Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

halloween-4-1988

After the enormous disaster of “Season of the Witch,” Moustapha Akkad and co. basically rebooted the Halloween storyline by completely remaking the first film. While it does offer some new elements, “The Return of Michael Myers” is a partial reboot and a partial remake. It’s also the start of the parallel story arc involving Michael and his evil mark of Thorn. After the hospital explosion in the sequel, Michael has been in a coma for a long time and is kept under strict guard in a hospital. During a transfer, Michael finally awakens and murders all of the guards managing to escape his binds. Dr. Loomis is back and investigates the ambulance crash Michael was involved with. While the authorities are convinced Michael died in the crash, Loomis is certain Michael is still alive and lurking around.

We meet young Jamie Lloyd, an adopted and troubled young girl with a fragile temperament who is attached to her foster sister Rachel. Constantly plagued with nightmares and visions of Michael Myers, she hopes to forget her troubles with Halloween celebrations, as Rachel experiences relationship woes with her boyfriend. Jamie is a fascinating and very compelling character with a interesting back story that makes her a wonderful successor to Laurie Strode. Especially when we find out she’s the daughter of Laurie.

Danielle Harris gives a very genuine and spirited performance as young Jamie who struggles with the horrific visions of Michael, while providing one of the greatest screams in horror cinema history. Harris manages to turn Lloyd in to a heroine we can root for and empathize with, and she successfully pulls us in to her dilemma. Like Laurie, Michael is a force of nature she’s fated to battle. And he’s quickly making his way to Haddonfield once again. For some reason Haddonfield is still just a normal town and has done nothing to remedy the Myers curse at all. And people are still wearing his mask during Halloween. You figure authorities would ban the mask due to the crimes.

Nonetheless, director Little manages to evoke some sense of tension every so often, with Loomis’ attempts to warn police about Myers re-entering Haddonfield, while Jamie and Rachel become victim to Michael’s murderous rampage. Once again under Akkad’s presence, Michael becomes another routine masked slasher who has a knack for doling out some painful murders, and “The Return” is changes its narrative mid-way from a stalk and slash to a suspenseful mission involving Rachel’s efforts to keep Jamie alive. While it’s definitely not the best of the series, it’s an entertaining slasher film with a very good final scene that stands out among the other titles in the series.