I finally got a chance to sit down and watch the entire Halloween franchise, and I really enjoyed it. And now, like OscarGold101 did that thread for movie reviews, I figured I'd review this franchse.
d. John Carpenter
Under the blood-red lettering of the credits, a Halloween pumpkin lit by a candle within smiled (or leered) and pulsated with light, accompanied by the instantly-recognizable, erratic, oft-repeated musical score (also by writer/director John Carpenter) heard in the film's series.
As with many of the films, the setting was Halloween night, 1963, in Haddonfield, Illinois, and its opening four-minute sequence was striking. Six-year-old Michael Myers (Will Sandin) wearing a clown costume was unmasked - after he had repeatedly stabbed to death his 17 year-old sister Judith (Sandy Johnson) with a butcher knife (# 1 death) following her upstairs love-making in their house with her boyfriend. The clown-costumed, insane boy stood there motionless on the front lawn, surrounded by shocked adults (his parents).
Subsequently, the disturbed, psychotic boy was institutionalized for the crime for 15 years in Smith's Grove, Illinois at the Warren County Sanitarium, observed by quirky psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) as a dangerous, isolated patient at the institution. When he was about to be transferred, Michael at age 21 (Tony Moran, also credited as "The Shape" played by Nick Castle, incorrectly identified in the end credits as 23) assaulted a nurse in the institution's station wagon by leaping onto it and then driving away. The doctor feared the worst - the escape of the personification of evil, as the orangish-red eyes of the tail lights receded: "He's gone from here. The evil is gone." En route to Haddonfield, he killed a driver and stole his truck (# 2 death) (off-screen), and absconded with Judith Myers' grave headstone ("He came home").
In the small midwestern town, the abandoned Myers' house was, of course, the notorious scene of the killing fifteen years earlier - still unsold, vacant and dilapidated. Smart, independent-minded young 17-year-old teenaged girl Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis in her feature film debut, revealed later in the series to be Michael's orphaned, adopted sister), was planning to babysit at the Doyle's house that Halloween night, where she listened and assented to the special requests of young Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews). The masked Michael stalked Laurie and her promiscuous girlfriends throughout the day, both outside her school and in the neighborhood before going on a killing spree.
In a chilling scene, Dr. Loomis waited upstairs in the Myers house with Sheriff Brackett (Charles Cyphers) for the reappearance of the evil presence: "I met him fifteen years ago. I was told there was nothing left. No reason, no, uh, conscience, no understanding and even the most rudimentary sense of life or death, of good or evil, right or wrong. I met this six year old child with this blind, pale, emotionless face, and the blackest eyes, the devil's eyes. I spent eight years trying to reach him and then another seven trying to keep him locked up because I realized that what was living behind that boy's eyes was purely and simply evil...He's been here once tonight. I think he'll come back. I'm gonna wait for him."
One by one that evening, Michael Myers murdered: (1) sheriff's daughter and baby-sitter Annie Brackett (Nancy Kyes) (by strangulation, and then by slitting her throat from the backseat of her car (# 3 death) after she had planned to forgo her babysitting duties for Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards), and was preparing to leave the house (across the street from where Laurie was babysitting Tommy) and drive to her boyfriend Paul's place to make love); Tommy witnessed a Shape carrying Annie's corpse into the Wallace house after murdering her, thinking it was the Boogeyman; (2) Lynda's boyfriend Robert "Bob" Simms (John Michael Graham) (by strangulation and stabbing with a kitchen knife - pinning him into the wall (# 4 death) in the empty Wallace house where Annie had been babysitting), and (3) Lynda Van Der Klok (P. J. Soles) (by strangulation with a phone cord (# 5 death) while she was speaking to Laurie on the phone), with Michael wearing a white sheet with Bob's thick-rimmed glasses.
After receiving Lynda's strange phone call, Laurie ventured over to the Wallace house where she found Annie's body in bed with Judith's headstone, and also discovered the bodies of Bob and Lynda. Wielding a knife, Michael struck and wounded her on her left arm, sending her headfirst over the stair railing and down the staircase. Injured by the fall, Laurie was also trapped inside the locked house while struggling to get away. The killer attempted to get through a locked door to attack her - finally using his fist to break down the wooden barrier and unlock it. She broke the side door's window with her bare hand and escaped from the Wallace residence back to the Doyle house.
The visceral climax was the relentless stalking of a terrified, but resourceful and vigilant Laurie through the Doyle house. She fought back with a knitting needle (plunged into his neck), a metal coat hanger (stuck into his eye), and a knife (thrust into his torso) - but the white-masked Shape seemed indestructible. Michael's pursuit was accompanied by piercing music, quick-cut editing, and real shock and suspense. Camera angles were from the victim's point of view. She directed the two children to go down the stairs and run out to a neighbor's house to call the police, and their cries alerted Dr. Loomis. The psychiatrist rushed up the stairs and finally caught up with his prey, saving her from strangulation. The doctor fired six rounds, emptying his gun into the masked figure. The crazed killer fell from the second floor balcony and tumbled to the ground below. Bloodied and in near-shock, Laurie quizzically stated: "[it]...was the boogey-man," while Dr. Loomis confirmed: "As a matter of fact, it was.." But in the film's final moments, his body vanished into the night.
There was a final montage of locations in the film where Michael had been hiding or was present (and would probably still haunt), accompanied by his heavy breathing - the staircase and living room of the Doyle house, the Wallace house, and the Myers house. Haddonfield had not seen the end of this supernatural, horrifying creature - the embodiment of Evil. He would return on another Halloween night.
Halloween II (1981)
d. Rick Rosenthal
The second film film opened in Haddonfield, Illinois, on Halloween (October 31, 1978), to the tune of "Mr. Sandman" (sung by The Chordettes). The film reprised the last major scene of the original 1978 film, in which 17 year-old babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) sent two young children, Lindsay Wallace (Kyle Richards) and Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews) away from the Doyle house to run to the neighbors and call the police. She was left to confront the masked 21 year-old killer Michael Myers (Tony Moran) by herself. [The credits listed Michael Myers' age as 23.] He attempted to strangle her, but she was able to pull the mask away from his face for a moment. Alerted by the children's screaming, psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence), Michael's doctor for 15 years, came to Laurie's rescue and shot the hulking figure once, and then six more times (a total of seven times) - the crazed killer fell backwards from the second floor balcony and landed on the ground below. Bloodied and in near-shock, Laurie quizzically stated: "Was it the boogey-man?" while Dr. Loomis confirmed: "As a matter of fact, it was." But the body of the assailant, escaping sure death, vanished from the lawn into the night, leaving only an imprint on the grass and blood stains. Loomis told the next-door neighbor to call the police: "...he's still on the loose..." The familiar theme music then played as the credits were shown.
As a police car pulled up, from the POV of the killer watching from a shadowy distance, Dr. Loomis was heard exclaiming to Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers): "I shot him six times. I shot him in the heart...This guy, this man, he's not human." Radio reports announced that there were three bodies (all victims were teenagers) found in the upstairs bedroom of a Haddonfield house. The killer was a mental patient who had escaped the previous night from the Smith's Grove-Warren County Sanitarium. Michael Myers (Dick Warlock) entered a home where an elderly couple named the Elrods lived (the husband was asleep in front of the television, playing Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968)) - and grabbed a butcher knife from the kitchen of the gray-haired, pink bathrobe-wearing wife (Lucille Benson), who was preparing a sandwich. He left blood drippings on her cutting board. The worried young neighbor Alice (Anne Bruner), came out of her next-door house when she heard screams, and became the killer's first victim inside her living room when she was stabbed in the chest with the butcher knife and blood spurted onto her neck (# 1 death).
Meanwhile at the Doyle house, stab-wounded, bruised and shock-stricken Laurie Strode was taken on a stretcher by paramedics (ambulance driver Budd (Leo Rossi) and Jimmy (Lance Guest)) to the local Haddonfield Memorial Hospital. As they arrived, a bleeding boy (with a razor-blade embedded in his mouth) in a pirate's costume was led to the Emergency Room. Drunken Dr. Frederick Mixter (Ford Rainey) ordered Laurie sedated, although she protested. Dr. Loomis searched the neighborhood in Sheriff Brackett's patrol vehicle, as the skeptical sheriff argued: "You couldn't have shot him six times...I think you missed him...No man could take six slugs." The doctor barked back: "This isn't a man!" When they saw a possible suspect with a "Michael Myers" mask and a trick-or-treat bag, they chased after him. The fleeing figure was hit by the front of a speeding second police car driven by Deputy Gary Hunt (Hunter von Leer). The victim's body was incinerated when the car slammed it into a parked van, and the two cars caught fire (# 2 death). [The victim in the freak accident, although thought at first to possibly be Myers, was later identified as 17 year-old Bennett 'Ben' Tramer (Jack Verbois).] Loomis recommended that a forensic dentist check the teeth to verify if it was his long-time quarry. Sheriff Brackett was horrified to learn that his daughter Annie (Nancy Loomis) had been one of the three murdered teenagers. After having identified Annie’s body, the grief-stricken Brackett blamed Loomis and went home to his wife, leaving Hunt in charge.
The killer inadvertently heard a radio report, from a loud boom box carried by a teenager in the downtown area, that Laurie had been taken to the Haddonfield Hospital, and he proceeded there on foot. The hospital's night watchman/security guard Mr. Garrett (Cliff Emmich), distracted by a magazine and the movie Dementia playing on a TV, failed to notice Michael Myers enter the hospital on his surveillance video camera. Nurse Karen Bailey (Pamela Susan Shoop) arrived late for her night-shift on the ward, and was reprimanded by supervising Nurse Mrs. Virginia Alves (Gloria Gifford). In Laurie's hospital room, Jimmy (who had taken an interest in Laurie) told the semi-sedated patient about Michael Myers (he was "that little kid" who had infamously murdered his own sister - with a butcher knife in the upstairs bedroom - at the Myers home 15 years earlier, in 1963 on Halloween night "his anniversary"). She learned that Myers had escaped and was targeting her - and she asked: "Why me?"
While Garrett was outside checking the disconnected phone system, he was clobbered on the top of his head with a claw hammer (# 3 death) in the hospital's store room (where he had found numerous open locks). In another part of town, the Myers house was pummeled by rocks and stones from an angry mob. The house was empty ("He just isn't there"), and a sweep through town had revealed nothing. Dr. Loomis described Myers' reappearance to Deputy Hunt: "He came back...He waited with extraordinary patience. There was a force inside him biding its time." He had been an immobile, waiting, and quiet "ideal patient" at the Sanitarium, and the unprepared staff was unaware of what he was really becoming.
Buxom Nurse Karen agreed to make out with lecherous ambulance driver/paramedic Budd in the therapy room's hydrotherapy whirlpool tub ("It's hot in here") before the two met their predictable fate after sex. After Myers turned up the temperature controls outside the room, Budd was strangled (with a cord) and killed (# 4 death) by the brutal killer while checking the thermostat gauge outside the room (without her knowledge), just before the nude nurse also succumbed by having her face repeatedly dunked and scalded to death in the 130 degree water (# 5 death). A close-up of her blistered face ended the scene.
Meanwhile as she slept, Laurie was experiencing flashback dreams about her childhood, in which her adoptive mother Mrs. Strode (Pamela McMyler) told her: "I'm not your mother." As a young girl (Nichole Drucker), she had a glimpse of her young brother Michael (Adam Gunn) sitting in an institution.
On the other side of town, Dr. Loomis and the Haddonfield police investigated a break-in at the local elementary school, where they found a butcher knife stuck in a desk (and through the body of one of the stick-figure children in the family drawing - Loomis remarked: "Sister"). They also discovered the word Samhain scrawled in bloody capital letters on the chalkboard. Loomis explained the Celtic word: "It's a Celtic word. "Samhain." It means the Lord of the Dead. The end of summer. The Festival of Samhain. October 31st." Dr. Loomis was called aside by a colleague, his assistant Nurse Marion Chambers (Nancy Stephens) from the Sanitarium, and told that Dr. Rogers from the Sanitarium and the governor had ordered him away from Haddonfield, but Loomis refused to return to Smith's Grove. Loomis had no choice - he was to be escorted by a Marshal (John Zenda) waiting in a car outside.
When Laurie was found unresponsive (due to a reaction to her medication) in her hospital room bed by Jimmy, Nurse Janet Marshall (Ana Alicia) hurriedly ran to physician Dr. Mixter's office to summon him. In his dark inner office in front of an aquarium, she found Dr. Mixter dead (in a revolving chair reminiscent of the end of Psycho (1960)) with a syringe stabbed into his eyeball (# 6 death, off-screen). As Janet backed up in stunned shock, Myers grabbed her from behind and inserted a hypodermic syringe into her temple - she collapsed to the floor (# 7 death). When there was no immediate emergency help forthcoming, Jimmy rushed to the Ladies Lounge to locate Nurse Mrs. Alves, but couldn't find her or Budd. The Shape continued to pursue and stalk Laurie. In her room, he stabbed at her bed with a scalpel, but found he was only stabbing at pillows. Laurie had wisely left her room and limped to another room.
Blonde nurse Jill Franco (Tawny Moyer) also couldn't locate Mr. Garrett or Laurie -- and joined with Jimmy to find out where everyone had disappeared. In one of the hospital's operating rooms, Jimmy found Mrs. Alves strapped to an operating table and stabbed in the arm with an IV syringe (# 8 death, off-screen) - she was drained of her blood. When he turned to leave the room, he slipped and fell on the wet bloody floor and was knocked unconscious.
When Nurse Franco kept looking for others and couldn't find anyone, she fled to her car to alert authorities. But she found that her car had been sabotaged (it wouldn't start, it leaked oil and had a flat tire) and she was unable to drive away, so she raced back into the hospital. In the corridor, she spotted Laurie (again on the move but limping badly), but was stabbed in the back with a scalpel (# 9 death). Myers held her up by the scalpel stuck into her spine, lifting her off her feet into the air (her shoes dropped to the floor), while Laurie watched the horrific murder. Laurie then whimpered and fled down another corridor, down some stairs, and into a basement furnace room, where she saw Garrett's body strung up. As Michael slashed at her, she crawled through an upper window into another storage room, escaped in a freight elevator to the ground floor, and eluded him by running outdoors. She cowered in the front seat of a parked vehicle in the parking lot.
On their way out of town in the Marshal's car, Loomis told Nurse Marion Chambers more background about the word Samhain - a Druid ceremony of ritualistic elimination and sacrifice: "In order to appease the gods, the Druid priests held fire rituals. Prisoners of war, criminals, the insane, animals were burned alive in baskets. By observing the way they died, the Druids believed they could see omens of the future. Two thousand years later, we've come no further. Samhain isn't evil spirits. It isn't goblins, ghosts or witches. It's the unconscious mind. We're all afraid of the dark inside ourselves." She then told Loomis the film's major twist - about a secret sealed Myers file which revealed that Laurie Strode was actually Myers's sister - confirming Laurie's flashback dreams. "She was born two years before he was committed. Two years after, his parents died and she was adopted by the Strodes. They requested that the records be sealed in order to protect the family." Loomis was fearful of Myers' intentions in Haddonfield: he was there to kill his second sister. He ordered the Marshal, at gunpoint (after firing one warning shot), to drive to the Haddonfield Hospital in order to attempt to save Laurie.
Laurie realized she was in Jimmy's car when he returned, but after he couldn't start it, he passed out. She crawled from the car on the concrete as the Marshal's car pulled up, but was unable to scream loud enough to attract their attention. She screamed for help at the front door - with Myers in slow pursuit, and was let in. The Shape walked directly through the glass door, prompting Loomis to fire five shots [he emptied his gun] into the figure. As the Marshal peered over at the 'dead' corpse, Myers murdered the Marshal by slitting his throat with a scalpel (# 10 death). He then pursued Dr. Loomis and Laurie, and cornered them in an operating room, where he broke down the door and stabbed and mortally wounded Loomis in the stomach with a scalpel, when the doctor's gun clicked empty.
Laurie briefly stopped the killer's approach to her by calling him by name: "Michael?" With a second gun, Laurie shot the unstoppable, seemingly-indestructible homicidal killer in each of his eyes with the last two remaining bullets - causing the killer to weep and bleed red tears down the front of his mask. The blinded killer slashed around wildly as both Loomis and Laurie released oxygen and ether gases from tanks in the room and Loomis ignited the fumes with his cigarette lighter ("It's time, Michael"), causing a self-sacrificing explosion as Laurie escaped. Covered in flames, Michael struggled toward Laurie before finally collapsing in the corridor, as his mask slowly melted from his burning face. But was he conclusively dead? [Both Michael Myers and Dr. Loomis miraculously survived, and reappeared at the start of Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988).]
In the film's conclusion the next overcast morning (November 1), Laurie was wheeled to an ambulance for transfer to another hospital, as she replayed in her mind the burning of Michael's mask - to the tune of "Mr. Sandman." Was the nightmare over?
Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
d. Tommy Lee Wallace
This third film in the series was the only one in the franchise not directly related to the other films, but instead focused on witchcraft, the power of corporate advertising, and a crazed factory owner rather than a psychopathic killer. Producer John Carpenter conceived of this film as the first in an anthology of stand-alone Halloween season-related horror films, although the plan failed.
After the credits, the film opened in NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, in October, Saturday the 23rd, about one week before Halloween. At nighttime, a novelty shop owner, later identified as middle-aged toy salesman Harry Grimbridge (Al Berry), ran on foot from a pursuing car's headlights into a deserted car parts and wrecking lot, where he was pinned on the ground by a mysterious man wearing a gray business suit and shiny black shoes (later identified as a Silver Shamrock android henchman). Grimbridge released a parked car that rolled toward them, crushing the man between two cars (# 1 death, android).
ONE HOUR LATER, during a fierce thunderstorm, the scene shifted to a gas station, where the attendant Walter Jones (Essex Smith) was watching TV. A British commentator reported on a previous theft, nine months earlier, of the 5-ton Bluestone from Stonehenge - "believed to represent the 19-year cycle of the moon." An advertisement also played for Silver Shamrock Novelties -- (to the tune of "London Bridge is Falling Down"): "Eight more days to Halloween/ Halloween/ Halloween/ Eight more days to Halloween/ Silver Shamrock. (repeated)" The announcer added: "Yes, kids, you, too can own one of the big Halloween three. That's right, three horrific masks to chose from. They're fun, they're frightening, and they glow in the dark." [The film's title, Halloween III - was seemingly justified by the fact of the three types of Halloween masks!] Harry Grumbridge stumbled into the station, clutching an orange jack-o-lantern Silver Shamrock mask, and fell to the floor, warning: "They're coming." Jones drove Grimbridge to the hospital in a tow truck.
At almost 8 pm in another part of town, alcoholic father of two Dr. Daniel "Dan" Challis (Tom Atkins) arrived home late to his ex-wife Linda (Nancy Kyes), with presents of plain Halloween masks for his two children. They were disappointed, and told him how their mother had already bought them scarier latex Silver Shamrock masks - the skeletal skull and the green-faced witch varieties. He was immediately summoned back to the hospital, where he treated Grimbridge, who was cryptically ranting on a stretcher: "They're going to kill us. All of us." The crazed patient was treated with a dosage of Thorazine, and placed in hospital room 13. Soon after, another business-suited man with black gloves gouged out his eyes with two fingers and gruesomely pulled his skull apart (# 2 death). The henchman methodically wiped the blood off on a curtain and returned to his vehicle outside the hospital. There, he strangely committed suicide by dousing himself with gasoline and setting himself on fire (# 3 death, android), causing his car to explode.
SUNDAY the 24th, Ellie Grimbridge (Stacey Nelkin) identified her father's body in his hospital room, and was told the case was under investigation. WEDNESDAY, the 27th, Teddy (Wendy Wessberg) a friend of Dr. Challis' in the Coroner's Office, told him that the well-dressed businessman had super arm strength to have been able to pull apart Grimbridge's skull. FRIDAY, the 29th, Dr. Challis was at a bar, where a TV broadcast was advertising the airing of the "immortal classic" Halloween (1978) on Halloween night, followed by a "big giveaway" at 9:00 pm, sponsored by Silver Shamrock Novelties (the jingle played again, now "Two more days to Halloween..."). Ellie Grimbridge located Dr. Challis there, and they decided to work together to discover why her father had died. They visited his closed-down toy store in Sierra Madre, that had been struggling financially against a new mall. Ellie had researched her father's appointment book, and surmised that he had run into trouble after October 20th, when he was to pick up more Halloween masks in the small town of Santa Mira, California (an inspired connection to Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956)), the location of a large Irish community, and the Silver Shamrock Novelties factory. After WWII, in the rural town of Santa Mira, wealthy Irishman Conal Cochran had invigorated the town by establishing the toy factory - the largest manufacturer and purveyor of Halloween masks in the world. They were watched suspiciously by various bystanders and shopowners (and a TV surveillance camera) as they drove into the community - Dr. Challis commented: "Company town."
They decided their plan would be to pretend to be husband/wife mask-buyers, and they would share a room in the town's Rose of Shannon Motel as they went about their investigation. At Rafferty's gas station next to the motel, (full service gas was $1.32/gallon), managed by Mr. Rafferty (Michael Currie), they rented a room. Challis saw the guest entry register book at the front desk, showing that Ellie's father had checked into the same hotel on October 20th. As Conal Cochran slowly drove by in a chauffeured vehicle, Mr. Rafferty called him a "true genius." As they checked in, other guests of the motel arrived in a Winnebago - the Kupfer family from San Diego: husband Buddy (Ralph Strait), wife Betty (Jadeen Barbor), and red-haired rambunctious son "Little" Buddy (Bradley Schacter). At the same time, a disgruntled toy shop owner (on Union Square in San Francisco) named Marge Guttman (Garn Stephens) also drove in, unhappy about having to stay overnight due to "screwed up" toy orders from the "damn factory" that she was forced to handle personally.
That evening, a loudspeaker system in the town announced a 6:00 pm curfew, and all Santa Mira residents were instructed to clear the streets and remain indoors. As Challis returned to his motel room, he was confronted by a drunken, disgruntled homeless townsperson named Starker (Jon Terry), who warned him about Cochran's spying and rumors swirling about the factory, and bad-mouthed the factory owner. He divulged how he was planning to use Molotov cocktails to burn the factory down: "Be the last Halloween for them." Later in his shack, two android business-suited men ripped his head off his neck (# 4 death). Teddy reported by phone to Dr. Challis that they had accidentally been looking at "plastic and metal shavings" (part of the car), rather than the correct body parts, because of mixed-up envelopes. (The next day, she also reported to Dr. Challis that she believed someone had tampered with the evidence, since there were no bone fragments or teeth: "I've got nothing here to indicate there was ever a body at all. Just ashes and car parts.")
While Dr. Challis and Ellie were making love in their room, Marge Guttman was taking a closer look at one of the poorly-made mask pieces - a trademarked Silver Shamrock button with an embedded computer chip that had fallen off one of the masks. As she poked at the back of it with a bobby-pin, it emitted a lethal laser beam that blasted her in the face, leaving her disfigured and dead as a creepy insect emerged from her mouth (# 5 death). In the middle of the night, a white van (and other white vehicles) with white-garbed attendants removed Marge's body from her motel room. Mr. Conal Cochran's chauffeured vehicle drove up and he assured everyone of Marge's "small accident" and promised the "very best possible treatment" at the "marvelous" emergency facilities at the factory. However, he was whispered the word "Misfire" as he departed.
SATURDAY, the 30th. At the Silver Shamrock factory office, Ellie and Dr. Challis were told that Mr. Grimbridge picked up and signed for his order on the 21st, and then drove away in his green station wagon. As they were about to leave, the Kupfer family arrived and Buddy Kupfer was personally greeted by Mr. Cochran as the salesman who had sold more Shamrock masks than anyone else in the country. Ellie and Dr. Challis were assured that Mrs. Guttman had been flown for treatment to San Francisco, and that Ellie's replacement order would be at no charge. The two groups were given a factory tour, and shown how latex was heated and poured into the mask molds, then trimmed, painted, and packaged for shipment. They also were led into a museum of Cochran's other toys - Kupfer called Cochran "the all-time genius of the practical joke. He invented sticky toilet paper...the dead dwarf gag, the soft chain saw." Cochran bragged about his final inspection of quality (involving 'very dangerous" volatile chemicals), his seal of approval, and his trade secrets. Dr. Challis was suspicious of business-suited guards standing around the facility: "They look an awful lot like the man who killed your father." Inside an open garage on the grounds, Ellie spotted her father's car, but was prevented by guards from getting any closer.
Back at the motel that evening with only one more day to Halloween, as Ellie and Dr. Challis prepared to leave, he couldn't reach anyone by phone outside of the town. When he returned to their room, he found that she was missing - kidnapped by business-suited men in a white Silver Shamrock vehicle. Five android business-men stood outside his door, forcing him to flee through the bathroom window and break into the nearby factory to locate her. To his surprise, he decapitated a knitting grandmother robot - later identified by Cochran as a "rare piece. German. Made in Munich, 1785." In the shipping room, he fought hand-to-hand against another business-suited android (Dick Warlock) - when he punched at the man's mid-section, his hand entered the android's gooey wired innards, and the robotic assassin spewed yellowish blood from his mouth as he was 'deactivated' (# 6 death, android). Dr. Challis was then captured by other androids - all created by the crazed Cochran (the "witch" of the film's title), who was using the company as a front for his evil cult. He was looking forward to the next day, Halloween, calling it a "very busy day."
SUNDAY, the 31st - HALLOWEEN. Cochran led Dr.Challis to the FINAL PROCESSING area, as he described how he had made the androids - "simple to produce," "another form of mask-making," and "loyal and obedient unlike most human beings." He described his factory as combining "advanced and ancient technology." In a large room where a circle of computers and white-coated technicians sat, a large fragment of the the 5-ton Bluestone stolen from Stonehenge was being chipped and hammered away: "From an ancient, sacrificial circle. Stonehenge. (chuckling) We had a time getting it here. You wouldn't believe how we did it. (laughs) It has a power in it. A force."
Dr. Challis was compelled to watch a video demonstration of Cochran's sinister plan for Halloween night involving the Kupfer family in a simulated living room (Test Room A). After they were seated in the windowless, locked metal room, they viewed the Silver Shamrock television commercial that was to air that night (Halloween) throughout the country: (Announcer) "It's time. It's time. Time for the big giveaway. Halloween has come. All you lucky kids with Silver Shamrock masks, gather 'round your TV set. Put on your masks and watch. All witches, all skeletons, all Jack-O-Lanterns. Gather 'round and watch. Watch the magic pumpkin. Watch..." As both the pumpkin head on TV and the trademark button on "Little" Buddy's jack-o-lantern mask blinked on and off, the young boy suddenly clutched his head. When the trademark chip activated (constructed with a piece of the ancient Stonehenge monolith), it activated a lethal laser beam, caused severe brain and head damage to "Little" Buddy, and transformed his head into crawling insects and swarming snakes under the mask as he died (# 7 death). Both Buddy's mother and father were the next to die, attacked and swarmed by venomous snakes (# 8 and # 9 death).
Cochran's plan was to air his commercial, advertised as the "big giveaway," at 9:00 pm Halloween night throughout the country, during a "Horror-a-thon" showing. "Lucky kids" throughout the country were purchasing Silver Shamrock masks (with the embedded computer chip) and wearing them for trick-or-treating, before returning home to watch the TV spot. In the coroner's office at the morgue, after discovering something other than a car part in the charred remains of the automobile, Teddy was phoning the sheriff when she was murdered by one of the black-gloved Silver Shamrock androids - she was stabbed in the head (through her ear) with a power drill (# 10 death).
7:30 pm. Back at the Silver Shamrock factory, Dr. Challis was bound in a cell with a television, and forced to watch the Horror-a-thon. The demented practical joker Cochran further explained how his plan was to brutally sacrifice children to the pagan gods: "I do love a good joke. And this is the best ever. A joke on the children...It was the start of the year in our old Celtic lands and we'd be waiting in our houses of wattles and clay. The barriers would be down, you see, between the real and the unreal. And the dead might be looking in to sit by our fires of turf. Halloween. The festival of Samhain. The last great one took place 3,000 years ago, when the hills ran red with the blood of animals and children...It was part of our world, our craft." He then described his macabre practice of sacrificial witchcraft: "To us, it was a way of controlling our environment. It's not so different now. It's time again. In the end, we don't decide these things, you know. The planets do. They're in alignment, and it's time again. The world's going to change tonight, Doctor. I'm glad you'll be able to watch it. And... happy Halloween." Cochran left the room, after placing a skeletal latex mask on Dr. Challis' head.
Dr. Challis kicked his feet through the television set, escaped from his straps, and found a way out of the cell through a small vented passageway, at about 8:11 pm. He emerged on the roof, phoned ex-wife Linda to warn her to get rid of the masks (although she ignored his rambling incomprehensible pleas), and located Ellie in another cell. Together, they returned to the factory's main computer control room containing the Stonehenge rock. Punching buttons on the control panel, he prematurely played the 9 pm commercial - and destroyed nine of Cochran's androids (in a shower of falling and activated, exploding computer chips that he dumped on the technicians) (# 11-19 deaths, androids). Cochran politely applauded Dr. Challis as he watched the Stonehenge monolith glow and the circle of computers magically discharge bluish-white light energy. Cochran's body was disintegrated and vaporized by the discharged laser beam (# 20 death). In a chain reaction, the rock exploded, the chips in the packing boxes detonated, and the masks caught fire. After they fled from the burning factory and drove away at 8:48 pm, Dr. Challis was attacked by cloned android "Ellie" and caused their car to run off the road. He killed her by separating her head from her body with a tire iron grabbed from his trunk (# 21 death, android). Although beheaded, her amputated arm still kept trying to strangle him.
The film ended with a downbeat conclusion at the filling station that opened the film, as Dr. Challis attempted to contact TV stations to remove the commercial at the "magic hour." He was able to persuade all but a third channel from airing it - as he screamed vainly: "Please stop it. Stop it now. Turn it off! Stop it! Stop it!" [Did the writers forget that if the show aired at 9 pm in California, it had already aired in the other three eastward time zones?]
Halloween IV: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
d. Dwight H. Little
OCTOBER 30, 1988. The fourth 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: "A decade ago, Halloween night, he murdered sixteen people, maybe more, trying to get to his sister. He nearly got her too. But his doctor, of all people, shot him six times. Then he set him on fire. Both of them nearly burned to death. Yeah, I'll be glad to see this one gone. Yes, indeed-y. Welcome to hell." 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 - 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 being notified 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 proceeded onto 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: "Why now? You waited ten years. I knew this day would come. Don't go to Haddonfield. You want another victim, take me. But leave those people in peace. Please, Michael." 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 citizens.
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, 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) who in his wild rantings to his fellow "pilgrim" spoke of the "apocalypse, end of the world, Armageddon. It's always got a face and a name. I've been huntin' the bastard for 30 years, give or take. Come close a time or two. Too damn close! You can't kill damnation, Mister. It don't die like a man dies!"
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). 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), another employee at the Discount Mart, was keeping company (in a T-shirt and panties) with her own 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 told a group of shotgun-toting, concerned beer-drinkers and patrons from the local bar led by owner Earl Ford (including Big Al (Michael Rudd), Orrin (Eric Hart), and Unger (Walt Logan Field)): "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, the 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.