Customer Review

on May 6, 2004
1978's "Halloween" never seems to grow old, or stale, or tiresome, or "dated" .... no matter how many October 31st viewings you are subjected to. I'd call it a "fine wine of cinema" -- it seems to get better each year. (This is possibly due to the fact that very few films of equal stature, within the "horror" genre, have been released since "Halloween's" debut in October 1978.)

Director-Writer John Carpenter was able to make "Halloween" on the shoe-string budget of only $320,000. The film has since grossed approximately 175 times that figure -- earning more than 55 million dollars worldwide since its 1978 original release! Talk about a great return on your investment! Amazing indeed.

There have been seemingly a million imitations and carbon copies of this low-budget thriller, but not many (if any at all) can prey on a viewer's fears and anxieties the way this motion picture can do. And none of the subsequent slice-and-dice, teenager-laden imitators and sequels can hold a candle to the incredible music score that John Carpenter came up with for the original "Halloween".

Is it possible *not* to get a few chills upon hearing that music start up? It's such an amazingly-simple composition by Carpenter; and yet so incredibly effective. That music MAKES this movie THIS good.

"Halloween" has many memorable moments that evoke chills and a few shivers, even after repeated viewings -- such as:

>> Loomis' (Donald Pleasence) creepy description of Michael Myers' "evil" black eyes. ....

>> Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) looking out her schoolhouse window and seeing Michael for the first time, just standing there, creepy as all get out just by doing nothing but standing by the station wagon and staring at Laurie (ooohhh, what a shiver-inducing scene it is!). ....

>> Loomis discovering the headstone missing in the cemetery. Followed by his appropriate line of dialogue: "He's come home." ....

>> The Myers-driven car popping up in view behind Laurie & friend while they are driving. ....

>> Michael's "head turn" toward Laurie at the end of the film. (Now just WHY Laurie hasn't headed for the hills and away from that house at this point is another matter. Why she is sitting there, crying, with her back to her attacker is anyone's guess. But, it's good for the script at any rate.) ....

>> Is he or isn't he behind that hedge?? ....

>> Loomis spies the abandoned station wagon parked on a dark street. And then, implacably, that music starts yet again. Carpenter's constant use of that eerie musical score was a stroke of horror genius, in my opinion. Each time we hear it, an inevitable feeling of unease is certain to follow. ....

>> And my very favorite "creepy" moment -- the stormy, rain-soaked scene where Loomis (and a female assistant) first drive up to Michael's "institution". The nurse with Loomis says, "Since when do they let them walk around?" Then Director Carpenter cranks up that music. A standout and unsettling moment.

I don't even mention any of the killings here, because (IMO) the "anticipation" of the evil-doings to come is much more unsettling and scary than the actual killings themselves.

"Halloween" was filmed in the nice, wide aspect ratio of 2.35:1; and that's how we see it on this DVD. Disc # 1 contains the movie only, in enhanced Anamorphic 2.35:1 Widescreen, and three different soundtrack choices (four if you count the one Commentary Track). You can listen to the film in Dolby Digital 5.1, 2-Channel Dolby Surround, or 2.0 Dolby Digital Mono. The fourth track available is the Audio Commentary, featuring three participants: Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter, and Producer Debra Hill.

In addition to the 3-person Commentary Track, this 2-Disc Anniversary Edition includes many other excellent bonus features (all located on Disc # 2), including the comprehensive, feature-length, 87-minute behind-the-movie documentary called "Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest". This stellar bonus documentary is very nearly as long as the movie itself (with the movie clocking in at 91 minutes).

Another mini-featurette is included --- "On Location: 25 Years Later" (length: 10.5 minutes).

Other extras include ..... 1 Theatrical Trailer; 2 TV Spots; 2 Radio Spots; An extensive "Poster & Still Gallery"; 3 detailed text-only "Talent Bios" (on Director John Carpenter and stars Jamie Lee Curtis and Donald Pleasence); and some DVD-ROM features for your computer -- the complete screenplay and 2 screen-savers.

An impressive array of features here (IMO). And all of this bonus material has been "enhanced" for widescreen monitors (anamorphic), which is always kind of nice. This includes even the Menu screens, which seem (to my eyes) to be anamorphic as well. So there's no need to constantly switch ratio settings on your TV from one bonus item to the next.

The "Cut Above The Rest" documentary even has multiple soundtracks to choose from -- Dolby 5.1 and Dolby 2.0 Surround. This extra is not broken into multiple "chapters", however.

There's also a high-quality 16-page booklet included in this package, which is packed with a good deal of information about the making of the film, a chapter list, and some good-looking photos. This is one of the more impressive "paper enclosures" you're likely to find with any DVD release.

There have been several different DVD versions of this ultra-creepy horror classic to hit the home video market, with this two-disc 25th Anniversary Edition (released originally by Anchor Bay Entertainment on August 5, 2003) being my favorite -- so far anyway. :-)
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