Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Blu-ray features mediocre video and audio in this mediocre Blu-ray release
A decade ago, he butchered 16 people trying to get to his sister. He was shot and incinerated, but still the entity that Dr. Sam Loomis calls "Evil on two legs" would not die. This time, Michael returns to Haddonfield for Jamie Lloyd – the orphaned daughter of Laurie Strode – and her babysitter Rachel. Can Loomis stop Michael before the unholy slaughter reaches his innocent young niece?
For more about Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and the Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Blu-ray release, see Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on August 29, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Bold it, highlight it, paint it in letters three-foot-high: Michael Myers is back. In the wake of the somewhat underrated yet not-so-much-a-fan-favorite
Halloween III: Season of the Witch -- the only Halloween film
without the frightening Captain Kirk mask-wearing "Shape" from the firsttwo films -- Halloween 4 smartly brought back the famed and acclaimed
killer, going so far as to subtitle the movie "THE RETURN OF MICHAEL MYERS" just to make sure everyone knew that this Halloween wasn't
going to be that Halloween. Print it big, indeed. While the movie's little more than a fair Horror sequel that doesn't break much new ground,
the filmmaking team of Producer Moustapha Akkad and Director Dwight H. Little returned the series to its roots, placing a handful of small-town Illinois
folks in danger on Halloween night and introducing a new Myers family member for the brutal killer to stalk and attempt to slay. It's hunt and hack in
the Halloween tradition, nothing more and nothing less.
Michael Myers: often broken, never shattered.
October 30, 1988. Michael Myers, a killer of well over a dozen people ten years ago on Halloween night, is being transported via ambulance from the
Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium to Smith's Grove. He's still recovering from burns and gunshot wounds suffered on that fateful night. Of course,
there's an accident along the way. Myers escapes and kills several people. Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence), now disfigured and hobbled but still very
much a part of the game, races to the scene and proceeds to make the journey to Haddonfield, site of the massacre ten years ago and now home to
Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Michael's niece and daughter of the late Laurie Strode. She's living with a kindly family but is viscously derided at
school. She's the only student without a Halloween costume. She convinces her foster sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell) to take her trick-or-treating.
hallucinating, seeing visions of Michael Myers everywhere she goes. Soon, word leaks that Myers has returned him for another night of bloodshed.
The townsfolk gather to defend against the masked killer at all costs.
Halloween 4 may not be the finest Horror sequel ever made, but it's a serviceable little Chiller with a few good scares and a pretty fair, if not
routinely straightforward, rhythm. It may be a little slow out of the gate (the final act picks up a bit of steam), it may not have John Carpenter's
touch (but his unforgettable theme remains) or "Scream Queen" Jamie Lee Curtis (there is another Jamie, though) in the lead role, and there may
not be a truly memorable scene in the entire movie (the last shot is pretty wicked, though), but Halloween 4 works on a basic, no-frills sort
of level, establishing a new era for the franchise simply in a return to its roots after a brief stray from the not-so-friendly confines of Haddonfield,
Illinois. The movie is at its best when it's focused on Jamie, Loomis, and Michael; the ancillary elements and build-up of secondary and tertiary
adds nothing to the film -- there's no real sense of loss when any of the locals die, save for the film's final moments -- but even with a little
overweight baggage, Halloween 4 proves to be a fairly fast-paced and focused little venture into the dark depths of Halloween night horror
as only Michael Myers can bring about. Add in a return of the stalwart Dr. Loomis and a little girl in peril, and the stage is set for a good time-killing
franchise outing that should please most fans expecting an average Halloween movie and not a masterpiece like the first, even if this film
largely follow in its footsteps.
Indeed, Halloween 4 is largely a redrafting of the original film. It doesn't need to work as hard to establish its backstory and characters,
allowing for a little more leeway in how the film's runtime is filled out, but the crux of the thing remains the same: on a dark Haddonfield Halloween
night, Michael Myers stalks his kin and kills others who dare or accidentally cross his path. It's really that simple, but the movie doesn't necessarily
suffer for it. It
doesn't need to be a groundbreaking or necessarily original piece of franchise filmmaking. It's a good enough bridge on to the next films and towards
the series' sequel pinnacle, H20. Technically, the picture offers good photography and a fairly
haunting cadence, but there's not quite enough of Michael Myers, particularly when all he's really competing with is Dr. Loomis, Jamie, and a
collection of throwaway characters. The good news is that Jamie and Loomis both prove to be very good characters, with Danielle Harris nicely
an authentic frightened little girl while Donald Pleasence seems like he never broke from the Loomis character in between the filming of
Halloween II and Halloween 4. It fits him like an old glove, and
Pleasence just absorbs the part -- the frantic, incessant search and determined fortitude to stop Myers at all costs -- like only he can.
Halloween 4 doesn't scare up a very appealing transfer. This is perhaps the epitome of the serviceable Blu-ray release for an aging catalogue
title. It enjoys a general boost in stability and resolution but ultimately doesn't fare a whole lot better than a good DVD presentation. The image is
somewhat flat and drab, with only basic details to be enjoyed. A handful of scattered daytime exteriors fare best, for instance a scene where Loomis
examines a crashed ambulance and, later, an overhead angle shot of the town where good textures such as pavement and brick work are revealed to
satisfaction. The bulk of the movie occurs in rather dark environments where details are flat and uninspired. Faces never offer more than general
complexity and often look rather pasty and unnatural. A light layer of grain is visible throughout, and it spikes at times, but doesn't accentuate all that
many objects. Colors are equally drab under the darkness, but those brighter scenes offer fair, yet hardly vibrant, shades. There are some scattered
pops and scratches to be seen. Additionally, black levels occasionally look a bit washed out and flesh tones waver from natural to noticeably pink. This
isn't an insulting image, but it's somewhat disappointing and on the lower end of the catalogue release scale.
Halloween 4 debuts on Blu-ray with an unremarkable Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Nothing about the track truly impresses; the
closest thing to a quality element comes in the series' famed theme music. It offers good, positive spacing, fairly crisp highs, and a decent low end
accompaniment. Otherwise, this one's sort of just "blah." There's almost no real energy to any sound effect. Blowing wind and a haunting underlay at
film's open help to nicely set the mood, but there's a noticeable absence of vitality, clarity, and spacing. The moving ambulance early on passes through
the soundstage with minimal presence only. There are a few good effects at the sanitarium -- screams and moans and the like drift into the backs for a
somewhat enjoyable and immersive moment -- but it's an exception rather than the rule. Gunshots are wimpy and absolutely lack punch, whether
Loomis' handgun or, later in the movie, a shotgun blast inside a house and later still a barrage of fire near the end of the movie. Dialogue is consistently
stable and focused up the middle; there's only really one or two very brief stretches when Jamie's voice sounds a bit scratchy and detached from the rest
of the proceedings. Overall, this is a bland, forgettable soundtrack that probably won't find much favor amongst audiophiles or even causal audiences.
Halloween 4's supplemental package is highlighted by a pair of audio commentary tracks. A discussion panel and trailer are also included.
Audio Commentary: Director Dwight H. Little and Author Justin Beahm open with a discussion of the opening title sequence. They discuss
plot points, Michael's escape at the beginning, casting Danielle Harris, filming locales, character arcs, script variations, and plenty more. This is a smooth,
consistently entertaining track that fans will enjoy.
Audio Commentary: Actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris offer a breezy, friendly sort of track that recounts various material from not
only the film but around the Halloween world. There's a good deal of off-the-cuff, behind-the-scenes, anecdotal sort of dialogue. Dedicated
series fans and those with extra time to dedicate to the film will want to hear this commentary.
Halloween 4/5 Discussion Panel (480p, 18:28): Danielle Harris, Kathleen Kinmont, Sasha Jenson, and Jeffrey Landman field
questions pertaining to the films. From the H25 Convention.
Halloween 4 isn't anywhere near the top of the list of "best movies in the series," but it's a good effort and a solid return to the Michael Myers
arena after a stray towards Silver Shamrocks and computer chipped masks and Northern California settings. It does little more than re-imagine the core
Halloween story of Michael stalking victims in Haddonfield on Halloween night. Yet the introduction of Jamie and the return of Dr. Loomis make
the movie both fresh and comfortable. It's not all that grisly and there's some fluff here and there that could be trimmed down or out, but at its core,
this is a good, workmanlike Halloween movie that's a worthy entrant into the franchise. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray release of Halloween 4: The
Return of Michael Myers offers somewhat disappointing video and audio. The extras are fine. This one's a toss-up as far as recommendations go.
Completists should buy when the price drops a little more, but those on a tight budget would be smart to rent or hang onto their DVDs.
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers: Other Editions
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