Blu-Ray Review: Halloween – The Complete Collection Limited Deluxe Edition (15 Discs)

Halloween-Complete-Collection-Artwork

Introduction

In 1978, John Carpenter and Debra Hill brought the boogeyman to life and gave him a name. Halloween was a massively successful independent movie that spawned several sequels, a remake and a sequel to the remake. 10 movies (9 of which feature Michael Myers) comprise one of the most iconic and celebrated horror franchises of all time.

And now you can own all of it, along with a plethora of bonus content, for the first time in this 15-disc deluxe edition blu-ray set.

Read on for my full review of the set and, while you’re at it, check out the 2014 Obsessive Viewer Holiday Buyer’s Guide. You can also check out my podcast’s full review of the Halloween franchise here.

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Disc 1 – Halloween (1978) + Special Features

MovieHalloween (1978)

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 one 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.

9.0/10

Blind Buy – A movie fan is only as good as his or her movie collection. Titles that earn this grade are worth adding to your collection sight unseen and at full price.

Features

Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Jamie Lee Curtis – 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.

NEW Audio Commentary with Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Editor Tommy Lee Wallace and “The Shape”, Nick Castle – This new commentary track is a fun, conversational track between the three guys. They cover common trivia about the movie that’s covered in various other places in the first two discs. But they speak with such a pleasant, fun tone that you don’t mind hearing them talk about things you’ve already heard about.

I watched this commentary track immediately after watching the commentary track in disc 2 and it still had a strong hold on my attention.

“The Night She Came Home” Featurette – 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” Featurette – 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 – 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.

Theatrical Trailer, TV & Radio Spots – 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.

Disc 2 – Halloween (1978) + Special Features

MovieHalloween (1978)

I was somewhat disappointed when I found out this disc is essentially a reprint of a previous blu-ray release from 2007. I would have liked it more if this was the complete television cut of the movie. But this disc is exclusive to the Deluxe Edition version of the collection and there is an impressive amount of content on it.

While the video quality isn’t as impressive of the 35th anniversary blu-ray transfer, it is still an impressive HD transfer.

The television cut is on Disc 15.

Features

Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director John Carpenter, Actress Jamie Lee Curtis and Co-Writer/Producer Debra Hill – This commentary track takes 3 separate tracks and cuts them together. So the three Daren in the same room playing off each other like Carpenter and Curtis on disc one. The cover a lot of the same information that Carpenter and Curtis covered on disc one, but there are no lulls or conversation in it. If you’re looking for a strictly informative track, this one is for you. There’s also a strange, 4th voice that introduces each voice at random points. It’s somewhat distracting and completely unnecessary.

Film Fast Facts – This is a handy pop-up trivia track that runs throughout the movie. I watched it along with the commentary track. There was some overlap with the commentary and the trivia, but there’s plenty of interesting tidbits and the pop-ups are not intrusive or distracting from the movie.

Featurette: “Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest” (1hr, 27mins) – This is a full-length documentary from 2003 about the creation of Halloween. It’s in depth and features interviews from John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Mustapha Akkad and various other people involved in the production. There’s also vintage interviews sprinkled throughout it.

Theatrical Trailer, TV and Radio Spots – The same promotional materials from disc one.

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Disc 3 – Halloween II (1981) + Special Features

MovieHalloween II (1981)

I’ve always held Halloween II in a high regard. The movie is great as a continuation of the original movie and expands the mythology of the franchise in a pretty clever way. The movie retroactively gives a motivation to Michael Myers’ actions that puts a bow on the pair of movies.

The movie was made a few years after the original, right when the slasher craze of the 80s was in full swing. As such, the gore and violence is escalated in Halloween II and it really works in the movie’s favor. Setting the movie in a hospital gives Halloween II an eeriness that, coupled with an updated (to 80s specifications) score, gives the sequel its own unique feel.

7.5/10

Bargain Buy – These are titles worth adding to your physical collection at a discounted price.

Features

Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Actor Leo Rossi (Theatrical Version) – This is a really fun, laid back commentary track. The two play off each other really well and seem to really enjoy each other’s company. One of my favorite things about commentaries is hearing filmmakers discuss their craft and Rick Rosenthal doesn’t disappoint. There are a lot of pauses and dead air unfortunately and the volume of the movie doesn’t adjust when there’s silence on the commentary track. The content of the commentary makes up for the dead air, though.

Audio Commentary with Stunt Coordinator/Actor Dick Warlock (Theatrical Version) – “Icons of Fright” creator Robert V. Galluzzo joins Warlock for this laid back interview-style commentary track. Warlock speaks openly and respectfully about his experiences playing Michael Myers and his role as stunt coordinator on the movie. Galluzzo steers the conversation into specific areas with ease and creates a nice atmosphere for the two to discuss the movie.

“The Nightmare Isn’t Over – The Making of Halloween II” – This is a candid and look at the production of the movie. There are a lot of interesting tidbits and anecdotes shared in this documentary. The cast and crew speak honestly about their opinions and experiences with the movie.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – Revisiting the Original Shooting Locations – Sean Clark guides us through a tour of key filming locations from Halloween II. It’s part of his Horror’s Hallowed Grounds series. It’s interesting and Clark is an entertaining host.

Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal – Deleted Scenes from the movie. No real loss here, they don’t really fit with the movie.

Alternate Ending with Optional Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal – A short alternate ending in the ambulance. Rosenthal talks about how Carrie influenced the alternate ending.

Still Gallery, Theatrical Trailer, TV and Radio Spots – Promotional materials for the movie.

Disc 4 – Halloween II (1981) – The Television Version

Movie – Halloween II (1981) – The Television Version

The television cut of the movie. Nothing in it changes my opinion of the movie. Though, it’s worth mentioning that this is a DVD and not a blu-ray.

Feature

DVD-Rom Feature: Halloween II Script – You can get a pdf copy of the movie’s script by putting the disc in your computer.

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Disc 5 – Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982) + Special Features

MovieHalloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)

Halloween III is the product of an idea to convert the franchise into an anthology series of sorts. Each year would have seen a separate, standalone horror movie set around the traditions and lore of Halloween. The movie failed and the powers that be ended up bringing Michael Myers back for Halloween 4.

I might ruin all my credibility here but I don’t think Halloween III is quite as bad as people make it out to be. For starters, it’s a far cry from the disaster that is A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge. The premise for Halloween III is intriguing on a conceptual level and the execution is very campy. But therein lies just a modicum of charm that makes the movie at the very least passable.

Halloween III is really close to being irreparably bad. The last 1/3 of the movie really drags but the first two acts are kind of fun and goofy.

1.5/10 

Catch it on TV – You might get a modicum of entertainment out of this if the network it’s on plays decent commercials with it. 

Features

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Tommy Lee Wallace – Wallace is joined by Horror’s Hallowed Grounds host Sean Clark and “Icons of Fright” creator Robert V. Galluzzo for this commentary track. Clark steers the discussion into talk about all the locations in the movie, which is pretty redundant when watched after the Horror’s Hallowed Grounds feature on the disc.

They also talk about the history of the movie but there’s a lot of “I don’t know” responses from Tommy Lee Wallace and general dead air throughout the track. The conversation is jovial and laid back, though. They have a good time talking but it’s difficult to stay awake.

Audio Commentary with Actor Tom Atkins – Atkins is joined by BD/DVD Producer Michael Felsher for this commentary track. This is a pretty fun track. Atkins is a really entertaining speaker and the two guys enjoy pointing out Halloween III’s more over-the-top qualities. Felsher sprinkles in questions about Atkins’ acting career and Atkins provides a ton of great anecdotes. It’s a well-rounded interview disguised as a commentary track.

“Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch” – This documentary (produced by Shout! Factory) is surprisingly engaging. Producer Irwin Yablans is very vocal in the documentary not only about his feelings toward the movie, but his feelings toward the people responsible for having the idea.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: Revisiting the Original Shooting Locations – Another segment hosted by Sean Clark from Horror’s Hallowed Grounds. He takes us on a tour of some of the movie’s locations along with Halloween III director Tommy Lee Wallace. It’s kind of interesting but pretty forgettable overall.

Still Gallery, Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots – Promotional materials for Halloween III: Season of the Witch.

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Disc 6 – Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988) + Special Features 

MovieHalloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)

For Halloween’s 10th anniversary, Michael Myers returned to Haddonfield and the franchise. Halloween 4 also saw the return of Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis that requires a decent amount of suspended disbelief on the audiences’ part.

While the movie never comes close to hitting the notes of the original, it comes with some surprisingly good characters. It also expands the mythology that leads to one of the franchise’s strongest endings.

5.5/10

Worth a Trip to Red Box – These movies may not be worthy of your home collection, but they are worth the effort it takes to travel to your nearest Red Box kiosk.

Features

Audio Commentary with Actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris – The actresses discuss what it was like working on the movie. It’s very conversational as they swap anecdotes about the movie and the business of acting. It’s a lot of fun listening to them catch up with one another.

Audio Commentary with Director Dwight H. Little and Author Justin Beach – This commentary is a little more formal and informative. Little talks about the making of the movie. It’s a good track that will hold your interest.

Theatrical Trailer – Theatrical trailer for the movie.

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Disc 7 – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989) + Special Features 

Movie – Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)

Halloween 5 is an unabashed train wreck for the franchise. The movie immediately abandons what was set up so well at the end of Halloween 4 and introduces a new, unlikeable lead actress to play off of Danielle Harris’ suddenly catatonic and psychic Jamie. Donald Pleasance gives an aged, tired performance in what was supposed to be his last movie of the franchise. The violence is pretty okay, but the overall package is not that appealing.

3.0/10

Stream on Netflix – You won’t regret watching this, but there’s a chance it’ll get buried in your Instant Queue.

Features

Audio Commentary with Actor Don Shanks and Author Justin Beahm – Shanks talks in depth about his role as Michael Myers in this movie as well as his theories about he Man in Black, who he also played. Justin Beahm guides the conversation well.

Audio Commentary with Director Dominique Othenin-Girard and Actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman – The director talks about his love of blood and the various challenges that came from directing this movie. The actors have a blast recounting their experience and Othenin-Girard seems to enjoy himself too. This is a fun commentary track.

Halloween 5: On the Set – Archival footage from the set during filming with a couple cast interviews. It’s in standard definition and hard to hear some times but still a little interesting behind the scenes look at the movie.

Halloween 5 Original Promo – Promo for the movie.

Theatrical Trailer – Trailer for the movie.

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Disc 8 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) + Special Features

MovieHalloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995)

The 6th entry in the franchise came off the heels of a really disappointing movie that left the franchise open for an interesting occult storyline. Instead of embracing the sloppy mess of Halloween 5 and correcting its mistakes, Halloween 6 was a dull, barely coherent movie that felt really half-assed.

This movie features the debut performance of Paul Rudd. That’s about the only positive thing it gave us. Even still, he’s so weird and noncommittal in it that it’s a miracle a successful career came out of it.

3.0/10

Stream on Netflix – You won’t regret watching this, but there’s a chance it’ll get buried in your Instant Queue.

Features

This is a pretty bare disc. The special features for Halloween 6 are all on Disc 9. This disc includes: Theatrical Trailers, TV Spots and a Still Gallery.

Disc 9 – Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) (Producer’s Cut) + Special Features 

MovieHalloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) (Producer’s Cut)

The Producer’s Cut of Halloween 6 is an alternate version of the movie that dips its feet a little deeper into the Cult of Thorn mythology and slightly changes the fate of a key character. This is the first time this version has been released to the public. Previous to this box set, the Producer’s Cut could really only be found in bootleg form at conventions and online.

I didn’t like Halloween 6 but I was somewhat intrigued by the Cult of Thorn plot. So I was excited to finally get my hands on the Producer’s Cut. Unfortunately, you can cut a turd however you like, but it will still be a turd. This version is interesting and is definitely my preferred version of Halloween 6. But the Producers Cut is also something I would not buy a bootleg of at a convention.

3.5/10

Stream on Netflix – You won’t regret watching this, but there’s a chance it’ll get buried in your Instant Queue.

FeatureS

Audio Commentary with writer Daniel Farrands and composer Alan Howarth – So far, this is my favorite commentary track in the set. While the composer does interject here and there with interesting bits, this is largely screenwriter Daniel Farrands’ track and he is great in it. Farrands came to the commentary recording prepared, even using Facebook to find out what fans wanted to know about the famed alternative cut.

My feelings toward the movie aside, Farrands shows how much he cares for the franchise and addresses the movie’s issues without much bitterness.

Jamie’s Story – An Interview with the Original “Jamie” Actress Danielle Harris (New) – This is a brief interview where Danielle Harris explains the circumstances that led to her not reprising her role as Jamie in Halloween 6. She speaks openly about what happened in an entertaining manner.

The Cursed “Curse” – An Interview with Producers Malek Akkad and Paul Freeman (New) – This is an interview with the producers about the movie. It’s not very memorable.

Acting Scared – A Look at the Film’s Cast (New) – Actresses Mariah O’Brien and J.C. Brandy talk about their experiences working on the movie and share anecdotes. It’s a lively segment.

The Shape of Things – A Look at Michael Myers’ Murders and Mayhem (New) – This feature focuses on some of the issues the production of Halloween 6 faced. The trouble with Michael’s mask and recasting George P. Wilbur during production, in particular, are featured.

Haddonfield’s Horrors – The Sights of Halloween The Curse of Michael Myers (New) – More technical look at the work that went into creating Halloween 6.

Full Circle – An Interview with Composer Alan Howarth (New) – Here’s a brief interview with the composer of Halloween 6.

Cast and Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasance (New) – Quick tribute to Donald Pleasance, who died before filming completed.

Archival Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage – As the name implies, we get Archival promotional interviews with people involved with the movie and then a collection of footage from the set during filming.

Behind-the-Scenes Footage (Approx. 30 Minutes) – More behind-the-scenes footage.

Alternate and Deleted Scenes (Not Present in Either Cut of the Film)

Teaser Trailer: Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers – Promotional material.

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Disc 10 – Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1999) + Special Features 

MovieHalloween H20: 20 Years Later (1999)

I have a strange relationship with Halloween H20. I saw it as a kid, when I was in the throes of the slasher resurgence caused by Scream in the 90s. At the time, I only had the original Halloween and its first sequel to compare H20 against. Unfortunately, I also had a somewhat blind allegiance to all 90s slasher as well. I was a kid, after all.

So I went into H20 with memories of loving it. Those were quickly tainted when I realized just how much H20 forsakes the spirit of the franchise in favor of becoming a response to Scream’s success.

Halloween H20 doesn’t feel like a Halloween movie. The movie borrows Marco Beltrami’s score from Scream, which is distracting. Scenes in which Michael is chasing or attacking characters operate on energy borrowed from Scream’s tendency to let the characters beat the hell out of Ghostface. This is the first movie in the franchise where I feel like Michael isn’t this Shape that’s insanely intimidating. He’s just a guy in a mask who can take a beating.

The movie doesn’t offer much. The kill count is surprisingly low and the suspense that the movie relies on wears a bit thin later in the movie. But at times it’s a fun nod to the original. Above all else, it’s fun seeing Jamie Lee Curtis return to the franchise. H20 also ignores everything from Halloween’s 4-6, so it’s got that going for it as well.

4.5/10

Rent Digitally – Worth spending money on a temporary copy but not necessarily worth the effort of leaving your couch.

Features

Commentary with Director Steve Miner and Jamie Lee Curtis, Moderated by Sean Clark (New) – This is a fun commentary. Jamie Lee Curtis talks about returning to the franchise and how the movie came about. There’s a lot of the “I’m scared so I’m going to cover my eyes” stuff from her but it’s not as frequent as her commentary on the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray Halloween.

Blood is Thicker than Water: The Making of Halloween H20 (New) – An in-depth, hour-long documentary on the making of the movie.

Vintage Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage – Like on other discs in the set, this features promotional interviews with people involved with the movie followed by a collection of video recorded during filming.

Scenes with John Ottman’s Original Score – I didn’t like that the movie borrowed Scream’s score but John Ottman’s didn’t really do it for me either.

Theatrical Trailer, TV Spot, Still Gallery – Promotional material.

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Disc 11 – Halloween: Resurrection (2002) + Special Features 

MovieHalloween: Resurrection (2002)

Dear God. Okay, this will be brief. Halloween Resurrection is an awful entry in the franchise. Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks play reality TV producers who outfit college kids with webcams while they spend the night in the Myers’ house.

It’s gimmicky to the point of being nauseating. The characters are all unlikable and undeveloped. There’s a goofy subplot where a nerdy guy spends a Halloween party bogarting the host’s internet so he can watch his online girlfriend in the webcast. After a lazy opening sequence, Halloween Resurrection becomes less about Michael Myers than any other Halloween movie, except for Season of the Witch.

The movie isn’t completely unwatchable, but it’s barely worth taking the plastic off of the box in the set. By the way, that’s an idea that my podcast cohost Mike entertained with his box set. I wouldn’t blame him.

1.5/10

Catch it on TVYou might get a modicum of entertainment out of this if the network it’s on plays decent commercials with it.

Features

Audio Commentary with Director Rick Rosenthal and Editor Robert A. Ferretti – The movie’s director and editor offer a pretty low key, bordering on bland, commentary track. There are at least a couple instances where Rosenthal admits he doesn’t know why certain things worked so well with audiences. It’s that type of disconnect that makes it a far cry from his previous work in the franchise, Halloween II.

Alternate Endings & Deleted Scenes – A collection of alternate and deleted scenes from the movie. None of which are a big improvement but it comes with an optional commentary by Rosenthal.

Webcam Special – This is a collection of all the webcam footage from the movie, cut together to create a 40 minute and change version of the movie. It’s boring and unwatchable even as background noise. In fact, I don’t even remember if this dumbass feature even has audio. There’s an optional commentary track for it by Rosenthal. Full disclosure, I didn’t listen to it. But unless it’s 40 minutes of him apologizing for this stupid feature, I don’t think it’s worth listening to.

Featurette: Head Cam – This little archival feature is the best thing on the disc because it features the actors gushing about how innovative the movie is for giving the cast webcams. It’s funny since the movie and interviews pre-dates the found footage craze that the majority of people are tired of right now. If I were a more generous person, I would go a step further and call it an interesting time capsule of the early 2000s and the horror genre. But mostly I’m just glad it’s only 4 minutes long.

Storyboard Analysis – Side by side comparisons of storyboards and the final product of several key sequences. It’s interesting, if you’re into that kind of feature.

Set Tour with Production Designer Troy Hansen – This is a look at the set of the movie that rivals the Head Cam feature for the title of “best feature.”

Set Interview with Jamie Lee Curtis – A short clip of Jamie Lee Curtis discussing her role in Resurrection.

Vintage Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage – Another set of interviews followed by a bunch of footage from the set during filming.

Theatrical Trailer, TV Spots, Still Gallery – Promotional materials.

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Disc 12 – Halloween (2007) (The Director’s Cut) + Special Features

MovieHalloween (2007) (The Director’s Cut)

It’s been a few years since I last saw Rob Zombie’s remake/reimagining of Halloween. I remember liking it but being pretty unaffected by it as a whole. Watching it in the context of the franchise as a whole this year brought a surprising reaction out of me.

I don’t like this movie, I’m not sure if I care about Rob Zombie as a director, and I know I don’t care for him as a screenwriter. Halloween (2007) is a mess. Zombie breaks the movie into three distinct acts. There’s Michael’s childhood, his incarceration at Smith’s Grove and, finally, his return to Haddonfield on Halloween.

Acts one and two take up 54 minutes of the director’s cut’s 2 hour screen time. Act one is such a drag. Zombie creates this trashy, dysfunctional childhood for Michael that seems really forced. It feels like the only reason he gave Michael this backstory is because this type of dysfunctional household is in Zombie’s wheelhouse.

Act two squandered the opportunity to show Loomis and Michael’s doctor/patient relationship by showing scenes of them together that ultimately go no where. This act worked well when the focus was on Michael and his mother. Mrs. Myers’ storyline brings home some of the weight and strain of the tragedy but, again, it doesn’t really matter to the movie’s protagonist since he grows into an emotionless Shape.

The third act is where some of the movie’s biggest flaws reside. 54 minutes into the movie, we’re introduced to Laurie Strode and her friends and family. From there the movie follows, more or less, the plot of the original Halloween. This makes the complete movie a disaster. When the teenagers are introduced, I found it hard to care about them and their hackneyed introductions knowing that they were just going to end up dead in 20 minutes.

Structurally, Halloween (2007) is a disaster. But there’s also a distinct failure in the movie’s writing. The teenagers are not likeable at all. The scant time spent developing them as characters makes them so vapid, bitchy, and annoying that I couldn’t wait to see Michael dispatch of them.

When it comes to Laurie Strode, I got a sense that Zombie was conflicted about how he wanted her to be seen. Jamie Lee Curtis’ version of the character created the slasher genre’s innocent, virginal final girl. Here, Laurie is just as abrasive and annoying as her counterparts, save for a couple of scenes where Zombie strains to show her as somewhat innocent and shy. It just doesn’t work.

I am all for the fact that Zombie took Halloween and wanted to create something different and something his own. He just didn’t do it right or effectively. Halloween (2007) felt like Rob Zombie was trying to make a prequel showing Michael’s upbringing and transformation into the Shape and then switched it to a remake halfway through out of obligation.

The backstory was dull and the slasher elements felt like he was going through the motions.

2.5/10

Wait for Netflix Disc – Worth seeing, but you’ll survive waiting a couple days for the mail.

Features

Unrated Director’s Cut with Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Rob Zombie – I don’t like the guy as a filmmaker but I’m impressed with how Zombie carried a solo commentary track. He says a lot and goes into detail about the making of the movie. It’s a good track but it would be better if I liked the movie. Going back to my review, it was kind of funny to hear Zombie explain some of the dialogue with the hack concession of “That’s how I remember kids talking. So it’s real.” It’s a sloppy explanation of his shitty dialogue.

Deleted Scenes & Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary – A bunch of deleted scenes and an alternate ending.

Bloopers – This 10 minute blooper reel is pretty good. It shows that Malcolm McDowell had a lot of fun on set.

Featurette: The Many Faces of Michael Myers – This featurette goes into the making of the movie and, specifically, the masks used in the movie.

Re-Imagining Halloween – This is a documentary feature that’s broken up into three parts: “From Camera to Screen,” “The Production Design,” and “The Makeup, FX, Props and Wardrobe.” It’s a good cliff notes look at the filmmaking for those who don’t want to spend 4.5 hours on the Michael Lives documentary on the next disc.

Meet the Cast – A look at the cast of the movie with soundbites from each actor and anecdotes about casting the movie.

Casting Sessions – Audition footage.

Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test – This is a reel containing screen tests with Scout Taylor-Compton and other members of the cast. It really brings home how lackluster the dialogue is in the movie.

Theatrical Trailer – Promotional material.

Disc 13 – Documentary: Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween 

Documentary: “Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween”

Discs like this are why people shell out over $100 for sets like this. “Michael Lives” is a very thorough (4.5 hours) look at the filmmaking process that Zombie and his crew undertook with Halloween. I didn’t like the movie, sure, but this is a movie fan’s dream when it comes to learning about how the movie was made.

The documentary clocks in at 4 hours; 20 minutes and begins with a look at Preproduction before documenting all 43 days of filming. Fortunately, the documentary is broken up into segments on the disc so you don’t have to digest the documentary in one sitting. If you do find yourself with that much time to kill, though, there’s a nice Play All feature on it.

If Rob Zombie’s Halloween is your favorite movie or you just love inside looks at the filmmaking process, you’ll love this documentary. It’s also worth mentioning that, even though I don’t think I’d call myself a “fan”, Rob Zombie really seems like a genuinely pleasant person.

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Disc 14 – Halloween II (2009) + Special Features 

MovieHalloween II (2009)

I didn’t like Halloween (2007), but I can understand why some people would like it. It’s vastly different from the rest of the franchise and I can see how people can dig that.

Halloween II, however, is an absolute shit show from start to finish, save for two sequences. Zombie incorporated a really asinine subplot where the spirit (I guess) of Michael’s dead mother guides him to Laurie. It feels like a poor attempt to make something profound and thought provoking by someone who lacks the talent to pull that off.

The first 25 minutes pay homage to the sequel’s 1981 counterpart and it’s great, for the most part. There’s an emphasis on depicting the gory aftermath of the first movie with Laurie on an operating table that’s unnerving rather than scary. There’s also a ridiculous scene between two paramedics that’s played for comedy but is just Zombie’s signature “shock for the sake of shock” dialogue. It doesn’t serve the movie at all and made me roll my eyes. Note to Zombie: You don’t need to create a twisted sense of humor for throwaway, ancillary characters. Sometimes and ambulance driver can just be an ambulance driver.

After the extended Halloween II throwback sequence (which, to its credit, has a spectacular kill and features some very hauntingly lot and framed wide shots of Laurie walking down a desolate street) the movie goes to shit. The “white horse” nonsense overstays its welcome after the opening title card. The kills are unimaginative and weakly set up.

There’s one character death that’s handle extremely well. It’s no coincidence that it’s also the only death scene in either of Zombie’s movies where he chose a “less is more” approach that is arguably the foundation of what made Carpenter’s original movie so great.

The movie takes a huge dump on the character of Dr. Loomis. Malcolm McDowell plays him well but the character arc is disappointing and predictable. There’s also cameo appearance by Weird Al and Chris Hardwick. I understand that Hardwick is chummy with Rob Zombie and I love both Hardwick and Weird Al, but seeing them in cameos as themselves in scenes played for comedy is pretty low on a hypothetical list of things I want to see in an effective horror movie.

By the end of Halloween II, I was glad it was over and when I went to dig into the special features on the disc, I became angry that I couldn’t just shelf the movie and never look back.

2.0/10

Wait for Netflix Disc – Worth seeing, but you’ll survive waiting a couple days for the mail.

Features

Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Rob Zombie – In the interest of time (and, let’s be real, my sanity), I didn’t watch the commentary track. Like the first movie, Zombie is solo on the track and I’m sure he has a lot of things to say about the production. I’ve heard he addresses the White Horse issue but I can’t be bothered to hear his explanation.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes – Deleted and Alternate Scenes from the movie.

Audition Footage – Audition footage from the movie.

Make-Up Test Footage – Hey, here’s some make-up test footage.

Blooper Reel – Another blooper reel.

Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures Music Videos – Music videos.

Uncle Seymour Coffins’ Stand-Up Routines – Stand-Up.

MovieIQ – The disc comes with an interactive MovieIQ feature that lets you look up information about the movie while it plays. Requires an Internet connection.

halloween

Disc 15 – Bonus Disc 

Features

Halloween – The Extended Version in HD – This is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, the movie is in HD, but the scenes shot for the TV version are in standard definition.

Halloween Unmasked 2000 – Covers a lot of information that appears elsewhere in the set, but it’s still worth checking out.

The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut – Archival making of featurette about Halloween 4.

The Making of Halloween 4 – Newly and highly extensive look at Halloween 4, produced by Scream Factory.

Inside Halloween 5 – An archival featurette about Halloween 5.

The Making of Halloween 5 – Another new Scream Factory produced documentary with a highly extensive look at Halloween 5.

Interview with Producer Moustapha Akkad – Brief (1 minute) archival interview with Moustapha Akkad.

Interview with make-up effects artist Tom Burman on Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Make-up Effects Artist Tom Burman talks about Season of the Witch.

Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – If you’re a fan of Sean Clark and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds, you’ll love this. Here are full episodes of HHG examining the locations of Halloweens 4, 5 and 6. As well as a look at the original movie’s locations/HHG pilot episode and a shorter “Fan Edition: Bus Tour” segment.

TV Spots: Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009) – Promotional materials.

Radio Spots: Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Promotional materials.

Still Galleries: Halloween, Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 – Promotional materials.

Conclusion

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I spent my entire October diving into this collection and still didn’t get to some things. Watching the franchise as a whole really exposes the wild inconsistencies and retconning that went into each chapter of the franchise. But the special features are plentiful and candid.

I got a lot of enjoyment out of rewatching these movies and relished having so much content hold my interest. If you’re a fan of the franchise, I highly recommend owning this collection.

Be sure to check out my Alien Anthology Blu-Ray set review from last year by clicking the image below…

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