If there is one slasher horror film that all other owe allegiance to, it is undoubtedly John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece; Halloween. Made for a modest $325,000 at the time, the fright flick grew into the most iconic and successful independent film of all-time and is responsible for creating a legendary cinematic monster with the white-masked killer, Michael Myers.
Mostly everyone knows the story by now, but just in case, Halloween is the story of an escaped mental patient named Michael Myers, who many years earlier killed his sister on Halloween night. Intent on once again shedding blood on the holiday evening, Myers stalks a group of babysitters as his intended targets, including Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis). Hot on Michael’s heels is his psychologist Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance), whom is frantically trying to warn the authorities of Michael’s home town Haddonfield, Illinois that he is returning with a vengeance.
Director John Carpenter crafted one of best horror films of all-time to capture the golden age of the genre, through his shadowy imagery, anxiety-driven music score and simplistic storyline. Halloween is straight and uncomplicated on plot, but its highly effective and as a result a great suspenseful experience. Michael stalks his prey with slow efficiency, making the actual murders all the more effective when they happen.
The film is amazingly now 35 years old and to mark the occasion, a new HD anniversary Blu-ray edition is released by Anchor Bay Entertainment on September 24, 2013. Halloween has received countless releases over the years on DVD and was the recipient of a 30th anniversary edition in 2008 in which the film first appeared on Blu-ray.
This edition receives a number of upgrades in an effort to top its previous Blu-ray disc and for the most part it succeeds. Halloween‘s first appearance on Blu-ray was a phenomenal image enhancement over its standard look and this edition essentially repeats that quality, even though its new remastered transfer on this disc is supervised by cinematographer Dean Cundey. Regardless, the movie looks just as good as it did before, which is still the best ever.
The audio mix this time out expands to a Dolby Digital TrueHD 7.1 mix that really gives Halloween a push in the sound department. The music, dialogue and sound effects are executed with precision in a wide audible experience around the room. It may not contain the glossy polish of modern day films, but it matches the content perfectly.
The new edition is equipped with two new and very significant special features. Over the years, Jaime Lee Curtis’ presence on any bonus material has been pretty scarce with each digital release. But this new edition contains a brand new, present-day audio commentary featuring Curtis and Carpenter reflecting on the film. The track is a great listen as Curtis gets giddy over seeing the film again and the two compliment each other’s efforts. Some great insight over the sequel’s creation emerges between the two as well.
Jaime is also the focus of a new featurette called “The Night She Came Home’ which tracks the actress making a special fundraising horror show appearance for legions of horror fans (an effort she normally doesn’t do). In the featurette, Curtis interestingly reveals why her involvement in the horror genre has been minimal over the years but the segment can get dry after awhile as it mostly contains highlights of fans getting autographs and pictures.
Making return appearances are ported-over material like the “On Location: 25 Years Later” (which revisits the shooting location with actress P.J. Soles) featurette, the inserted scenes from the TV version (each with some character value), as well as trailers and TV spots. The disc also comes in a sleek black book-style case, with pages of insightful production info.
Even though its only been five years since Halloween was put on Blu-ray initially, this new 35th anniversary edition is a fairly solid upgrade for fans, who get more out of the film in the sound department and some new bonus content that features a key player in the franchise that up to this point, had not been a retrospective presence. You still can’t go wrong with the film, as it stands as one of the essential horror classics ever made.