Halloween [1978]

"You can't kill the bogeyman," the children insist to a terrorized Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) in the original Halloween. How right they are. Laurie is gone, but guess who's back in Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers? Acting as if the third entry never existed, this installment picks up 10 years after the original, with mad maniac Myers in a coma and moved to a new facility. But wouldn't you know it that as soon as a loose-lipped orderly lets slip that Myers has a surviving niece he springs back into action, leaving a bloody trail of corpses on the road to Haddonfield. Donald Pleasance returns as Dr. Loomis, scarred and crippled from his last encounter with Myers and seething with a fanatical zeal to stop the freak from repeating his previous rampage. Pleasance is the best thing about the film as an aging hero seemingly on the verge of madness who drags a bum leg in his manic rush to save little orphan Jamie (Danielle Harris), the 10-year-old waif terrorized by her homicidal uncle. Director Dwight Little has managed a generic if professional slasher picture, rife with improbabilities and dominated by a killer whose superhuman powers reach near-mystical dimensions, but he delivers the goods: shocks, stabs, and cold, cruel killings. --Sean Axmaker

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