Saturday, November 3, 2012

Shape-Fu: Halloween 4- The Return of Michael Myers

I'm already doing the series backwards, so why not do one AFTER Halloween too?  Today's film is Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.  This one was a turning point for the series, as fans demanded the Michael not be ousted for evil Druids that make robots.  Oh and for all of the people that still act like Halloween III's title wasn't bait and switch, I present you with this.  It list Akkad as a Producer (even though he's officially un-credited) for starters.  Anyhow, this film is basically the equivalent of Friday the 13th: Part VI- Jason Lives, which was actually made two years earlier.  It is curious to note that there's a 6 year gap between franchise returns for Halloween (after Witch), while there's only a 1 year gap for Friday the 13th (after A New Beginning).  So what happens in this film?  Well, as the title says, Myers returns to Haddonfield after a long nap to reconnect with his family.  Well, with the family that agreed to return to do another sequel.  Well, okay, it's the family that was invented for this movie since his 'actual' family wouldn't come back for a sequel.  Look- take what you can get!  This is the film debut of Danielle Harris, who would go on to appear in three more Halloween films, even if the latter two were the shit Ro Zombie ones.  Halloween II put the franchise in kind of awkward spot sequel-wise, so let's see where they go with this one...
Ten years have passed since the Haddonfield Horror.  On Halloween Eve, a group of people go to a nearby Sanitarium to pick up a patient...
...burn victim Michael Meyers.  Why they would transport him on this day is anyone's guess.

In addition, they feel safe, since he's been 'in a coma' for years.  Yeah, he did that in the first movie- why would you fall for it again?!?
Faster than you can say 'How can a thumb press through a man's skull,' Myers 'wakes up' and escapes...after some convenient exposition.  Thanks, corpses...I mean, EMTs.
You know that moment when you realize that the original star is not going to appear?  When a picture of Jamie Lee Curtis (who's said to be dead and had a kid) shows up, you know.
Myers comes home to find his niece- Harris- who is the last living relative in the area.  This neat shot of him stalking her is a fake out, of course, but does come later.
Loomis survived the point-blank explosion with a fairly-noticeable scar, while Myers is fully-wrapped in gauze.  How that worked is anyone's guess.

He makes a noble attempt to stop The Shape in this one, even escaping an exploding Gas Station and surviving a throw through a glass window.
The best part of the movie: a long stretch where everyone's in the dark and you don't know where Myers is. When he does resurface, the Slasher Film Cheats resume- including the Jason Teleport.

It's nice to have the respite though.
In The End, Myers puts up a strong fight, but gets shot by a bunch of Cops.  I like how half of them miss, by the way.  Aim for that big, black Shape!
However, the film truly ends with our heroine going all 'Michael' and stabbing her mom.  The nightmare has become reality...and will be kind of ignored in Part 5.  The End.
Honestly, it's the best of the post-Carpenter films.  Let's be clear: John Carpenter all but gave the franchise over to Dino De Laurentiis and Moustapha Akkad after Season of the Witch.  That said, this movie keeps the spirit of the original two films, while upping the ante.  Plus, it has the Sheriff lady from House of the Dead in it.  She's so bad-ass that she survived having her legs torn off and her body being blown up and appears in the sequel!  Where was I?  Oh right.  There are some major cheats in this movie, but consider it the 'growing pains' of taking the Franchise in a new Direction.  Granted, this series has gone in a new direction once and would continue to do so at least two more times, Remake not withstanding.  I like this movie though.  If you can get past the story jumps that it makes, it's not bad.  The Franchise has a mixed view in many people's eyes, many of whom think that anything after the first film is utter shit.  That's not entirely true, obviously.  If you liked the original two films (sorry, robots), give this one a chance.  If you have seen it before, give it another chance.  It's the closest that the sequels got to making a real Thriller instead of just 'The Shape stabs horny teenagers.'  Oh and let it be said- 11 year-old Danielle Harris makes a more compelling lead than 26 year-old Paul (Stephen) Rudd.  Sorry to be an ass like that...
Next up, a week of Fred Olen Ray 'classics.'  First up, Ray's *serious* version of Airplane II- no joke.  Stay tuned...


  1. There's a few aspects of this film I like; especially the atmospheric opening, and the glimpses of Myers - in hospital gown and bandaged head - in the garage. Oh, and the roof-top chase is suspenseful stuff, too. You're right about the infrequency of the Halloween films releases compared with the likes of Friday the 13th. I think as a series it really began to flounder with this sequel (though I love H20 and have a soft spot for Part 6).

  2. The only real blight on this film for me is Myers getting his new mask. Kudos for explaining it, but the way they do it is silly.

    Simply put, he walks into a store (in the day time and with people around) and steals a new one off of the shelf.

    To the film's credit, they show other people with the mask later. That said, 'Why the hell would they sell that mask IN HADDONFIELD?!?'

    Oh and the hair is blond...for some scenes, but not for others.

    Failed to mention that in the review though. My bad.