Our reviews of Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers (published August 14th, 1999), Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers: Divimax Special Edition (published August 7th, 2006), Halloween: 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set (published October 25th, 2008), and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (Blu-ray) (published August 21st, 2012) are also available.
Ten years ago he changed the face of Halloween.
The consensus was that Halloween III was a big mistake on the part of the franchise owners. Creators John Carpenter and Debra Hill thought it might be fun to take the series into a new direction, maybe even do new and separate stories each outing using the Halloween name. I guess there was just something about killer Halloween masks run by the powers of Stonehenge in Halloween 3: Season of the Witch that left a sour aftertaste in viewer's mouths. Fans unanimously cried foul, and in 1988 producer Moustapha Akkad brought Michael Myers back from the dead for Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers. Anchor Bay originally released Halloween 4 on DVD in a mostly bare-bones edition a few years back. This time around, Anchor Bay has tweaked the disc and included a few extra features to this version of Halloween 4, while simultaneously releasing 40,000 copies in a "limited edition" tin.
Facts of the Case
A Halloween summation sing-along for fans of the series!
"Halloween 4: The Jingle" by Patrick Naugle (sung to the tune of "The Beverly Hillbillies"):
"Now listen to the story 'bout a man named Mike
Now Loomis is a nut who thinks Mike is evil
Now Jamie is the bloodline that Michael must kill
To find out how this ends get the movie and you'll see
Raise your hands if you thought Michael Myers was dead at the end of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.
Put your hands down, you stooges. Of course he wasn't dead. He's never dead.
A nuclear holocaust could happen lasting one hundred years and the only thing living would be cockroaches and Michael Myers. The proof resides in this fourth installment of the popular Halloween series. Is it enjoyable? Well, I can honestly say that it's ten times better than Halloween 5: The Revenge Of Michael Myers or the even worse Halloween: The Curse Of Michael Myers. However, in the large scope of horror films, it is humdrum entertainment at its best.
The Halloween series was never one to go with fashionable continuity. Halloween H2O: Twenty Years Later decided to scrap the end of Halloween 5 and go in a different direction. An eighth film is in the can for this year and (apparently) ignores the fact that at the end of Halloween H20 Michael was literally decapitated. Consequently, Halloween 4 also ignores the fact that Michael was surly, most definitely, and absolutely fried like 'taters in a hospital gas explosion set off by Dr. Loomis (played with batty relish by Donald Pleasence). Not only was Mike killed, but also Dr. Loomis. However, since no one wanted a repeat of Halloween 3, the writers brought back Michael Myers in typical Hollywood horror movie fashion—fudging with the truth.
So, we get Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. The script is nothing new, just a slight rehash of the first film. Then again, horror fans usually don't WANT much deviation from the norm—this placid monotony is what we've come to love. Friday The 13th knows it, as does A Nightmare On Elm Street. The basic idea behind part four is that Michael has escaped from his mental ward (where it was thought his brains were now the consistency of jellied yams) at the very end of October (surprise) and makes his way to his old stomping grounds of Haddonfield, Illinois. There he must find his niece Jamie (Danielle Harris) and kill her because…uh, well…because it moves the plot along. Jamie is the daughter of Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) who apparently was killed in a car wreck about a year ago. From this point on we're treated to Dr. Loomis warning everyone ("The EVIL is back! Run from the EVIL! The EVIL can't be stopped! I have seen the EVIL and it is very, very EVIL!") and some local teens getting sliced up like kosher deli meat while getting it on Barry White style.
Halloween 4 continues a downward spiral that was started with the second film. When you're following such a masterpiece like Carpenter's original film, a sequel is just going to like a pale imitation. Halloween 4 is decent enough entertainment, but it offers nothing new to the genre.
But hey, can we all agree it's worth it just to watch Donald Pleasence plead with Michael to "leave those innocent people in peace?"
Yeah, it's worth it.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Much like the previous release by Anchor Bay, this transfer looks slightly above average. While the print is generally clean, overall the picture quality tends to look a tad soft. Colors and black levels all look very even while edge enhancement is kept to the bare minimum. Certainly this is the best that Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has ever looked, and fans should be pleased.
Audio is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and is very well done. This is the same track that was available on the previous edition of this film. Shockingly, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers has a nice range of sounds and actually sounds much fuller than most horror movies of this time period should. While the speakers are not aggressively pumping out effects, this track still had some nice surprises in store for the viewer. All aspects of the track are clean and clear of distortion. Also included on this disc is the Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack and no subtitles.
Originally released in an almost bare bones edition, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers now sports a newly created 17-minute documentary titled Halloween 4: Final Cut. This featurette includes interviews with stars Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, stuntman George P. Wilbur, producer Moustapha Akkad, and director Dwight Little. Tidbits of information are shared (Harris was up against Sabrina, The Teenage Witch star Melissa Joan Hart for the role of Jamie), and pontifications abound (mostly by producer Akkad, who seems to think this series is on par with The Godfather films). This is a nice if all too brief documentary about the making of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Also included on the disc is the theatrical trailer that was available on the previous release.
Included in the "limited edition" tin is a 40-page booklet with pictures and photos from the movie. However, I wouldn't know as the tin I received was missing this item. Looks more like a trick than a treat to me.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is available in both this limited edition tin as well as a regular keep case version (sans the full color booklet). Personally, I am not a huge fan of these oversized tins, but some of you may be happy clams with them in your collection. For the extra money (around $15 extra) I can't say that it's really worth it to pick up the tin, but if you have the cash to spare and don't mind the bulkiness of the package, be my guest. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a mediocre horror retread that fans of the series seem to like. It's worth seeing, if only for Dr. Loomis' lunatic rantings about the nature of evil (i.e., Michael).
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is acquitted with a fine for being the same old shtick we've come to both love and hate.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
• Theatrical Trailer
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