blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988, Dwight H. Little)

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.

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