Halloween 4- Horror Movie Review- (Day 26 of 31)- October Massacre

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

PLOT: Ten years after he killed over a dozen people in Haddonfield, Il., Michael Myers returns to finish eliminating what remains of his family. His target this time: Jamie Lloyd, his niece.

Halloween 4 The Return of Michael Myers review horror Halloween Danielle Harris

REVIEW: HALLOWEEN 4: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS is the best HALLOWEEN sequel. I don't know if that's a controversial opinion or not, but it has always seemed to me that more than any of the other movies in the franchise, Part 4 comes the closest to capturing the look, tone and atmosphere of John Carpenter's classic original. I have affection for HALLOWEEN II, let there be no doubt. But HALLOWEEN 4 is better.

One feather in the film's cap is the return to the suburban environs that helped make HALLOWEEN so effective. The throat-slashings of a homicidal maniac are thoroughly more unnerving when the backdrop is the placidity of Small Town, USA. Director Dwight H. Little has taken plenty of cues from Carpenter, from the framing of his leaf-swept streets, increasingly bleak mood, and emphasis on characters we care about in peril. Of course, HALLOWEEN II brings back Laurie Strode, and Dr. Loomis dutifully awaits his showdown with Michael Myers on the fringes of the story, but aside from them, there are no characters we necessarily root for in that film. (And let's face it, Laurie spends most of the running time in a near-catatonic state.) HALLOWEEN 4 brings us into the compelling family drama swirling around Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Laurie's daughter, and her adaptive guardians, the Carruthers family. Teenaged Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell) is like Jamie's big sister, fully supportive, but the younger girl is damaged in an opaque way that's troubling. With two engaging young female leads at the center of the tale, Little and screenwriter Alan B. McElroy give us two narratives to invest in, as both actresses are very likable and easily project the intelligence and vulnerability required to grab our sympathy. Especially Harris; it's easy to forget just how really, really good she is in this.

And, of course, Donald Pleasence returns as Dr. Loomis, and the veteran actor is as solid as ever. Almost 70 years old when he made it, Pleasence doesn't phone it in for a second; Loomis is seemingly on the very edge throughout the film, running here and there in his search for Michael and the actor always makes you believe he's damn near close to breaking. But, as can be counted on, he's the protector Haddonfield needs, and his commitment to defeating Michael doesn't waver.

HALLOWEEN 4 also deepens the legacy of Michael Myers as unstoppable force of nature. His reemergence here, after his fiery exit in Part 2, establishes that this is no ordinary man. That point is also hammered home with the further development of his predatory talent for tracking down relatives; Michael just knows where his family is, and his evil insistence on hunting and killing them is fairly chilling here.

Halloween 4 The Return of Michael Myers review horror Halloween Danielle Harris

BEST TNA: Naturally, HALLOWEEN 4 has a town hussy, Kelly Meeker, who also just happens to be the sheriff's daughter. Portrayed by the very perky Kathleen Kinmont, Kelly seduces poor Rachel's douchey boyfriend away from her, but one gander at her goods and we can't really blame him. Okay, we still can… but we get it, man. We get it.

BEST GORE BIT: Michael slaughters a slew of people here; one dude is fried to death at a power plant, another gets impaled with a shotgun, etc. But for pure gross-out enjoyment, I kind of like when he rips out a man's throat with his bare hand while on top of a car. Michael isn't just pure evil, he's enterprising as well. (Runner-up: The thumb in the forehead!)

HALLOWEEN DRINKING GAME: Chug your Pumpkin Ale every time…


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About the Author

Eric Walkuski is a longtime writer, critic, and reporter for JoBlo.com. He's been a contributor for over 15 years, having written dozens of reviews and hundreds of news articles for the site. In addition, he's conducted almost 100 interviews as JoBlo's New York correspondent.