Following the original series, the next film is 1988's 'The Return of Michael Myers' - taking place in (almost) real time, ten years after the events of the first two films. We'd soon come to find out that the whole milestone anniversary thing seems to be a big deal for this series, but I digress. This film also begins the "Thorn Trilogy", where young Jamie Lloyd (Danielle Harris) takes the helm as the main protagonist. This mini-trilogy consists of 'Return', 'Revenge' and 'Curse', and take place during that fateful era of pop culture horror reaching a ridiculous peak - and everything lead back to demonic whatnot, 'Halloween' being no exception.
But for the time being, I must confess that while so many don't appreciate these films, I have to say that I do get a kick out of them. While the '78 film will always be the go-to classic every year, I tend to hold 'Return' and 'Revenge' up higher than most, as they fit right in to that guilty pleasure time of horror. In 1988, Michael made his return only to find himself up against Freddy's 'The Dream Master' and Jason's 'The New Blood' - both films that showed those particular icons at their peak. 'Halloween VI', however, played things a touch more seriously, and even as a Freddy/Jason guy, I have to admit this was actually scarier than the two aforementioned films. If nothing else, it's the idea that Myers is after a little girl who happens to be Laurie Strode's daughter, and his niece - once again keeping it all in the family.
Plot-wise, the film opens the night before Halloween, 1988. Michael Myers (George P. Wilbur) has survived the explosion and fire after the events of 'Halloween II'. He has since been in a comatose state for ten years, and is about to be transferred to Smith's Grove Sanitarium from Ridegmont Federal Sanitarium. The paramedics have a conversation that brings up Laurie's daughter, Jamie, and this triggers Myers to pop awake, crash the ambulance, and start making his way back to Haddonfield where he hopes to carry on his legacy of killing his family members. Meanwhile, our favourite melodramatic doctor, Loomis (Donald Pleasence) learns of Michael's escape, and for him, the chase is back on.
Jamie lives in Haddonfield with her foster family - parental units, Richard and Darlene Carruthers (Jeff Olson and Karen Alston, respectively) and their daughter, Rachel (Ellie Cornell). Jamie is a bit of a tortured little eight-year-old girl. She knows about her mother's history with Myers, has terrible dreams about a mysterious masked man (Myers, but she doesn't know it), and struggles with her "sisterhood" with Rachel. Rachel loves her, but is fairly insistent about them not being real sisters. She reluctantly takes care of Jamie on Halloween night while her parents go out. This of course eventually leads to some close encounters with Michael, all while Loomis is trying to intercept.
For me, this is another 'Halloween' film that actually has the right atmosphere to it. I actually enjoy the fact that they bring a kid into it. It not only gives the audience something to dread a bit more, as she's more vulnerable. But it also illustrates quite clearly how she may never have a normal Halloween as a kid. Here, she seemingly goes out trick or treating for the first time - only to be chased around town by a madman in a mask who happens to be her Uncle. So yeah, it's safe to say Jamie grew up with an abnormal childhood. As much as I like Laurie, I always felt more empathetic towards Jamie, as there seems to be much more of a question of mental health with her.
It may not be the best of the best when it comes to these movies, but I fully admit to having a soft spot for this one. Danielle Harris was a great little scream queen for her time, and even came back for the Rob Zombie movies when she grew up. Aside from her, I enjoy the late night Halloween atmosphere this provides, the overall threat that Michael provides as he's so bent on his mission here, and of course Loomis, who actually becomes one of the most enjoyable horror icons for the next few movies. In the first couple, you get that melodrama, but it starts to feel like he takes that melodrama and have fun with it here. However, this would be about as good as it ever gets again - depending on how you see the next chapter.
Body Count: 15