, the deadly disposition of “The Shape” him (it?) self. (I thought that paragraph would never end.)

At this point in the series we’re still a couple of sequels away from quasi-mystical ramblings about ancient Pagan symbols & “hip and edgy” self-aware contemporary updates. Mercifully we’re also a world away from Rob Zombie’s obtusely trippy white stallion hallucinations. So the Michael Myers we get here is the same remorseless and unyielding killing machine we were introduced to ten years before, and his purpose is equally singular and inexplicable. He is the perfect Boogeyman because he takes no prisoners. He doesn’t even need to take your name. He is kicking ass regardless. The impetus for the titular Return is Michael’s eight year-old niece Jamie Lloyd, the orphaned daughter of Laurie Strode from the original.

If you can accept the apparent psychic bond that allows Jamie to have nightmares about the uncle she’s never seen before he re-appears in Haddonfield, and Michael’s myopic fixation on murdering a relative he really shouldn’t know even exists, then this cat-and-mouse aspect of the plot falls into place rather nicely. Jamie is played by the debuting Danielle Harris, who delivers a believable & solid performance, especially given her age and lack of experience. Her youth ends up being a major asset because of its direct deviation from the archetypes of the strict slasher formula, and the fact that a relatively defenseless child is at the nucleus of Michael’s murderous rampage heightens the tension immeasurably.

Her older foster-sister, Rachel (superbly played by the sympathetic Ellie Cornell) is Jamie’s real friend here. And once Michael returns home looking for Jamie, he’ll kill anyone who gets in his way, including Rachel and some of Rachel’s friends. One young lady who isn’t Rachel’s friend is Kelly Meeker, (sizzling Kathleen Kinmont) a blonde voluptuous vixen. She tempts Rachel’s trashy boyfriend, Brady, who is too weak to resist temptation. Of course, Return does feature its share of goofiness. The presence of Donald Pleasence is certainly welcome and integral to the story, his occasional dalliances with overblown histrionics create unfortunately cheesy moments out of a few scenes that should be bubbling with intensity.

There’s also a mirthful scene between the hitchhiking Dr. Loomis and a drunken fire-and-brimstone religious zealot that allows Pleasence to crack a smile for a change, reminding savvy viewers of his endearing grin after the “Lonnie, get your ass away from there” moment from 1978. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether the dicey twist ending really works. But it certainly does finish off the flick on a tremendously dark and shocking note, which is in keeping with the fairly serious tone Return maintains throughout. A nice touch which sets this entry apart from some of the unbearably ridiculous drek that followed it. If you wanna see an undemanding slasher with a hot chick exposing herself, then give Halloween 4 a go!

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Comments

  1. I’m glad you’ve stopped the purging, keep on truckin’ with these fantastic reviews! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha ha…merci madame. 🙂

    Like

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