Halloween 4K/Blu Ray Review (Lionsgate)
Halloween is a 1978 slasher film directed, co-written, & scored by John Carpenter (Escape from New York, The Fog, The Thing, Christine, & They Live). It was co-written & produced by Debra Hill (Halloween II/III, The Dead Zone, Adventures in Babysitting, Clue, & The Fisher King). It was executive produced by Irwin Yablans (Tourist Trap, Fade to Black, Hell Night, & Prison) & Moustapha Akkad (The Message, Appointment with Fear, Free Ride, & Halloween series). Halloween is one of the biggest horror franchises of all time. It has spawned 8 sequels (which includes one coming soon!), a remake by Rob Zombie, & a follow up to that film. Michael Myers is one of faces of horror & he’s considered to be one of the best horror villains in the history of cinema. It was distributed by Compass International Pictures. It had a budget of $300,000 & it ended up grossing $70 million at the box office.
In 1963 on Halloween night in the Midwestern town of Haddonfield, Illinois, Michael Myers murders his older sister Judith. He is hospitalized at Warren County’s Smith’s Grove Sanitarium under the care of child psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (played by: Donald Pleasence from Halloween franchise, Phenomena, The Great Escape, You Only Live Twice, & Alone in the Dark). Fifteen years later, he escapes custody & he returns to his hometown of Haddonfield, Michael Myers (played by: Nick Castle from Halloween 2018, The Last Starfighter, Dennis the Menace, & Major Payne) stalks high school student Laurie Strode (played by: Jamie Lee Curtis from Terror Train, Prom Night, The Fog, Halloween 2/H20/Resurrection/2018, Trading Places, & A Fish Called Wanda). Her friends Annie Brackett (played by: Nancy Loomis from Assault on Precinct 13, The Fog, & Halloween 2/3) & Lynda Van der Klok (played by: P.J. Soles from Carrie, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Stripes, & The Devil’s Rejects) think that she is just paranoid when she brings it up. Annie’s father Sheriff Leigh Brackett (played by: Charles Cyphers from The Fog, Major League, Death Wish 2, Big Bad Mama II, & Elvis) meets with Dr. Sam Loomis & finds out about the Michael Myers situation. They both try to hunt down the unstoppable monster before he starts killing again. Laurie is babysitting Tommy Doyle (played by: Brian Andrews from Three O’Clock High, The Great Santini, & Intimate Strangers), Annie Brackett is babysitting Lindsey Wallace (played by: Kyle Richards from Eaten Alive, The Car, E.R., & Little House on the Prairie)across the street, & Lynda Van der Klok is hanging out with her boyfriend Bob Simms. All of them are about to have an unforgettable night of terror with “the boogeyman” as the host. Can Loomis & Brackett save this community from it’s gruesome past? Why is Myers so focused on Laurie Strode & her surroundings? After this Halloween, Haddonfield will never be the same!!!!
Halloween is one of the greatest horror movies ever made & it’s definitely one of the best slashers ever produced! John Carpenter took the genre & made it his own. His work here is nothing but top notch quality especially his classic score for the film. It’s one of most memorable musical compositions in any genre for cinema. Almost everyone in the entire world instantly knows where it’s from when they hear it. It just stays with you after you experience it. Halloween is actually pretty tame when it comes to the slasher sub genre. There’s not much nudity in the feature. All of the violence is quick & only happens during select moments plus they are bloodless. Most of the time when this is said about this type of film it’s a not a good thing but Halloween is a cut above the rest so it manages to work somehow still. That’s when great screenwriting & acting helps out the production in a major way. John Carpenter keeps the suspense & thrills going especially the towards the 2nd half. Donald Pleasence gives one of the best performances in horror as Dr. Loomis & Jamie Lee Curtis is one of the all time greats when it comes to scream queens. Michael Myers is such a great character & always keeps you on your toes due to the mysterious history of the role. The replay value for Halloween is very strong, I’ve lost count how many times I’ve seen this feature in my life & it honestly it never gets old after each viewing. It always entertains me every time & it’s a must watch for this time of the year. HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommended!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Lionsgate! Halloween has been released so many times on home video & I personally own various versions of it. This 2160p (2.35:1) transfer is the best it’s ever looked & that’s a BOLD statement considering all the previous releases of Halloween. It’s an elevated version of the 35th Anniversary edition & it looks awesome in 4K! It’s an easy upgrade for any fan & I am glad it got proper treatment in this newer format. The blu ray included in this release is a completely different transfer. It’s the brighter presentation used for the 2007 release & it’s definitely a little controversial considering how much this feature is loved all over the world. I personally think it’s nice to have a different option for Halloween but it’s not my favorite cut of the classic horror film. It’s worth checking out for a new look especially since it’s a darker feature. The English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 & English: Dolby Digital Mono tracks are very clean & they have a nice boost to them. The music for this sounds amazing in the home set up & it really adds to all the suspense in Halloween. Purist & audiophiles might be a little let down due to the lack of the original mono mix for this release. It also includes English, English SDH, & Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features on both the 4K & blu ray discs! “Audio Commentary” with writer/composer/director John Carpenter & actress Jamie Lee Curtis. They mention they haven’t seen each other in awhile. Jamie brings up this was her first big role. She did TV before this & she was under contract with Universal at the time. They chat about the cast & crew for the production especially Debra Hill. They cover various technical aspects of the feature. They mention & focus on Jamie Lee Curtis’s hair in the film a decent amount here. They chat about the performances & style of the feature. They still have amazing chemistry & the track is very entertaining. They both plenty of stories & information about the production, great memories of what happened during then. “The Night She Came Home!!” is almost an hour long. It follows Jamie Lee Curtis on her experience at Horror Hound Weekend. She admits that she hasn’t focused or embraced the horror community in a long time. She shows off some personal items that she put up for auction at the event. It has various interactions with fans from the convention. It has interviews with them also. She reunites with some old cast members. She talks with the crowd for a little bit & says this will be her only horror con appearance. One of my biggest regrets in my life is not going to this epic horror convention. It was in my city & it was on my birthday weekend. “On Location: 25 Years Later” is a little over 10 minutes. It has interviews with actress P.J. Soles & producer Debra Hill. It shows various locations many years later. It has all kinds of information about the production. “TV Version Footage” is almost 11 minutes & it features scenes from the television version. It also has all kinds of promotional material which include a Trailer, TV Spots, & Radio Spots. It also has a slipcover. It’s a must own & should be in every collection. It’s available everywhere right now, check it out!!!!