Movie Review: Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Halloween 4 poster
Halloween 4 poster

[Editor’s Note: Halloween: The Ultimate Collection is now available and contains EVERY Halloween movie made! Check it out!-TMW]

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers

Directed by Dwight H. Little. Starring Donald Pleasence; Danielle Harris

By1988, sequels to A Nightmare on Elm Street, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Phantasm, Friday the 13th and Hellraiser were scoring at the box office.  Producer Moustapha Akkad realized that the time was ripe to resurrect the slasher who had started it all.

Thus October 1988 saw the arrival of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers, which picks up ten years after the events of Halloween II.

In the film, we’re introduced to young Jamie Lloyd, the recently adopted daughter of the Carruthers family and biological daughter of Michael Myers’ sister Laurie Strode (who, we learn, has apparently died in the interim, covering the fact that Jamie Lee Curtis wasn’t interested in returning to the role).

Michael- who survived the fiery blast at the end of part II – learns about his niece, discovering that she lives in his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.  He violently escapes custody and attempts to find and kill the girl. As Michael returns home and subjects the town to another deadly rampage, little Jamie and her older step-sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) find themselves struggling to stay one step ahead of the psychopath.

The entry that introduced Danielle Harris to the franchise!
The entry that introduced Danielle Harris to the franchise!

Once again pursing the unrelenting maniac is Dr. Sam Loomis ( the always entertaining Donald Pleasence), who also survived that terrible night in 1978, albeit worse for the wear. The characterization of Loomis in this sequel is one of the strongest aspects of the film. At times, the doctor seems almost as crazed as his most notorious patient as he ceaselessly pursues the killer. Pleasence really sells it, refusing to just phone it in.

 

Top marks as well to Danielle Harris, who delivers a remarkable performance as little Jamie. This kid ably holds her own with Pleasence and the rest of the cast. Playing off Harris directly for much of the running time,  Ellie Cornell is also terrific, with her character demonstrating incredible inner strength as the film progresses.

 

The mantle is passed?
The mantle is passed?

Dwight H. Little (who would go on to direct the excellent version of Phantom of the Opera starring Robert Englund the following year) directs the proceedings with a sure hand, while Alan B. McElroy’s tight screenplay gives us a film with a focus on suspense rather than gory shocks.  For a slasher sequel released in the late 80’s, Halloween IV is admirably restrained with the bloodletting. It also boasts better than average plotting.  Characters in this movie avoid the stupid mistakes abundant in most horror films, taking proper, logical precautions to protect themselves. Yet they still find themselves fighting for their lives.  That’s a lot more frightening than watching teen models stumble around in the woods making one idiotic decision after another.  Even the cliffhanger ending- by this time already an overused genre trope- is effectively staged.

Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers represents a welcome return to form, ranking as one of the best of the series.

****1/2 out of *****.

Check out the Halloween 4 trailer:

TV Series: SLEEPY HOLLOW Overview & Season 2 Premiere

Sleepy Hollow
Sleepy Hollow

The first season of Sleepy Hollow aired in September, 2013 and presented a decidedly polished Ichabod Crane (portrayed  with charm and deadpan humor by Tom Mison) about 250 years into a future where he falls under the protection of an insightful Officer Abby Mills (Nicole Beharie) who breaks police protocol to protect her town. The plot reveals a peculiar link between Ichabod and the Headless Horseman who reclaimed his  murderous post, searching for his head.

The creepy horseman is not the only menace to invade, however.

The sleepy town is populated with demons, witches, and secret societies stretching back to the American Revolution. Much of what they believed is couched within untruth, and the pair must scramble to solve the mysteries before more death visits the populous and ultimately the world.

People they trusted prove unworthy. Others find vindication within what is revealed. History itself is redefined. Time continuums are explored. Folk and religious beliefs are investigated. All while Ichabod navigates the perplexities of modern living.

Other than the names of some of the characters, there is little resemblance to the classic Washington Irving book found within his early 1800’s “The Sketch Book.” For example, Ichabod in the show served in the Revolution, a Brit who turned coat and became a spy for the Americans under General Washington.

His polish and demeanor in no way resemble the awkward, half-starved school teacher mooning after his plump and lovely student. In the television show, his wife is Katrina, whose secrets propel much of the convoluted plot. The captain is named “Irving.”

 However, using Mr. Washington Irving’s familiar creepy vibe and expanding it to cross genres and touch on adventure, the supernatural, and mystery with intriguing visuals and excellent camera work add to the marketability of the show.

 The second season of Fox’s “Sleepy Hollow” premiers in the USA on Monday, 22 September, 2014 at 9PM/8c. The entire first season is available on such sources as VUDU or DVD.

TALES OF POE Autographed Poster Giveaway!

Tales of Poe autographed promotional poster
Tales of Poe autographed promotional poster

We have sung the praises of the horror movie, Tales of Poe, from the start of our website.  The movie is currently on the film festival circuit,  and we can’t wait until you are able to watch this incredible terror anthology inspired by the work of Edgar Allen Poe.
 
The Tales of Poe folks were kind enough to sign a promotional poster and allow us to give it away on the Halloween Forevermore website!
 
It is signed by: Alan Rowe Kelly (director), Bart Mastronardi (director), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Adrienne King (Friday the 13th), Tom Burns (composer), Brewster McCall (The Cask actor), Bette Cassatt (V/H/S 2) and Michael Varrati (writer of the Dreams segment).
 
Enter our Facebook contest by following this link to the giveaway, whether you are on a mobile device or desktop.
 
 
This contest ends on September 19th at Noon PST!
 
 
Check out our review of the film by clicking here.
 
Check out a video we shot at the Tales of Poe movie premiere by clicking here.

 

Article: WHY DO GROWN MEN WATCH GODZILLA FILMS?

Godzilla 1954
Godzilla 1954
The original Godzilla was a serious movie with a message. The sequels? Not so much…

Why Godzilla films?

Many people may ask “Why do grown men watch Godzilla films?” My wife and daughters don’t understand. When a Godzilla film is on, they roll their eyes and make quick passage through the living room, lest I stop them to explain the ridiculous plot, for no apparent reason.

 

Aside from the original 1954 Gojira, with its serious tone, sociopolitical statement, and allegory sentiments, the entire franchise is not exactly aimed at adults. The films are a myriad of pseudo-science, hokey plots, simplistic storylines, and fantasy elements. They often contain plot-holes big enough to drive a monster truck through.

 

Godzilla vs The Sea Monster
Mr. G picks out a big one for his surf and turf dinner!

So, why the infatuation?  I will attempt to answer that burning question.

 

Give a young boy (age’s two to ten) a set of blocks and what will they do? They will stack them as high as they can, stand back to study their accomplishment, then run up and kick them down. If you have two boys in the room they will race to be the one who will kick down the blocks first.

 

It’s the conqueror ego. It’s the desire to level the playing field. It’s a release of frustrations in a somewhat controlled environment.

 

Godzilla vs Mothra (aka The Thing!)
What’s in the egg?

Man is born with an inherent penchant for aggression and destruction. It’s part of the survival instinct that keeps him fighting even when the odds are against him. Throughout man’s existence, natural violence was a part of his struggle. In the most recent 100 years, man has taken much of that natural violence out of his life. We have secure homes that shield us from predators and violent weather (most of the time). We don’t have to hunt for food or compete for hunting grounds against other men/tribes/clans. We only have to walk into a supermarket where meat is laid out in trays and packaged in plastic, under bright lights and light FM, elevator music.

 

Some men will turn to sports, throwing their hands in the air and roaring when their team beats the opposing team into submission. Young men will turn to loud music, banging their heads, waving their fists and even mosh-ing to release pent-up aggression. And an even smaller percentage of men will turn to giant monster movies. They see Godzilla kick down a building and relate that to themselves as young boys, kicking down that stack of blocks.

 

Naturally, we don’t want to see this kind of destruction in real life. We love to see tornados on film from a safe distance, ripping a roof off a barn. But we are saddened and empathetic when we see the devastation up-close and see the hardships they cause real people and families. We like to see buildings topple, explosions burst into giant fireballs and laser-beams or heat-rays cut through city streets, but are taken aback when we see the real devastation of an earthquake or the loss of innocent lives in a terrorist attack.

 

Battle Royale
Kaiju battle royale!

What we see in these films is fantasy. Sometimes we cheer for mankind, up against what seems to be an unstoppable force. Sometimes we cheer for the giant monster that can destroy the arrogant man’s world and re-teach him to have respect for mother earth and her adept system of balance.

 

We are happy to be out of the constant violent struggle of nature but we still have that adrenaline induced instinct that needs to be called upon during emergencies. And that muscle needs to be flexed. So stand back from the Blu-Ray/DVD remote and let us kick our blocks down…metaphorically speaking.

Tales of Poe Premiere Video and Interviews

Tales of Poe Premiere Video

On August 20, 2014, we were invited to the Tales of Poe World Premiere at the the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, California. We were highly impressed by the work of directors Alan Rowe Kelly and Bart Mastronardi. We were able to interview some of the cast and crew of this great horror anthology based on Edgar Allen Poe’s  work. It was a fun, chaotic and LOUD night! You must see this film when it is officially released! More info for Tales of Poe here! And check out our review!