Well, another year another All Hallows Eve. I don't know what it is about October and this night, but it always...to paraphrase a much better writer, "thrills me, fills me with fantastic terrors never felt before." I don't know why, but I always get an adrenaline rush on Halloween Night and I think this burst is going to be just the thing I need to get me through to Friday. I think the weight of the world is slowly crushing me, but hey...that's life right? I may also have been revitalized by yesterday's unexpected snow day (yeah, a snow day before Halloween...thanks Sandy...too bad you had to destroy a good deal of the East coast to do it) and therefore have my fur up due to that. It's hard to say really, but either way it is Halloween and I am pumped up. I suppose its nice to have a return to my old excited self after a couple of weeks of feeling simply exhausted, and since I'm on the subjects of 'returns' I thought I might revisit the face of Halloween himself, Michael Myers, and the night he came home. Oh, and I don't mean that night in 1978....I mean when he came back ten years later. This marked a return of the series to it's roots after the departure of Season of the Witch and also a return to good old fashioned slasher basics (which were becoming something of a thing of the past among new supernatural wonders like Zombie Jason, Freddy Krueger, and Pinhead). So let's all return to Haddonfield as we hide under a warm blanket (cause it's COLD out there) and watch Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers.
Ten years have passed since Michael Myers' horrific homecoming in Haddonfield and despite rumors of his firey death at Haddonfield Memorial Hospital, Myers has actually been in a coma at Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium for the past ten years. He is a vegetable...or so his doctors think. While being transfered from Ridgemont back to Smith's Grove Warren County Sanitarium, one of the EMTs lets it slip that he has a young niece living in Haddonfield. Suddenly Michael is back on his feet and ready to kill his only remaining family member. The niece in question is Jamie Lloyd, 8, who has spent the last year grieving for the loss of her mother, Laurie Strode (Michael's sister and original target), and father who died in a car crash. She has also been having terrible nightmares about a palefaced "boogeyman" who relentlessly pursues her and wants to kill her. She doesn't know why, but she feels that something or someone is coming to get her. When Jamie's stepsister Rachel Carruthers finally gets her to join in the Halloween spirit, that is when all Hell breaks loose. Michael has found her and will stop at nothing in order to snuff her little life out of existence. It's up to Rachel and Dr. Loomis, Michael's aged but still spry psychiatrist, to try and save her before it is too late.
There are those (a small amount to be sure) who would tell you that this beloved sequel to Carpenter's original Halloween is simply a rehash, a pale imitation of Carpenter's film with none of the suspense or class of the original. Those people are correct on a very basic level, in that the film repeats the basic template of Halloween, but where they are wrong is in underestimating just how effective writer Alan B. McElroy's and director Dwight H. Little's little horror film is in doing just that. Halloween has a feeling about it, pure and simple, that parts one and two capture beautifully. Few sequels in the series have captured that film with as much effectiveness and I am happy to say that Return definately feels like a brother to the original two. Myers hasn't yet become an unkillable monster and Donald Pleasence is still slightly grounded as Dr. Loomis (it's not till part 5 that he goes off the deep end). The film also has a delightful orange filter over it that makes everything feel like Fall, in a way that none of the other Halloween movies has ever managed. The performances of the young leads are good and there aren't too many stupid teenagers running around to betray this as an 80s horror film. Indeed, most of the people killed are the adults of the picture....folks who would be seen as the protectors of the kids in danger. Elle Cornell as Rachel is a good match for the void left by Jamie Lee Curtis' Laurie and Danielle Harris is dynamite as Jamie. For a rehash of old ideas, this one packs a heck of a quality punch. And perhaps being more of the same isn't a bad thing...the series was always better when it was simply about a man in a mask stalking people in the dark.