Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers-1988
Director-Dwight H. Little
Starring Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris
Scott’s Review #1,312
Reviewed October 27, 2022
Give me a good slasher flick any day and I’m a pretty happy guy.
Especially if it’s one from the Halloween franchise (my favorite series other than Friday the 13th, naturally), and viewed around the demonic holiday is the perfect flavor.
There is so much atmosphere to embrace with pumpkins, masks, and trick-or-treaters nestled seemingly safe in a small town ripe for the picking by a knife-wielding maniac.
By 1988 though, the slasher genre had severely waned and felt quite redundant with watered-down sequels and copycat patterns resulting in a stale crop of films.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers (1988) is an okay film and a worthy entry to the franchise. It is most notable for fixing what many fans thought was a terrible mistake.
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) omitted maniacal Michael Meyers entirely which made many fans seeth with rage, so Part 4 corrects this miss by adding his name to the title card.
John Carpenter and Debra Hill, the main contributors to the original Halloween (1978) were not involved so executive producer Moustapha Akkad went for a conventional and safe route, creating a standard slice em and dice em affair.
The allegedly comatose Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) is being transferred from one hospital to another, but he wakes up when the ambulance crew chatter about his surviving niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris).
Out for fresh blood, he slaughters his attendants and sets out to find his one living relative who is being cared for by a kind and resourceful foster sister named Rachel (Ellie Cornell).
Meanwhile, the ever-cautious Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) remains on the killer’s path intent to destroy the monster once and for all.
The overall tone of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers is by the numbers providing an offering that would only satisfy fans of the franchise and not dare ruffle any feathers or acquire new fanatics.
Even the premise of Meyers escaping a hospital and targeting a family member is identical to the original film and its sequel. The familiar Haddonfield Hospital and Smith’s Grove Sanitarium return like good friends not seen for years.
There are no points given for originality but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, Haloween III tried to reinvent the wheel and was largely derided for its efforts.
I liked the film and I like Part 4 for different reasons.
Meyers is front and center with his pointy butcher knife and hulking frame, and that’s pleasing and comforting. The mask is a bit paler and his height shorter but it’s the same Michael we all know and love.
Missing is Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, presumed to have died, but the return of Pleasence is a major win as he takes center stage and has more screen time than he has ever had as Loomis. Scarred and looking older and more withered, his determination is even stronger to best Meyers.
In a neat little twist, Michael looks to pass his killing baton to his niece as she attempts to butcher her stepmom, similar to what Michael did to his sister many years earlier.
Borrowing heavily from its predecessors, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Meyers (1988) is satisfying but not revolutionary. There are enough nods to history combined with a new batch of teenagers to mutilate to forge ground and continue the legacy.