HALLOWEEN 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Reviewed by: JimmyO
Jamie Lee Curtis
What's it about
One Halloween night in 1978, a ruthless killer named Michael Myers comes home. After escaping from a mental institution, he returns to the town where he murdered his older sister years ago. Thus, a classic work of horror returns.
Is it good movie?
Halloween, it was the night HE came home. It was the night where a six-year-old boy named Michael Myers murdered his sixteen-year-old sister Judith. It is also the night where a legend was born. While Halloween seemed to be inspired by the classic horror thriller Black Christmas, it is also one of the most important horror films ever made. John Carpenter took a low-budget horror story and with the help of a brilliant visual style created a horror masterpiece. Not only does “the shape” create a terrifying atmosphere, but he is helped considerably by a haunting score (also done by Carpenter and the “Bowling Green Orchestra” which consists of, well… just Carpenter) which is one of the most memorable pieces of music in cinema history. While some say the film is dated, being that this is the 30th anniversary, I say it only adds to the power or what happens on this terrifying night for an unlucky threesome of babysitters. Michael is the monster living in the shadow of suburbia, stalking his victims as they do whatever normal teens would do on this particular holiday.
It was 1978 when Halloween became a massive hit and Michael Myers became a cinematic legend. With several sequels (eight so far, including Rob Zombie’s take), it is not hard to imagine that something this powerful will be repackaged and resold. Anchor Bay has really put a whole lot into this particular series, as it seems like there have been way too many releases of the film. And finally, after 30 years, we have the 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set. Now really think about that title… it doesn’t say “The Complete Set…” or whatever, it calls it the “Commemorative” set, meaning “serving to commemorate”. But with that, it is a shame that Anchor Bay didn’t try harder to find something fresh with this very expensive set. What you do get is three versions of Halloween including the original disc, the Blu-ray edition, and the Extended Cut, which features all the scenes shot for its original television airing. They are great scenes involving young Michael, and one cute scene with P.J. Soles and Jamie Lee Curtis. You also get the entertaining documentary Halloween: 25 Years of Terror, and Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. If you are a fan of the series and own any of these, there is absolutely nothing new with this “commemorative” set.
While it bothers me some that there is nothing here that will please fans that have been collecting Myers tricks and treats, I am still happy to have this in my collection. I didn’t have a couple of these discs, so at least there were more treats for me personally. I also didn’t own either four or five, which is a mixed blessing. Part 5 is one of my least favorites in this franchise. Is it awful? Not really. I liked the opening scene, and I also appreciated the brave move to off series favorite Ellie Cornell, yet she deserved more in my opinion. I also feel that Part 4 was a decent attempt to return to the magic of the original. Again, it didn’t quite work for me, but at least they tried. While it is unclear how long fans of this series will have to wait for the entire box set. It saddens and amazes me that the definitive collection of Halloween is the Criterion Laser Disc edition. Seriously, DVDs can’t recreate that? And please, please, please, can someone release the Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers? How many more “special editions” are going to be dangled in front of us until we finally get the complete Halloween collection? With all that said, I am looking forward to spending a little time with Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis and of course, the legendary Donald Pleasence... especially on Blu-ray.
Video / Audio
Video: It is Anchor Bay and they treated this series quite well when it comes to the video transfer with the terrific 2.35:1 aspect ratio of the original.
Audio: Mostly, this collection is Dolby Surround, either 5.1 or 2.0. The “Extended Cut” is only in Mono, while the Blu-ray offers a choice of Dolby Surround 2.0 and 5.1, and also PCM 5.1 and mono. It all sounds good to me.
As far as Special Features, again, nothing new here. For the original Halloween, you can watch it in widescreen or full-frame (why?) and the entertaining feature Halloween Unmasked 2000. There is also a Trailer along with a re-release trailer. It finishes off the disc with TV Spots, Radio Spots, Talent Bios, Still Galleries and Trivia.
The Blu-ray offers more or less the same when it comes to trailers and such. But it also has the terrific documentary, Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest. It also offers the terrific commentary originally on the Laser Disc with John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis. It also sports a little feature called Fast Film Facts. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Blu-ray and don’t plan on getting one, you can find most of this on the 25th Anniversary Edition of Halloween.
As for the “Extended Cut”. There are no extras. Damn I feel like I was just handed an apple with a razor in it.
I really enjoyed the documentary Halloween: 25 Years of Terror, but why only include Disc 1? This is probably my biggest annoyance with this set. Why include this when you don’t bother adding the second disc. As for Extras, you get Horror’s Hallowed Grounds where P.J. Soles and Sean Clark visit the original filming location. I really enjoyed this feature. You also have a ton of footage from the documentary interviews including “Halloween 2 Extended Interviews” and “Halloween 3 Extended Interviews”. Want celebrities? Check out the “Extended Celebrity Interviews”. Plus “Halloween 5 On-Set Footage”, a “Halloween 9 Contest” (it is disc 2 where the winner shows us her breasts giving tribute to the famous quote, “See anything you like…?, so no boobs here). And finally, we get a “Halloween Convention Montage” and “Fans of Halloween”. Disc number 2 probably feels a little screwed after this.
With Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, we are offered a couple of good Commentaries. One with Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell which is more fun, although they seem to have the wrong information at times. The other is with writer Alan B. McElroy. Both are worth checking out. Next up you’ll find “Halloween 4/5 Discussion Panel” from the 25th Anniversary convention, plus a look at the success of the film with “Halloween 4: Final Cut”. Plus Trailers… you know, the same ones that keep repeating on every disc.
And finally, Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. It includes a mostly entertaining Commentary with director Dominique Othenin-Girard along with Danielle Harris and her little friend in the film, Jeffrey Landman. I really have problems with many of the choices that Dominique made with this film, but it was nice to hear him talk about it. Also included here is a fun little featurette called On The Set of Halloween 5 which even gives us a look at the original actor to play the “bum” who Michael takes shelter with. The original actors name is Theron Reed and as you may have guessed, his credit is not even listed on IMDB because his part was completely removed. I personally thought he might be more interesting in the role as opposed to the old man, but apparently, others disagreed. It kinda sucks for him… oh well.
And if I didn‘t mention them by name, it is because the Trailers repeat often on this set. They include “Halloween”, “Halloween 4”, “Halloween 5” and “Masters of Horror”. But I will say, I really dig the packaging with the mask and all. It’ll look totally great sitting in my living room… TOTALLY!
Halloween is one of my favorite films of all time. I’ve seen it more times than I can count, and I have several versions of it. Most of these versions are all the same. I want the whole pumpkin so I can carve into it myself. But I feel like we keep getting offered an okay jack o’lantern that is missing that extra couple of cuts to make it amazing. Fans of the series who have been collecting everything to come out from Anchor Bay will be very disheartened with this purchase. But if you missed a couple of those discs, or don’t have the Blu-ray, I’d recommend it. And like I said, it has the cool Myers mask on the cover. While I am pleased to have this in my library, it is purely another chance to cash in on Michael Myers. But I’m a sucker, so I wanted it like a kid wants candy.