Today marks the release of ANCHOR BAY's and SCREAM FACTORY's EPIC HALLOWEEN THE COMPLETE COLLECTION BOXSET. I spent the weekend going through it and on the whole it made this Myers fan very happy. Now keep in mind that I haven't been buying every edition of each film on disk that has come out over the years, so most of the extras here were fairly new to me.
As for the packaging, it is slick with gritty art around the box (a pumpkin, the Shape behind a tree and Mike holding a big knife) and the set comes with a slick booklet that chronicles the making of each film written by FANGORIA's Michael Gingold no less. What about the disk themselves? Here we go! NOTE: Click titles to read reviews of the films. NOTE 2: Some of them are pretty old reviews, my opinion on some of them may have changed since and my writing can be ass.
Disk 1 - John Carpenter's Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition: The 1978 HALLOWEEN is still the top movie of the series; a classic through and through that still holds up like a champ today. If any movie ever proved how much sound design and music can elevate a picture, this one would be it. And the transfer found on the 35th Anniversary Edition of Halloween is the best in my opinion in terms of sound and image quality and is the only way to watch the the film on disk. DP on the film Dean Cundey actually was part of the transfer process on this one and he gave it his green light. Nough said!
Extras wise the New Audio Commentary stood out as it was a mucho insightful listen with Dean Cundey, Nick Castle (Myers) and editor/production designer Tommy Lee Wallace giving us some new tidbits as to the making of the film. There's also an older Audio Commentary (with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis who go all out), there's the fun featurette The Night She Came Home that had us follow primo Scream Queen Jamie Lee Curtis around as she uses her Halloween fame to nab some dough for charity. We also get On Location: 25 Years Later (title says it all), TV Spots, TV Version Footage , Radio Spots and the Theatrical Trailer.
Disk 2: John Carpenter's Halloween (1978): The second disk was a tad banal (always wanted to use that word) compared to Disk 1. We get an older and poorer transfer of the movie but with a different Audio Commentary (with John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and producer Debra Hill who gave us little new info), the retrospective Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest fared a little better with entertaining cast/crew interviews. Lastly we get Film Fast Facts, Trailer (same as on disk 1), TV Spots (same as on disk 1) and Radio Spots (same as on disk 1). The featurette Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest is the reason to slip in this disk!
Disk 3: Halloween II (1981): Halloween 2 is a sequel I used to see-saw with a lot with. I found it dull one day, loved it the other, after going back and forth with it so many times; I've settled on "love it". I dug the transfer here and I was also well served in the bonus features department.
The featurette The Nightmare Isn't Over took a in depth look at the sequel and the phenomenon of the follow-up, badass Sean Clark goes back to the locations of Halloween II in Horror's Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween II. We also get an Alternate Ending (happy they scrapped that out, lame fake scare), Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Rick Rosenthal, Stills Gallery,Theatrical Trailer and TV & Radio Spots.
The cherry on top was the two Audio Commentaries. The first was with director Rick Rosenthal and with pimp daddy Leo Rossi (a light, fun and informative yap) and the other was with Myers actor/stunt coordinator Dick Warlock bouncing off cool cat Robert Galluzzo (of Icons of Fright). Lots of on set tales in that one!
Disc 4: Halloween II TV Cut: This second disk was a bit meh. We get the gore-364pxless with more "talkie" scenes TV Cut of Halloween 2 and we're also given access to the original script for the film. I tried watching the TV Cut... I stopped it a third in, it wasn't working for me... kinda bland...
Disk 5: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982): I never got into Season of the Witch and man did I try! I gave it so many chances! Granted there are elements I do like about it, like the creepy masks and of course the epic-ness that is Tom Adkins and his "stache"; but it just never clicked for me. On that, the extras on the disk were more interesting to me than the film itself
There were two Audio Commentaries, one with Tommy Lee Wallace, Sean Clark and Robert Galluzzo which took a look back at the film and the "at the time" plans for the franchise and the second was a easy-going sit down with star Tom Atkins and disk Producer Michael Felshe. The stand out out feature though was: Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Although I wished it was longer (it ran for like half an hour) it was swell to hear Tommy Lee Wallace, Dick Warlock, Tom Atkins talk H3 shop!
Lastly Sean Clarke does his location revisit schtick one again here via Horror's Hallowed Grounds, always a treat and for the finish: Still Gallery, TV Spots and the Theatrical Trailer.
Disk 6: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988): This disk was a bit of a bummer as Halloween 4 is my nostalgic favorite of the series. It was the first Halloween that I saw on the big screen and it was the film that got me started on the franchise. I hold this sucker close to my dead beat heart. But the disk was too bare bones for me (thankfully the bonus disk which I address below gave me some H4 featurette/BTS love). We needed more extras here! Sure there was an Audio Commentary with Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris and another one with director Dwight H. Little and author Justin Beahm... both good listens... but they weren't enough. Halloween 4 brought Myers back the right way! It deserved the red carpet treatment! PS: We also get the Theatrical Trailer.
Disk 7: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989): I'm not gonna lie to you, I put this disk in, saw that it didn't have the DELETED OPENING and then I popped it out. I remember being crushed when I saw this flick in theatres upon its initial release. To this day I'd love to know what everybody involved was smoking when making this one! How else can you explain killing Rachel off the bat, Jamie being mute and having a stuttering sidekick (tight duo they made...urg), stalk sequences so long they challenged one's sanity, Myers wearing a piss poor mask, two Keystone Cops with their own clown noise music theme and the slew of annoying "victims" found in this dreck??!!
I can tell you there's an Audio Commentary with Don Shanks and Justin Beahm, another one with Director Dominique Othenin-Girad, Danielle Harris, Jeffrey Landman, a On the Set featurette, a Promo with set footage/cast interviews and the Theatrical Trailer. But yeah... I didn't care... still don't!
Disk 8: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995): I always dug elements of the Halloween 6 theatrical cut, namely the aggressive score and the bold editing. It's heavily flawed but I never got to hate it like I do Halloween 5. This disk contains a decent transfer of said cut, Still Gallery, TV Spots and 3 Trailers.
Disk 9: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) Producer's Cut: This is obviously my favorite disk of the whole set. Much like many of you, I was obsessed with the Producer's Cut of the film for a long time. I saw it on a shitty VHS and I have always craved to tap it in top notch quality. And now I have. Although not flawless (still lots of grain), this was as good as it's gonna get image and sound wise. Although I reviewed the film eons ago when I could barely string two words together, expect a new take on it during our October Massacre. What about the special features? They were insane!
We get a brand spanking new Audio Commentary with screenwriter Daniel Ferrands and composer Alan Howarth. There's a (too) swift interview with Danielle Harris in Jamie's Story, the featurette Acting Scared: A Look at the Film's Cast with Mariah O'Brien and the still cute J.C. Brandy reminiscing about their experiences, The Shape of Things which has FX wiz John Carl Buechler talk FX and the kills. Malek Akkad and producer Paul Freeman looked back at the production in A Cursed Curse. Haddonfield's Horrors had director of photography Billy Dickson and production designer Bryan Ryman go back in time in terms of the picture.
Full Circle saw composer Alan Howarth talk about his work on H6, the series in general and his place in it. Last but not least there was Alternate and Deleted Scenes (bad quality but worth it for that extra dose of brutality), Archival Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage (Donald Pleasence speaks!), Behind the Scenes Footage, the Halloween 666 Teaser trailer (nice) and an old school Electronic Press Kit. This disk was jam-packed! I skimmed through it here (deadlines baby), but I can't wait to sit down with no pressure and just ENJOY IT as a fan.
Disk 10: Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998): Ahhh H20 aka brightly lit, overtly mainstream, uneventful for an hour, SCREAM knock-off with a tiny Michael Myers in it. Yes, I am in the minority in NOT having adored this one. I get lots of heat for that to this day, but hey, you can't please everybody. At least the extras on this disk were decent.
We get an all new Audio Commentary with Director Steve Miner and Jamie Lee Curtis. Sean Clark is also in the house to help them out. The brand new featurette The Making of H20 was a trip just to see the actors like (Josh Hartnett) return and give heir take on the flick. Everybody pretty much showed up here to chime in: Jamie Lee Curtis, Jodi Lyn O'Keefe, editor Patrick Lussier etc. Good stuff! Vintage Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage (title says it all), Still Gallery, TV Spots and Theatrical Trailer capped it all off.
Disk 11: Halloween Resurrection (2002): It's kind of burning my ass that the worse Halloween movies are getting more focus than Halloween 4. I know I need to get over it. What can I spit at Halloween 8 that hasn't already been spat? Although it had a good idea, was violent as f*ck and was somewhat ahead of its time with the found footage motif; it did it all wrong and added Busta Rhymes to the mix aka a contender if not the winner of the Worse Halloween Series Character Ever (Tina from Halloween 5 MAY be worse).
All I wanted from this disk was the HALLOWEEN HOMECOMING cut of the movie, which was the uncut work-print that had leaked eons ago. It wasn't there, so I took a glimpse at the DELETED SCENES and ALTERNATE ENDINGS (nothing exciting) and called it a day. I really don't care as to what this disk has to offer. Brand new beer coaster it is! So my foray with H8 ends...NOW.
And now we enter Zombie Land! Although the EXTRAS on DISK 12 & 13: Rob Zombie's Halloween Director's Cut (2007) and DISK 14: Rob Zombie's Halloween 2 DIrector's Cut (2009) were abundant and fulfilling (we get the works here Commentaries with Zombie on both films, Deleted and Alternate scenes, bloopers and a mammoth 260 minutes doc called Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween which basically chronicled every stage of the film's production - a must see for aspiring filmmakers), I found both these titles somewhat mishandled and here's why.
Although I dug the D. Cut of Zombie's Halloween more than the Theatrical Cut, the best cut of the film wasn't here! Yes I speak of the Work Print which had leaked online in 2007. Easily my fav take on the movie! As for Halloween 2; why the hell did they include the bloated and annoying Director's Cut as opposed to the leaner and cooler Theatrical Cut? We should have had the option to watch both. Don't get me wrong these disks were loaded with content - they just didn't give me what I wanted as a fan.
Disk 15 ended it all with a CLASS pimping out all kinds of extra goodies with the more noteworthy being: A cut of John Carpenter's Extended 101 minutes Version of Halloween, The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut (yeah), the extensive almost one hour long The Making of Halloween 4 (Double yeah!) which was a new featurette produced by Scream Factory and the The Making of Halloween 5, again produced by Scream Factory which took a hard look as to what WENT WRONG with that sucka.
And there you have it! Phew! On the whole I was very content with this box-set, the lack of Zombie's Halloween work-print, the theatrical cut of Zombie's Halloween 2 and the absence of Halloween 8: Homecoming (the work print of H8) aside; this set was the STAND-OUT! The Halloween 6 The Producer's Cut disk alone is worth half the price! So what are you waiting for Myers fans? This is as a close as we're gonna get to the "perfect" Halloween Box Set. Thank you Scream Factory and Anchor Bay for starting my Halloween a bit early!