After the release of Halloween Ends, it puts Halloween at the most entries in one of the main core slasher franchises. They’re at thirteen Halloween movies, and even if Halloween Ends is the end for Laurie Strode, it’s not the end for Michael Myers. There’s money to be made, there’s teenagers to be killed, he’ll be back. Thinking back to an earlier time though, Michael Myers was in a similar situation. We had Halloween, Halloween II, and then Halloween III: Season of the Witch. While that third movie didn’t resonate with audiences at the time because it wasn’t about Michael Myers, it still whips an ungodly amount of ass.

That audience scorn left the producers of Halloween with a choice, and an easy one at that. Bring back Michael Myers or keep going with the anthology format. By all accounts, there was no real choice and we got Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers. That film would forego trying to get Jamie Lee Curtis back and focus the story on Laurie Strode’s daughter, Jamie, played by Danielle Harris. That film would do a bit of both from Halloween III and the original two movies, giving us some more of what Halloween is all about with the setting, environment, and cinematography, and grab elements of the story from Halloween 1 and II.

The resulting film gives us the best in the series that could easily have been the final film for Michael Myers and leaves us on an image that’s both poignant and horrifying. Thinking back on it, with all the toxicity surrounding Halloween Ends and its content, imagine how people would have reacted to the ending of The Return of Michael Myers these days.

The Perfect Sequel To Bring Back Familiar Faces But Move It Forward

Halloween 4 does a lot right when it comes to the story. If you can’t bring back Laurie Strode, and you don’t want it to just be like Friday the 13th, with Michael killing random teenagers every year, you have to keep it in the Strode family. These days, a sequel focusing on the offspring of the original protagonist is commonplace. Back in 1988, it was a little more novel. When you combine that with a stroke of casting genius with Danielle Harris and her performance in the film, you get magic.

Adding to it that Donald Pleasence returned as Dr. Loomis, you get a bit of what made the original special, without just remaking the film. The rest of the cast in Halloween 4 shines as well. Ellie Cornell as Rachel is about as wholesome and awesome as they get for a final girl, which is even more of a shame that she’s unceremoniously killed off in Halloween 5. The love triangle between Kelly, Rachel, and Brady isn’t even as contrived or awful as it could have been.

It’s not that Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers doesn’t retread what we got in Halloween, it does. But the way it does it, and how it adds to that formula doesn’t feel like it’s just ripping off John Carpenter. You have extra elements, instead of a singular babysitter, it’s now Jamie and Rachel. It’s also the town of Haddonfield, or at least the vigilante-loving residents that want to hunt down and kill Michael. Sure, the scene where Michael kills the ENTIRE police force besides Ben Meeker and a couple of other officers is far-fetched. But it makes for a hell of a visual with the common people of Haddonfield taking out Myers at the end.

Don’t Even Get Me Started On The Atmosphere

You’ve heard everyone say it, and you’ve seen me say it plenty of times, it doesn’t get much more “Halloween” than the opening of Halloween 4.

It’s a slow build to where we open the story, but the harvest imagery and foggy climate are what Halloween is all about. Out here in Southern California, we yearn for weather like this in October. That carries over to the locations used in the film, with every night shot deep into the night to get it as dark as possible. Director Dwight H. Little used his own experience as a kid growing up in the midwest for some of the shots in the film. He wanted to nail the perfect environment and he did.

As for the rest of the movie, it has some tremendous set pieces, including the drug store, Michael chasing Rachel and Jamie on the roof, the entire “siege” in the house, and of course the finale at the school. This was the final sequel that felt like a pure Halloween movie. Others have gotten close, like Halloween (2018), H20, and Halloween Kills, but after this point, it was more supernatural, cults, webcams, karate, and bad ’90s hair.

Halloween 4: The Return Of Michael Myers is somewhat of a miracle that it’s even so good. it had plenty of cooks in the kitchen on the story, producers meddling with the production and masks, and the script was only written in 11 days to avoid a writer’s strike. As the fourth entry in a long-standing horror series, Halloween 4 took the series in a new direction, while keeping it in line with the holiday. Sadly, they couldn’t replicate the success and feel of this film with the next two films in the “Jamie Lloyd” section of the story.

For more on Horror, make sure to check out Fright-A-Thon, the 61-day Halloween content marathon!

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