While still bad, Halloween 4 is better than I ever expected. It’s barely ninety minutes and forty or so minutes are of people in crisis, which passes the time fairly well.
It takes place in an interesting version of the original film’s town, where the moon (even when it isn’t full) is apparently so bright, it can light entire blocks and buildings. One of the plot points is the power being out, yet cinematographer Peter Lyons Collister always manages to locate a directional source.
Oh, wait, maybe Collister is just incompetent. That explanation makes more sense. Especially considering how almost every night shot is flooded with bright blue light.
The film’s a strange mix of character actors and ingenues, with the character actors the only reasonable actors. Donald Pleasence starts trashing his career legacy, but he’s not terrible. Beau Starr’s quite good.
As for the ingenues, they’re uniformly awful. Empirically speaking, director Little appears to have told Danielle Harris (the child in distress) to look like she’s holding in a fart. Her performance is terrible, though probably better than Ellie Cornell as her protector. Cornell lacks any affect whatsoever.
Little is an inept director, but not wholly incompetent. The real fault for Halloween 4 lies with writer Alan B. McElroy. McElroy can’t just not write dialogue, he can’t plot either. He also plagiarizes King Kong Lives‘s rednecks with shotguns subplot.
And then Little ruins McElroy’s one good scene.
It’s awful, but–again, shockingly–Halloween 4 could be much worse.
Directed by Dwight H. Little; screenplay by Alan B. McElroy, based on a story by Danny Lipsius, Larry Rattner, Benjamin Ruffner and McElroy and characters created by John Carpenter and Debra Hill; director of photography, Peter Lyons Collister; edited by Curtiss Clayton; music by Alan Howarth; produced by Paul Freeman; released by Galaxy International Releasing.
Starring Donald Pleasence (Dr. Sam Loomis), Ellie Cornell (Rachel Carruthers), Danielle Harris (Jamie Lloyd), George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers), Michael Pataki (Dr. Hoffman), Beau Starr (Sheriff Ben Meeker), Kathleen Kinmont (Kelly Meeker), Sasha Jenson (Brady) and Gene Ross (Earl).
- Rapid Fire (1992, Dwight H. Little)
- Prince of Darkness (1987, John Carpenter)
- Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead (1991, Stephen Herek)
- Christine (1983, John Carpenter)
- Fantastic Voyage (1966, Richard Fleischer)
- Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
- Halloween II (1981, Rick Rosenthal), the television version
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982, Tommy Lee Wallace)
- Halloween 5 (1989, Dominique Othenin-Girard)
- Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995, Joe Chappelle), the producer's cut
- Halloween H20 (1998, Steve Miner)