Halloween (1978) (Divimax 25th Anniversary Edition)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008 @ 4:19 am | DVD, Halloween

Halloween (1978)
Tagline: The Night HE Came Home!
Released: 1978
Starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Loomis, and P.J. Soles
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill

Format: DVD
Distributed by Starz/Anchor Bay
DVD Release Date: August 5, 2003

Disc 1 Features:
Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16×9 TVs
Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Carpenter, Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, and Producer Debra Hill

Disc 2 Features:
Halloween – A Cut Above The Rest: An all-new 87 minute documentary featuring interviews with Writer/Director John Carpenter, Actors Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nick Castle, Charles Cyphers, Producer Debra Hill, Director of Photography Dean Cundey, Editor & Production Designer Tommy Lee Wallace, Executive Producers Irwin Yablans, Moustapha Akkad and others!
On Location – 25 Years Later: An all-new 10 minute featurette with Actress P.J. Soles and Producer Debra Hill revisiting the original Michael Myers house
Theatrical Trailer
TV Spots
Radio Spots
Poster and Stills Gallery
Talent Bios for John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Donald Pleasence
DVD-ROM: Screenplay
DVD-ROM: Screen Savers

Premise: 25 years ago, director John Carpenter changed the shape of terror forever with the immortal story of babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) and the night that Michael Myers came home. Roger Ebert still proclaims it “superb.” Entertainment Weekly calls it “the granddaddy of teen- slasher flicks, still more primal and frightening than any of the gazillion knock-offs.” 25 years later, Halloween remains one of the greatest horror movies ever made. For this landmark 25th Anniversary Edition, Anchor Bay has created a stunning new high-definition widescreen transfer of the classic film, plus an unprecedented collection of bonus features that will surprise even the most hardcore fans. Celebrate this remarkable milestone in horror history with the ultimate two-disc edition of Halloween like you’ve truly never seen or heard it before!

Plot Breakdown (spoilers): On Halloween night in 1963, six-year-old Michael Audrey Myers (Nick Castle) stabs his seventeen-year-old sister Judith (Sandy Johnson) to death with a large kitchen knife at their home in Haddonfield, Illinois. After his mother and father arrive home and find him in a trance like state, he is immediately sent to Smith’s Grove Warren County Sanitarium in Illinois and placed under the care of child psychiatrist Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence). After years of treatment, Loomis begins to suspect there is more to Myers than meets the eye and plans to have him committed indefinitely after a failed attempt to convince the hospital staff that he needs to be placed in a maximum security facility. Loomis, sensing that a tremendous amount of rage and emotion stir behind Myers’s blank catatonic stare, describes Myers, “…this catatonia is a conscience act…he’s waiting….” Loomis is unsure as to what he is waiting for, but is sure that “it” poses a threat. Upon arriving for his transfer to be prosecuted as an adult in 1978, Myers escapes from Smith’s Grove, steal’s Loomis’s car, and returns to Haddonfield. Loomis knows where he is going and pursues him.

In Haddonfield, Myers, who disguised in a mechanic’s suit and white Halloween mask, stalks teenager Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and some of her friends. Laurie occasionally sees a man in a white mask (Michael Myers) from her classroom window, behind a bush while she walks home, and in the clothesline from her bedroom window.

Later in the evening, Laurie meets her friend Annie Brackett (Nancy Loomis) who is babysitting Lindsey Wallace (Kyle Richards) across the street from where she is babysitting Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews). After arranging to pick up her boyfriend, Annie sends Lindsey to stay with Laurie at the Doyle house but is murdered by Myers (who had followed them). Tommy sees him carrying Annie’s body into the Wallace house and thinks Myers is the Boogeyman. Laurie dismisses the boy’s terror and sends Tommy and Lindsey to bed. Later, Laurie’s other friend Lynda Van Der Klok (P.J. Soles) and Lynda’s boyfriend, Robert “Bob” Simms (John Michael Graham) arrive at the empty Wallace house and are soon murdered by Myers.

Laurie, worrying after receiving a strange phone call from Lynda at the Wallace house, walks across the street and discovers the three bodies and Judith Myers’s missing tombstone. She is soon attacked by Myers, but manages to escape back to the Doyle house. Myers follows, gaining entrance into the Doyle house, where Laurie stabs him in the neck with a knitting needle. Thinking her attacker defeated, Laurie checks on the kids, only to have Myers follow. Laurie, after securing the kids in the upstairs bathroom, hides in a bedroom closet, where Michael eventually finds her. In a desperate attempt to save her life, Laurie stabs Myers in the eye with a clothes hanger, and after he drops his knife, stabs him in the torso with it. Michael collapses, allowing Laurie to instruct the kids to run for help. Shortly after, Loomis, who having been working with Sheriff Leigh Brackett (Charles Cyphers) to locate Myers, spots Tommy and Lindsey running from the Doyle house. As Laurie tries to leave the room, Myers comes from behind and begins strangling her. Loomis, who followed the commotion, finds Myers in the upstairs hallway and rescues Laurie, shooting Myers six times and causing him to fall from the house’s second-story balcony. Upon looking out the window for Myers’s body, however, Loomis discovers that he is nowhere to be found. “Was that the boogeyman,” cries Laurie. Loomis responds, “As a matter of fact…it was.”

Halloween (1978)

The Good: What has not already been said about John Carpenter’s classic Halloween?! The film works on a multitude of levels, inciting chills and scares; a very basic concept executed to the nth degree. The characters here come across as genuine, and the acting is solid throughout. Atmosphere is also in abundance, giving an accurate feel of autumn in a small suburban town, with Carpenter’s brilliant score showcasing the terror to come. Michael Myers is portrayed as the scariest of villains; no discernable features, but a shape who is constantly stalking you.

Anchor Bay’s Divimax release is a great packaged set! The film transfer is beautiful on this release, with bright crisp colors – much improved when comparing to the previous releases on DVD and VHS. The audio commentary that accompanies disc one reveals some fun anecdotes from Carpenter, Curtis and Hill. Disc two’s features are everything you want in a DVD release; featurettes, trailers, TV spots, etc. The new documentary, Halloween – A Cut Above The Rest, gives a great overview of the film’s production, release, and impact, with various archived interviews from cast and crew. On Location, the second featurette, is a fun trip to see how some of the locations look 25 years later. The set rounds out with the archive materials; film trailer, two TV spots, still gallery, and radio spots, along with collector’s booklet.

The Bad: Very little can be criticized with this set, though there is one point that needs to be addressed. Part of what makes this film transfer so good also makes it bad. The colors are bright and crisp when compared to previous transfers on DVD or VHS, leaving little to the darkness. This change tends to make scenes that were tense or scary seem less urgent now.

Final Comments: A true horror classic given the upmost respect. This two disc set offers a beautiful transfer of the film, with great features to satisfy both fans and newcomers alike.
Grade: A



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