Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers 1988
Director: Dwight H. Little
Writer: Alan McElroy
Starring Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Kathleen Kinmont, George P. Wilbur, Michael Pataki, Beau Starr and Sasha Jensen

It took the producers of the Halloween series to come back with a sequel after Halloween 3: Season of the Witch. The time they took on it seemed to work in its benefit. It is a solid film and a great addition to the Halloween mythology. With Donald Pleasance back and the addition of Danielle Harris they have all the ingredients of a great slasher film. It all seems to gel together well. The only complaint I would make is that they should have gone with a director more well versed in the horror genre than a director who is more comfortable in the action film genre. As, there are several scenes in this film that seem more at home in a action film than a horror film. To cite just a few of the scenes I would point out the gas station explosion, the chase on the rooftop and Michael's assault in the pickup truck. Those scenes aside it is a solid film with some great kills and some great acting by Harris and Pleasence.
The plot basics are this, it is 10 years after Michael Myers (Wilbur) attacked Haddonfield and tried to kill Laurie Strode. He is not dead but in what seems to be a catatonic state and is being moved back to Smith's Grove Asylum. But, for some reason he reactivates and kills his handlers and is now on his way back to Haddonfield. It seems that Laurie had a daughter, Jamie (Harris) and Laurie has been deed for almost a year. With Dr. Loomis (Pleasance) hot on Michael's trail. Michael makes a bloody path to Jamie and her foster sister, Rachel (Cornell). They are on the run with Michael right behind them and it seems as if nothing will stop Michael's rampage.
This is a solid and fun slasher film. Little's direction is very good, but as I mentioned before it is choreographed like a action film rather than a horror film. There are thrills in the film but really not many scares. Little does have it move at a frenetic pace and that works in the films favor. The script by McElroy is very good, you really care for Jamie and Rachel and you can start to see how his chase of Michael is driving Loomis mad. That is most telling in the scene where Loomis hitches a ride with a crazy preacher. The cast is great, Pleasance and Harris really carry and shoulder this film. Pleasance really owns the role of Loomis and you want him to succeed. Harris is great as the increasingly neurotic Jamie and unlike many child actors she never annoys you. That is a tough thing to be able to pull off. Cornell as the strong heroine is very good, especially during the rooftop scene. The film has the requisite sex appeal with Kinmont too, I have always liked seeing her in horror films. The SFX is good my favorite kill has to be when Kinmont gets it. It was very brutal and a shock to see. The music by Alan Howarth is great, he uses Carpenter's score but made it his own and the score is very eerie and haunting. This was a fine addition to the series and well worth seeing if you are a fan of the series.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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