Halloween 4: Divimax Edition
Starring Ellie Cornell, Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Beau Starr, and George P. Wilbur
Directed by Dwight H. Little
Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment
I'll never forget sitting in a darkened theatre way back around 1987 or so when it came on. The screen was dark except for a crawl of white letters going up the screen not unlike the opening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A man with a really sinister voice narrated. Everyone was enthralled. "Ten years ago, on the night of October 31st, a small Midwestern town fell victim to an escaped killer. Under the cover of darkness he carried out the most horrifying mass murder on record. Sixteen people killed in cold blood. Ever since that night, no one has forgotten his name . . . and Halloween has never been the same." The music started and the crowd went absolutely fucking nuts. After nearly ten years, one of our favorite movie characters of all time was making his return to the big screen. To say fans were counting the days is an understatement. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers met with great success upon its release, becoming the number one film in the nation for two straight weeks.
The story was relatively simple. Michael awakens from a comatose state to find himself being transported via ambulance to another holding facility. One quick thumb insertion to the head of a paramedic, and The Shape was on the loose once again with the legendary Dr. Sam Loomis (Pleasence) not far behind. This time his victim of choice (because lord knows Michael has some serious family issues) is the daughter of his supposedly dead sister, Jamie Lloyd (Harris).
While Halloween 4 was a welcome return for our favorite white masked man, it did have a few problems. For one -- the editing. There are a few things in this film that just don't make any sense. Such as the lack of reaction by some of the people in the back of the speeding pick-up truck to Michael going on a stabbing spree less than a foot away. You would think a few of them would have at least turned around to see what the commotion was. Another nagging thing is the old mask switcheroo that goes on during the schoolhouse sequence. Michael's hair goes from brown to white in one scene. It's completely distracting. According to McElroy's commentary, the white hair thing was because they tried using the original mask from the first two Halloweens, and for whatever reason the hair had turned white. Well then, why bother? While these do indeed sound like minor issues, it bothers me to think how easily they could have been fixed. Especially the hair issue. Hell, why was there even a mask with the wrong colored hair on the set? This may remain one of life's little mysteries. As fans of the series we wanted everything to be perfect. Instead it was just adequate.
A lot of you own this film on DVD already, so I know that you're wondering just why in the world you should double dip for this edition. For one thing there's the Divimax transfer. For those of you out there that don't know what that means, it's pretty simple. Divimax DVD's are mastered in extremely high definition, giving the picture a really high quality appearance. Halloween 4 has never looked better. But is that it? No.
In addition, the Halloween 4 and 5 panel from the Return to Haddonfield convention is there for you rabid fans, but even that is not the reason to buy this edition. You will want this DVD for one reason: The commentaries. First up are stars Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris. Even after all these years they still have a kind of sisterly vibe to their relationship, and it is communicated through this first commentary track perfectly. As good as that track is, the money shot is the one with writer Alan B. McElroy. Alan is an engaging guy. Throughout the commentary he points out all of the things that were changed from his original vision. Additions, subtractions, and changes are all discussed in detail; and I have to say, if they would have left in the majority of the things Alan had originally written, I think we would have come away with a bit of a better film.
Returning features from the original disc include a 17-minute behind-the-scenes featurette called The Making of Halloween 4: The Final Cut and of course the trailer. All in all this is a much superior package, so if you're a fan, you may wanna be trading in your old disc to the used DVD store.
Michael's return was something genre fan's clamoured for ever since The Shape went up in flames at the end of Halloween II. Anchor Bay has given us another gift. Even though the movie is just OK by many standards, it is cool that it is finally getting the definitive DVD release Halloween historians have been waiting for. Color me happy to double dip.
Audio commentary with actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris
Audio commentary with writer Alan B. McElroy
Halloween 4 and 5 discussion panel
The Making of Halloween 4: The Final Cut featurette
4 out of 5