After his hiatus from the criminally underrated (though still far from perfect) Halloween III: Season of the Witch, Michael Myers, at the behest of his fans – and greedy producers – returned to stalk the leafy streets of Haddonfield in Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers. See what they did there. With a whole new set of characters introduced, including Laurie Strode’s daughter and her adoptive family, it isn’t long before the blood begins to flow.
For a film bogged down in its own lack of imagination, originality or flair, Halloween IV actually begins with so much promise. The opening titles play out over a simple collection of shots which when viewed in succession evoke such a bleak, eerie and overwhelmingly creepy atmosphere. The lack of music adds to the unease – all that exists on the soundtrack is a low howling wind that reeks of desolation and despair. Before long, the faintest strains of Alan Howarth’s deliciously dark and brooding synth score can gradually be heard; though at this stage, it’s still just a throbbing echo under the noise of the desolate wind, rippling across the sparse, strangely empty locations and fading light of these opening moments.
With such a barren, hopeless mood conjured in these opening minutes, all seems well! So far so good. Then the film actually starts. Sadly, as soon as this happens and Myers makes his grand entrance, its back to pilfering and pillaging the memory of the original Halloween.
As the film progresses, the American Gothic mood pregnant with foreboding established during the credits, is lost under the weight of derivative cliché, lack of tension, cheap scares and utter lack of artistic merit. When such high hopes are dashed as soon as a film’s title sequence has ended and the film begins proper, you know you’re in for a rough ride. And not in a good way.
Still though, those opening credits are DAMN creepy.