John Carpenter’s Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray

 

One of my fave John Carpenter films (see my revisit here) gets a gorgeous blu-ray treatment from Anchor Bay in time for its 35th Anniversary!

With a HD transfer supervised by the film’s cinematographer Dean Cundey, who whether you know the name or not, has probably been responsible for the way some of your favorite films look – he’s had a long and succesful relationship with Steven Spielberg, the film has never looked better, the detail and the sharpness of the image is fantastic. The colours are sharp and beautiful, the shadows and the dark, so important in this film, are solid – the iconic images from this film simply pop off the screen.

I hadn’t watched this one since my review for the 101 Horror Films, so it was nice to settle back in and watch the story of Michael Myers (Nick Castle), Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Doctor Loomis (Donald Pleasance) unfold on my screen. 35 years, this film still works.

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The disc is kitted out with some fun extras, and it can never be underestimated how much I love having a film’s trailer to watch and set the mood before I watch the movie proper – there are also some classic tv and radio spots, wow has the way we advertise movies changed!

Also included is a featurette from the 25th anniversary edition, that revists the locations used in the film, and it’s amazing how little they’ve changed as well as a 10 minute compilation of the scenes that were cut into the film for its television broadcast.

Two new features have been added to this edition, there’s a fun little documentary that follows Jamie Lee on her first, and by her own admission, probably only, convention appearance. Raising money for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, she spends a weekend at a HorrorHound convention, in one of the most organized queue lines I have ever seen in a convention, and she personalized everything she signed, and was doing over 500 autographs, as well as photo-ops each day. People, as they do for conventions, came from all over, and Jamie Lee proved to be gracious and friendly with each one of them. It’s fun seeing her interact with fans, and seeing the amount of love they have for her, and she them.

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The highlight of this blu-ray edition, for me at least, was an all new commentary with Jamie Lee and John Carpenter. As the film plays, the two share anecdotes about the making of the film, chit chat, and Jamie Lee, not a huge fan of horror movies, constantly points out things that creep her out, as well as a continuity error with a door. This one is a lot of fun, and it sounds like they both had a good time catching up with each other and the film.

One of the things Jamie Lee does point out during the commentary, and I totally agree, is that the film takes its time, it doesn’t rush into anything, it lets the film build on a slow boil until the third act simply explodes. She says, quite rightly, that films aren’t made that way anymore, the film lingers on shots, setting the atmosphere, and drawing things out, and building the tension.

That just doesn’t seem to happen anymore. It’s all so rushed. As a possible exception would be Ti West’s films The Innkeepers and The House of The Devil, where the atmosphere just keeps building until the final act.

If you’ve never seen John Carpenter’s Halloween, do yourself a favor and pick up this beautifully transferred blu-ray, make some popcorn, turn off the lights, settle onto the couch and enjoy the night that He came home!

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