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  Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Kill Me Again
Year: 1988
Director: Dwight H. Little
Stars: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, George P. Wilbur, Michael Pataki, Beau Starr, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson, Gene Ross, Carmen Filpi
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 2 votes)
Review: The serial killer Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) has been in a coma these past few years since he was injured in an explosion at the hospital he was terrorising, and subsequently held in a high security psychiatric hospital. Tonight he is going to be moved, so a couple of medics arrive at the establishment to take him from his cell, not liking the warning stories that the security guard is telling them. They get him into the ambulance and drive off, not thinking that they are in danger as after all the patient is insensible, but that will be their last mistake as Myers springs into life...

Quelle surprise, the slasher movie villain who started the whole fashion for such things was not lying dormant, as where there was money to be made from sequels he was not going to hang about when his contemporaries were there to do the same. Therefore producer Moustapha Akkad ensured he had the rights to the character, leading creator John Carpenter to wash his hands of all future instalments, and two of these were filmed back to back. Of course, Halloween III had not been part of the series' regular plotline at all, so this was the first time fans had watched Myers since 1981 where Jamie Lee Curtis had seen off the threat.

By this time, Curtis was too big a star to bother with appearing in low budget Halloween sequels, so in tribute a new character was thought up in Laurie Strode's daughter, also named Jamie (Danielle Harris). Family being important since the second movie, the script sees Michael seeking out his relative, though for what reason is unclear, we simply have to accept without question the muddy motives of a maniac. Jamie lives in Haddonfield with a foster family, so that's where her crazy uncle heads for, though again, how he could have possibly known about her is left unexplained as the film follows basic nightmare logic to excuse itself anything that does not make sense.

One actor happy to return and cash his paycheque was Donald Pleasence, again playing Doctor Loomis, looking a little worse for wear (he was blown up too) but still battling on and warning anyone who will listen that his former patient is pure evil incnarnate. The nanosecond that Myers is released, Loomis is on his trail, convinced, rightly, that he knows what is going on in his masked head and determined to stop him, but really he's a secondary character in spite of Pleasence's top billing, as by this time he was nobody's idea of a virile action hero, if indeed he ever was. So mainly we concentrate on Jamie and her foster sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell).

As this is set around Halloween night - nothing else would do - Jamie wants to go out and in a nod to the original she wears a clown costume similar to the one worn by Michael in the opening sequence of that classic, groundbreaking film. Not that you could describe Halloween 4 that way: it wasn't called Halloween IV because the producers thought that the target audience wouldn't understand Roman numerals, which should give you some idea of the somewhat banal nature of what's on offer here. Not particularly gory, nothing very imaginative, it resembles some kind of place holder where it was only made because the rights were there and there was money to be gathered from those attracted by the brand. Until the very end, there's nothing remarkable about this at all, though the twist it led up to suggested a more audacious direction for part 5. Or not. Music by Alan Howarth.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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