In 1963, little Michael Meyers stabs his sister to death (the scene shown in a justly famouscontinuous POV shot). Fifteen years later, Michael escapes from the asylum and returns to hishome town of Haddonfield. On Halloween night, he stalks Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) andher friends, while being pursued himself by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). The first and stillthe best of modern masked slasher films, Halloween towers above its imitators. Stylish,smart, restra…ned, and blessed by that unforgettable score, the film richly deserves its designationas a horror classic.
Very impressive work has been done converting the sound to 5.1 (though it should be notedthat the previous editions already had both excellent 5.1 sound and anamorphic picture). Thescore, one of the best horror movie themes ever, has a wonderfully sinister and enveloping clarityto it. The sound effects are nicely handled too, creating an environment wherever possible. Thethunderstorm during Michael’s escape is a case in point. The dialogue sounds fine, though herewe are more aware of the limits of the original material, and the sound is noticeably older. Onecan’t expect the impossible, though, and the movie sounds better than a cheap little productionfrom 1978 has any right to. Really nice bass too.
As I said, the previous editions of Halloween looked terrific, so don’t feel the needto upgrade if all you care about is picture and sound. The blacks are profound, the aspect is thefull 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (and this is a movie that really uses the edges of that frame),and the colours are terrific (especially the sumptuous reds). Any grain and speckling are so minoras to be beneath notice.
This is where this edition marks a step up from previous ones. Disc 1 had a commentary byJohn Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and producer Debra Hill. All three reminiscences, thoughloaded with interesting anecdotes and (with Carpenter) technical detail, were clearly recordedindividually, which is too bad, as it would have been neat to hear these three share memories.Good stuff anyway. On Disc 2, there’s an 87-minute documentary called “A Cut Above theRest,” which is very Fox-TV in style, complete with annoying narrator and a lot of filler beforecoming to the point. “On Location — 25 Years Later” is a 10-minute featurette whose focus is areturn to the original locations of the film, but covers a lot of the ground gone over in “A CutAbove.” Some of the other extras we’ve seen before: the theatrical trailer, 2 TV spots, 2 radiospots, a poster and still gallery, and talent bios for Carpenter, Curtis and Donald Pleasence. TheDVD-ROM extras include the original screenplay and screen savers. The menu’s main page isanimated and scored, as are the transitions.
Something tells me that this won’t be the final word yet on Halloween editions, butit is a pretty damn fine one.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary
- Feature-Length Documentary: “Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest”
- “On Location — 25 Years Later” Featurette
- Theatrical Trailer
- TV Spots
- Radio Spots
- Poster and Still Gallery
- Talent Bios
- Original Screenplay
- Screen Savers