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Haunted Sideshow

Dustin Putman

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Capsule Review
Halloween 4:
The Return of Michael Myers
2 Stars
Directed by Dwight H. Little.
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Sasha Jenson, Kathleen Kinmont, Michael Pataki, Beau Starr, Gene Ross, Jeff Olson, Karen Alston, Carmen Filpi, Leslie L. Rohland, Richard Stay, George P. Wilbur.
1988 – 88 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for violence, language, and sexuality/nudity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 2008.

Sam Loomis:
You talk about him as if he were a human being.
That part of him died years ago.

Reimagining that purely evil killer Michael Myers wasn't fried to a crisp in the explosive finale of 1981's "Halloween II" so much as he just received a few sizzling burns, "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" wastes no time setting up his escape as he is transferred to a different facility. The next day, wouldn't you know it, is Halloween, and soon Michael has found his way back to Haddonfield and set his sights on 8-year-old niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), daughter of now-deceased Laurie Strode. Meanwhile, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) becomes certain he's about to return home. Directed by Dwight H. Little, "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" feels more like an obligatory teen slasher than the previous films—good girl Rachel (Ellie Cornell), bimbo Kelly (Kathleen Kinmont) and cheating boyfriend Brody (Sasha Jenson) would fit comfortably in any old killathon of the '80s—but is enlivened by the fair, empathetic treatment of Jamie and the surrounding aura of the holiday. Suspense is once again favored over gore, and the bond between Jamie and stepsister Rachel is nicely played by newcomers Danielle Harris (2007's "Halloween") and Ellie Cornell (2003's "House of the Dead"). Watch out, also, for a sly cameo from Lindsey Wallace, Laurie's babysitting charge from the 1978 classic. "Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers" gets the job done—a chase set atop a third-story roof is edge-of-your-seat stuff—even as a group of renegade bar hicks should have been excised from the script altogether. Director Little saves his best trick for last; the final scene, suggesting in the most malevolent of ways that evil never dies, is absolutely chilling.

© 2008 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman