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  • Rev Horror

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Dir. Dwight H. Little (1988)

Michael Myers returns to kill the surviving members of his family, including his seven-year-old niece Jamie Lloyd.


After the debacle that was Halloween III: Season of the Witch, audiences were begging for the return of Michael Myers in the franchise that he made famous. For once, the studios listened, bringing him back with a new story that finds him chasing down the daughter of the "deceased" Laurie Strode, his seven-year-old niece Jamie Lloyd. Introducing Danielle Harris to the franchise was also introducing Harris to the world, her first movie role in what would become a long career of making horror fans happy. We'll get into her role a little more in a bit, but it's always nice when franchises introduce new actors who become stars in their own right.

Donald Pleasance is back as well in his third of five total appearances in the series. The film never really seeks to explain how both he and Michael survived the fire at the end of II, save some scars on Loomis' face that occasionally change between shots due to his personal critique of the original makeup application. He's delightful as always, playing the series harbinger that insists continually that evil has returned to Haddonfield. His obsession with Michael echoes that of the audience, an infatuation that is driven by both fascination and fear. Pleasance delivers his performance with his usual theater-trained fervor,


One of the themes of the film, which would eventually be echoed 33 years later with David Gordon Green's disappointing Halloween Kills, is that evil has infected the town of Haddonfield itself as well as its most famous resident. At one point, the citizens of the town accidentally murder one of their own that they mistake for Michael Myers. The ending of the film, which feels a little rushed given Loomis' incessant harping from the beginning of the film onwards, involves a lynch mob of police officers and local townsfolk who are attempting to defend Jamie and her sister from the Boogeyman. Of course, they're unsuccessful, which leads to one of the more bizarre endings of the entire series as Jamie goes a little crazy.

One of the main takeaways from the Halloween franchise is that kids suck. From the kids who are teasing Tommy Doyle and eventually bust open his pumpkin in the original to those chanting "Jamie's an orphan" to harass the star of this film, the children of Haddonfield are fucking assholes of the highest order. Another thing that sticks out to me, beginning with this film, is that the Michael masks always look different. I understand the reasoning, and I get that the original masks were no longer available when 4 was filmed, but I simply do not understand how a team of Hollywood effects guys cannot make a mask that looks like the previous one. How is that possible? You couldn't buy a mask that looks exactly the same, sure, I get that, but how is it possible that Hollywood, in the same year as films like Night of the Demons, Pumpkinhead, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, and Beetlejuice couldn't make the mask look exactly like the ones from the previous film?

Look at it! What the fuck is that?!


Despite the failure to make Michael look like Michael, Halloween 4 very much looks like a Halloween film. It's got some interesting kills, an unstoppable Myers, and a continuation of the mythology of the Strode family and their relation to the iconic killer. While that last part would be done perhaps better in other films in the series, the addition of Jamie Lloyd to the story is a good one, and though the ending of the film drags a bit in its execution, this one is the best slasher of a year that produced an entry in every major franchise in existence. Granted, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, A Nightmare on Elm Street IV: The Dream Master, and Sleepaway Camp II are not the best competition, but Halloween 4 is the best of them regardless. Though there was another movie made that year that featured a voodoo doll of sorts, one that would receive its own franchise before too long.


Who this movie is for: Halloween fans, Slasher movie lovers, Adoptive parents


Bottom line: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is not the best film in the franchise, far from it. It is, however, a Halloween movie in all its Michael Myers glory. Featuring a new mask (that isn't quite as good), some new kills (that aren't quite as effective), and a brand new star of the series (who is fucking awesome), H4 is a nice return to form for a series that took a step away for a scifi experiment. It's always nice to see Michael Myers, especially when he's stabbing some chick with a shotgun.

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