Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers pales in comparison to the original but it’s certainly better than its successors, albeit that’s not really saying a whole lot. The acting is, at best, hokey and the story is almost paint-by-numbers and sometimes painfully slows, but I’ve come to expect that from this series.
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense
Anchor Bay | R – 88 min. – $24.99 | August 21, 2012
Directed by: Dwight H. Little
Writer(s): Debra Hill and John Carpenter (characters); Dhani Lipsius, Larry Rattner, Benjamin Ruffner, Alan B. McElroy (story), Alan B. McElroy (screenplay)
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P. Wilbur, Michael Pataki, Beau Starr, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson
Theatrical Release Date: October 21, 1988
Features: 2 Feature Commentaries, Featurette, Trailer
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 22.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 2.5/5
The masked menace Michael Myers who, at the end of Halloween II, was put through the ringer including a flame broil but the monster wouldn’t die and somehow both he and Dr. Loomis (DONALD PLEASENCE) manage to escape. Now Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers opens 10 years after those events and Michael, who is supposedly in a coma, is set for transfer from the hospital to another but as you might guess, the maniac kills a few people and makes his escape for Haddonfield where he has learned that Laurie’s 8-year-old daughter, Jamie Lloyd (DANIELLE HARRIS) resides.
Due to her mother’s death, which was faked, Jamie now is with the Carruther’s family: father Richard (Jeff Olson), mother Darlene (KAREN ALSTON) and teenage sister, Rachel (ELLIE CORNELL). Things aren’t going as smoothly as Jamie wakes up nightly with nightmares of dear old Uncle Michael, whom she’s never met, haunting her. We also meet a couple throw away, i.e. slash and dash, characters such as Rachel’s crush Brady (SASHA JENSON), Haddonfield Sheriff Ben Meeker (BEAU STARR), his skank daughter Kelly (KATHLEEN KINMONT), plus a few odds and ends that frankly aren’t worth mentioning.
Oddly enough, these supporting characters are such d-bags that they make Michael Myers come across as a good guy and someone you want to root for and kill because other than Jamie and Rachel, there is absolutely nobody else you care about. Even the illustrious Donald Pleasence – and the poorly applied make-up effects – gives a laughable performance, a far cry from the intensity he had in the first Halloween movie that morphed into a near caricature (he takes the cake in Halloween 5, however). I get he’s gone crazy hunting down Michael but it comes across absurd rather than dramatic.
Anyway, as you can guess, Michael Myers continues his quest to hunt down his niece slicing and dicing anyone who might stand in his way… plus the people who have sex that night, after all what would a Halloween movie be without a tame sex scene? Lots of running, screaming and bad line readings follow to an epically awesome finale… About the last scene, I actually liked it although the reason behind what happens is stupid beyond belief as revealed in Halloween 5.
For the most part while the acting is pretty bad, the writing obvious and the story itself pretty bland and at times boring rather than thrilling, I still manage to enjoy this entry, flaws and all. Danielle Harris is OK in her feature film debut though her line readings are hardly profound and actually quite laughable at times. I do give Ellie Cornell credit for pulling through the terrible lines as she’s an adequate replacement for Jamie Lee Curtis.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, as dumb as it is, doesn’t pretend to break the mold in the horror genre. It’s more or less the same as the previous two entries (obviously Halloween III doesn’t count) where the supernatural Michael Myers manages to survive every type of lethal weapon thrown at him and uses a butcher knife to hunt down his victims for whatever BS reason the writers decide to come up with.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.25/5
Audio Commentaries – There are two tracks: 1) Director Dwight H. Little & Author Justin Beahm and 2) with Actors Ellie Cornell & Danielle Harris, the former is new and ** exclusive ** to this release. They’re both fine but if you want some more of the technical elements, the first one is for you while the other offers the actors’ perspective.
Halloween 4 & 5 Discussion Panel (18:28; SD) – This is a panel featuring cast members Danielle Harris, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson and Jeffrey Landman as they discuss the movies and their experience on set. It’s nothing amazing and pretty roughly made but fans should get a kick out of it.
Theatrical Trailer (1:36; SD)
What isn’t here? A commentary with Writer Alan B. McElroy and The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut were not ported over for whatever reason. Also, although promised initially, the 30-minutes of deleted scenes were left off so who knows if/when we’ll ever see those.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
Halloween 4 makes its debut on Blu-ray presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. The 1080p transfer is a bit on the disappointing side mainly because it’s not the cleanest video I’ve seen. There are several scenes where I noticed some minor dust marks but even so, the picture itself has only moderate detail level; I’ve seen far better from movies that were from around the same timeframe. That being said, the black levels are solid enough and there’s a discernible amount of grain throughout.
AUDIO – 2.25/5
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track provided isn’t the strongest I’ve come across but is adequate I suppose. The dialogue levels are decent enough coming from the center channel but everything else from the action elements to the ambient noises are a tad flat at times. For instance, there’s a ton of firepower going on, in 1980s style, but don’t hold much bang unfortunately.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers pales in comparison to the original but it’s certainly better than its successors, albeit that’s not really saying a whole lot. The acting is, at best, hokey and the story is almost paint-by-numbers and sometimes painfully slows, but I’ve come to expect that from this series.
As far as the Blu-ray is concerned, the video and audio transfers are adquete but fans will be understandably disappointed by the fact Anchor Bay failed to port over all the features from the DVD but dropped the promised 30-minutes of deleted scenes as outlined in the initial press release. Given that AB releases come down in price, you should be able to nab this for under $10 at which point it would be worth it.