Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Director: Dwight H. Little
Cast: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Michael Pitaki and George P. Wilbur as “The Shape”/”Michael Myers”
Anchor Bay / Region A / Rated R / 1.85:1 widescreen / Dolby TruHD 5.1 / Spanish subtitles / 88 minutes / BUY AT TLACULT
Disk Extras: Audio commentary with actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris, director Dwight H. Little and author Justin Beahm / Halloween 4 & 5 discussion panel / Theatrical trailer
Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers
Director: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Cast: Donald Pleasance, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr, Wendy Kaplan, Tamara Glenn and Donald Shanks as ”The Shape”/”Michael Myers”
Anchor Bay / Region A / Rated R / 1.85:1 widescreen / Dolby TruHD 5.1 / Spanish subtitles / 98 minutes / BUY AT TLACULT
Disk Extras: Audio commentary with actors Don Shanks, Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman, director Dominique Othenin-Girard and author Justin Beahm / Halloween 5: On the set / Original promo / Theatrical trailer
The Halloween films subsequent to the off-track greatness of Halloween 3: Season of the Witch bring us back to what made the first two films great: “The Shape” aka the seemingly indestructible Michael Myers slashing his way through his family and the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. Parts 4 and 5 also brought us something new and exciting to those horror fans who are so inclined to get nerd crushes on Scream Queens, or in this case a future Scream Queen, Danielle Harris. Danielle is introduced in The Return and comes back for more in The Revenge as “Jamie”, the daughter of “Laurie Strode” (Jamie Lee Curtis) from the first two classic episodes. She was perfectly cast since she is a wonderfully precocious actress even in such an intense role in films that feature graphic violence and themes. She would grow up to be one of the sexiest and most recognized modern Scream Queens who helps to build two very popular horror series’, Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Adam Green’s Hatchet.
Obviously the general story in both films are the same; Michael Myers comes back to Haddonfield on Halloween night to kill the remaining members of his family, in this case that would be his little niece Jamie. In part 4 Michael has been imprisoned in a mental hospital for 10 years (since the end of Halloween 2) and he escapes while being transferred to another facility. Jamie lives with a foster family since her mother is dead and has nightmares about the “Boogey Man”. Donald Pleasance assumes his role as the obsessed-with-stopping-Michael, “Dr. Loomis” and from there you can pretty much guess what happens; “The Shape” hacking his way to Jamie and Loomis tracking him the whole way while the whole town’s Halloween party night is completely ruined by all of the nonsense. This time Michael gets smart and destroys the town’s electric junction and everyone now has to run around with spooky flashlights and candles… BOO! The inevitable face-off is nonsensically unbelievable but the pay-off to end the movie is pretty shocking and cool.
The Revenge of Michel Myers is where things begin to get a little strange in the mythos of our beloved killer. After recovering from the beat-down he gets at the end of The Return, Michael again returns to Haddonfield (geez, I would totally move from this nutty place) to seek out Jamie who we find in a hospital after her traumatic conflict with her homicidal uncle that has left her mute and a little more than on-edge. Through a series of Jamie spaz-outs, we learn that she inexplicably now has a psychic connection with “The Shape” and can feel and see when he’s killing or stalking someone nearby. Dr. Loomis is there with her to keep her safe but has apparently gone completely mad. We are also kind of introduced to a new player in the game; a tall man wearing a long black trench coat, cowboy hat and steel-tipped boots who has a matching tattoo with Michael on his wrist. He doesn’t really play a part until the last scene where he helps Michael (surprise!) escape capture and sets up 1995′s The Curse of Michel Myers.
Part 5 was interesting, yet took Michael in a whole new, more metaphysical direction. He is no longer just an abnormally strong, ostensibly unkillable man, he is something more akin to a spirit of murder. The whole look and mood of the series changes slightly to a grittier, more modern aesthetic. It reminded me a lot of Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake, especially Michael’s mask; it looks darker and the bottom is not tucked into his collar which gives it a more menacing and savage look. The famous music by John Carpenter is even slowed down a little to be more imposing and looming. It never quit gets to the level of Zombie’s film mostly because of Pleasant’s over-the-top, cheesy and psychotic portrayal of “Dr. Loomis” who treats Jamie more and more as a chess piece in the match he is playing with his nemesis. The kills start to get a little more graphic thanks to the effects gurus at K.N.B. EFX Group who are horror superstars because of high-profile projects like The Walking Dead on AMC.
These high-definition Blu-rays from Anchor Bay look and sound phenomenal. The transfers sometimes look almost too good, especially in part 4, when the pictures detail points out flaws in the make-up effects of Donald Pleasant’s close-ups. The contrasts give us nice shadows and blacks in these darkly shot movies and the colors are nice and vibrant, or at least as much as they can be. The Dolby TruHD surround is subtle but effective and the levels are pretty steady throughout. There is lots of audio commentary on both disks if you are so inclined and there is a behind-the-scenes featurette on part 5′s Blu-ray and a discussion panel on part 4′s. The 18 minute discussion panel was taken at the “H25″ convention celebrating 25 years of the Halloween films and mostly concentrates on Danielle but also features the busty bombshell Kathleen Kinmont (who still looked amazing) and Sasha Jenson from Dazed & Confused fame. Pick up both of these releases Tuesday August 21, 2012 and add them to your Halloween night movie marathon!