Published Oct 30, 2013Much like the 25th anniversary release and the 30th anniversary release, this particular digital incarnation of John Carpenter's much ballyhooed independent slasher film, Halloween, is defined primarily by its additional content. Chiefly, the HD transfer supervised by the original cinematographer and cleaned-up Dolby TrueHD Original mono sound give this Blu-Ray edition a slight edge over the previous one.
There's also a new commentary track with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, who discuss, primarily, the order of shooting, sharing anecdotes and waxing nostalgic about the production and the collaborative nature of it all. It provides slightly more insight into the original film than the other new supplemental inclusion: "The Night She Came Home." On this one, Jamie Lee Curtis does her first-ever fan fair autograph signing sessions, donating the proceeds to charity. Ever the consummate professional, she maintains grace and enthusiasm for the duration, ensuring fans of the series get their time with the "scream queen" without feeling at all patronized for their externalized manifestation of modern avoidance.
Though these new features are moderately intriguing within the context of a Halloween Blu-Ray, they aren't exactly the sort of things that add enough to the experience to justify replacing earlier editions. Plus: the 30th anniversary edition, although entirely piecemeal, featured DVD copies of Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 in a box set that randomly featured a mini-Michael Myers (or Captain Kirk) mask. This release, despite having a sleek book cover and a small, poorly written write-up included in the set, is just a simple Blu-Ray. It does, however, have the "Halloween: 25 Years of Terror" on location supplement included with previous sets, just like it has the mostly banal additional television footage also included with earlier releases, making it a solid selection for anyone that doesn't already own Halloween on Blu-Ray.
As for the film, wherein a boy kills his sister, grows up in an insane asylum and escapes just before Halloween, murdering a bunch of sinning, sexually active, pot-smoking teenagers, its merits are well-documented. It originated the slasher genre and broke ground on the independent film front, making back far more than it cost and establishing an unnerving sense of cinematic tension within the horror lexicon. It also demonstrated the talents of independent cult filmmaker John Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who, incidentally, didn't actually leap right into stardom after the film, having to take roles on television with her mom (Janet Leigh) and accepting secondary parts in B-movies before landing starring gigs.
The footprints of Halloween can be seen throughout the slasher genre, leading up to the self-conscious satire of the Scream franchise and beyond to the postmodern return to form. Regardless of its clumsy dialogue and obvious budgetary limitations, this morally certain admonitory (women: look after your children) has an indisputable place in cinematic history, being essential viewing for anyone looking to understand the history of genre cinema and independent film. (Anchor Bay)