R for being part of the Halloween franchise. There's all kinds of gore and violence. You'd think it was only one kind of gore, but there's all kinds of gore in this movie. There's stabbing gore. I think there's some crushing gore. People get 'sploded. As part of the 'sploding, there's some fire stuff. There's language and drinking and sex. There's some nudity that's not officially nudity, but it isn't doing any favors for your soul. A girl just walks around without pants for a chunk of the movie like that's okay. R.
DIRECTOR: Dwight H. Little
I did something really dumb. The first three movies are easy to remember what happened in each. The first Halloween is the first Halloween. Everything in it is iconic (except for that part that I thought I watched for the first time). Then there's Halloween II. Well, that's the hospital one. I could talk about that one for a while. Then Halloween III comes along and that has nothing to do with the other two. But Halloween 4? That's almost exactly like Halloween 5. I just finished watching Halloween 5 and now I can't remember much of what happened with Halloween 4. What I do remember is that I didn't hate Halloween 4 as much as I thought I would until I watched Halloween 5. Halloween 4 is a movie that establishes the false premise and the fakeout in the series and that makes everything a big pile of garbage.
Halloween 4, 5, and 6 (or The Curse of Michael Myers sans numeral) are the Jamie trilogy. I'm not talking about Jamie Lee Curtis. That would be awesome. Nah, they named the daughter of Laurie Strode "Jamie" as a means of paying homage to the actress of the first movie. Okay, I kind of like that. But that also means that Jamie dies a lame death. Okay, a lame death that would eventually get retconned so she could appear in H20 and Resurrection only to get reconned again for the upcoming Halloween release. It is all very confusing. But I'm still pre-retcon, so I should treat the movie as such. There's some good things happening in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and some things that are kind of troubling. The most important thing that 4 gets right is that it is simple...kind of. The narrative still surrounds Michael Myers terrorizing Haddonfield. Dr. Loomis is there. He's still bugged-out crazy. Sure, his burn keeps on changing. Sometimes, he has really intense burns. Sometimes, I feel like he doesn't have any burns at all. But he's just really an intense version of Dr. Loomis. Remember, this is the same guy who inadvertently got someone pancaked and 'sploded in Part 2. So when I say that he is coming off a bit strong, there's some context for that. Fundamentally, Halloween 4 is really just a continuation from Halloween. I know, everything comes back to Star Wars, but since there was that gap between the originals and the new ones, I'm sure that Halloween 4 was an attempt to win back fans. To a certain perspective (or as Star Wars would say, "from a certain point of view"), that was achieved.
But that's where things kind of go off the rails. I know, we can't have Laurie Strode in every movie. This definitely feels like Jamie Lee Curtis just wasn't interested in coming back for another Halloween sequel, especially one practically completely devoid of John Carpenter. I saw his name more on the other movies (even the ones he didn't direct) working in some capacity. I only saw his name attached to the "Halloween theme by" credit. The change has a little kid as the protagonist and, honestly, I don't care about Jamie. The one thing I liked about Halloween III is that it actually killed off kids. Nothing seemed too taboo. Halloween 4 is a bit precious with children. On top of that, Jamie is kind of like Dawn in Buffy Season 5. While I grew to love Dawn, there was an adjustment period to reconning a character. (I know that neither one is technically retconned, but spiritually, they are both very retconned.) Laurie's life primarily happened off screen. She died a horrible death (I already spoiled this for you that she didn't) and had a family. All of Jamie's trauma seems a little bit forced. We meet her already traumatized. I know, this makes me a bit of a soulless demon to complain about an orphan crying too much, but that's her only real defining trait because we never met her when it was normal. When a plot develops, we see what normal life is like. Jamie's character is already dealing with the plot when we meet her. Her life is plagued with nightmares involving the Boogeyman / Michael Myers. I know that Part 5 brings in the psychic connection between the two characters (*groan*), but it's also a complete mislead for an audience. We don't get to see Jamie normal. There are hints of normal, but her life is already terrible because she is tormented by the town for being the niece of Michael Myers. (Also, I know that kids are terrible, but it seems like the adults aren't that much better. Remember, Myers means "victim" because Michael likes targeting his family members. Yeah, I know I'm being way too logical for Halloween 4 and that the world is a messy place, but I have expectations, you know? Also, Michael Myers is her uncle, not her dad. Let's realize that not many of us are super judged for our uncles. ALSO, WHY IS SHE LIVING IN HADDONFIELD? There's no reason.
And now I'm mad. There's so many moments where I just had to question some choices. Oddly enough, there was one moment where everyone made the sensible decision and it still went poorly. I'm going to forget later on, so I want to talk about the right decision moment. SPOILER FOR THIRD ACT AND CONCLUSION OF THE FILM: The angry mob shows up to rescue Rachel and Jamie. They are really there to tear Michael apart. They already "Monsters are Due on Maple Street"ed a guy earlier and it looks like they're ready to get a jump on Michael at the elementary school. Cool beans. Jamie and Rachel say, "Let's get out of here" and I'm thinking that there was no way that was going to happen. But then they actually all say the sensible thing and say "Okay". I was flummoxed. Then the movie cheated and had Michael under the car. There's no way he got there in time. And this actually nicely translates into my diatribe about how some things would never have happened. Michael shows up in Haddonfield after escaping. Somehow, both he and Dr. Loomis survived through some pretty intense retconning. They got 'sploded and are now perfectly fine. Heck, Michael hasn't lost a step. I have that picture above of him covered in bandages. Do you know where he gets his mask? In a grocery store/pharmacy in Haddonfield! Nope. I refuse to believe that Haddonfield would sell that mask a decade from the time that there was a huge massacre involving that mask. Apparently, it was a popular seller because multiple people own that mask. Haddonfield is a world where cops don't shoot that quickly. I mean, good for them. We, as a society, could learn something from Haddonfield. I mean, it didn't work out very well for them, but you know, small victories. But WHY IS THAT PHARMACY SELLING THAT MASK? There's no reason those jerks should be alive. Also, is the Shatner mask so popular in Halloween universe? Michael shouldn't have found another mask like that in Illinois, let alone anywhere. It's bizarre enough that a kid had in it Halloween II and you saw how that turned out for him. But there are just so many bizarre choices and I don't know why any of them are happening. Remember when Dr. Loomis just dragged Jamie and Rachel to the school? He's really stuck on that plan. Is the school somehow fortified because it seems like a terrible place to hide out from Michael Myers. You know what is a good place? A straight line in any direction.
I keep forgetting to write about this, but I'm going to write about this now, despite that I am emotionally and spiritually empty right now. The last thing I want to be doing is writing this review, but everything seems overwhelming so I'm just going to power through. What is Michael's intelligence level? What is his dexterity? If we were to make a Michael Myers character sheet for a role-playing game, what would it be? Michael Myers has some Weeping Angels thing going on because he covers a lot of ground for someone who is so slow moving. When there is a camera on him or someone is looking at him, he walks Jason level slow. But this dude can bi-locate. He can be on a roof and chasing someone who fell. He will just be on the ground, slowly walking up to them when they look up. Nope. I call nope. Also, Michael can drive a car. He can navigate to Haddonfield wherever he is. I mean, I can give him supernatural homing. He's clearly drawn to this place and he has some kind of supernatural connection with things. Okay, I can go with that. After all, he never met Jamie and shouldn't really know that she exists. (I have a feeling some of this is going to be touched on in The Curse of Michael Myers.) But he is almost different people depending on what point of the movie we're in. Sometimes, he's really spry and intense. Other times, he's this lumbering husk of killing. It's really all over the place. The car thing is mind blowing. I can't ever imagine Jason driving a car. (Admittedly, Jason drowned in Camp Crystal Lake before getting his learner's permit, but Michael was institutionalized at age 6.) We all know the answer to this. Michael is a device for scariness. Whatever works to push the story forward, Michael can do that. He is also fairly unkillable and these movies really love having the film serial ending that kind of change the end to allow for the story to continue. Only in this case, the bad guy is the one who is never actually in peril as opposed to the heroes.
I'm not excited to finish 4-6. I have to write a review for Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers tomorrow and I have a feeling I'm going to be touching on a lot of the same points. But I also am planning on watching The Curse of Michael Myers. I remember that these were the movies that were constantly at Blockbuster and there were a million copies, so I watched them a few times. But my brain healed itself and took away all memory of these movies except for the fact that they weren't great. Anyway, I will try to be here tomorrow to write about a movie that is remarkably similar to this one.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.