HALLOWEEN IV: THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS
John Carpenters original Halloween (1978) had been a defining horror classic that gave birth to the tide of slasher films throughout the 1980s. Carpenter subsequently sold the rights to Dino de Laurentiis and oversaw one generally disappointing sequel Halloween II (1981). Carpenter saw beyond the mill of copycat sequels that the Friday the 13th series was generating and with the next film Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1988) attempted to use the Halloween as an umbrella title for a series of original films. Alas, Halloween III was not a success and de Laurentiis then sold off the rights. The rights then passed over to Moustapha Akkad, executive producer on all of the Halloween films, who presided over a total of five further sequels (see below for other titles). In collaboration with Trancas International, Moustapha Akkad did the commercially unimaginative thing here and returned the series to the exploits of Michael Myers.
One had hopes for Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers it follows up the film that started off the Jason/Freddy/babysitter/summer camp slasher cycle and it has had an entire decade to learn from the mostly inferior imitators. Instead, all it has done is wielded the dross into unimaginative imitation. Sequences are stolen from other films the gas station scene and the climactic killing of the Shape comes from The Hitcher (1986); the plot of the group trapped in the house with the power off from Alone in the Dark (1982); while the gory killings seem patterned more after the crude butchery of the Friday the 13th series than any of John Carpenters eerie suspense. Even the films best moment the twist ending has been borrowed directly from the opening scene of the original Halloween. In every other respect, it is the same formula that has fuelled dozens of other slasher films the same plot of teens being stalked, the nasty underlying fuck-and-die morality (there is an almost laughable scene that underlines the crude Freudian morality of the slasher film where Kathleen Kinmont gets impaled through the chest with a very phallic-looking shotgun).
It makes for sad comparison in the original, John Carpenter evinced a creepy paranoia, he played games with the audience and popped the boogie man up where you least expected, and some of his images were so weird they blew the mind. When director Dwight H. Little tries to get intense here, he ends in blowing up everything in sight. Someone like John Carpenter could have made something out of a plot involving Dr Loomis raising an army of rednecks to hunt Michael and a town filled with people wearing lookalike Halloween masks identical to the killer. Carpenters eerie da-dink-dink score from the original is reused at every opportunity and rapidly loses its effect. Donald Pleasence is back but completely overacts in the Loomis part.
Director Dwight H. Little later went onto direct mostly action films such as Marked for Death (1990), Rapid Fire (1992) and most successfully the Wesley Snipes thriller Murder at 1600 (1997), as well as Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995). His other ventures into genre material have been the slasher remake of The Phantom of the Opera (1989), Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid (2004) and the videogame adaptation Tekken (2010).
The other Halloween sequels are: Halloween II (1981), Halloween 5 (1989), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998) and Halloween: Resurrection (2002). Halloween (2007) was a remake of the original film, which in turn has produced a sequel with Halloween II (2009).