Halloween (Blu-ray)

January 28, 2012 8 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Fifteen years ago, a young Michael Myers murdered his older sister on Halloween night, and has been locked up in a mental institution ever since. The tale of the young Myers is well known, but has pretty much become part of the legend of the town, as if it never really happened. After spending all those years inside the mental institution, Myers makes his escape, and he has plans to return home, to Haddonfield, Illinois, the small town where he first killed. Meanwhile in Haddonfield, a group of friends is making their plans for Halloween night, among them is Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), a girl more innocent than her advanced friends. When Myers arrives in town, he follows Laurie around, and Laurie seems to catch a glimpse of him, but never really sees him for long. Myers slowly starts to slash Laurie’s friends into a bloody mess, seemingly working his way toward her. As more and more bodies turn up, and Laurie fights to escape from Myers’ grasp, we slowly discover what the connection between the two is, and why’s he come home after fifteen years.

These days, you can’t turn around without seeing some slasher flick, with a crazed killer preying on teens while they’re trying to get their grooves on, but it wasn’t always this way. Before Freddy was invading dreams, before Jason was hacking up campers, and long before those idiots on Scream decided to don that ridiculous costume, there was Michael Myers. For my money, it doesn’t get any scarier than this guy, simply because he doesn’t seem to be supernatural in appearance, but you can tell something isn’t right about the guy. Throw him off the roof? He can handle that. Stab him in the eye with a coat hangar? No problem, he’ll come back. He doesn’t have a scarred face or other marks, but something just seems downright evil about him, aside from the fact he kills people and seems to be invulnerable. As you can tell, this film has had a deep and lasting influence on the horror genre, and I feel it is a must have for fans of the genre. This Blu-ray disc offers a breathtaking new transfer, dynamic new soundtrack, and some great extras, making this the definitive edition of Halloween available.

This film was directed and cowritten by one of the finest American horror directors of all time, John Carpenter. This was only Carpenter’s fourth entry in the motion picture game, and despite budget constraints and other problems, he managed to create one of the most influential horror films of all time. Carpenter uses visuals, atmosphere, and even music to perfection with this film, and it’s easy to see how he achieved so much success in the business. If you like this movie, you’ll certainly want to look up other Carpenter films, especially They Live, Escape From New York, Big Trouble In Little China, In The Mouth Of Madness, The Thing, and The Fog. While this was her first role in a motion picture, Jamie Lee Curtis turned in a tremendous performance, laced with very realistic fear, which was crucial to the film. Curtis (True Lies, Trading Places) gives one of her finest here, in my opinion, and she carries the film, along with good old Mike of course. While he had no spoken lines in the film, Nick Castle played a very important role, that of “The Shape,” or Michael Myers as the stalked Laurie and her friends. His slow, never fast walk and his overall demeanor had an impact on the film, and helped make it so powerful. The supporting cast includes Donald Pleasance (Django Strikes Again, Fatal Frames), P.J. Soles (Jawbreaker, Carrie), Brian Andrews (The Great Santini, Three O’Clock High), and Charles Cyphers (The Onion Field, Death Wish II).

Video: How does it look?

Halloween is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Wow. I’ve seen this movie in theaters, on VHS, on cable, and on DVD, but it has never looked this incredible. This looks like a brand new movie from top to bottom, with a print that beyond pristine, free from even minor signs of age or damage. This is so clean, but the image doesn’t look overprocessed, as detail remains very high and the visuals look natural. The image is crystal clear and so refined, even the smallest of visual details stand out. I could not believe how good this movie looks, fans will be thrilled, to say the least. I don’t care how many different versions of Halloween you’ve owned, this is now the only release that matters.

Audio: How does it sound?

A new soundtrack has also been included, an off the charts PCM 5.1 option. This is a fantastic soundtrack, one that picks up on all the little details and provides an immersive experience. I thought previous releases sounded great, but this track surpasses those without question. The differences aren’t always night & day, but if you have a decent sound system, you will notice an improved overall atmosphere. The music sounds excellent, while the eerie atmosphere is enhanced quite a bit here. No issues arise at all, from the music to the dialogue, it all sounds superb here. This disc also includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 option.

Supplements: What are the extras?

As far as extras, this version doesn’t include all the stuff we’ve seen out there, but it has some goodies. A new fast film facts track is new, loaded with all kinds of anecdotes and fun facts about the production. Back is the audio commentary track with director John Carpenter, producer Debra Hill, and star Jamie Lee Curtis. This track was first found on Criterion’s laserdisc and fans should be thrilled to have it here, as it is a terrific session. A ton of insight is shared in this track, thanks to talkative participants and some excellent editing techniques. The other substantial extra is Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest, an eighty-seven minute retrospective documentary. I love extensive pieces like this, but I have to say, this one has way too many clips from the movie itself. The interviews are worthwhile however, as is the cool behind the scenes material, including video footage and still photos. This release also includes some television spots, radio promotional spots, and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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