HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR
Reviewed by: JimmyO
What's it about
Take a look back at 25 years of Michael Myers and John Carpenter’s, Halloween and the highs and lows of its eight sequels. Includes several interviews with the filmmakers involved and many others talk about the legend. Hey… Isn’t that The Arrow himself? Why yes it is.
Is it good movie?
I remember the first time I saw Halloween in the theatre, I was much too young to be watching it but I begged and pleaded for my mom to take me and she did. And the experience was incredible. There I was as Michael stalked Laurie Strode and I remember the audience screaming and yelling, telling some actress to look behind her. After that, I was hooked, not just on the horror genre but on film itself. There was something special about “the night he came home”. For awhile, I couldn’t wait to see him return, each and every time (unless we are talking Halloween 3: Season of the Witch). And now, Anchor Bay treats us to a wonderful look back at how the series came to be and how it grew. Although this is you’re ultimate “talking head” documentary, it is kept interesting and upbeat with scenes from the many films, behind the scenes footage and photographs and movie stills. Discussion is opened up on everything about the series, the good, the bad and the ugly. From on set fights regarding the content to some of the actors being stalked in real life. If you are a Halloween fan (and who isn’t), this documentary is for you.
One of the nicest surprises is to see one of my favorite actresses from that period that disappeared for awhile. Yes, I’m talking Nancy Loomis. I personally don’t remember her being a part of the earlier features and documentaries on the countless reissues of Halloween. It is great to see her and she finally seems to be talking about her experiences. Great to have you back Annie. There are several other’s that talk about how Halloween inspired or frightened them throughout the years including Rob Zombie (who as we all know may just bring this series back in a badass way), John Fallon (yes, The Arrow is a funny guy), and horror legend Clive Barker. There is a reason that this series has survived, which wasn’t helped much by Busta Rhymes (nope, the dude ain’t here). And to top it all off, it is narrated by P.J. Soles who does a terrific job. This is the “behind the scenes” that Halloween fans have been waiting for.
With all this good, I do have a few minor complaints. Perhaps it was already in the can and they didn’t want to spend the money to update it, or maybe there is some other reason. But come on man, where is the tribute to those we have lost from the films including Debra Hill and Moustapha Akkad. I felt it would have been nice to have a tribute to them. For those counting, there is definitely love for Donald Pleasence at least. It would have also been of interest to talk to Rob Zombie about what he may do with the series. And this is billed as twenty five years of terror? Well, the 25th anniversary has come and gone. So it did seem a little dated for a “new” release, but again these are small complaints because this is Halloween. And frankly it is a must have for ANY horror fan. This is a documentary that is made for fans by fans and it all leads up to a fan run convention that took place on October 31st… Halloween. Taking place in Pasadena where most of the first film was shot, the convention was appropriately titled Halloween Returns to Haddonfield. Yes, the boogeyman has come back.
Video / Audio
Video: Full Screen with the occasional break to appropriate aspect ratio when scenes from the movies come up. But it’s a great transfer.
Audio: Dolby Digital, Dolby Surround 2.0… John Carpenter’s classic score never sounded better.
Anchor Bay showed some major love for the Halloween fans out there, this is one PACKED 2-Disc set. But it may even be overkill for some but frankly, it’s one helluva treat to add to your collection.
Disc 1 includes the documentary and then some.
Probably my favorite extra on the disc is The Horror Channel’s Horror’s Hallowed Ground (17:44) which takes a look at the original Halloween locations with the host with the most Sean Clark and a special guest… the one and only P.J. Soles. This is a fun trip looking at the part of Pasadena, California that will always be Haddonfield to Halloween fans.
Next up we have a few Extended Interviews from Halloween 2 (11:04) and Halloween 3 (13:26). More of the same interviews used in the documentary and defiantly worth a look. I really dug hearing from Rick Rosenthal and the issues that occurred during Halloween 2 but I think it would have been even better to hear more about it from John Carpenter, but maybe I’m just greedy.
Then we have Extended Celebrity Interviews (35:52) which include many of the Halloween folks talking a whole bunch more. I would have liked to hear more from Rob Zombie. Luckily this is a nice long extra with more interesting stories to share. And of course, I can’t get enough of P.J. Soles… “See anything you like?” Sure do P.J.
Wanna go behind the scenes? Well, how about Halloween 5 on Set Footage (7:15)? Not a bad extra but not terribly interesting. Also, not one of my favorites in the series… It’s still worth a look though.
Fun times from the Halloween 9 Contest Drawing (2:37) which is about as exciting as you might think. But hey, at least the winner gets her fifteen minutes of fame (including her own tit shot in the documentary). But the question is, will Mr. Zombie really go through with this one?
More convention goodies in the form of a Convention Montage (3:44) which is not the most exciting feature but it sure looks like it would have been fun to be there.
And finally to finish off disc 1 we get The Fans of Halloween. This is a collection of the videos made by the fans and sent into the contest for Halloween 9. Some of kind of cute but it loses its appeal fairly quickly.
Disc 2 offers up some tasty treats with several Panel Discussions at the H25 Convention. This includes Halloween 1 (22:55), Halloween 2 (24:23), Halloween 6 (19:09), Ellie Cornell (15:16), Michael Meyers (27:57), Dean Cundey (24:24) and finally the Halloween Producers (21:45).
For the original we get P.J. Soles, Charles Cyphers, Brian Andrews and Joseph Wolf. For Part 2 we have Pamela Susan Shoop, Tawny Moyer, Cliff Emmich and Gloria Gifford. My least favorite of the series is Part 6 but this happens to be a great panel including, Marianne Hagan, Daniel Farrands, Janice Knickrehm, Paul Freeman, Bradford English and last but not least Kim Darby. And for the Michael Meyers dudes, we have Jim Winburn, Dick Warlock, George P. Wilbur, Tom Morga, Don Shanks, Chris Durand and Brad Loree. And the Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablams show the love on the Producers panel.
This second disc is a whole lotta panel love. I really enjoyed listening to the personal stories especially Ms. Shoop’s remembrance of her death scene which gave a whole bunch of teenage boys something to be excited about (not the death part but a few minutes before). But this disc is one of those that you will probably not be popping into the DVD all the time. Yes, it’s a must see, but aside from part 1, 6 and the producers it is not a regular repeat view. But it is still a very nice disc to own. And you get to hear more from P.J. Soles!
But wait… there’s more. We have a few galleries including the Halloween Location Stills Gallery, Halloween Conventions Behind-the-scenes Gallery and an Original Artwork Gallery. I’m not generally a big fan of the point and press photo galleries but I kind of dug the location stills and the original artwork gallery. And we also get to listen to a song inspired by the movie called “Pure Evil” by Vicious Disorder, so there’s a picture of the band and the song playing over it. Maybe, you’ll dig it… I liked it.
And both disc’s contain Trailers for Halloween (2:32), Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1:28), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (:35) and Masters of Horror (1:54). I love the original trailer. It is kind of funny how they get shorter and shorter.
Halloween: 25 Years of Terror could very well be what most hardcore fans of the series have been waiting for (aside from a truly great sequel). This is not a hard hitting documentary but an entertaining, just shy of an hour and a half (with “over 4 hours of features”) look at what made the series great and often times, not so great. With only minor complaints including the dated feel because the 25th anniversary has come and gone, I would recommend this highly especially if you weren’t at the convention. And what has become a staple for Halloween movies, the winner of the Halloween 9 contest gives us her own “See anything you like” tit shot. So, get out there to your local video store (or get on-line) and grab your copy to get yourself in the mood for where Rob Zombie is going to take us. Hopefully he can pull it off! Because on Halloween, everyone’s entitled to a good scare!