Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers

?Halloween 4, The Return of Michael Myers?, the name says it all. Ten years after the original ?Halloween?, ?Halloween 4? opens with a bit of a surprise. We all know that the fiery explosion at the end of ?Halloween 2? must not have killed Michael Myers – evil never dies when there can be sequels. The shocker is that Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) is also still alive.

At the start of the film we see Michael as an invalid ward of the state being prepared for transfer by ambulance to a new facility on a dark and stormy night. In the credits of the first two Halloween films the adult Michael Myers was listed as ?the shape.? That is fitting here since he is nothing but a heavily bandaged lump being rolled around on a hospital bed; that is until the attendants in the ambulance start talking about him and casually spill the beans that he has a niece in Haddonfield. Whoops! Michael immediately proceeds to stick his thumb into one of the attendants? foreheads! A very memorable first murder for a slasher film.

Now we go back to the Smith?s Grove facility where Michael was kept. Dr. Loomis is still as crazy as ever to keep ?the evil? in check, and he goes ballistic when he learns of Michael?s transfer. Just about the time that the administrator of the hospital thinks he?s put Dr. Loomis and his crazy ideas about Michael in his place, the phone rings to tell him that the ambulance with Michael Myers in it has wrecked! Cue music?.

Once more Dr. Loomis begins chasing Michael Myers while the proper authorities scoff at him for thinking a bed-ridden burn victim could do anyone any harm. (Don?t these guys ever learn?) So Loomis is on his own hunting Michael. It?s not a difficult hunt, since Michael leaves bodies wherever he goes. This starts with a small restaurant and gas station where Michael liberates a pair of coveralls from the mechanic who owns them with a gruesome crowbar through the chest.

In what is a surprisingly creepy scene, Dr. Loomis comes into the garage to buy gas. After finding the mechanic, he then finds, in the restaurant, a waitress also murdered. As he tries to use the payphone, he looks up and there is Michael staring at him from the kitchen. Although Loomis begs Michael to take him and spare the town of Haddonfield, Michael takes the tow truck and blows up the gas station along with Dr. Loomis?s car. Dr. Loomis escapes, but now he?s on foot.

The Dr. Loomis/Michael Myer?s relationship has always been one of my favorite parts of the ?Halloween? films. Dr. Loomis has been driven slightly mad by being the only one who sees the evil in Michael. Because he is the one who knows what Michael can do, he feels responsible for him. This is not lost in the fourth film, although it does feel ?toned down? in this film as opposed to parts 1 and 2.

The new lead characters for Halloween 4 are Jamie Strode (Michael?s niece) and Rachel Carruthers (Jamie?s step-sister). Jamie is plagued by nightmares, which have Michael Myers stalking her. When Rachel is forced to take care of Jamie on Halloween night, so begins the cycle of babysitting doom that started in the first film.

Dr. Loomis finally gets to town and enlists the aid of the local sheriff to look for Michael. While they?re out, Michael kills everyone in the police station. A lot of nicely done murders follow this discovery, including one rifle through the stomach and an electrician thrown into a transformer (shorting out the town?s power in the process). I did notice one thing about the people of Haddonfield: Michael Myers may be killing them, but their true nemesis is stairs. I don?t think there is a character in the film that could run up or down a flight of stairs without falling down (if Michael is around anyway) but this is just a side note.

The film takes an especially interesting twist at the end. I won?t give it away, but the ending may be what saves this film from being just another guy with a knife killing teens movie. It makes the viewer feel there is something more evil than Michael Myers at work in the story, and that it is linked to him by blood (no pun intended).

Official Score