Halloween 4: the Return of Mike Myers (1988)
Halloween 4: the Return of Mike Myers was the Halloween franchise’s reboot. Gone are the amazingly fun Silver Shamrock shenanigans, which were replaced with the slowest pacing of a Halloween film yet. This film, as is apparent in the title, brings Mike Myers back as the villain and Donald Pleasence back as Dr. Loomis; a man who spent the intervening six years going further over the edge. There’s an old joke about how psychiatrists are just as crazy as their patients, and Loomis here proves it. Shooting into empty gas station kitchens because he’s hallucinating Mike Myers; all forms of psychotic behavior is on display.
I’m almost ready to cash in the 80s slasher belief that the monsters were avenging angels sent to punish sinful children (a belief that the first Halloween actually created), for an updated “psychological thriller” reading which posits that Loomis was the bad guy all along. If this film ends with Loomis locked in a padded cell and everything that had transpired being nothing but a fantasy, I wouldn’t be shocked.
Halloween 4 introduces Jamie (Danielle Harris), Mike Myers’ niece. (Her mother Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) died in the horrible crossfire that occurred when Curtis rose above her Prom Night/Halloween background to become a legit star.) The niece doesn’t have psychic powers a la Friday the 13th: Part VII – the New Blood, but she is a strong contender for secret Mike Myers; which is why I’d be so shocked if that twist went to Dr. Loomis in the end. They’re both hallucinating Mike Myers everywhere; a plausible preoccupation in Loomis’ case (he shot two clips into Myers and set him on fire only to watch him be unexplainably “alive” in each subsequent movie) versus Jamie’s (whose age, considering this film takes place 10 years after the first film, means she’s probably never seen her uncle).
Unfortunately after introducing Jamie, not much else happens. It’s naturally Halloween so Mike Myers wakes up out of his bullet-induced coma and starts killing again. Interestingly enough, Myers is seemingly unconcerned with laying low this time around. I guess after dying twice he realized that he can’t stay dead, and just decided to have fun with it. So he slaughters the aforementioned gas station in broad daylight before stealing a tow truck and inadvertently blowing up said gas station as well as knocking down a few telephone poles.
How Myers is driving a tow truck is anyone’s guess. He looked to be around 6 or 7 when he was arrested in the first movie, so unless the asylum has its own driver’s ed course, I’m thinking he should’ve been clueless about using a stick.
Halloween (the actual holiday) starts, Loomis arrives and you have the first two movies replay themselves. “Everyone stay home!,” shouts Loomis and the police, but no one listens. Myers throws a rag doll dressed as a man into the electrical station, cutting off all of Haddonfield’s power. So the town forms an old-timey lynch mob and go searching for Myers themselves.
I guess there’s a message here about vigilante justice when the mob shoots an innocent boy hiding in the bushes, but such a message is easily lost since they overdubbed his murder with the most over-the-top comic gun shot effects imaginable. Rather than being poignant, the scene instead reads like the boy was executed by Bugs Bunny.
I can’t really blame the filmmakers for trying though, as the scene is poignant, though maybe not for the reasons they wanted. As it stands, the boy’s execution marks the last interesting scene in the movie. The remaining 40 minutes finds all the cast members converging to the sheriff’s house, where Mike starts picking them off one-by-one. Except for Dr. Loomis, who excuses himself to go wandering around the neighborhood.
The conclusion arrives after Myers is thrown off the roof of a speeding truck. What, you didn’t expect a monster who was known for lurking in the shadows to suddenly make a move for the spotlight? Neither did the film gods, since he crash lands into what appears to be Jason Voorhees’ shack from Friday the 13th Part II.” One can assume it’s Jason’s voodoo that cause the bullets to finish Myers off here, since they’ve been completely ineffective every other time.
Bringing Jamie back home, she then provides the swerve by murdering her adopted mother with a pair of scissors; a la juvenile Mike Myers. I’d hate to say “I called it” on a review for a film that’s nearly 30 years old, especially since I was rooting for Dr. Loomis to secretly be Mike. Maybe in the next sequel…