Halloween is still one of the best horror movies with genuine scares and the introduction to one of the best villains in movie history. While the movie might be great, Anchor Bay continues to milk the franchise releasing multiple editions with some nice new features but failing to port over anything from the others.
Genre(s): Horror, Suspense
Anchor Bay | R – 91 min. – $34.99 | September 24, 2013
Directed by: John Carpenter
Writer(s): John Carpenter and Debra Hill (written by)
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis
Theatrical Release Date: October 25, 1978
Features: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, TV Version Footage, Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 7.1), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.35
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 37.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 4.5/5
Plot Outline: Halloween 1963, 6-year-old Michael Myers brutally stabs his older sister to death. He is institutionalized and 15 years later, as he turns 21, his psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (DONALD PLEASENCE) intends on keeping the maniac locked up realizing that Michael has no soul. But on a dark, stormy night, Loomis and nurse Chambers arrive at the sanitarium to find the patients wandering and the main gate breached. Soon enough Michael takes their car and now is free and Loomis knows just where Michael is headed.
Haddonfield, Illinois has moved on from the Myers’ murder with the home empty and lore for the kids to tell scary stories about Michael. But now that maniac is back and apparently, for some reason not revealed or forced until the sequel, focuses on teenage girls Laurie Strode (JAMIE LEE CURTIS), Annie (NANCY LOOMIS) and Lynda (P.J. SOLES). Its Halloween night and hunting season for a knife-wielding Michael Myers while Dr. Loomis attempts to put an end to the rampage before it’s too late. Given the numerous sequels, obviously Loomis fails…
Quick Hit Review: The original Halloween is not only one of the best horror films but just one hell of a film overall. The plot is simple, the scares intense and the acting from Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis, in a star-making role, amazing. This is also the film that helped spawn so many imitators, and a remake, as well as the Friday the 13th franchise. I’ve probably watched the movie dozens of times over the years and it never grows old, something that can’t be said about many movies, horror genre or not.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 3.25/5
The latest Halloween edition commemorates the film’s 35th anniversary. The single disc is housed in a thin 20-page digibook which contains some nice pictures with a nice essay. Although the booklet is nice, I would’ve preferred a regular Blu-ray case to match up with the other Halloween movies in my collection. Also preferential would Anchor Bay porting over the features from its previous releases.
Audio Commentary – Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actress Jamie Lee Curtis sit down for a brand new commentary track. It’s a genial track amongst friends as the pair recounts their time working on the project and recollecting bits of on-set trivia.
The Night She Came Home!! (59:43; HD) is an expansive, wonderful and introspective interview with actress Jamie Lee Curtis as she travels to a convention put on by HorrorHound Magazine. She discusses her time on the film and paying respect for the franchise and using it to raise money for charity.
On Location: 25 Years Later (10:25; SD) – This featurette looks at how Halloween came about and has footage in filming locations then and now (well, 10 years ago).
TV Version Footage (10:46; HD) has scenes filmed for the TV version to fill time. While nice scenes, and a good performance from Donald Pleasence, they do tend to bog down the film.
Rounding out the features is a Trailer (2:42; HD), some TV Spots (1:16; SD) and Radio Spots (1:24; HD).
Preview – Lords of Salem
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Anchor Bay’s newest release comes with a new transfer supervised and approved by cinematographer Dean Cundey. Having the old Blu-ray released back in 2007, this transfer is indeed an improvement, albeit not a huge one. The detail levels are excellent and the colors look nicely balanced while the blacks are stark and show no obvious artifacting or pixilation. The clarity in this transfer is striking.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The biggest upgrade, other than the features, is a new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless track whereas the 2007 release came with a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This new one offers some amazing depth from Carpenter’s phenomenal score/theme to the dialogue which is crisp and clear outside of one scene towards the end which tops out but this was due to how it was recorded than with any restoration.
OVERALL – 4.0/5
Overall, Halloween is still one of the best horror movies with genuine scares and the introduction to one of the best villains in movie history. While the movie might be great, Anchor Bay continues to milk the franchise releasing multiple editions with some nice new features but failing to port over anything from the others. With a new transfer and an upgrade in audio, if the other features were included, this could have easily been an Ultimate Edition and instead it’s a nice release with two substantial new features, but nothing more. At the right price this might be worth picking up but I can’t quite say this would be a day 1 purchase.