I picked up the Halloween: 35th Anniversary blu-ray a few weeks ago and was eager to jump into it and the features. In honor of Shocktober I thought I’d review it for anyone curious about whether they should upgrade their collection or enhance it with this horror movie classic for the first time.
The blu-ray comes in a booklet case with 20 pages stapled inside. The pages are filled with old photos from the movie and an essay written by Stef Hutchinson of the Halloween: 25 Years of Terror documentary.
Read on as I detail the release and the features within it. Let me know what you think of in the comments below and be sure to follow me around the internet.
I’m not too sure how I can really do a movie of such importance justice, but I’ll do my best. Halloween is iconic in every sense of the term. The slow build up toward the intense, frightening climax is a masterpiece of pacing. Michael Myers’ introduction to the horror film pantheon where he would dominate for decades isn’t just a great horror movie; it’s a great movie in and of itself.
What I love most about Halloween, though, is the atmosphere. The movie has become synonymous with its pagan holiday namesake and with autumn, in general. When I hear the score, I actually think of leaves changing color, brisk air and sweatshirt weather before I think of the slasher genre’s more terrifying villains.
I’ve never seen Halloween look as good as it does in this blu-ray edition. For a movie so darkly lit, you see everything clearly. When Michael stands outside of a house in the black of night, the detail of the brightly lit porch and the darkness surrounding it just pops off the screen. It looks fantastic.
The audio is good as well. However, some of the dialogue was strangely low in some scenes. This could very well be due to user error on my part, but I tweaked the audio settings on my PS3 a couple times but couldn’t find the right combination of settings to get it right. It’s most noticeable in Jamie Lee Curtis’ first scene when her father tells her to leave the key at the Myers house. If you’re reading this and know the way to correct it, let me know.
That one blemish is all I could find. The movie is great and it’s got a near pristine release on the 35th anniversary blu-ray.
Commentary with Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter
This commentary track is new to the set. It’s very charming. Jamie Lee Curtis and John Carpenter speak like old friends who’ve reconnected after several years. That’s actually exactly what this is. Carpenter mentions at the start that they hadn’t seen each other in years. This leads to a nice chat between the two that doesn’t feel forced or inconvenient at all.
Throughout it, we learn the various tidbits about filmmaking and the experience of making Halloween that we would expect from a commentary track. What I enjoyed most about this commentary is the back and forth between the director and star. Curtis spends a lot of time complimenting Carpenter’s work and Carpenter is modest and thankful throughout. It’s a charming dynamic that is really entertaining.
Though, toward the end, Jamie Lee Curtis overdoes it a little bit as she becomes more and more frightened. It sounds like she tests Carpenter’s patience in some parts. But it doesn’t break the commentary at all.
The Night She Came Home – 59 minutes, 43 seconds
This is the crown jewel of the disc. This hour-long documentary follows Jamie Lee Curtis as she goes to the HorrorHound Weekend convention in Indianapolis in November 2012.
It’s very unique in that Curtis hasn’t really embraced the horror genre in a very long time. She makes it clear at the start of the documentary that her career’s trajectory went away from horror and so she hasn’t really interacted with this fan base.
The documentary charts Jamie Lee Curtis’ entire HorrorHound experience and gives the viewer an interesting insight into her and the Halloween fan base. She explains her motivation is solely to raise money for charity. When I heard that in the first few minutes, it gave me the impression that she wouldn’t really take to the experience; that maybe she was going to treat it as a business.
I couldn’t be more wrong. She seems so genuine and kind as she interacts with the fans and the people making it happen. It’s a really cool documentary that will make you respect the hell out of Jamie Lee Curtis.
On Location: 25 Years Later – 10 minutes, 25 seconds
This featurette goes through the filming locations of the movie. It intercuts the present day (well, present relative to when it was filmed) locations with footage from the movie. It includes a voice over narration and interviews with several people involved in the movie.
TV Version Footage – 10 minutes, 46 seconds
Here is a collection of scenes that were shot in 1981 during Halloween II’s filming. The purpose of the scenes was for television networks to replace 12 minutes of violent footage with these additional, less gory scenes.
Overall, they’re interesting but I don’t see how they could add anything. If anything, I would imagine the TV version would be a big detriment to the film’s pacing and perfect tension. But the footage is still intriguing on its own.
Trailer, TV Spots (3), Radio Spots (3)
A look at the ad campaigns for the movie in 1978. Ordinarily I’m not too interested in this type of feature. But in this case I like seeing how the movie was marketed.
Buy it. This is a great release for a great, iconic movie. It doesn’t have many special features. I really wish it would have compiled all the bonus features from past releases onto one release. But the special features on this are mostly new, so I can’t complain too much. If you already own the movie on DVD, I recommend the upgrade. The video is gorgeous and the new features are interesting and fun to watch. You can find it on Amazon below.