Halloween - 35th Anniversary Edition

Production Year: 1978
Release Date: 09/24/2013
Studio: Anchor Bay
Collection Number: 1363

It just seems so redundant to give John Carpenter's Halloween a written summary.  It's the quintessential horror film.  Even if you're one of the few who haven't seen the film (what's your excuse!?)  I'm sure you've heard enough about the movie to give me a pretty detailed play by play.  Redundant or not, I guess I'll stick to the ol' review formula.  On Hallows' Eve in 1963 Judith Myers is brutally stabbed to death by her younger brother Michael.  The six year old boy is institutionalized, only to escape 15 years later to return to the town where it all started, Haddonfield.  Myers' psychiatrist, one Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) warned this day would come, and in very typical horror fashion his advice fell on deaf ears.

Back in Haddonfield the small town is preparing for Halloween.  Leaves are falling, pumpkins are being carved, and Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is preparing for a night of trick 'r treaters and babysitting.  Little does she know the terror that awaits her when night falls.  Myers is back, donning some old coveralls and a lifeless Halloween mask, but sadly it's not the prospect of door-to-door treats that interest him, but bloodshed.

There's not many films I can say live up to their reputation.  Halloween though...For me Halloween surpasses it's bloated notoriety and earns itself a nice big seat at the very front of the classroom.  To say it's masterfully crafted is likely an under sight, in fact it's so good I actually feel a bit bad for Mr. Carpenter, every film he's created post '78 has been compared to Halloween in some form.  At the risk of sounding grim, Carpenter created a film that will not just outlive his career, but will be remembered and talked about well after he, and most of us are, are long gone.  Yes, in my mind Halloween is a perfectly executed, timeless classic.

I'm sure my thoughts on the actual film weren't exactly what you came here for, as the film needs no introduction, summary, or 400th review.  The real importance here lies in the presentation put forth, did Anchor Bay really take the time to get things right, or it his just another thoughtless cash grab?   By my own count Anchor Bay has released the 1978 film about 14 different times, so how does this really stack up?

When Anchor Bay announced the upcoming 35th Anniversary blu-ray would come packed in a mediabook they almost had me.  While I'm fully stocked when it comes to the 1978 film, I'm a complete sucker for mediabooks.  

Inside the book is a very nice write up on the film covering the production, actors, and Dean Cudney's cinematography.  Aside from an image of the film's poster, all of the photos featured on the pages are in sepia tone.  The warm colors bring everything together, at the risk of sounding cliché it's a "classy" looking package.

Which brings us to the most crucial part of this set, is this an improvement over Anchor Bay's numerous releases?  In short, yes.  There is a definite improvement over the company's 2007 blu-ray release.

For any doubters of it's color timing this go-round, the new high definition transfer was supervised by Cinematographer Dean Cudney.  What we get is a bit different than some of us might be familiar with (especially if your idea of how the film looks stems from some of the more recent releases,) but it left me with a feeling of satisfaction.  As numerous reviewers have mentioned, the day shots now seem a bit more bleak; not at all a complaint, it's just worth noting.  There's no sign of DNR here, it's a natural presentation with grain and detail intact.

Anchor Bay opted to give the flick a new 7.1 audio option.  I guess I'm in the dark ages as I'm still rockin' a 5.1 receiver.  While I can't speak on the new audio, I can tell you the 5.1 sounds exceptional.  Natural lows and highs, great bass, Carpenter's score has never sounded better.

For any doubters out there you can rest easy, this is the Halloween release to own.

Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis

The Night She Came Home (59:43 HD)The Night She Came Home is a documentary following Jamie Lee Curtis to her first (and last) convention; Horror Hound Weekend 2012.  It's the only of the special features that's in high definition and it also happens to be the best of what's included.

For those not in the know, Curtis really seems to distance herself from her horror roots.  For a while it seemed like the notion of her attending a convention was a fanboy pipedream.  She really surpassed all expectations with her only appearance though, staying hours past her signing time just to insure every last person got an autograph.  All of the money earned went straight to charity.  Suffice it to say this documentary painted a really good portrait of the actress, she seems to be a genuine person who cares a great deal for her fans.

On location; 25 years later (10:25 SD)  Just a brief look at some of the past filming locations including the now restored Myers house.

TV version footage (10:46 HD) - For a long time fan's rallied on getting a restored version of the extended TV cut of their beloved Halloween, Anchor Bay was kind enough to include these extended scenes on this disc (in glorious high definition to boot!)

Theatrical Trailer (02:42 HD)

TV spots (01:16 SD)

Radio Spots (01:24) 

Most of these have made it onto some of Anchor Bay's past releases and will be nothing new for fans.  There is, however, a new commentary featuring John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis.  Missing from the disc is Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest, a near 90 minute documentary that was included with the 25th anniversary disc.  I guess we can't have everything, can we?

I know the idea of purchasing yet another Halloween release from the aforementioned company might turn off a few people.  But I can attest to it's quality, if you ever plan on purchasing one more copy of the 1978 film, purchase this one.  It's a leap in quality when compared to past releases and a step in the right direction for our once beloved Anchor Bay.


  1. Looks like the UK gets it on 21 Oct 2013 :) http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/Halloween-Blu-ray/81109/#Review
    But it has two discs, not sure what the difference is.