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          The most ghoulish mass murderer in history has been in a coma for ten years. But tonight, he's awake - and Halloween has never been more terrifying. While being moved from a maximum security prison for the criminally insane Michael Myers regains consciousness and escapes. A trail of carnage leads Dr. Loomis, a medical professional all too familiar with Michael's case, to the small Illinois town that was the scene of Michael's ghastly crimes in the past.

"You talk about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago."
              - Dr. Loomis

         Halloween IV was marketed as the ten year anniversary of Myers' first killing spree at least as much as it is marketed as the return of Michael Myers to the Halloween series, or the Halloween series' return to itself, you might say. Halloween III was not so bad, but a lot of people were understandably put off because it had nothing to do with its predecessors. In this installment, almost everyone is back except for Jamie Lee Curtis, who is replaced as an intended victim surprisingly well by Myers' niece, Jamie Lloyd, played by ten-year-old Danielle Harris.
          The movie starts off years after where Part II left off (except that Myers and Dr. Loomis have been brought back to life, having clearly died at the end of part II), and Myers is finally being transferred out of the guarded hospital where he has been kept catatonic all these years. All of the employees at the hospital are relieved to see him go, because he gives the all the creeps. The situation gives the feeling that Myers is being kept like some kind of alien that they can't figure out how to kill. Some explanation for why he was ever kept alive in the first place would have been in order, I should think.

          During the transfer, as is to be expected, Myers comes alive and kills everyone in the ambulance transferring him. Accident investigators on the scene later, immediately assume everyone is dead despite not being able to find all of the bodies, and illustrate their investigative competence by more than once referring to the ambulance as a bus. What follows is a Halloween installment that is sufficiently dark and gloomy, but that is really not much more than a series of death scenes. The electrocution scene, for example, is so obviously contrived that it could just as easily have been installed just about anywhere in any of the other Halloween films.

          The film concerns Laurie Strode's niece, Jamie, and Strode's foster sister Rachel, who is, of course, having boy trouble. Her troubles may be a little difficult to understand, however, because not only is the object of her affection amazingly goofy looking, but he is also a complete idiot and a total jerk. In only one example of his lack of cognitive function, he doesn't know who Michael Myers is. That's like someone in Waco, Texas having no idea why their town is famous. The difficulty I had in mourning or caring about his death was matched only by the ease with which the fate of his relationship with Rachel could be predicted.
          One of the only people involved in the original Halloween and the first sequel is Donald Pleasance, who always performs wonderfully but here is given nothing more than a lot of lines where he talks about pure evil and he's not human and you don't know how to stop him and he's right here in this town you have to believe me, etc. etc. etc. Given that such an important part of the series agreed to come back, after Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter declined to join, it would seem that they would put a little more effort into his part.

          In one scene, the movie threatens to go in a bad direction, when Loomis gets out of a police car and prepares to shoot down Michael Myers, only to discover that he is surrounded by Myerses. The horror at the thought of Michael having multiplied is clear on his face, but as he and the shocked officer with him prepare to fire, the kids pull off their masks and run off into the night, hooting and hollering about how funny they are and how great that was. These kids are so monumentally stupid that I wish at least one of them had been shot.

          Later in the film, after most of the police force has been killed off in their own police station by Michael Myers, the local rednecks decide to take matters in their own hands. Myers has been here before, killed too many kids, and now the police station is in ruins because of a single lurching man who doesn't even use guns (at one point in this movie he is even holding a shotgun pointed at a girl, and he stabs her with it rather than shoot her, a classic Myers move). I'd get my shotgun, too. Not that I have one. But if I did, I'd be a little more discriminating as to when I'd take a shot. In a scene soon thereafter, the men see some movement in the bushes and they all unload on it, killing one of their friends. Nice. I love their strategy - everyone get their shotguns, and let's all pile into Earl's pickup truck and blow the hell out of anything that moves! Or Steve's truck, or Bill's, or whoever's it was. The best part was that when they got within shooting distance of Myers, they all gave up and decided to leave it to the authorities.

          However, it should be noted that the tripe with which Halloween IV is filled is followed by a VERY impressive ending, which is the best ending that this movie could possibly have had and is also a tremendous homage to the original Halloween. It is very difficult for horror movies, especially when they are already getting up there in sequel numbers themselves, to have an ending that leaves the story open for yet another sequel. Most of the time a high-numbered sequel with an open ending makes me think something like Oh god, they're gonna do another one. Halloween IV, for all its flaws, not only doesn't do that, but it has such a good ending that it almost makes up for the rest of the garbage in the film. Were the rest of the movie as good as the ending, this would have been another classic. 

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          - The girl who drove Rachel and Jamie to the costume store was named Lindsey and is approximately 17 years old. In Halloween Jamie Lee Curtis babysat a seven year old named Lindsey. 

          - Melissa Joan Hart auditioned for the role of Jamie. 

          - The shoot lasted about 41 days and Ellie and Danielle were required to be on set for 36. 

          - During production of the roof-top chase Ellie Cornell was injured by a protruding nail as she slid down the roof. After a quick trip to the local hospital Ellie finished the scene with her bandages in place. According to Danielle it didn't even phase her. 

          - Alan B. McElroy wrote the script in 11 days and beat the writer's strike by mere hours. 

          - Mike Lookinland of The Brady Bunch was the production assistant. His wife played the dead waitress.

          - Leaves had to be imported and squash was painted to look like pumpkins. 

          - The gaffer (Garlan Wilde) was seriously injured while the filming of the Michael and Brady confrontation. Garlan was putting up a light and fell and cut his wrists; he was quickly rushed to the hospital. 

          - Dwight H. Little did extensive research on the history of Halloween and many of its harvest images were put in the creepy opening sequence. 

          - After viewing a rough edit it was decided that the movie was too soft, so they brought in special effects wizard John Carl Buechler for one day of extra "blood" filming. The thumb in the forehead and the redneck's head getting twisted were both done by him. 

          - The drug store set was also used in Stephen King's The Stand.




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