Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
I've never been much of a Michael Myers fan. I've seen most of these, but not in order and I usually can't distinguish one from the other after part 3. These were never as interesting to me as the Friday the 13th films or the Nightmare on Elm Streets. When Shout! Factory released the Collector's edition of Parts 2 and 3 recently, I took the chance and grabbed 3 and gave it a spin. Known as the "black sheep" of the series, the one that has nothing to do with Michael Myers, I actually enjoyed it for the most part. Halloween III: Season of the Witch, through all it's negative history, is a solidly made 80's horror film.
So apparently, after the debacle (at the time) that was Halloween III, it took 6 years to get another one made, and with this they decided to go back to the roots and do a straight up slasher film and forget what happened with the previous installment in 1982. Obviously that's the best decision and I guess it took so long to make another one because the Halloween name had been soured.
So here are my quick thoughts on this entry:
Straight up slasher film going back to it's roots and giving us what made the Halloween films what they were. There's nothing spectacular about any of this, but you know, for a late 80's horror film it's not bad at all. For a kid, Danielle Harris really knocks it out of the park as Michael Myers new form of prey, his niece. The girl is good, plain and simple. Donald Pleasance returns in the role that ultimately defined his career as Dr. Loomis, and again delivers the crazy. And the rest of the cast is about as good as you'd expect. The best thing I think this film has its pace. I don't remember ever really getting bored or wondering when the pace would pick up. For that, I think it keeps you interested and invested enough to see it through to the end. Sure the first half is a little slower than the second, but the second half does pay off with a frenetic pace and some cool kills, most notably an awesome sequence of Myers killing a couple of guys in the bed of a pickup truck while it's in motion. The kicker? They were actually on the hunt for Michael when he suddenly appeared to be hanging onto the tailgate the whole time. Very cool sequence indeed.
For me, director Dwight H. Little has always been a hit or miss director. He's made a few cool films, most notably helming my favorite Steven Seagal film Marked for Death. I guess seeing how badass he made that film, they got him to do Brandon Lee's first big budget film Rapid Fire two years later that was supposed to make him the next big martial arts star. Personally, I think he dropped that ball on that one. Rapid Fire just didn't seem to have that extra ingredient that made Marked for Death so great, and it wasn't nearly as entertaining. And as we all know, the film didn't make Lee a star. That would happen 2 years later with The Crow, and would unfortunately also mark the end.
But I don't know, it seems like so much of this was straight forward and nothing interesting or creative visually. I had hoped that since it took so long for them to get another one of these made, and they were going to go back to the slasher formula, they would have done it with a bang, buuuuuut not so much. Honestly, it looks as though any Joe "Somebody" made this, which is never a good sign for a director. I couldn't help but notice so many times watching this where I thought "Wow, he really missed a great opportunity to make this look badass". But what are you gonna do?
George Wilbur as Michael Myers. I'm sorry, I just wasn't feeling it. To me, he looked kind of odd. Too thin, with insanely obvious shoulder pads in his jumpsuit, which were really distracting. I know Wilbur is a stuntman, which allowed him to do all his own stunts, but still. He just didn't look the part.
All in all, not a bad entry in the series by any means and a good way to bring the series back into game. Sure it could have been better, but it wasn't bad either.