Review by J.T. Johnson
ORIGINAL RELEASE DATE: October 21, 1988
DIRECTOR: Dwight H. Little
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Peter Lyons Collister
WRITER: Alan B. McElroy
MUSIC: Alan Howarth
In “Halloween III: Season of the Witch”, the filmmakers attempted to turn the series into an anthology that would tell a new story with each subsequent entry. Unfortunately, “Season of the Witch” underperformed and the filmmakers knew that they had to bring back Michael Myers. Ten years after the original film’s release, the unstoppable Michael Myers returned with a vengeance.
Michael Myers has been in a coma in the ten years since he went on one of the most deadly killing sprees in history. He has been watched over by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), another unlikely survivor of the deadly explosion in “Halloween II”. The truth is, though, that this may be one of my only minor problems with the film.
The explosion at the end of “Halloween II” didn’t leave much room for either character to survive. Still, the filmmakers wanted to bring Michael back from the dead along with his obsessed psychiatrist. At the end of the day, it’s ultimately one of those things where I have to allow my suspension of disbelief to activate.
The only other problem I really have with this particular film is that it can once again be gorier than previous entries. This is once again due to having to compete with other horror series such as “Friday the 13th” and “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. Beyond that, I can say that the movie actually does one thing better than “Halloween II” in that it gives me a set of characters that I actually care about throughout the movie.
In this film, Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) is the daughter of the now deceased Laurie Strode. She has been adopted by the Carruthers family and has grown close to her stepsister, Rachel (Ellie Cornell). When Michael learns that he still has a niece, this causes him to finally wake up and escape to Haddonfield.
The movie actually takes after the first film as Myers is more of a behind-the-scenes threat that you know will strike at any moment. Then, when night falls, Michael begins his deadly game. It is before the killing begins, though, that we get to know Rachel, her friends, and the new police sheriff.
Harris does a great job as the tortured Jamie. Everyone in town knows who her demented uncle is and all the kids in school pick on her about having the boogeyman as a relative. Her only source of comfort is Rachel yet even she may not be enough when a certain relative finally returns home.
Cornell as Rachel is another actress that makes this horror film work. Rachel is as strong as any of the other lead heroines in horror films and a strong supporting character for Jamie. To this day, I still think Cornell deserves more praise for her confident portrayal which is what gives Rachel her strength.
Michael Myers proves to still be a worthy threat and to match his ruthlessness, Pleasence is also fantastic once again as Dr. Loomis. This time, the good doctor’s obsession has grown even more. This time, more than ever, Loomis becomes even more like Captain Ahab as he chases down his own White Whale and he may very well be the only character that can stop Michael even if it does ultimately kill him.
“Halloween 4” proves to be way more entertaining than it has any right to be. Even though other sequels and remakes would suffer due to diminishing returns, this film gives a moody setting with decent characters. Of all the sequels featuring Michael Myers, it is arguably the best sequel of them all.