28 Oct 2015

SLASHER FILM RULES - Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

Films have formulas and rules, but how well do films follow those formulas?  Are the slasher film rules true?

Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) the third Michael Myers film (Halloween III: Season of the Witch was an unrelated film.)  Does it follow the rules?

The following may include spoilers for
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
and possibly
Halloween (1978) & Halloween II (1981)

Rule #1 - A Warning Will Come From...

"Yeah, the one you're picking up, just thinkin' about him gives me the 'willies.'" ~ Security Guard.

A security guard gives a version of the events of Halloween and Halloween II, especially the events at the end of Halloween II which included Loomis causing an explosion which is implied to have killed Michael and Loomis, is described as setting them both on fire.

Rule #2 - There Will Be T&A
"I mean, you blow off our date at the last minute..." ~ Brady.
"So you hop on to the next best thing? I thought you were different from other guys." ~ Rachel Carruthers.

  • Nudity - Kelly Meeker takes her top off, but it's mostly bare back and tiny panties.
  • Sex - Kelly is about to have sex with Brady.

Rule #3 - Death Will Be A Punishment For...

"Oh yeah... I catch you gropin' my daughter, I'll use that shotgun on you. You understand?" ~ Sheriff Ben Meeker.

The security guard's version of events of Halloween and Halloween II, explicitedly states that Michael's killing spree was him stalking Laurie, his younger sister (something absent from Halloween and suggested in Halloween II).  This means that Michael's seeming punishment for tansgression in the first film is now merely concidence, and he is targeting family members, in this case Laurie's daughter Jamie.  However, transgressers do get killed along the way:
  • 3a: Sex - Kelly and Brady nearly have sex.  Nearly is usually good enough, but Brady has a girlfriend and Kelly knows it so they're certainly transgressing.
  • 3b: Nudity - Kelly is topless during the near-sex scene, and is killed before
  • 3c: Drinking - Rev Jackson P Sayer drinks (while driving) and Dr Sam Loomis has a swig, too.  Neither die.
  • 3d: Drugs - no drugs.
  • 3e: Hitchhiking - Loomis does it and survies.  He is mocked by teenagers, though.
  • 3f: Other criminal behaviour - The posse, as a part of a mob who going hunting Michael against police orders count.  The four killed accidentally kill an innocent man, and thus are probably punished (indirectly) for that.
  • 3g: Being annoying - The power station worker (mostly a bystander, but a bit of a jerk).
  • 3h: Innocent bystander - Male transport attendant; female transport attendant; ambulance driver; ambulance driver's off-sider; waitress; mechanic's off-sider; mechanic; four police officers; Ted Hollister.

Rule #4 - Never Go...

"We have to get out of Haddonfield. The state police are on their way. Let them handle it." ~ Rachel.

  • 4a: Down to the basement - The radio is in the Meeker's basement, Sheriff Meeker, Loomis and Rachel all go down there.  All survive.
  • 4b: Upstairs - Brady goes to the attic.  He isn't killed for it, but dies later.  Rachel & Jamie go so upstairs they end up on the roof and yet they survive.
  • 4c: For a shower - Jamie's foster mother runs a bath.  It doesn't appear to end too well for her.
  • 4d: Old sheds/buildings - The school is empty because it's night, almost counts.  Then again Rachel, Jamie and Loomis are the ones who enter it.  They all live.
  • 4e: Running off to the "safety" the forest - Driving out of Haddonfield at the end vaguely counts, I guess.  The posse dies.  Rachel & Jamie live.
  • 4f: Anywhere alone - Happens a lot with varying results and usually not by choice.  We also see the results of Michael killing multiple people in the same place so groups may not be protection.

Rule #5 - Order of Death...
"Six bodies, Sheriff! That's what I've seen between here and Ridgemont!" ~ Dr Sam Loomis.

  • 5a: First person to appear on screen - The male transport attendant is actually the 4th person seen on screen, but the first three are very minor characters.  The first, second and fourth character to appear on screen are killed (off screen) immediately after.
  • 5b: Black guy dies first - Haddonfield is still very white.  One of the state troopers near the end is black.  He survives.
  • 5d: The Bimbo - Kelly Meeker counts.  She does reject one suitor out of hand, but was about to have sex with a guy she knew was in a relationship, she's large breasted and blond and answers the door on Halloween in a t-shirt and panties to give candy to children.  She's not smart, but not too dumb.
  • 5f: The Macho-Jerk - Brady count.  He says he's not like other guys, but does try to have sex with the bimbo, despite having a girlfriend.  He does become protectory before he dies, but they do, don't they.  The posse (Earl, Big Al, Orrin & Unger) are by virtual of being gun-totting vigilantes honorary macho-jerks, accidentally killing an innocent person solidifies it.
  • 5h: The Protector - Dr Sam Loomis is a classic example, but he's more just a harbinger this time.  He survives.  Sheriff Ben Meeker works this way in the film.  Rachel Carruthers also partially plays that role for Jamie.
  • 5i: The Sensitive Guy - Possibly Deputy Logan.  He dies.
  • 5j: Children & Animals - Jamie Lloyd is a child and survives.  Th e Carruthers' Dog is killed by Micheal.
  • 5k: The Final Girl - Jamie and Rachel basically share the role.  Both survive.  Rachel does do an almost final kill on Michael.
  • No Stoners (5c); Nerdy/Funny Guy (5e); Strong Female Character (5g).

    • 1.         (15)          Male transport attendant
    • 2 - 4.  (16 - 18)  Female transport attendant, ambulance driver, ambulance driver's off-sider.
    • 5 - 6.   (19 - 20)  Waitress, mechanic's off-sider.
    • 7.        (21)          Mechanic.
    • x.                        TheCarruther's Dog.
    • 8 - 10. (22 - 24)  Deputy Pierce + (At least 1, presumably 3 officers)
    • 11.      (25)         The power station worker.  
    • 12.                     Ted Hollister (killed by the posse.)
    • 13.      (26)         Deputy Logan.
    • 14.      (27)         Kelly Meeker [D]
    • 15.      (28)         Brady [F]
    • 16.      (29)         Orrin Gateway [F]
    • 17.      (30)         Big Al [F]
    • 18.      (31)         Unger [F] (Thrown from moving vehicle, presumably killed).
    • 19.      (32)         Earl [F]


    Rule #6 - Especially When They Are Most Needed, The Following Things Cannot Be Relied On…

    "This is Ben Meeker, sheriff over at Haddonfield.  Our phone and power lines are down and we have a killer running loose in the street:  Michael Myers." ~ Sheriff Meeker

    • 6a: Communication devices - Michael sabotaged a couple of phones and possibly long distance lines.  Fortunately Sheriff Meeker had a battery powered radio at his house.
    • 6b: Lighting - Michael sabotaged power to the suburb.
    • 6c: Vehicular transport - Michael seemingly accidentally blows up Loomis's car stopping Loomis from chasing him.  Vehicles seemed OK otherwise.
    • 6d: Your own legs - Jamie seemed to have lost the use of her legs after falling down the stairs, but seemed fine after a car journey.  She may just have wanted to be carried.
    • 6e: The Authorities - Three officers are killed in the police station, one at the sheriff's house.  However, despite being briefly dubious quickly springs into action, announcing a curfew, taking Jamie to his house for protection and to contact the State Troopers.  The State Troopers also arrive in force and they and the sheriff finally shoot Michael.
    • 6f: Weapons - No real weapon fails.
    • 6g: Escape route - No real escape route fails.

    Rule #7 - The Final Girl

    "Are you talkin' about Jamie Lloyd?" ~ Sheriff Meeker.
    "Wherever she is, that little child is in mortal danger." ~ Loomis.

    Jamie Lloyd
    • 7a: Final - Yes, part of a group, but as the main target certainly.
    • 7b: Girl - Yes.  Literally.
    • 7c: Boyish - Mostly due to being young.  Does have long hair, though.  Jamie is a uni-sex name.
    • 7d: Well-drawn - The most well-drawn, but that's not saying much.
    • 7e: Virginal & Innocent - Oh, gee, she's 10.  I certainly hope so.
    • 7f: Will be reborn - Yes.  But in a bad way.

    Rachel Carruthers
    • 7a: Final - Yes, part of a group, but as protector of the main target, certainly.
    • 7b: Girl - Yes.
    • 7c: Boyish - Shorter (but not masculine) hair, bagger clothes.
    • 7d: Well-drawn - Better than most of the characters.
    • 7e: Virginal & Innocent - Rachel is dating Brady.  She thinks he's not like other boys and today's the day he'll make a commitment.  Kelly Meeker, who nearly sleeps with Brady, tells Rachel to "wise up to what men want" or "Brady won't be the last man you lose to another woman" suggesting that Kelly thinks Rachel doesn't put out.
    • 7f: Will be reborn - Is reborn at the sheriff's house and eventually drives a var into him.

    Rule #8 - The Killer has a connection to...

    "I'm telling you Michael Myers is here, in this town! He's here to kill that little girl and anybody who gets in his way" ~ Loomis.

    Michael Myers
    • 8a: The location - Haddonfield is his hometown.
    • 8b: The Final Girl - The plot revolves around the fact that Michael is stalking his niece.  No connection to Rachel.
    • 8c: The Protector - Ongoing connection to Loomis.  No connection to Sheriff Meeker or to Rachel.
    • 8d: Other victims - No connections.
    • 8e: Femininity - No connection.
    • 8f: A specific look - "The shape" mask and overalls (a bandaged face prior to finding the new mask).
    • 8g: A specific weapon - In this film Micheal kills with chains, a metal bar, electrocution, a shotgun (as a stabbing weapon), a knife and his bare hands many, many times.  Really whatever's available.

    Rule #9 - Evil Never Dies...

    "Leave Myers for the State Police." ~ Deputy Logan.
    "The State Police won't know how to stop him." ~ Loomis.
    "Do you?" ~ Logan.
    "Maybe nobody knows how to stop him.  But I've got to try." ~ Loomis.

    • 9a: You always have to kill the bad guy twice - He was hit by a ute.  It didn't take.
    • 9b: Even then the bad guy lives on - Soon after he was shot many, many times and fell into a well.  Loomis later states he was buried.
    • 9c: Evil is immortal - Jamie appears to have caught being evil off Michael, and killed her foster mother.  She shouldn't have touched his hand.  That's how being evil spreads, you know.

    Rule #10 - The Sequel Will Be Bigger/More Formulaic

    "Ten years ago, he tried to kill Laurie Strode. Now he wants her daughter." ~ Loomis.
    • 10a: They will follow the rules more:

    • 10b: They will be more formulaic - Break the formula a bit.  Less teens killed, less nudity.  Still Michael the unstoppable.
    • 10c: T&A - Pretty much none.   Halloween had lots, Halloween II had a bit.
    • 10d: More & bigger deaths - More deaths (more than the previous 2 films combined), but most were off screen and few could be considered "big."
    • 10e: The killer’s death will be bigger - Shot by multiple people and fell into a well.  Bigger than (shot by one person and fell out a window) but smaller than the second (shot, blown up and collapsed while on fire.)


    • The following results are followed: 6; 7; 8; 9; 10
    • The following results are partially followed: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5.
    ~ DUG.
    Please do the survey to determine future rule sets.

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