And so we draw to the end of Horror Week 2014, and what a ghoulish/weird time it was. But, alas, all things must end. There is only one correct way to end a horror week and that is with a film with the word Halloween in title. I’ve already reviewed 3 of these films, one every Halloween… and so… it has come to pass… tonight, we look at Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers. Oooooo…
I like the Halloween films. I remember when I was a youngster going on a binge watch session of the original 6. I barely remember Halloween 4 though. It’s possibly because it’s the same exact film as the first Halloween but with a little kid being stalked rather than Jamie Lee Curtis. In this film Laurie Strode’s character’s daughter Jamie (Danielle Harris) is being hunted down by a recently awakened Michael Myers (George P Wilbur). See, Michael has been in a coma for the last 10 years because, clearly, he’s a little bitch that can’t take being set on fire or whatever the hell happened at the end of Halloween 2. I don’t remember, it’s been literally 2 years since I last saw that film and it wasn’t great. Dr Loomis (Donald Pleasences) is back to tell everyone how evil Michael, to occasionally make matters worse and to generally be almost as obsessive as Myers. He’s also now sporting a burn on his face that gradually changes as the film progresses. Odd that.
So, is Halloween 4 any good. Actually, yes, it rather is. This may be a blatant retread of the first film’s plotting in terms of it’s basic beats but it has enough of its own elements, the set pieces, the scares and so on, to stand out as its own film. Production quality has jumped up a decent amount too, which isn’t hard as the first 2 Halloween’s were made for about £34. The film even provides a couple of fairly gruesome deaths too. A thumb in the forehead and a neck tear being particularly cringe inducing.
There’s a few nice elements playing off of the fact that the town of Haddonfield remembers the original night of terror all too well. Kids are dressed as Myers for Halloween in one scene. A lynch mob is formed, led by the father of one of the victims of the first film. The police are much quicker to act on the potential presence of Myers in what has to be the first time in horror movie history that the police listened to a warning first time. Director Dwight H Little does a fairly decent job of mirroring the colour scheme and tone of the original Halloween but does a really quite good job of upping the scale without taking things too far. About as ridiculous as this film gets is Myers’ teleportation skill being in overdrive. Teleportation being the greatest of all slasher movie villain unspoken powers. Next to deus ex machina… both the falling foul of and reliance on for resurrection purposes.
There’s a car chase sequence where Myers is holding onto the roof of a truck trying to grab Jamie’s babysitter Rachel (Ellie Cornell). This is, perhaps, a little more of an action sequence than the Halloween films are used to, at this point, but it’s decently put together all the same. I especially liked Michael headbutting the car’s windshield. So, whilst the film has jumped up the set pieces a little we haven’t stumbled into the nonsense territory that comes in the later films. What the film really does do, which none of the other films really did, was leave you with one hell of a final scene. Not to spoil anything but it’s the sort of thing that gives the film a brilliant taste of cruel irony and provides us with one of Donald Pleasence’s greatest reactions ever.
An element of this film that really didn’t dawn on me until quite some way in was that Myers really doesn’t wield his iconic kitchen knife murder weapon that much. Almost all the deaths he causes are via impalement on a object you’re not meant to be impaled on, or with his bare fecking hands. Only 2 deaths involve his knife and even then the characters are thrown from a truck so the knife may not even be the cause of death. The second film didn’t use the knife at all, I believe, but then it only provided maybe 1 memorable kill scene. That being the boiling water kill. This film provides a few memorable murders and caps it all off with that great final scene.
If I may be so daring to say, I believe this may be the second best of all the Halloween films. The second film was just boring. Season of the Witch is a fun distraction but that’s about it. I remember the 6th film being very weak, Halloween H20 being just tepid. The remake was messy, but very violent. Never seen Resurrection or the remake’s sequel. I’ll get to them eventually. In 2018 and 2020 to be specific. So yeah, Halloween 4 gets a pass from me. If you can’t, for whatever reason, get the first film then this is a fine replacement that, whilst nothing special, manages to be perfectly watchable and enjoyable. It’s what Scream 2 is to Scream. Evil Dead 2 to Evil Dead. Decent Halloween shaped fun.