Six years after the debacle known as Halloween III: Season of the Witch, the franchise switched gears and released Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. As the title suggests, the film brought back its serial killer and dropped him in Haddonfield to do what he does best. This film follows Michael as he escapes the insane asylum and makes his way back home to find and kill his niece, Jamie. The daughter of his sister, Laurie, Jamie now lives with foster parents and a foster sister because her parents died a year ago. As Jamie readies for Halloween, Myers returns for the festivities.
This is the first film in the franchise to have no involvement from John Carpenter, its creator. Carpenter wanted more for the franchise than just a cheap slasher series, and while several of the later films suffer from this title, I don’t believe this film is one of them. I thought the plot of this film was fantastic and I loved watching Jamie struggle to free herself of the Myers curse. A friend of mine once said children make horror films exponentially more scary, and I have to say I agree. Children are viewed as honest and pure, which makes them ideal candidates for a horror film. The audience sympathizes easily with children and they believe their fear, which in turn heightens the viewer’s fear. Children also make great antagonists in horror films, but that’s an argument for a different film.
Overall, I also enjoyed the death sequences in this film. Myers seemed to rely on brute force to off the townspeople of Haddonfield, not just his kitchen knife, which was nice. Once again, Dr. Loomis returns to warn anyone who will listen of the evil that is Michael Myers. He is sure to tell people that Myers isn’t human, he’s just pure evil, which goes a long way in justifying why Michael seems to never die. At least Michael isn’t the only one in this franchise who seems to have nine lives; Loomis survived the explosion of the second film with minor damages and continues to defy death in this film.
The film does feel a bit long at times, but as a whole, I enjoyed this film very much. Maybe it was just because I hated the third film, but I do truly believe this entry is a good one. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers kicks off a three-film run of the Jamie storyline and this starter is by far the best.
If Michael Myers isn’t scary enough for you, try a little girl in a creepy clown costume. Adding a child to the franchise as the main character brought a breath of fresh air to these films and it definitely made the movie more frightening. I felt bad for Laurie, unknowingly the sister of Myers, as she was hunted in the first two films. But I felt even worse for Jamie, who’s only eight years old and has no clue what horror is in store for her and her family.
A worthwhile addition to the series, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a welcome return for the famed serial killer. Myers manages to redeem the series a bit after Silver Shamrock nearly destroyed it. Here’s hoping he can hold onto the magic for at least a couple more films.
If you liked Halloween 4, you might also like Halloween 5, Halloween 6 and Halloween H2O.