Friday, September 7, 2018

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is the greatest movie of all time

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. Surprisingly solid. Remembered it fondly from childhood. When it came out in 1988 when I was in second grade this little chick that lived down the street and her sister, second grade and kindergarten were these two, had seen it and regaled my bro and I with the entire plot in detail with vivid descriptions of kills and so forth. Later, she was the one that told me that they were making a fifth film that was coming out the following year. No idea how she knew that as this was pre-internet. But it was the coolest. You see, I too was really into horror and my parents too didn't give a shit about what I watched. Yeah, I crushed hard on that little lady. So yeah. Good memories before I had even seen the movie which happened a few years later. Loved it when that finally came about. Figured it would be fine or whatever but wouldn't really hold up to my equally low but different standards today. Wrong. It was pretty dope. Liked it way more than any of the other sequels in the Halloween franchise. In fact, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is the greatest film of all time. If you don't believe me, then maybe you'll take Peter Griffin's (from Family Guy) word on the film. Spoiler, he too says it is the "greatest movie of all time". No shit.

Pros: Back to what the people want (though it took some suspending disbelief to get there): Michael Myers killing folk. The hiding out at the sheriff's house is one of my favorites from the franchise. Decent amount of suspense. Still not quite a Jason ripoff but it's inching there. Performances are almost shockingly solid. The Rachel/Jamie relationship.

Cons: The mask looks terrible and at one point is pink with blonde hair which is just cray. The end where Jamie stabs her ma, spoiler, is weak bullshit. As was Myers's escape from the hospital. Basically a solid movie sandwiched between shit.

Here's the gist... Michael Myers, still alive after getting shot in both eyes and flaming for a good 35 seconds, awakens from a 10-year coma and escapes from the hospital to massacre more people as he makes his way to his bloodline in Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), the young daughter of the now deceased Laurie (played by Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween and Halloween II). However, his old psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis, played, once again, by Donald Pleasence, is on it, trying to stop the evil before it can repeat the carnage in sleepy Haddonfield, Illinois.

Some weird shit on the production of this flick. You may recall that Halloween III: Season of the Witch didn't have shit to do with Michael Myers and instead followed around a drunk doctor uncovering a mystery surrounding these dope killer masks (they are featured in the new Halloween movie trailer, by the by). This was because producers John Carpenter and Debra Hill, who wrote the first three films, shelved the Michael Myers storyline after the second movie had the character definitively die. They wanted the series to be more of the anthology type with each movie telling a different tale (this one was supposed to be a ghost story or some such shit). But after III confused audiences who went to see a slasher featuring The Shape, producer Moustapha Akkad, who had worked with Carpenter and Hill and on the first three flicks, demanded that Myers come back. Everyone was sort of on board but creative differences are a bitch.

Going to try to keep this rundown short... Carpenter liked this guy Dennis Etchison's script. The two had worked on novelizations of II and III and Carpenter liked the cut of his jib. And Etchison's outline does sound pretty interesting. One of those early self-aware flicks that get trippy and play fast and loose with the genre and our understanding of it. Something like a Wes Craven's New NightmareEtchison did an interview a while back giving some intriguing deets:
The idea is that the town, after all those terrible murders ten years earlier, has banned Halloween. They don't recognize Halloween as a holiday; they don’t allow Halloween masks and costumes or Halloween candy. And you know Hunt, the deputy from the first two films? Hunt is now the sheriff. And ten years of repression and suppression have boiled to the surface and there are some hints that He’s back!...
Some of the shit that was in the script included a tulpa, a paranormal being created through spiritual or mental powers, Myers that is sort of birthed in a pumpkin patch out of one chick's fear and is like 15 feet tall. The ending too sounded super dope and featured a scene in a drive-in theater, which I always love seeing portrayed on screen, like in the movie Targets which is insanely dope. It also had Tommy and Lindsay, the kids from the original film, as the leads in this one. Etchison explained it would have went thus:
It ends up with an enormous climax. Tommy and Lindsay go on the run into the countryside, away from Haddonfield. Lindsay hasn’t been able to remember anything that happened in 1978. She has no memory of it; it’s blacked out of her mind. And her mother wants it that way. 
Tommy, on the other hand — they both saw shrinks for a while when they were kids, and Tommy is beginning to get some flashes of it and begins to understand what’s happening. Whenever he tries to call Lindsay from across the street the mother never accepts the calls. ‘Don’t call here again, Tommy Doyle!’ Because it will remind Lindsay of what happened. But they’re bonded together because of what they went through, and they’re grown up now and they kind of like each other. But she’s not allowed to see him. 
Anyway, it ends up with this tremendous bloody scene at the packed drive-in at midnight. It’s really incredible. And the Shape is there and he’s stalking and killing people right and left. Tommy and Lindsay get away. They wake up in a farmhouse outside of town, in the country somewhere, and she has had a dream that starts to bring it all together for her…In short, it’s not just a slasher movie. The story has a philosophy behind it.
So it was more or less that when Haddonfield tried to suppress Halloween and Myers, it all came bubbling up to the surface ironically bringing him back into existence. Dope as fuck, right? But Akkad fucked it in the end, "too cerebral" for his taste saying that Myers must be flesh and blood killer. Eventually Carpenter and Hill had signed all of their rights away to Akkad and that was that and the script was forgotten. But yeah the end result was pretty great. But that sounds fucking cray and scary as fuck.

Anyway, back on track. Some shit I liked about the film, though the opening isn't the best with a sort of dumb kill (a thumb through a guy's skull), the movie doesn't fuck around and gets right into it with Myers waking up from a 10-year coma and immediately killing everyone around him. It basically gets some carnage and one sweet ass explosion out of the way early so you know what the guy is capable of before making you wait with some serious suspense late in the film that leads to some decent enough kills. Also, it's a different actress but they bring back the character Lindsay from the first film. She seems like a groovy chick in this as well. Pretty and cool. Looked up the actress. Owns a decent looking restaurant in South Carolina. She's 30 years older and rounder but still pretty and seems to be still grooving as well. 

How the fuck does this even happen?
Some shit I didn't like or made me uncomfortable... The scene where a group of little kids surround Jamie and chant "Jamie's an orphan" at her was fucked. Kids suck. The weirdest thing in the movie was Loomis hitchhiking which was just absurd. It's pretty unintentionally hilarious, in fact. He is out there and these teens pull up to him and are all, "yeah, come on, hurry up grandpa," and all that shit and then when he gets to the car they peal out. Then he gets picked up by a bumpkin priest that he makes insane small talk with as he rides back to Haddonfield. When Myers kills this guy Bucky who works for the power company by throwing him into a transformer is also unintentionally funny as fuck. Also, why does Myers always have to kill the family dog? Tired of that shit. I hate it. That dog didn't do shit to him. And there is a scene out of nowhere where Myers is wearing a pink mask with blonde hair. No idea what they fuck was going on there. It's late in the movie when Myers is in the school. It's some weird shit. 

Best scene is easily when Rachel, Jamie, Sheriff Meeker, the sheriff's daughter (Kelly Meeker), Rachel's boyfriend Brady (who gets caught doing the sheriff's daughter), a deputy, and Loomis all hideout in the sheriff's house after Myers has slaughtered all of the city's police. It starts out super awkward as Rachel caught Brady with Kelly earlier, they just went back at after Rachel left by the by, and the sheriff is no idiot and knows that his daughter was getting schtooped and what not. Let's take a second here to talk about how hot I thought this woman who played Kelly Meeker was, an actress named Kathleen Kinmont. She was the sexiest chick I had ever seen when I was a child. In 1990, when I first saw this, she was up there with Kim Basinger, Elisabeth Shue, and Deanna Troi and Tasha Yar from Star Trek: The Next Generation as the prettiest women of all time. And she holds up. She really does it for me with hella ass and boobs and the little "Cops Do It By The Book" T-shirt. Fine AF. Anyway, it is then that the movie becomes a home invasion flick with the Myers stalking Jamie from outside the home. It is super intense as we, the audience, knows he is there and already in the house, while everyone else boards up the doors and windows to keep him out when they are actually just keeping themselves from escaping. When Sheriff Meeker leaves to deal with a vigilante killing and Loomis goes out to hunt Myers or whatever, the only two people that have a chance of disposing the killer, you know these folk are fucked and indeed they are. It's here that I really doubled down on this movie being dope. 

Escapee Myers without the mask. Good look, actually
It is after this scene that we get my favorite line of the movie. It is just a dumb throwaway from when Jamie, wandering around after everyone in the hideout has got got, gets scooped up by Loomis who is out trying to kill Myers. She says, "Everyone is dead. I just want to go home." Sort of hilarious. 

Best kill comes near the end when the group of vigilantes that killed that kid earlier find Rachel and Jamie outside of the school. They take them to the next town over when Myers pops up in the bed of the truck. After easily dispatching the three bumpkins in the back, Myers rips out the fat driver's throat. It looks great and is an excellent kill. You know it is coming but it is still pretty fucked and shocking. 

Though Pleasence really goes for it here, especially at the end when get the twist ending of Jamie stabbing her foster mother having turned evil or whatever, screaming "No! No! No!" repeatedly whilst trying to kill the child, the MVP of the movie is Rachel and Jamie's relationship. It's not that either of them have to knock it out of the park with their acting or anything for the film to work. You really just need for them to pass as foster siblings. But with these two, you genuinely get that they care deeply for each other. Like the scene where they have to escape the hideout via the roof and Rachel has Jamie climb on her back while she crawls away from the killer. The actor that plays Rachel, Ellie Cornell, kills it here. Really feels like a big sister and Danielle Harris totally makes you think that she loves her sister and trusts her completely. The pair really do a fantastic job. That shit and the long, super tense scene at the sheriff's house elevate movie to what is so far the second best of the franchise. Good shit. 


JerkIzAllPro said...

Hey dude, still loving these reviews. I don’t agree with your opinions on all of them, but hey, that’s to be expected. Would you mind doing a review of the movie dark island (2010)? I have yet to see it and will be watching it soon, and I would kind of like to see how our opinions agree and disagree

Aaron Brewington said...

I was totes into checking it out but it is unavailable for streaming anywhere. I do take requests but guess this one isn't meant to be. Any others?