Halloween 4 1988 Review

Halloween 4 1988

Directed by: Dwight H. Little

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris


Review by Eric LeMaster

Buenos Dias and Happy Valentine’s Day a SLASH abovers, I’m extremely proud to include a guest post from regular reader Eric 76767687989809LeMaster. For his debut, he has chosen the film that got him hooked on the genre and I am sure you’ll agree that he’s done a sterling job of describing for us what he loves about it…

Halloween 4 is my favorite horror movie of all time, so I was quite thrilled when Luisito asked me to write my first guest review about this– what I believe to be– a gem of a film. Some don’t appreciate this instalment because they believe that Michael should be dead– and by all87767676878798909090 rights, he should have been after the hospital explosion in Halloween II. If you take the movie at face value, it’s a wonderful entry into the sub-genre that is the SLASHER FILM!

Many years ago, I watched this for the first time on AMC. It succeeded in getting me hooked on slasher movies. The setting and the realistic premise of a madman who wants nothing more than to kill you makes slasher flicks pretty much the only style that can give me chills. The wonderful cinematography and utter darkness of the film bring something special that “budget” movies just don’t ever seem to give.

To prepare for this review, I popped in my Blu-ray of Halloween 4– that’s right, I own the Blu-Ray. Does that 76768798989887676make me cool? No? Ok. Continuing… The montage of Midwestern Autumn scenery immediately brings me back to my childhood, though not too far, because I can still see the rickety farm buildings and “country” scenery around where I live. Eastern Kentucky hasn’t grown up much; we’re stuck in 1988. The only thing that could make the film seem more “true to the area” is if John Cougar Mellencamp sang the score– and I guess that just wasn’t on the cards.

After Halloween 3 flopped due to the removal of Michael Myers, Moustapha Akkad wanted to continue the franchise and bring back its iconic villain. John Carpenter and Debra Hill weren’t on board for another 87876565657678798980909Halloween and sold their rights to the series, so Moustapha found the very talented director, Dwight Little.

Alan McElroy would write the script and finished it in an amazing eleven days. Ellie Cornell, whose only previous acting experience included an episode of Thirtysomething and a minor role on Married to the Mob, would play the seventeen year-old Rachel Carruthers, the foster sister to the main protagonist, Jamie Lloyd (the lovely, young Danielle Harris) the daughter of the late Laurie Strode (who apparently died in a car accident).

Donald Pleasance signed on to continue his role as Dr. Loomis, the once psychiatrist of Michael Myers, 766545456576879898989887877676who would continue to chase him and try to end Michael’s killing spree once and for all. Also signing on were Sasha Jenson who would play Rachel’s boyfriend (Brady), Beau Starr who would play Sheriff Ben Meeker, and Kathleen Kinmont would play his daughter, Kelly Meeker.

We begin the fun with an ambulance traveling in a rain storm. We find that Michael is being transferred from Smith’s Grove unbeknownst to Dr. Loomis. Once approved for transfer, Michael is wheeled into the ambulance. Per the conversation between the EMTs, Michael discovers that he has a living niece and decides to murder his only living blood-relative. He kills the ambulance workers and makes his way back to Haddonfield.877766565654576879809

True to form, Dr. Loomis becomes concerned with the transfer and begins to question the head of the Sanitarium. While he’s there, the manager receives a phone call informing him of the accident. Overhearing, Loomis takes off and lets his sixth sense of Michael’s whereabouts take over.
What happens after then? Much trick-or-treating, high school drama, and some high class stalking! There’s 77665565767878798909099888787even some humor, too. The scene with the “traveling Reverend” is hilarious, and adds some comic relief to a more serious film. You’ll have to see it all for yourself.

To say that I recommend this film would be an understatement. It’s got plot, it’s got good acting, it’s got a great score by Alan Howarth, and it has some good gore. I beg you to see it. Don’t watch it as a perfect continuance of the series and you will find that it’s a gem. If you don’t like it for all of these things, at least you’ll enjoy it for it’s 80’s vibes– and boy does it have it. If you’re like me, you’ll fall in love with Ellie Cornell, and if Danielle Harris isn’t one of your favorite child movie stars, you’ll more than likely change your opinion.

This movie is widely available on DVD and Blu-Ray with or without its less amazing partner, Halloween 7627628729820920925; and, if you’re lucky, you can catch it on AMC like I did.

Luis’ view: Whilst I agree with a lot of what Eric has said here, I must confess it’s a three and a half star rating from me. The main cast members show a lack of range in their dramatics and the bonding ‘acting’ scenes don’t look credible. It’s left up to Donald Pleasence to be the film’s only competent performer, even if he was slumming it at this point of his caeer. Another thing I disliked was the vigilante set-up with the goofy redknecks. I thought that those scnes were unrealistic and made the film far too popcorn/unrealistic and the scenes ruined the menacing tone. There’s no denying though that this is somewhat underrated due to its darkness and engrossing story. The ending was grim and truly a shock: it’s just a shame that the filmakers behind Halloween 5 didn’t have the cojones to continue the theme. Dwight H. Little is competent in the director’s chair and overall, the movie just about works. Whilst it may be slightly disjointed and Michael’s mask doesn’t look as threatening, it shares more with its elder siblings than any of the latter installments. It is better than part 2, which I do not hate.  

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√√

Gore √

Final Girl √√√



Posted on February 14, 2015, in Guest Post, Slasher and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wonderful treatment on my review– thank you!

  2. Me, too! Whenever you want a 2nd review, let me know! I plan on expanding my collection of movies soon, too!

  3. The filmmakers behind Part 5 didn’t continue with the angle of having Jamie be the killer for the obvious reason….while it made a great ending to a movie, there is virtually no long term potential to centering a horror franchise around a tiny killer. That’s the reason Chuckie became a punchline relatively quickly. Halloween 4 is a very good movie…Halloween 5 is a legitimately GREAT movie. It may not have been your intent, but you pointed out part of the reason yourself…slasher movies thrive on the isolation of the characters. Halloween 4 flooded the second half of the film with miscellaneous rednecks and state police…this was a critical mistake. The makers of 5 recognized it as such, and went FAR out of their way to craft a film that redeemed 4….which they did, and then some.

    • Thanks, I’m sure you’re correct. I haven’t seen either for film for a long time, so I don’t remember. 5 I saw, I believe 20+ years ago, but I remember being disappointed it didn’t follow on from the last film, but exactly what, I’m not sure. I do take your word for it. I didn’t like the rednecks either. My favourite of course was part 1 and I remember liking H20, directed by Steve Miner from Friday 2. I can’t remember part 5, but I’m sure you’re right

      • I can certainly understand the disappointment felt by those who loved 4 when the subsequent film didn’t continue with that storyline. I just never felt that the motif of utilizing a little girl as a killer could work for long…Maybe for one film, but I would harbor doubts about its’ long term viability. 5 got a bad reputation early on, but I’ve always felt that it was crafted around the traditional Halloween elements to a greater degree than most of the other sequels. Anyway, thanks for your response….I generally don’t get any replies, and when I do, they’re not usually as civil as yours!

      • You make an interesting point, but I guess, if she was like Michael, invincible, it could have been interesting and something new, but yeah, I can’t see a little girl being threatening. It would be impossible to give her a fear factor. I quite liked H20. I’m a big Steve Milner fan. I would say after Halloween, Friday 2 is the best ever slasher film. Them two and Black Christmas, Torso, Intruder, Curtains. Dependent on personal taste which one goes where, but that’s a pretty perfect top ten. Obviously The Prowler, My Bloody Valentine. I genuinely thought Friday 2 was a brilliant film. Especially uncut. Part 3 is ok too but 2 is better

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