Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Movies I love: Halloween 4

For those of you who don't know me that well, I love horror movies. There's just something about them that gets me excited to watch. If a horror movie is done correctly, it keeps you on the edge of your seat, and you actually feel a little sad when one of the characters is murdered. Halloween 4 is my all-time favorite horror movie. It's a little cheesy and unrealistic at times, but it's got sympathetic characters, and a great performance by the great Sir Donald Pleasance. Let's take a trip, shall we?

Halloween 4 came out in 1988, and was a direct sequel to Halloween 2. For those of you who don't follow the series, Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis were supposed to be dead at the end of the second film, and that was supposed to be the conclusion of the Michael Myers story. Halloween 3, introduced a new storyline about an evil scientist who planned on killing millions of children with Halloween masks that explode when triggered by a television commercial. Halloween 3 was a slight disappointment, grossing only $13 million at the box office when it was released in 1982. It was also panned by critics, although I feel it's a decent flick.

Danielle Harris as Jamie
As the years passed, fans wanted to see Michael Myers back on the big screen. There were talks of a cross-over film with Leatherface, and even a "supernatural' type of storyline with Michael killing from beyond the grave. Finally they chose a script, with Michael and Loomis being only "hurt", and both were found to be burnt severely, but alive. Michael was in a comatose state after the ending of Halloween 2, barely alive but that all changed.

My favorite part of the movie is the opening sequence. The film starts with ominous pictures of the fall season in the Midwest. Images of wind blowing through cornfields, the sun going down, and a creepy scarecrow. The director did a perfect job of painting a portrait of the sleepy Midwest town Michael hails from.

Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis
Moving on from there, we find Michael still alive(barely) and he is set to be transferred to a different hospital. While being loaded into the ambulance, the medics mention that Michael has a niece in Haddonfield, and this makes Michael spring into action, and he murders both medics, including shoving his thumb through one man's forehead. (one of the cheesy parts)

We then meet Michael's 8 year-old niece, Jamie, played by a young Danielle Harris. She is supposed to be the daughter of Laurie Strode, the character played by Jamie Lee Curtis in the first two films. We find that Jamie has been having dreams about her murderous uncle, and one of the real jump scenes of the film takes place in this part of the film.

Jamie is protected throughout the film by her foster sister Rachel, played by Ellie Cornell. She becomes the protector of Jamie, and tries to keep her safe while much of her small town is slaughtered by Myers.

When Dr. Loomis finds out Myers has escaped the custody of the state, he knows Michael will return to Haddonfield to kill on the 10th anniversary of his first rampage.

Without giving you an entire summary of the film, I'll touch on a few points: The performance by Danielle Harris is the best thing about this film. She is so tormented throughout the film, being constantly chased by her psycho uncle, and being an orphan. Her performance tugs on your heart, something horror movies often lack.

The unkillable Michael Myers
Donald Pleasance is great as well. He devoted his life to keeping Michael locked up, because he knew what Myers was capable of. Once Michael escaped, he risks his life to keep Michael from killing everyone he crosses paths with. Pleasance, who was in over 100 films in his lifetime, is one of the most underrated actors of the last 50 years, I'll watch anything he's in.

The ending is also shocking, I won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, but i didn't really expect the film to end the way it did, something a great horror flick needs.

Halloween 4 is big on suspense, but lacking on gore, something that many horror buffs don't like about this film. In my opinion, it was the best sequel of the series, and it is a favorite among Halloween fanatics such as myself. While Halloween 2 is better received by critics, I feel that film doesn't have the acting performances that Halloween 4 has.

Halloween 4 was a moderate success at the Box Office, grossing around $18 million on a budget of just $5 million. It rekindled America's love affair with Michael Myers, and spawned a sequel that came out one year later.

Next time you're looking for a scare, pop Halloween 4 in your Netflix queue, and get your popcorn. Halloween 4 is an essential part of my Halloween ritual of non-stop horror. Check it out, its one of the movies I love!

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