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HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL...
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Dwight H. Little

Starring:
Donald Pleasence
Danielle Harris
Ellie Cornell
Michael Pataki

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
Michael Myers has seemingly been in a coma for ten years after the events of Halloween 2. This one has him stalking his young niece, Jamie and killing anyone who dares get between them. Only Dr. Loomis can stop his former patient.
Is it good movie?
After the disasterous turn of Halloween 3 (which is pure entertainment, in my books..just not a Halloween flick), Halloween 4 has Myers back in action. The filmmakers have attempted to recreate the tense and scary atmosphere of the first film and update it for a late-80s audience.

Shockingly enough, although it doesn't match up to the original, I believe that Halloween 4 is unquestionably one of the best sequels in the franchise, although it does become far more of a typical slasher than anything else. The movie doesn't have a really strong connection to the last film before it, we're told Laurie died in a car crash and has a daughter she left alone in Haddonfield. In typical silly fashion, while being transferred to a new hospital (and in a cool moment, you see Myers as a human for a few moments), the comatose Myers snaps awake, kills everyone in the amberlamps and is back on a killing spree.

In a smart bit of continuity, Loomis catches wind that Michael's back, and gets back to Haddonfield to try to stop the monster. What's cool is that Loomis is burned and beaten from the events of Halloween II (he's caught in an exploding hospital). Sure, we have some disposable teens to be found here, but at least the people in the town actually know what happened in Haddonfield. People band together to stop Myers and they haven't forgotten what he did.

Ellie Cornell takes the mantle of scream queen in this one as Jamie's stepsister, and does a great job with the character. Sure, she comes off pretty mean at first, but she wises up pretty quickly and turns out to be useful.  Of course, Donald Pleasance commands your attention with another amazing performance as Dr. Loomis, the emotional, caring and cunning doctor who anchors these films. He's a man who has something to accomplish and he's setting out to make sure that action is taken.

Naturally, the true story here is Jamie Lloyd, our young horror prodigy who has grown into quite the horror personality herself. She's a broken little girl who feels almost no connection to anyone, feeling afraid, alone and confused. She's partially shunned by the town and conveys her emotions so well. You'll believe in her, root for her, and fight for her. She's really that good.

In terms of Michael and the meaty stuff, this one is certainly gorier than eariler installments and that can be somewhat hit and miss. The previous films featured more suspense, and this one has Michael causing all kinds of serious damage, and the kills vary from tame to vicious, probably because John Carl Buechler was brought in to punch things up a bit. The Shape himself is a bit ho-hum this time around, and it's a little stupid the way he gets his outfit back, and the mask redesign isn't overly impressive, with the hair looking really stupid at times. He's played by the capable George Wilbur, but seems a bit stiff and robotic.

Sure, it hasn't aged terribly well and there's some silly stuff going on, but this one was trying hard. It's atmospheric, recreates the town well, has some nasty death scenes and really memorable characters for any 4th movie in a series. Whether you love it or not, you have to admit that Halloween 4 is far better than almost any sequel that comes after it.
Video / Audio
Video is presented in 1.85:1 widescreen in full 1080p. It looks about as good as it ever has, but it isn't an astounding Blu Ray. It gets a bit grainy, and loses detail at times. Again, better than ever, but not reference quality stuff.

Audio is a little weak as well. It comes in Dolby TrueHD, and really falls flat, sounding a bit bland and there isn't a lot of surround work here.
The Extras
If you have the DVD, you'll notice these extras have been repeated:

An audio commentary track with Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris is included, with some great conversation and wonderful memories being shared by the main actresses. Worth listening to.

There's a Halloween 4/5 Discussion panel from the H25 convention, where Danielle Harris, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson, and Jeffrey Landman of Halloween 5 are taking questions about both movies. It runs about 20 minutes long and is entertaining enough.

You also get a trailer.

Exclusive to the Blu is a commentary track from director Dwight Little. He's interviewed by Justin Beahm of Halloweenmovies.com, and is really honest, insightful and informative. This is a must listen for any fan of the film, in my opinion.
Last Call
So, the Blu Ray is here and while it's pretty good, it's not a must own. I really like this sequel and I'm happy to have it in my collection, but you don't need to rush out if you own a DVD copy unless you're a fanatic. Audio and video are only okay, and the extras are pretty lacking. Still, one of the best Halloween sequels, so do what you will!
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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