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Film / Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers

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"Six bodies, Sheriff! That's what I've seen between here and Ridgemont! A filling station in flames! I'm telling you Michael Myers is here, in this town! He's here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way!"
Dr. Loomis

When the idea of making the Halloween franchise into a Genre Anthology didn't work out, the studio had an obvious solution: bring back The Shape himself.

In Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, ten years have passed since Michael Myers terrorized the town of Haddonfield, Illinois. The fire that seemed to consume both Michael and Dr. Samuel Loomis (Donald Pleasence) put Myers in a comatose state and burned Loomis over a good portion of his body, but both men lived. During a medical transport, Michael awakens from his comatose state, massacres the ambulance personnel and heads back home with a new target in his mind: his young niece, Jamie (Danielle Harris). Loomis, as usual, follows the trail back to Haddonfield, and it soon becomes a race against time to save Jamie from her psychotic uncle.


While not seen as the best of the series, it was well-received by fans at the time of its release, and did decent business at the box office, enough to bring Michael Myers back for good. It also begins a three-part story arc that continues with the 5th movie and concludes with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adult Fear:
    • The main plot of the movie has a deranged spree killer relentlessly hunting a little girl.
    • Rachel loses sight of Jamie after getting distracted while she's trick-or-treating. Even without Michael stalking around (which Rachel doesn't know yet), this is terrifying for anyone who looks after a child.
    • The ending has Jamie seemingly take after her evil uncle, stabbing her foster mother. Even disregarding the supernatural aspects of Michael's evil and its influence on Jamie, the idea of a child taking after a criminal or abusive family member is a chilling one for parents.
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  • The Alleged Car: Reverend Sayers truck isn't exactly in good shape.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The film ends with Jamie stabbing her foster mother with a pair of scissors, implying that she has become the new killer.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted with Kelly Meeker. She stole Rachel's boyfriend Brady from her but to many, didn't come across as bad enough to deserve a heinous death like getting impaled by a shotgun for it.
  • Badass Mustache: Deputy Logan is the only mustached deputy, and does come across as somewhat intimidating and tough, although not enough to stop Michael.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: Rachel gets her share of injuries and run ins with death while watching over Jamie.
  • Bandaged Face: Michael is covered in bandages when he escapes from the ambulance.
  • Big Blackout: Caused by Michael throwing a hapless technician named Bucky into a transformer.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Loomis and Meeker picking up Rachel and Jamie off the street. It's not played up as a grand rescue, but the audience knows Michael is lurking about and would've made his move if not for the arrival of the police car.
  • Big "NO!": Loomis has the biggest no of history in the ending when he sees Jamie after she stabbed her foster mother.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Rachel to Jamie. She goes through absolute hell to protect her little foster sister.
  • Bus Crash: Laurie died in a car crash.
  • Call-Back: The ending is one for the first film's opening.
  • Car Fu: Rachel uses her car to run Michael Myers over. But since Michael is Michael, it doesn't faze him in the slightest.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The mask Michael uses to disguise himself for this film is seen on a rack behind Jamie at the drug store.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Rachel uses a fire extinguisher to ward Michael off at the school and later runs him over with a pickup truck.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • Michael and Dr. Loomis have burn scars from the climax of the second film.
    • Lindsey and Tommy, the kids from the first two movies, make brief appearances as teenagers early in the film.
  • Cut Phone Lines: Michael doesn't just cut the phone lines of his victim's house. He destroys two diner phones and cuts (by sending fire up a pole) the long distance phone lines and causes a blackout in the town.
  • Danger Takes A Back Seat: Michael pulls this off by clinging to the bottom of a pickup truck. Earlier in the film, this is how he manages to get to the house where the team has barricaded themselves, by hiding in the backseat of a police car.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jamie says this line:
    Jamie: I'm sorry I ruined everything, if I wasn't here you could go out.
    • Rachel is a bit of a snarker too.
  • Death by Sex: Trampy Kelly, who sleeps with Brady, her friend's boyfriend, gets killed, as does Brady, said cheating boyfriend. The virginal Rachel survives. For now, anyway.
  • Defiant to the End: Brady spends his last moments spitting at Michael.
  • Demonic Possession: Jamie gets possessed by Michael and makes her stab her foster mother, Darlene in the chest with a pair of scissors, which sends her to the children's clinic in the next film.
  • Dented Iron: Doctor Loomis, having managed to survive the events of Halloween II. He doesn't let it stop him from pursuing the escaped Michael once more.
  • Determinator: Brady does everything he can to hold Michael off for Rachel and Jamie to escape, first firing at him with the shotgun, then rifle-butting him with it, and then just going for Good Old Fisticuffs. Unfortunately, since it's Michael Myers, he shrugs off everything.
  • Disposable Pilot: Driver in this case. As four of the vigilantes try to escort Rachel and Jamie to safety, Michael kills the three in the pickup truck’s bed, then tears out the driver’s throat with his bare hand, forcing Rachel to take the wheel.
  • Does Not Know Her Own Strength: Jamie is small, but when she sees Michael behind her, she screams and backs away close to the mirror surprisingly shattering it and alerting Rachel.
  • Does Not Like Guns: Michael gets his hands on two shotguns during the movie, but doesn't fire either of them; he uses one to impale Kelly, and discards the other after hitting Brady in the face with it.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Michael forcibly rams a shotgun through Kelly's abdomen, essentially raping her with it.
  • Empty Promise: From Loomis to Jamie, in the school. Subverted when she asks him if he really believes they'll make it out alright, and he gives a barely audible Little "No".
  • Exact Words: Meeker asks Brady if he has handled a shotgun before he gives it to him. That Brady has no formal weapons training becomes a major reason why he gets killed, since he isn't trained enough to reload the weapon quickly enough.
  • Failed a Spot Check:
    • The medics transporting Michael in the opening fail to notice the supposedly comatose patient clenching his fist.
    • Rachel, Jamie, and the driver all fail to notice Michael tossing people off the back of a pickup truck. In fact, they don't notice him at all until he smashes through the driver's side window and rips out the driver's throat.
  • Final Girl: Jamie Lloyd and her foster sister, Rachel.
  • Finger-Twitching Revival: When the doctors in the ambulance with Michael mention his niece, he slowly clenches his fist before waking up and making his escape.
  • Foreshadowing: Reverend Sayer tells Loomis "you can't kill damnation, mister. It don't die like a man dies!" Even after Michael is seemingly killed, his evil lives on, as Jamie attacks her foster mother, just as Michael had murdered his sister.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: The Michael Myers mask for this film features slicked-back hair.
  • Gross Up Closeup: A close-up is shown of Michael tearing a man's throat out with his bare hands.
  • Hero of Another Story: Reverend Jackson P. Sayer, who gives Loomis a ride into town. He talks about hunting evil (having come close a time or two over the years) and can tell Loomis is essentially in the same business.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Inadvertently done by Brady who tries to shoot Michael, then futilely struggles with him, ultimately giving Jamie and Rachel a chance to escape.
  • High-Voltage Death: Know how Michael managed to cause a blackout? Throwing some poor schmuck into a electric generator at a power plant. He knows how to improv.
  • Hope Spot: All right, the State Troopers are headed into town and the truckers are getting Rachel and Jamie to safety. Everything's gonna be okay—Oh, Crap! Michael's hanging onto the bottom of the pickup truck!
  • Hormone-Addled Teenager: Zigzagged with Kelly and Brady. On one hand they do end up at Kelly's house, coming onto each other pretty fast, but (off-screen) apparently did something besides just have sex for a while based on how they'e only starting to get undressed right before Rachel, the sheriff and the rest arrive, well after Rachel first saw them together.
  • Ignored Expert: Loomis again. He knows exactly what happens after the ambulance crash, despite Hoffman's protests. Meeker is a little skeptical of Loomis's claims early on, but he's more willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  • I'm a Man; I Can't Help It: This excuse for Brady's infidelity with Kelly is actually offered by Kelly herself, remorselessly stating that Brady slept with her because he wasn't getting any from Rachel.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Michael spears a mechanic with a metal rod.
    • Kelly gets impaled to the wall with a shotgun.
  • Improbable Use of a Weapon: Rather than shooting Kelly with the shotgun, Michael impales her to the wall with it.
  • It's Personal: Loomis's stake in this. He points to his burn scars and remarks he doesn't want anyone to go through what he did.
    • Allan Gateway lost his kid to Michael's massacre in 1978. Whose father he is is never explained.
  • Kick the Dog: Michael kills Jamie's dog Sundae.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Some of the kids at Jamie's school tease her for the fact that she's an orphan, and for her relation to Michael.
  • Killed Offscreen:
    • Michael massacres the Haddonfield police force in their own station. Loomis and Meeker arrive in time to see the gory aftermath, but Michael is long gone.
    • Deputy Logan, whose body is found by Kelly, who realises that it's not Logan in the rocking chair...
  • Legendary in the Sequel: Meeker is immediately familiar with Loomis, despite never having met him. He tells Loomis that others in town may or may not be fuzzy on who he is, but cops sure do remember him.
  • Missing Mom: Kelly's mother doesn't appear to be in the picture.
  • The Mountains of Illinois: A very literal example, as the Rocky Mountains from the Salt Lake City filming location can be seen in the opening.
  • Murder by Mistake: A group of vigilantes accidentally shoot to death parkgoer Ted Hollister, thinking he might have been Michael.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • After impaling Kelly to the wall with the shotgun, Michael tilts his head exactly as he did in the first film after impaling Bob with a knife.
    • Sheriff Meeker mentions that Sheriff Brackett retired in 1981. Halloween II (1981) was when Brackett last appeared in the franchise outside of Rob Zombie’s remakes.
    • The kids at Jamie's school taunt in a manner very similar to that which Tommy Doyle experienced in the first movie.
  • Neck Snap: Brady's death.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The entire time that Michael is wheeled out of the hospital to the ambulance, and even during the ambulance ride, he doesn't even so much as twitch. It isn't until the EM Ts start talking about his niece that he clenches his fist in rage and he springs to life. One can only wonder if he'd stay comatose if he never knew about Jamie at all.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Kelly prepares coffee for the deputies guarding the house.
  • Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant: The asylum security guard's tour of the place clearly leaves the paramedics freaked out due to the grimness of the place, and Michael's dark past.
  • Off with His Head!: Happens offscreen to an officer in the police station.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: A villainous example; Michael slaughters everyone in the police station without so much as a scratch.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: When Jamie and Dr. Loomis manage to escape the Meeker house, they run away, leaving Michael in it, and decide to hide in the school. Loomis breaks open a door - which sets of the burglar alarm - rushes inside, and immediately runs into Michael, who not only managed to get to the school before them, but also got inside without setting off the alarm.
  • Overprotective Dad: Don't go thinking that Meeker didn't notice how Brady was home alone with his daughter.
    "Oh, yeah... I catch you gropin' my daughter, I'll use that shotgun on you. You understand?"
  • Pet the Dog: Kelly has a few of these: When Jamie has a freak out at the store, after seeing Michael with a bloody knife, she's among those who hurries over to see what's wrong, and later she brings Logan some coffee at his guard post.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Dr. Hoffman, who is dismissive of Loomis both personally and professionally and sets all of the death and chaos that follows into motion by deciding to needlessly transfer Michael under his own initiative and without proper security.
  • Police Are Useless: The Haddonfield Police force is massacred. Only Sheriff Meeker survives. In their defense, it's indicated they put up a fight, and Meeker did have the good sense to call the State Troopers. Sheriff Meeker himself is an overall aversion of this. He's genuinely competent and professional, more than willing to give Loomis the benefit of the doubt, and actively hunts and searches for Myers alongside Loomis with a shotgun. He's also completely badass.
  • Properly Paranoid:
    • The guard at the asylum keeps Michael Locked in a well-secured underground cell and admits that, "I'll be glad to see this one gone, yes indeedy," despite the fact that Michael has been comatose for a decade.
    • Earl tries calling the police station, but it just keeps ringing. He remarks that phones don't just ring on and on at police stations and is certain something bad is going down.
  • Punch Catch: Michael does one in his short fight with Brady, crushing his fist.
  • Put on a Bus: Loomis is told that Sheriff Brackett from #'s I & II has retired in 1981 (which was the year the second film where he made his last appearance was released) and moved out of town.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • A subversion; Dr. Hoffman notes that, as he's spent ten years in a coma, Michael's muscles should be atrophied to the point of uselessness. Michael being Michael, he's in killing shape the instant he wakes up.
    • After the police force is massacred, Loomis eggs the bar patrons, who realized something was up when the lines were cut to the police station, to go after Michael, despite Sheriff Meeker telling them not to; Loomis justifies his actions by explaining that since all the cops except for Meeker and a lone deputy are dead, the truckers are all they have as defense. However, a bunch of drunks armed with guns aren't that competent and they end up shooting a poor guy named Ted Hollister, mistaking him for Michael.
    • Brady's attempt to shoot out the lock promptly results in the lock being too hot to touch. Later, Brady tries to frantically reload his shotgun. However, he is trying to do it in a hurry, and he has no formal firearms training. As a result, Michael has closed the gap and his shotgun is quickly rendered impossible to shoot.
    • Michael is left briefly disoriented when Rachel sprays him with a fire extinguisher. A fire extinguisher's liquid can seriously burn someone, so Michael left briefly disoriented is a powerful depiction of realism.
  • Red Shirt Army: Inverted with the crowd of vigilantes, as the ones without names or dialogue are the ones who both survive and get to take part in gunning down Michael, while the more prominent ones are less lucky.
  • Right Behind Me: Rachel complains about having to give up her date with Brady to babysit just as Jamie walks in from behind.
  • Sadist: Some of Michael's actions indicate sadism. A prime example of this is Kelly's death. He continually rocks back and forth in the chair just as the deputy did, while Kelly brings the deputy coffee and it's only when she realizes who really is in the chair that he kills her. He similarly takes his time with Brady, preferring to see Brady try to fight back against him with his shotgun and later fisticuffs, and dragging out the kill as a form of mockery. This comes to bite him later on, as it costs him valuable time to get to Jamie and Rachel.
  • Scars Are Forever: Both Loomis and Michael bear gruesome burn scars from the explosion in Halloween II.
  • Shoot Out the Lock: Subverted. Brady tries to do this so that he, Rachel, and Jamie can escape Micheal (having key locked the doors to keep him out, they now have no key or time to unlock them when he gets in anyway). Unfortunately, Reality Ensues. Having been blasted with a shotgun, the lock is far too hot to touch.
  • Slashers Prefer Blondes: Blonde Kelly Meeker winds up falling prey to Michael Myers. The other blonde, Rachel, is an inversion in that she survives multiple fights with Michael Myers.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Sayer only appears in one scene, but he's the reason Loomis gets into town after the messy confrontation at the gas station.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Kelly Meeker stands 5'10" and is the resident Ms. Fanservice of the film.
  • Stock Subtitle: Justified because, after the Myers-less third movie, the producers wanted to make it absolutely clear that Michael was back.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: As Michael lies seemingly dead after Rachel hit him with a truck, Jamie walks over to her fallen uncle and touches his hand in a small show of compassion.
  • Take Me Instead: When confronting Michael at the diner, Loomis invokes the trope — saying Michael could kill him in exchange for leaving the people of Haddonfield alone. Michael remains still following this, suggesting he turned it down and prompting Loomis to try to shoot him.
  • Take That!: In a cut scene, Michael is coincidentally looking for a new mask at a store the same time Jamie is. He grabs a Ronald Reagan mask and walks off screen. A few seconds later, he throws it away and grabs the bleached William Shatner mask instead.
  • Taught by Experience: Michael seems to have learned a thing or two about unwanted interference. He cuts phone lines in order to keep Loomis from warning the local authorities in advance and then totals the doctor's car to leave him stranded. He also takes out the police force before making a move on Jamie. And considering how desolate the streets are during the blackout, he presumably caused it to ensure the townspeople stay huddled indoors and thus out of his way.
  • Theme Music Withholding: The opening credits feature a creepy synthesizer score, until it cuts to the hospital with the main theme in full blast.
  • Tuckerization: Jamie's name was originally Brittany, but she was named in honor of Jamie Lee Curtis.
  • Underside Ride: Michael hitches one of these on the truck used to get Rachel and Jamie out of town.
  • Unexplained Recovery:
    • Dr. Loomis managed to survive the explosion of the first floor of a hospital in Halloween II (1981), returning with a slightly burnt face, a limp, and mangled hands.
    • The same goes for Michael, seeing as before the explosion, he got shot in the eyes by Laurie, causing him to become blind. Likewise he has no trouble moving around despite him being comatose for 10 years; one would probably have some form of muscular atrophy. To be fair, it's implied that he isn't exactly human...
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The nurse who asked about Michael having relatives not only sets off the events of this film, it sets off the other two films as well, resulting in dozens of people dead.
    • Also Dr. Loomis telling the mob about Michael causes them to accidentally shoot an innocent person, which in turn draws away Sheriff Meeker when his staying at the house might have made a difference.
  • Vigilante Militia: The local bartender and a dozen or so of his customers appoint themselves as one of these when they drive to investigate a blackout and find that the titular serial killer has killed most of the sheriffs department. On one hand, they accidentally kill an innocent man wearing a halloween mask similar to Michael’s, but on the other hand they do try to evacuate the main characters from the danger zone and some of the surviving members help gun down Michael at the end.
  • Villain Ball: After successfully infiltrating the Meeker house, Michael wastes time on sadistically toying with Kelly and Brady rather than going straight for Jamie. The latter, especially, gives Jamie and Rachel time to escape.
  • Welcome to Hell: The comatose Myers is about to be transferred, much to the relief of the staff at his hospital.
    Asylum Guard: Yeah, I'll be glad to see this one gone. Yes, indeedy. (He takes the transfer team to the elevator). Welcome to hell.
  • Wham Shot: As Deputy Logan sits in the chair on guard in the locked up house, we briefly see Michael's mask in a distant corner, indicating he's already gotten inside.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Loomis riles a group of truckers into becoming a lynch mob against Michael, Sheriff Meeker calls him out on it. Loomis, however, turns the tables by pointing out that the police force is dead and the truckers may be the only defense the town has against Michael. This turns out to be wrong as several of the truckers themselves get killed by him, after accidentally shooting a bystander on the streets, and diverting Sheriff Meeker when he really would have come in handy guarding Jamie.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Michael, obviously. But strangely enough, Dr. Loomis, who does not hesitate to slap iron at a child no less than twice in the movie (to be fair though, the first time he doesn't know they're just kids).


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