Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Tim Salmons
  • Review Date: Oct 28, 2021
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Collector’s Edition (4K UHD Review)

Director

Dwight H. Little

Release Date(s)

1988 (October 5, 2021)

Studio(s)

Trancas International/Galaxy International (Shout!/Scream Factory)
  • Film/Program Grade: B-
  • Video Grade: A
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: A-

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers – Collector's Edition (4K Ultra HD Disc)

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Review

After Halloween III: Season of the Witch failed to satisfy much of the Halloween fan base, Moustapha Akkad bought back the rights to the series intending to give fans what they wanted. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, directed by Dwight H. Little, was released in October of 1988 and was warmly received. It was essentially a reboot of the series, bringing in new characters, as well as old ones, but mostly re-establishing Michael Myers as one of cinema’s enduring boogeymen. Although not intended as such when production began, Halloween 4 was also more of a slasher than the original film. It established a bit more atmosphere, with characters exploring the foggy streets and buildings of Haddonfield more than the previous films. It also (retroactively) introduced the “Thorn” storyline into the series, which would be explored more fully in the next two films. For many, the film still remains a high point in the series.

Ten years after the events of Halloween II, Michael Myers has been bandaged and unconscious since the explosion that nearly killed him and Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). On the night of his transfer from Smith’s Grove Sanitarium, he wakes up when he learns that he has a living relative, consequently escaping custody. In Haddonfield, young Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) is living with her foster family, including her older foster sister Rachel (Ellie Cornell). The daughter of Laurie Strode, who purportedly died in a car accident, Jamie misses her parents and suffers from nightmares about a mysterious man in a mask. As Jamie and Rachel go out for trick or treating on Halloween night, it isn’t long before Michael returns to Haddonfield searching for Jamie to kill her. Dr. Loomis, scarred and partially crippled by his previous encounter with Michael, is right behind him, fully intent on destroying him once and for all. And when the sheriff and some of the locals find out that Michael’s back in town, they hop in their trucks with shotguns and rifles to find him.

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers was shot by director of photography Peter Lyons Collister on 35 mm photochemical film, using Panavision Panaflex cameras and spherical lenses, and finished on film at the 1:85:1 aspect ratio. Scream Factory’s Ultra HD has been sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative, framed at the correct aspect ratio, and graded for High Dynamic Range (Dolby Vision and HDR10 options are available). This new transfer offers a significant boost in color and detail. Images are sharper, grain is much tighter, and textures are often striking, no matter what time of day it is in the scene. A slight framing adjustment now allows for more information along all edges of the image as well. In terms of color, the wider gamut and HDR pass draws out richer hues of blue, green, and red, while also deepening the blacks. Blood appears more crimson now than brown, and skin tones are more naturally pink. Shadow detail has also been increased and the highlights are perfect. Overall, the image is stable, clean, and very organic looking. The opening titles are a bit softer than the rest of the presentation, as is to be expected from such opticals. Otherwise, this is one of the best 4K upgrades in the Halloween series overall.

Audio is included in a new English Dolby Atmos mix (7.1 Dolby TrueHD compatible), as well as an English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, the original DVD English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, and an English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio mix, the latter being the film’s original theatrical soundtrack. Subtitles are available in English SDH. The new Atmos track widens score and sound effects, even allowing for several nice panning moments, while the dialogue is mostly front and center. The overheads don’t get much play, but there’s plenty of good wrap around elsewhere. The inclusion of the original Ultra Stereo soundtrack from the film’s LaserDisc release is more than welcome. Other mixes ditch some of the film’s sound effects, but the original stereo mix retains the full original theatrical soundtrack. All of these options have something to offer, so it’s really down to individual preference, but the Atmos and Ultra Stereo tracks are likely the best choices.

Scream Factory’s 4K Ultra HD Collector’s Edition release of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is a 2-disc set, featuring the film on Ultra HD on Disc One and on Blu-ray on Disc Two. The second disc is sourced from the same new 4K transfer and features all of the Ultra HD’s audio and subtitle options. Each disc features the following extras:

DISC ONE (UHD)

  • Audio Commentary by Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornelle
  • Audio Commentary by Dwight H. Little and Justin Beahm

The first audio commentary featuring Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornelle, which was originally included on Anchor Bay’s Divimax DVD release in 2006, is a playful and enjoyable track as two old friends get together to chat about their experiences on the film, going off topic plenty of times to discuss old friends and things that are currently going on in their lives. It’s a charmer. The second audio commentary with Dwight H. Little and Justin Beahm, which was originally included on Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray release of the film in 2012, is an enjoyable question and answer session as the two men watch the film together and Little provides information about its creation.

DISC TWO (BD)

  • Audio Commentary by Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornelle
  • Audio Commentary by Dwight H. Little and Justin Beahm
  • Halloween 4: Final Cut (SD – 16:47)
  • Back to Basics: The Making of Halloween 4 (HD – 47:52)
  • Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (HD – 25:50)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 1:42)
  • TV Spots (SD – 4 in all – 1:37)
  • Newsprint Ad Gallery (HD – 21 in all – 2:36)
  • Still Gallery (HD – 46 in all – 6:16)

Halloween 4: Final Cut is a DVD-era featurette by Mark Cerulli on the making of the film with members of the cast and crew. Back to Basics is a two-part documentary on the making of the film featuring many more members of the cast and crew, but going into a bit more detail. In Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, Sean Clark returns to highlight the filming locations. Next is the film’s trailer and a set of TV spots. The Newsprint Ad Gallery features local newspaper clippings from the film’s theatrical engagements. The Still Gallery features 46 images of posters, behind-the-scenes stills, promotional photos, and costume tests.

The two discs sit inside a black amaray case featuring new artwork by Joel Robinson on the front and the original US theatrical artwork on the reverse. This is housed in a rigid slipcase featuring the same new artwork. Extras that didn’t carry over include an audio commentary with Alan B. McElroy and Anthony Massey, the 2003 Halloween 4 & 5 Discussion Panel at the H25 Convention, and a CD soundtrack from a couple of overseas releases.

On the whole, Scream Factory’s Collector’s Edition UHD of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is an excellent upgrade, with a stunning 4K presentation, a great selection of audio tracks, and a nice bevy of extras to cull through, even if they’re not complete. This is another highly recommended release.

- Tim Salmons

(You can follow Tim on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook. And be sure to subscribe to his YouTube channel here.)

 

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