Customer Reviews: Halloween
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on July 29, 2008
Halloween. What a perfect title for a Horror movie. It's hard to believe back in 1977 that there had never been any movie, let alone a Horror film, that incorporated that title. And what good usage it got. Written, directed, and even musically scored by John Carpenter (with great assistance by then girlfriend Debra Hill), this was truly a film that brought Horror to it's roots, leaving an impact that only George Romero's Night Of The Living Dead did ten years earlier. Showcasing a deranged killer by the name of Michael Myers who in childhood murdered his sister in cold blood on Halloween night, only to escape his asylum to return to his Illinois home to hunt down babysitter (and eventually known little sister) Jamie Lee Curtis 15 years later, was truly an amazing film that never exploited the genre, keeping the imagination and terror flowing within the viewers mind rather than blatantly on the screen. For it's time it was the number one profitable independent film ever made, and after almost thirty years, it still terrifies and never grows old. A true classic film. Every single DVD collector should own it....

But which one?

Not in the sense of sequels, but rather in which version of the original should you add to your collection. You see, this film has had the DVD distribution rights by Anchor Bay Entertainment (now known as Starz), and they have re-released this classic now a total of six times. So I would like to compare the two most popular versions to see which one should be for you, the "Restored" or the "25th Anniversary"

Starting with the "Restored" version, this DVD was authored way back in 1999. However, it was personally restored by Halloween original cinematographer Dean Cundey, trying to preserve as much of the look of it's original theatrical run. This version has been released a whopping three times. But for the film's "25th (2003) Anniversary", Anchor Bay remastered the film yet again for another release "Halloween 25", this time taking the remastering process in their own hands, something of which Cundey was not happy with. You see, comparing the two's video, you'll notice that each are different. One point is brightness and sharpness. In the Cundey version, overall picture is dark and not as sharp while for 25 the white levels have been raised and it's overall color saturation has been lowered. To me, while the original with it's dark blue hue running throughout looks good, at times it's hard to see certain shots in the dark. The 25th version has fixed that, even going as far as making the film look more natural. As for sharpness, the 25th beats it by far. Audio wise, each film seems on the same level, so a tie there, but it's the video that should be considered when purchasing: the Cundey-more true to the original film/the 25-a sharper, more realistic picture.

Next would be the use of the disc space. Restored is one of those discs that wanted to cater to the early 2000's audiences of giving them both a widescreen and a fullframe on the same disc. Because of this, the bitrate is pretty small for both presentations. However, the 25th is a 2 disc set that only offers on Disc One the Widescreen presentation, and it's Divimax as well. But to be honest, it's bitrate isn't up to say Superbit quality. It's better, but with a total of four audio tracks to choose from, the entire dual layer disc is only used by 75%, and that other 25 could have went to more video bitrate, but alas it's not. But to me, the bitrate still is higher on the 25, not to mention it's compression is four years younger than Restored, so 25 wins again.

Finally is Extras, Restored has a 30 minute documentary called Halloween Unmasked 2000, narrated by Twisted Sister's Dee Snider. Why is he on here than just being a popular fan, beats me. But on 25's second disc is a whopping 87 minute documentary called A Cut Above The Rest which expands on the original and gives much greater detail on the film. 25 also includes another ten minute featurette called On Location, going back to view all the houses and such that were used in the film that Restored does not include either. And if that wasn't enough, 25 has the original Laserdisc commentary by John Carpenter with additional vocals with Jamie Lee Curtis and Debra Hill. This might be the best extra 25 has over Restored, because it's got to be one of the most personal commentaries I've ever heard. Carpenter doesn't hold anything back, a must listen. And sure, both have the same trailers, TV Spots, and such, but again to me 25th Anniversary wins this one too.

But the main reason why I'm writing all this is because back in 2007, Anchor Bay decided to stop releasing the 25th Anniversary and instead re-issue the Restored version. Why, I'm not sure. Dean Cundey was never happy with 25, and maybe his name on the back of Restored's box was a selling-point, I don't know. Maybe the 25's cover was confusing buyers because it looks a little like sequel H20's version? But I do know for your money, the 25th Anniversary is still the best way to go. What's sad is to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the classic film, Anchor Bay is yet again double-dipping it's audience by releasing a six disc collection featuring Parts 1, 4, 5, the NBC-TV edit, the 25 Years Of Terror special and a Blu-Ray version of the original. But again, both the DVD and Blu-Ray (BD version rumored to be a video-hybrid of both) are from the 1999 Cundey master (but the Blu does have the Cut Above special and commentary too). It would have been nice if the DVD was the 25 so fans could have both versions, but no, 25th Anniversary seems lost now.

In conclusion, if you want the best overall 1978 Halloween package, go with the 2003 25th Anniversary Edition. More extras, a more realistic picture, and a commentary to die for. Ratings-wise then from me is:

Restored: (8.5/10)
25th Anniversary: (9.5/10)

Thanks for reading,
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on October 9, 2001
This new, Extended version of Halloween is something no fan should be without! 12 minutes of additional footage (4 scenes) has been put into the original version, and the result is awesome. These scenes were not deleted. They were really shot in 1980, when the film was released on cut TV. The scenes were shot using the cast and crew of Halloween II (another must see!) and directed by John Carpenter, himself. These scenes include:

#1 A very well made scene where Dr. Loomis (Doneld Pleasance) has an intense conversation with two sanitarium officials. He begs that they move Myers to a maximum security ward, saying that the boy is dangerous and has an instinctive forsce within him. The officials are unimpressed by what Loomis says, and simply keep Myers in the minimum security ward.

#2 A scene directly following the previous added scene. Loomis walks into young Michael's cell. For about 1 minute he simply stares at the boy, who stares out the window. Loomis then says "You've fooled them, haven't you Michael? But not me!"

#3 This scene is after Myers escape. Loomis walks with a nurse into Michael's room, which is completely trashed. The nurse shows him that the word "Sister" is carved in the door. (If you've seen Halloween II, then you know what this means).

#4 This final additional scene is my personal favorite. In this scene we get a bit more of Jamie Lee Curtis, a bit more of PJ Soles, and a bit more of Nancy Kyes/Loomis. Lynda (Soles) comes over to Laurie's (Curtis) house, and they have some girl chat. Then, Annie (Kyes/Loomis) calls and asks (unsuccesfully) if she can borrow some of Laurie's clothes.

I really love this new version of Halloween. It just feels more complete. I know that these scenes WERE NOT in the original version, but it's way better off with them in there. John Carpenter has said he hates these scenes (as some other reviewers may tell you) but that is HIS opinioun. I love these scenes. They make the movie make a bit more sense. For example, the scene wher Loomis fights with the officials really shows how hard he tried to get them to move Michael. Later on he talks about how much he tried to get them to move him, and this added scene shows you how right he is. The scene with "Sister" really helped connect this to the 2nd (making a great double feature). And the scene with Lynda, Annie and Laurie shows a bit more of their personal lives. Awesome. This version was only available on either the two tape Special VHS editions (where they were AFTER the movie) and on the THX Two Disk Anchor Bay Limited Edition (which is 150 bucks to buy on Amazon used!). I tried really hard to find that two disk limited edition, but I was to late. So this here DVD is like a dream come true. Thank you Anchor Bay! I suggest (unless you have the two disk version) that you buy one now, before it, too, goes out of stock!

Halloween is Rated R for Small Violence, Brief Nudity, and brief Language. The new scenes contain nothing to offend parents who were OK with their kids watching the other version.

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on March 21, 2002
The original Halloween is one of the greatest horror movies of all time and my personal favorite. Even though I've seen it numerous times I can't get enough. On Halloween night in 1963, six year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his sister in the small town of Haddonfield Illinois. Now, 15 years later, he has escaped from a mental institution to reek havoc amongst the trick or treaters. Jaime Lee Curtis stars in her first role as Laurie Strode and is pursued by Michael Myers throughout the entire movie. Donald Pleasance plays Dr. Sam Loomis (Michael Myers doctor) and warns Haddonfield Police of Michael's return. Hesitant to believe the wild accusation Dr. Loomis must hunt Michael down before he can do anymore harm. Halloween will scare and delight you at the same time. The music score for Halloween is still creepy almost 25 years later and is synonymous with the movie. If you only see one horror movie in your lifetime, see this absolute classic, Halloween.
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on July 18, 2003
Another milestone or anniversary, another re-packaged film. One wonders how many more times this 1978 classic will be released onto the public. If they keep making the DVD treatment with great special features like this one, then more the merrier. What could they possibly do with another re-issue?. Outdo themselves. That's what. This is a great 25th anniversary edition of the film with special features that every hardcore fan will devour. As a fan who has three different versions of this film, I can't wait for this. This edition features the film looking and sounding incredible, but what really makes it is the extras. As usual, there are radio spots, trailers, bios, and a still gallery. What makes it fantastic is that there is audio commentary from writer/director John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and producer/writer Debra Hill. There is an all new 87 minute documentary with interviews with Carpenter, Curtis, Hill, and dozens more. There is also a 10 minute special with Hill and actress P.J. Soles(Lynda) re-visiting the original Myers house used in the film. Plus there is a 16 page booklet!!. How can any fan refuse?!. You can't. Apparently, the one star review below doesn't know what's going on. I've seen the TV version and it definitley wasn't 104 minutes. 13 extra minutes?. I doubt if the deleted scenes totaled 10 minutes. Anyways, this is a great set with plenty of new stuff to offer. The story takes place in a quaint little town of Haddonfield, Illinois. 6 year old Michael Myers brutally murdered his sister in 1963, and was then sent to a mental institution. While there, he was observed by Dr. Sam Loomis(Donald Pleasence). 15 years later, in 1978, Michael manages to escape the place and head back to his hometown to reak terror and vengeance upon the unknowing little town. Loomis, with the help of the town sheriff, Sheriff Brackett(Charles Cyphers), tries to track down the cold blooded killer before a body count happens. Enter virginal Laurie Strode(Jamie Lee Curtis). She is the unlucky target, as Michael stalks her and two friends Annie(Nancy Loomis), and Lynda(P.J. Soles), while they are babysitting across the street from each other on Halloween night. This was supposed to be a creepy, scary, suspenseful film, and that's exactly what it is. No gore or blood and guts. It's a very simple, basic movie that tells a very simple, basic story, and is done in a very basic, simple way. If only future sequels were made that way. What makes it even more chilling is how real it is. It takes place in a nice little town, in a charming, family type neighborhood. It shows that this kind of thing can happen to anyone anywhere. The realisticness of the film and characters lost some credibility in later films, but this one is what's out there in the real world. Scary to think. Curtis is wonderful as Laurie. She gets the shy, awkward, gawky thing down pat. She makes Laurie a real fleshed out person, instead of just another pretty face actress trying to seem innocent and pure when we know she isn't. Pleasence is teriffic. Loomis is a classic screen character that gets even madder as the films go on. Carpenter knows how to scare us. What's so amazing about it is how easy it is to do it, and how easy it was for him to accomplish it. While other films try too hard and create ridiculous circumstances with gore and effects to try to scare you, this one just relies on what is real. What could be outside your door, or under your bed. This is one of the scariest movies ever. The theme, also done by Carpenter, is another classic. All in all, "Halloween" is a monumental film classic that should be cherished by all. This special new edition is chalked full of nothing but goodies and every fan should rush out to get it when it is available. Happy trick or treating.
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on June 27, 2001
It began innocently enough: My grandmother and I renting a movie when I spent the night at her house. We watched in silence as creepy, staccato piano music filled the room, and a glowing jack-o-lantern appeared in the darkness. From then on horror had a new face and a new name.
"Halloween" is truly the scariest movie of all time. The premise is chillingly simple: Fifteen years after murdering his sister, a souless, masked maniac returns to his hometown on Halloween, relentlessly pursuing three teenage babysitters, while being trailed by his own obsessive psychiatrist.
That's it. No complex plot twists. No excessive blood-letting. No big-name stars. Just a babysitter going up against evil incarnate.
Everything about this movie is excellent. From the taut, concise screenplay by director John Carpenter and producer Debra Hill, to the fantastic performances of Donald Pleasance as Dr. Loomis and Jamie Lee Curtis (in her star-making role) as the virginal, babysitting heroine Laurie Strode. From Carpenter's chillingly simple music score--reflecting the simplicity of the film itself--to the creepy atmosphere and excellent use of widescreen framing.
The last 92 minutes of this film are the most frightening of all time. (NO JOKE!!)
The film is less of a viewing experience, and more of a nightmare that you can't wake up from. Echoes of Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho" and Bob Clark's "Black Christmas" can be found--but "Halloween" stands on its own: terror as simple as its title.
If you have never seen this film, rush out and buy it (but make sure you see in in widescreen). Then sit back, turn down the lights, and turn up the volume. This film, although over 20 years old, still has the original, effective power to make you scream out loud. So, skip all the lame rip-offs, and go only for the terrifying original.
From its opening murder scene to the final confrontation between babysitter Laurie Strode and unstoppable boogeyman Michael Myers, you will find that this film will never leave your memory. You'll be sleeping with the lights on for weeks. Nowhere can you find a film as simple or as frightening as "Halloween". Once you reach the end of the movie you will realize that there are no happy endings, and that evil never dies. Neither will "HALLOWEEN"...
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on August 1, 2008
On October 14th Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment will release a Halloween 30th anniversary edition of the film. I, for one, being a longtime Halloween enthusiast, haven't been this dissapointed since Rob Zombie got to cash in on and destroy this classic film with one of the worst renditions ever made.

Again, and in typical Anchor Bay fashion, consumers are being offered the same Halloween product in a new package. Look closely, every single DVD disc included in this set has been a prior release from Anchor Bay.

Even the Blu-Ray disc has been out for months. This is disgraceful and Halloween fans deserve better.

The original Halloween was released thirty years ago, so why is Anchor Bay releasing Halloween 4 and 5 with this set? They were filmed in the late 80's. The answer is greed and laziness. Anchor Bay is jumbling every Halloween release they've ever produced into one pathetic boxset in order to cash in yet again.

This has to be the laziest attempt at a Halloween special edition ever. Thirty years of triumph deserves so much better and this company is just slapping together a lame Halloween boxset at the last minute and calling it a thirty year editon.

Even the Micael Myers mask included in this set is cheap and has been available for years at any local Spencer's gift shop. It has no resemblance to the original mask what-so-ever. Nothing in this boxset is worth spending money on.

This was the perfect opportunity for Anchor Bay to release some of the "lost Halloween footage" found a few years ago burried in boxes. All of John Carpenter's Halloween footage that was not used in the movie was found and Halloween fans have been long awaiting to see just a few frames from this holy grail of unused film stock.

Will any of this footage be available on this boxset? Nope. Just the same tired releases from a company that doesn't know how to show this classic film the proper respect it deserves.
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on October 12, 2007
Having been into AV and home movie watching since VHS arrived, I have to tell you that Blu technology for PQ and SQ is what all of us long time enthusiasts have been waiting for. Halloween on BD is once again lending me to say that this is the first time I have really seen this movie. Even though I saw it in the theater in 1978, owned on VHS and DVD. The innocent and very eerie musical score by John Carpenter matches his more subtle directorial and far more powerfully effective psychological techniques of using dark scenes, shadows, subjective angles and facial reaction close-ups to deliver a timeless classic and new Horror Genre. Halloween started it's own genre which was copied but never equaled by such slasher flicks as the Friday the Thirteenth 1 thru 87 movies. Freddy and Jason were good in their time and are still entertaining, but these movies do not command the timeless attraction and longevity that Halloween always has had and will in the future. PQ is absolutely Stunning. Colors are natural, beautiful, Blacks are as solid and grain free (as is the entire movie) as you will ever see. This is one 10+ superb and suprising transfer. PQ was so impressive in this new PCM re-mix of 5.1. I could go on and on about the sound, but would rather have you experience it for yourself. PQ is also a 10+. Especially for a movie made on a 300K budget with probably only stereo mix (2 channels) in 1978. Bottom line is this: If you like this movie even half way, the blu experience ups it 10 fold. If you have never seen it and like well made suspense films, this is a must! Happy Halloween!
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on July 21, 2008
I found the information below online and figured I'd pass it along. There have been a ton of versions of Halloween released so I'm up in the air on this one but it does seem like a decent set and if the price seems too much consider that the hard to find extended edition which is (included in this set)on Amazon brand new is going for $109 and it's the only brand new copy, Halloween : Extended Edition.

You can bring back Michael Myers (and his mask) back to DVD this October. Halloween is coming to DVD in a 30th Anniversary edition set on October 7. This six-disc set will be priced at $89.97 SRP and includes a lot more than just movies.

The set will include the extended edition of Halloween, which has been out of print for many years, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5, Halloween 25 Years Of Terror documentary, plus the Blu-Ray version of Halloween and a special collectable Michael Myers mask. No special features on theses discs have been released yet. I'll add once I see them.
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on February 7, 2005
This is my favorite movie first of all. I am a huge Halloween fan. This movie took only 3 1/2 weeks in March to make and when it opened up in October of 1978 in made about 40 million dollars. Talk about a huge profit then.

The movie is not bloody but scary. The way the camera moves you feel like you are actually there and the music combined is very chilling too. John Carpenter did a brilliant job directing this movie. Michael Myers is Dr. Sam Loomis' patient played very well by Donald Pleasance. Dr. Loomis tries to help Michael for 7 years after he brutally stabbed one of his family members when he was only 6. But after 8 more years he sees no hope and wants to lock him up for good and will do anything to do so. But Michael some how escapes from the mental institution and goes back home to Haddonfield.

This is Jamie Lee Curtis first movie role and she was perfectly cast as the innocent yet spooked Laurie Strode. Michael slowly start to stalk Laurie, Linda, and Nancy after Laurie drops something off at Michael's house. You can hear his heavy breathing throughout the film and its just plain eerie. The white mask he wears even made me more afraid. It is actually the William Shatner mask that is used in the movie.

The movie gets really suspenseful when day turns to night and Laurie and her girfriend Nancy both have to babysit. Both houses are across from each other. The atmosphere of a dark, windy, fall night makes the movie even scarier. Michael will kill anyone that gets in his way. There are many scenes when you see Michael stalking each victim which is extremely well done with the camera usage again. I will not give the rest of it away because the movie is just so good!!! I highley recommend this if you want to get really scared!!! There is also 12 minutes of extra footage included in the movie that was used when it aired on TV. The extra footage has Donald Pleasance in some very interesting scenes that were deleted in the theatrical version. It goes more into depth as to what the real evil is that is living inside of Micheal Myers.
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on October 13, 2003
In 1978, the world was introduced to a movie that has become a cornerstone in the horror genre. Independent filmmakers John Carpenter and Debra Hill, largely unknown at the time, shot a movie that would become one of the top money-making horror films of all time on a budget of just over $300,000.00. They hired a cast of unknowns, drawing on talent that would become some of the top names in Hollywood. They set out to make a simple film, about a group of teenagers being stalked by a serial killer, and what was born was a movie that has challenged all other films of its genre-Halloween.
Set in the small town of Haddenfield, Illinois, it is the story of Michael Myers, a boy who murders his sister on Halloween night in 1963. Incarserated within the confines of the mental institution Smiths Grove, he is treated by Dr. Loomis (played by Donald Pleasance) until he can stand trial as an adult for the criminal activities of that fateful night.
Fifteen years pass, and Myers is now grown. Loomis is assigned the duty of transporting Myers back to Haddenfield for his criminal hearing. On the eve of halloween, and badgered by a horrendous thunderstorm, Loomis travels the final distance to the gates of the institution with the aid of a nurse who has been assigned to him. Upon their arrival, they discover that the inmates have been set free to wonder about the confines of the sanitarium. Loomis, who has long since grown to believe that Michael Myers in the embodiment of pure evil, rushes to the gaurd post at the front gate. In his absence, Myers overtakes the nurse and steals the car.
Loomis cries out "He's gone..the evil has gone..."
And so begins Halloween.
The balance of the story takes place in Haddonfield, where a group of unsuspecting teens will have a fatal encounter with Michael Myers. Leading the cast is Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of veteran actress Janet Leigh (of "Psycho" fame), who plays Laurie Strode, a high-school student who begins seeing "The Shape", a non-descript man dressed in a blue coverall, wearing a white mask. She sees him again and again, through the classroom window at school, in her backyard, behind bushes.
For the majority of horror fans who have seen this film, I need go no further. For those of you who haven't, I should go no further, for the film is definitely more than the narrative I began above. It is a story that touches on the psychological truths that our society seems to function on. Whats more, it is a film that touches at our primal fears.
Unlike so many films in this genre, Halloween is genuinely frightening, not because of its use of graphic gore, or visually stunning effects (there really aren't any in this film) but because it plays on the things that scare us most. Whats more, Carpenter uses carefully placed light and shadow to really enhance the experience of his film. His soundtrack also underscores the film as a whole, bringing it to a level and intensity that keep viewers on the edge of their seats.
Carpenter went on to film two additional films in the franchise, the much more commercial Halloween II and Halloween III:Season of the Witch (the third installment having nothing to do with the Myer storyline). The Halloween franchise itself has given birth to a total of seven sequels, including the largely popular Halloween H20, in which Jamie Lee Curtis reprised the role of Laurie Strode. Still, it is this original film, a small budget, independent movie that was shot in the early spring (yes, leaves were brought in and scattered about to simulate the fall season) that has become a staple that is synonymous with the holiday which the movie was named after.
If you have reservations about this film, set them aside and watch it...but watch it with the lights on, because Michael Myers might be there, in the shadows, waiting. Halloween-the Night He Came Home-is worth the time and money. It is the film that really re-defined the horror/slasher genre, and it is the one film that really rises above the rest, setting a standard that no film that followed has ever matched.
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