Franchises of All Time
The "Halloween" Films
The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Halloween (1978) | Halloween II (1981) | Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) | Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) | Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later (1998)
Halloween: Resurrection (2002) | Halloween (2007) | Halloween II (2009)
Halloween 4: The Return
of Michael Myers (1988)
Film Plot Summary
OCTOBER 30, 1988.
The film opened with the credits viewed with the fall harvest in a rural farm area, of mostly Halloween-related imagery (pumpkins, skull/ghost/skeletal decorations, pitchforks, scarecrows, bare trees, etc.). On a rainy and stormy night, a Smith Grove ambulance pulled up at the high security Ridgemont Federal Sanitarium, for the pickup/transfer of a patient to Smith's Grove Sanitarium. The security guard James (Raymond O'Connor) allowed entry to the two attendants and noted: "You never get used to the faces, never...Jesus ain't got nothin' to do with this place. Yeah, this is where society dumps its worst nightmares." He added that their patient, Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur), was a notorious homicidal maniac responsible for a murderous killing spree in the town of Haddonfield, Illinois ten years earlier:
The supervising Dr. Hoffman (Michael Pataki) mentioned that the patient's doctor, Dr. Sam Loomis, wasn't there, but personally, he was "happy" to see the problematic patient taken away (unfortunately to his old home for a new reign of terror).
The bandaged-faced and sedated patient was supervised by a male (David Jensen) and female attendant (Nancy Borgenicht) in the back of the vehicle, as two paramedics sat in the front cab. Although in a coma, Myers became conscious when he heard the two Smith's Grove attendants discussing his nearest living relative, a young niece in his home town. Suddenly, Myers drove his thumb into the bloodied forehead of the male attendant after bashing his head repeatedly against an ambulance cabinet (# 1 death), and then killed the female attendant (# 2 death) (off-screen).
In Haddonfield, young eight year-old niece Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris), Laurie Strode's (Jamie Lee Curtis) daughter, was having trouble sleeping at 4 am. She was experiencing nightmares of a threatening figure in her room in the days before Halloween. She had been adopted by the Carruthers family for eleven months, and was close to her consoling teenaged foster sister Rachel Carruthers (Ellie Cornell), but didn't feel like a real sister. Grief-stricken Jamie treasured a shoebox with a picture of her mother Laurie at 17 years of age, who had recently died in a car accident. Her major traumatizing hallucination was the sudden appearance of masked killer Michael Myers in her room, threatening her with a scalpel.
HADDONFIELD, ILLINOIS. OCTOBER 31, 1988. HALLOWEEN.
Some costumed school children raced to their school bus, excitedly anticipating a night of trick-or-treating. However, Rachel's plan to go on a date with her boyfriend Brady (Sasha Jenson) had to be postponed, when she was, at the last minute, asked by her parents to assume baby-sitting duties for Jamie on Halloween evening. When Jamie overheard that Rachel was upset over the changed plans, she expressed hurt feelings of rejection. Feeling sympathetic to Jamie, Rachel begrudgingly accepted the baby-sitting job, and proposed that they have ice cream at the Dairy Queen after-school.
On Halloween morning, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) was speaking to Dr. Hoffman in his office. Loomis had a disfigured and scarred face (and body) from the life-threatening fire (in Halloween II (1981)) - he wore black gloves and was forced to use a cane. He was furious at Dr. Hoffman for not notifying him about Michael Myers' transfer the night before: "You let them take it out of here...We are talking about evil on two legs." Loomis reminded Hoffman that it was Halloween: "I don't want anyone to have to live through that night again."
A phone call interrupted their conversation -- something about an accident. Loomis and Hoffman drove to the location of the accident - the carnage area was marked by flares and yellow police tape. The Smith Grove ambulance had run off the road and overturned in shallow water near a bridge. In addition to the two deceased attendants, the two paramedics were also presumed dead (# 3-4 deaths) (off-screen). Loomis intoned that his patient had survived: "He's gone. He was here but he's gone." He told the investigating troopers: "You're talking about him as if he were a human being. That part of him died years ago." Loomis drove on to Haddonfield, a four-hour drive away.
In Penney's service station garage on the way to Haddonfield, a greasy mechanic working under a car was impaled in his stomach with a metal rod (# 5 death) by the still-bandaged Michael Myers. From a POV shot inside the garage, Loomis was observed as he pulled up and filled his gas tank. He found the chained-up, gagged, and dead corpse of the mechanic inside the shop. And in the attached diner restaurant, Loomis also came upon the dead body of a waitress (Kelly Lookinland) (# 6 death) (off-screen) behind the counter, more evidence of Michael's rampage. He saw Michael standing immobile in the kitchen, and as he prepared his gun, Loomis asked:
He fired a few stray shots, but the figure disappeared, and Myers then crashed through the garage's main door and drove off in a massive tow truck while setting the dispensing pumps and Loomis' car on fire. The wires on a nearby telephone pole were burned, cutting off communications so that Loomis couldn't call ahead and warn the Haddonfield authorities.
At school, Jamie was mercilessly teased and taunted by young classmates about not having a costume, for having an uncle called the "boogey-man," and for having a dead mother: "Jamie's mommy's a mummy...Jamie's an orphan!" After school, Jamie was picked up by Rachel's friend Lindsey (Leslie L. Rohland) [Laurie's babysitting charge from the 1978 classic film], and Jamie decided to buy a trick-or-treat costume at the Vincent Drug Discount Mart (where Rachel's boyfriend Brady was an employee) before getting ice-cream. [One of the masks on display was a "Michael Myers" mask - grabbed by a disembodied hand.]
Jamie chose a red and white clown costume, and when standing in front of a mirror, she had a momentary vision of herself as young six year-old Michael Myers in his same clown costume from the night he murdered his older sister (in Halloween (1978)). She also experienced a real-life view of the "nightmare man" - Myers (wearing the mask) standing behind her. When she backed up, the mirror ominously shattered.
Meanwhile, Dr. Loomis was hitch-hiking to Haddonfield, still 119 miles away, and finally found a ride in a run-down old pickup with whisky-swigging, religious fanatic, and itinerant preacher Rev. Jackson P. Sayer (Carmen Filpi). During his wild rantings to his fellow "pilgrim," he spoke of the end of the world:
On Halloween night, Rachel and Jamie (in her clown costume) were spied upon as they eagerly left to go trick-or-treating. Michael entered the Carruthers house, climbed to the upstairs, and overturned the contents of Jamie's shoe box (including a picture of his sister Laurie, a picture of himself as a boy in a clown costume, and a picture of his niece). [Note: He could now identify his own niece. Before leaving, he killed the family dog Sundae.]
In Haddonfield's police station, Dr. Loomis learned that Sheriff Brackett had retired in 1981, and that the town's new Sheriff was Ben Meeker (Beau Starr). He notified them that Michael Myers had escaped from Ridgemont and had come to Haddonfield, and that Laurie Strode's daughter Jamie Lloyd was "in mortal danger." He convincingly warned that between there and Ridgemont, he had already come upon six bodies in Myers' wake, and "he's here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way." Loomis recommended immediately finding the girl and keeping her in safe custody from Michael's wrath.
Jamie and Rachel were followed by Myers as they went door-to-door for candy. At the Meeker home, Rachel was shocked to see that the sheriff's sexy blonde daughter Kelly Meeker (Kathleen Kinmont) in a T-shirt and panties, another employee at the Discount Mart, was keeping company with Rachel's unfaithful boyfriend Brady after their cancelled date. A TV news bulletin from Sheriff Meeker notified residents of Haddonfield of a curfew - everyone was to clear the streets and businesses were ordered to close. The local redneck bar owner Earl Ford (Gene Ross) called the Sheriff's office to confirm, but there was no answer at the station.
Meanwhile, Rachel lost track of Jamie during their door-to-door outing when she wandered off, and she panicked. A technician named Bucky (Harlow Marks) was at the town's power station, where he lost his life when the masked Myers threw him into an electrical transformer and he was electrocuted (# 7 death) in a shower of sparks. His death caused an electrical blackout throughout Haddonfield.
The darkened streets were deserted as Rachel searched for Jamie, fearing that she was being followed by the Shape. Sheriff Meeker and Dr. Loomis finally found the two girls wandering around. The two adults were spooked by seeing three figures wearing "Michael Myers" masks - until they realized the prank. But as they drove the two girls to the police station, the real Michael Myers watched them silently from the street.
After leaving the two girls unattended in the car!, they entered the ransacked station, where they discovered the ripped apart, mutilated body of Deputy Pierce (Michael Flynn) (# 8 death) (off-screen) who was missing a hand. [There may have been other bodies there, but they were not clearly visible.] Dr. Loomis restated his belief that Myers was evil, and not human. Then outside, Loomis spoke to a group of shotgun-toting, concerned beer-drinkers and patrons from the local bar, led by owner Earl Ford, including:
He warned: "It was Michael Myers. He's come home to kill." The vengeful, frightened group drove off in their trucks, acting as a vigilante lynch mob, with Earl vowing to kill Myers: "We're gonna fry his ass." After shooting multiple rounds at an unseen suspect in some bushes, Earl, Big Al, Orrin, and Unger found that they had accidentally killed one of their friends, Ted Hollister (# 9 death).
In front of a roaring fire in the Meeker house, Rachel's cheating boyfriend Brady made out with buxom and slutty Kelly, but their romantic liaison was abruptly interrupted by the arrival of her father. As they hurriedly dressed to avoid being caught, Dr. Loomis, the two girls, and Sheriff Meeker entered the house. Deputy Logan (George Sullivan) also drove into the driveway behind them (unwittingly carrying Myers as a passenger in his backseat). Brady was given a shot-gun to protect the girls (and warned by strict Sheriff Meeker to stay away from his daughter) as he went to secure the attic, and Deputy Logan and Kelly barricaded the lower part of the house for protection.
Without phones or power, Sheriff Meeker communicated via short-wave radio in the basement, and sent a distress call to state police trooper headquarters for backup, mentioning "there's a killer loose in the streets." Loomis left for the Carruthers house, predicting that Myers would go there, and Sheriff Meeker left to check out the Ted Hollister murder ("I got a town full of beer bellies running around in the dark with shotguns! Who's gonna be next?"). Kelly all but admitted her indiscretion to Rachel after stealing her boyfriend: "I've got a right to do what's best for me." Rachel replied: "Don't you mean what you do best?" Kelly then followed up with how she could entice any man with sex: "Wise up to what men want, Rachel. Or Brady won't be the last man you lose to another woman," prompting Rachel to throw coffee on Kelly's T-shirt. Deputy Logan remained in a rocking chair guarding the front door with a shot-gun.
Kelly discovered Deputy Logan's mangled and bloodied body on the living room couch (# 10 death) (off-screen) with blood trickling from his mouth - Myers had taken his place in the rocking chair with his shotgun. Keeping with the tradition of sex=death in the Halloween franchise, Myers impaled Kelly through the chest/stomach with the phallic-shaped shotgun, pinned her to the wall (# 11 death), and left her hanging there. Shortly later, Brady fought valiantly against Myers, until his head and neck were crushed, snapped and broken by the bare-handed killer (# 12 death).
After all of Jamie's and Rachel's protectors were either gone or dead, the two girls escaped out onto the roof with Michael in relentless pursuit in a dangerous chase across the slippery tiles. Rachel lowered Jamie to safety on the ground via a loose cable tied to her waist, but fell off the roof when she dodged to avoid being slashed by Michael's butcher knife - she appeared dead but actually survived. Jamie ran off screaming for help - and found herself in Dr. Loomis' arms. They went for refuge to the elementary schoolhouse where they broke in, with Myers still following. Dr. Loomis was thrown through a window, as Jamie fled down a corridor and found only locked doors. She tumbled down stairs and found herself helpless as Michael approached to murder her - but Rachel sprayed the killer with a fire extinguisher, and they were able to escape together.
Outside the school, the group of four patrolling, vigilante citizens heard the school's siren, and picked up the two girls in their pickup truck. They decided to leave Michael Myers and the town's troubles to the state police. Earl Ford drove them out of Haddonfield, as they passed a caravan of state police heading to town. However, Myers had inexplicably hung onto the back of their truck, and crawled up to the open truck bed to assault the three hillbillies. He first knifed Orrin in the back (# 13 death), and then knifed Big Al in the stomach (# 14 death), and pushed both bodies off the moving truck. Unger was then heaved off the moving vehicle (# 15 death) - all three deaths were unnoticed by the passengers in the cab! Then, Earl had his neck bloodily ripped open (# 16 death) by Michael as he reached down from the top of the cab through the driver's side window.
Rachel was left to steer the swerving vehicle after she had tossed Earl's body away from the truck. With her maneuverings and an abrupt braking, Michael was thrown off the top of the cab, and she deliberately attempted to run him down. His body was sent flying through the air into a fence. Sheriff Meeker and the state troopers arrived at the scene, as Jamie was walking to the seemingly-lifeless corpse where she touched the burned/scarred hand of her uncle's body. Revived, the Shape suddenly gripped his knife and sat up, forcing the troopers to open fire as he rose up. Michael was relentlessly shot dozens of times by state police before he fell down into the entrance of an abandoned, collapsing mine shaft.
Dr. Loomis and Sheriff Meeker brought the two girls back to the Carruthers home after the horrific ordeal - and Loomis was assured that Myers was dead and the nightmare was over: "Michael Myers is in hell, buried, where he belongs." Upstairs, Mrs. Darlene Carruthers (Karen Alston), Jamie's foster mother, was preparing a hot bath for Jamie.
The film ended with a plot twist - through touch, psychically-linked Jamie was trance-possessed by Michael's murderous and evil instincts, and stabbed Mrs. Carruthers (# 17 death ? - unknown) - seen through Jamie's mask eye-holes POV. Dr. Loomis responded to screams, witnessing Jamie wearing her clown mask and costume and standing with upraised bloody scissors at the top of the stairs, similar to the image of young Michael in the opening of the first film twenty-five years earlier, when he killed his older sister Judith.
Screaming denials ("No, no, no!"), Dr. Loomis was prevented from shooting Jamie by Meeker's intervention.
Film Notables (Awards, Facts, etc.)
Masked-killer Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) returned in this fourth film in the series, set 10 years after the original film in 1988 - he had survived his fiery demise in Halloween II (1981) as had Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), but had been in a coma ever since.
With the tagline: "Ten Years Ago HE Changed The Face Of Halloween. Tonight HE'S BACK!"
With a production budget of approximately $5 million, and box-office gross revenues of $17.8 million (domestic).
Body Count: 16, maybe 17, plus one dead dog. Although Myers was presumed dead, he survived in the next sequel.
Also Worth Your Attention...
Dr. Sam Loomis
(George P. Wilbur)
(Leslie L. Rohland)
Sheriff Ben Meeker
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