Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

I heard someone on a podcast say Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers was their favourite of all the Halloween sequels. I was never a sequels guy growing up, these films were never on television in the UK, so all the Friday the 13ths, Halloweens and Elm Streets passed me by. What better way to approach the end of #31DaysofHorror than seeing what all the fuss was about?

Ten years after the Haddonfield killings, Michael Myers escapes an ambulance taking him to a new sanitarium. His psychiatrist, Dr Loomis, doesn’t know about the move until it’s too late. Loomis returns to Haddonfield to search for Myers. Laurie Strode has died in a car crash and her daughter, Jamie, is fostered by the Carruthers family. Their teenage daughter, Rachel, babysits Jamie on Halloween, but Myers wants to kill Jamie.

After twenty-seven horror films back to back, it was a relief to watch a film with no emotional stakes. The script, acting and direction are all adequate, in a television film sort of way, and Dean Cundey’s trademark wide shots are gone, but it does feel like a Halloween film, with its autumnal colour palette, pumpkins and general mood. It’s a good film to watch in the spooky season. On the downside, Michael Myers has transformed from silent creeping psychopath to a being with superhuman and possibly supernatural strength. There are moments of oddball humour, some fun set pieces, and the twist at the end is almost brilliant, but for me Michael Myers is scariest as a disturbed psychopath, not a demonic force.

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