[31 Days of Horror: The Final Chapter] Day 31 – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Director: Dwight H. Little

Cast: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Michael Pataki

Screenplay: Alan B. McElroy

88 mins. Rated R.

 

Well, here we are again. The end of the month and another installment in the Halloween franchise. As we come to an end of 31 Days of Horror, I just want to thank you all again for another awesome month, and as always I am open to your amazing feedback, so let me know what you want to see for future events here. As sad as I am that this is the last day of The Final Chapter, it is important to note that, in horror, the final chapter is never usually final for very long. Now, let’s look at Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.

It’s been ten years since he came home on Halloween night, and now Laurie Strode’s daughter Jamie (Danielle Harris, See No Evil 2, TV’s The Wild Thornberrys) is living with a foster family after Laurie was killed in an accident. Jamie has been terrified of visions of a man with a white mask standing outside at night, but this is the first year she really wants to go trick-or-treating on Halloween, so she enlists sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell, House of the Dead, Reconciliation) to take her. There’s only one problem: Michael Myers has escaped from his holding and is returning to Haddonfield, and only Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence, The Great Escape, Prince of Darkness), Michael’s old psychiatrist, can stop him.

Halloween 4 is a lot better than most people give it credit for. Sure, Jamie Lee Curtis does not return, but enlisting the young and very talented Danielle Harris to take the lead is an inspired choice. Director Dwight H. Little (Murder at 1600, TV’s Bones) researched Halloween in-depth to give it the full harvest feeling, and it radiates from the film. Halloween 4 feels like the continuation of Halloween II’s Samhain imagery just more fleshed out.

The issues in the film are apparent, though, in the many supporting roles that feel incomplete and poorly acted. At its core, there are fine performances, but there are far too many people that cannot hold their own scenes.

Then there are the issue of the film’s occasional reliance to fall back on its formula. It isn’t surprising at this point in a franchise to be losing the spark or originality, and Halloween 4 does suffer because of it.

Plotting aside, there are things to like in Halloween 4. It’s not a great film, but it is more watchable than other fourth installments. This is strictly for fans of the series, though, as Halloween 4 will be de-canonized next year with an upcoming reboot to the series. We fans have survived this before, and we will survive it again, but sadly, the Halloween franchise will take a hit. Enjoy this one while it’s still kind of canon.

 

3/5

-Kyle A. Goethe

 

 

For my review of John Carpenter’s Halloween, click here.

For my review of Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II, click here.

For my review of Tommy Lee Wallace’s Halloween III: Season of the Witch, click here.

 

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