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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

Halloween 4 was a return to the formula fans know and love after the abhorrent and universally hated Halloween 3 (which didn't feature Myers at all). Subtitled The Return of Michael Myers this film features our favourite masked psychopath as he comes back to Haddonfield after a ten year absence in pursuit of his young niece, Jamie.

The film opens with an ambulance arriving at the creepy Richmond Mental Institute where Myers has spent the last decade in a coma after the explosion which ended Halloween 2. As soon as the ambulance is out on the road with Myers aboard he kills the unfortunate occupants and disappears. Loomis is called as usual and manages to track him down almost immediately but Michael escapes in a big explosion set-piece at a rundown gas station.

Naturally he is heading for Haddonfield, mysteriously intent on wiping out his bloodline. Since his sister, Laurie Strode, is dead the daughter we never knew she had, a young girl called Jamie, becomes the focus of Myers' attention. Dr. Loomis gives chase as Myers runs riot in the town wiping out an entire police station and plunging the whole town into darkness when he kills the electricity supply by throwing an unfortunate engineer onto the transformer. This is one of the most action-packed Halloween films with several gory murders and Myers is like an unstoppable killing machine.

Myers has obviously done enough damage by this point that the sheriff actually believes Loomis when he turns up and Jamie and her babysitter Rachel are picked up trick and treating and taken back to the sheriff's house. Along with the sheriff's daughter and her boyfriend they hide in the house but Myers is lurking around nearby and they are far from safe.

Original writers Carpenter and Hill refused to have anything to do with this. Akkad raised a budget of $5 million for director Dwight H. Little and he does a reasonable job building tension vaguely reminiscent of the original. The only real link to the past is the excellent Donald Pleasance reprising his role as Loomis and as always he adds a great deal, although his character is becoming increasingly manic in this outing. Obviously we also have the familiar killer in his, by now, iconic outfit of boiler suit and Michael Myers mask.

The rest of the cast are passable, Danielle Harris is very good as young Jamie and her vulnerability definitely adds to the horror. Incidentally she ended up as Myers fodder in the 2007 remake. George P. Wilbur plays Myers very effectively and he is practically indestructible in this movie.

The movie stays firmly within established slasher rules. There are some brief moments of humour such as the useless redneck lynch mob but they don't get in the way of the relentless action. Some of the scenes are actually quite tense as well and these come closest to the mood of the original film.

Halloween 4 is a good solid slasher movie, it doesn't advance the genre and the director is clearly a fan of explosions over tension but I enjoyed this film and if you just fancy a bit of mindless Myers action you can't go wrong with this.

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