Halloween: 30th Anniversary (Blu-ray) (1978)

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Released 27-Oct-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Featurette-Halloween Unmasked 2000
Trailer-Re-release
TV Spots-2
Radio Spots-3
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Gallery-Photo-Publicity Photos and Posters
Gallery-Photo-Behind The Scenes
Trivia
Featurette-A Cut Above The Rest
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 90:37 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By John Carpenter
Studio
Distributor

Beyond Home Entertainment
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis
Donald Pleasence
P.J. Soles
Nancy Loomis
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $36.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Halloween will need little introduction to many readers. It is widely regarded as the genre defining slasher flick. Whilst it was certainly not the first of its kind, it was the first of its kind to break through to mainstream consiousness (and dollars) and opened the floodgates for a sea of imitators to wash in. Put simply, Halloween is the best of its breed.

    The movie tells the story of a soulless, evil lad named Michael Myers (obviously years before he made it onto Saturday Night Live...) who callously stabs his sister to death one Halloween. Exactly fifteen years later, Myers escapes from the psychiatric facility in which he has been locked up and heads back to his sleepy home town to kill again. His doctor (Donald Pleasance), whose vivid descriptions provide most of Myers characterisation, heads to town in an effort to stop him, but Myers (who hides behind a rubbery William Shatner mask) has set his sights on a local babysitter who vaguely resembles his dead sister, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis)

    Halloween is not a gory flick at all by modern standards, yet it still manages to evoke a tension so chunky you could carve it. The key to it all is masterful pacing and composition from director John Carpenter. The movie never wastes a moment of screen time and fills any gaps in the story sufficiently to deter any unwanted overthinking during the course of the movie. Of course, it doesn't hurt having Jamie Lee Curtis as your scream queen either. The script is straight-forward but smart, though the characters frequently aren't - but they are never quite so bleeding idiotic that it ruins any sympathy you have for them. Halloween is essential viewing.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL). More information can be found here.

    The film is presented in 1080i/60Hz, which is somewhat disappointing given the same video remaster was released in 1080p/24Hz in the US.

    The video is clear and sharp. Only a very mild level of grain is visible in the image. The video features excellent depth to blacks and great detail in the many shadows.

    The colours look even and natural throughout, which looks good but is not the Halloween look that fans have grown to love. The colours have been re-balanced throughout, which has resulted in the film looking significantly diefferent to its intended look. The original film version used a blue lighting and filters to make the night shots look a bit spookier and hide the limited budget they were working with. The re-balance of the colours has removed the blue hues in the night shots and created a very natural looking video, which looks bright and crystal clear rather than a bit dim and spooky. Whilst this does not outright ruin the film (you would be unlikely to complain if you did not know what you were missing), it does take away from the creeepiness of the business end of the film. The video on this an example of excellent looking video not necessarily being an excellent video transfer.

    There mild aliasing is visible, particularly in the daytime shots around things like parked cars, as well as mild judder when the camera moves (both artefacts are likely to have been introduced through the interlacing of the video). A handful of dust speck are visible on the print throughout, though by and large the video is impressively clean. Otherwise the video is free of artefacts.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The film features three English language audio tracks. The original Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (192Kbps) and two 5.1 remixes, one lossless/raw 5.1 LPCM and one lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 (640Kbps).

    The dialogue on all three tracks is rather quiet compared to the rest of the sound, but is reasonably clear and in good sync.

    John Carpenter's iconic score sounds great, particularly in the surround mixes.

    The 5.1 remaster is fairly decent, as far as these things go. It really only makes occasional use of the surrounds and subwoofer and does a good job when it does. The mental institution escape sequence is well and truly the highlight, with a nice surround storm and plenty of bassy thunder.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    There have been countless releases of Halloween on DVD and Laserdisc over the years, certainly more than any other film I can recall. This Blu-ray edition pretty much snags a handful of the better extras that have appearedon those releases. All are presented in standard definition rather than high definition.

Audio Commentary with John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and Debrah Hill

    The film's director, producer and star sit down for a pretty interesting commentary, and one that manages a good balance of anecdotal and technical. This commentary was originally recorded for the Laserdisc release of the film, so is also noteworthy for having been recorded before the three in question had had enough of Halloween re-releases and commentary tracks in general.

A Cut Above the Rest Featurette (87:33)

    This is pretty much all you could ask for in a documentary on Halloween. It covers pre-production, production, marketing, its reception and the ongoing phenomenon that it has become from just about every conceivable angle. The documentary is assembled from archive footage and material specifically recorded for it, and features well paced narration.

Halloween 2000 Featurette (22:43)

    Another 'Making of' Style featurette, culled from the 2000 DVD release of the film. From the perspective of looking back at the film 20-odd years later, this one covers the production and phenomenon of the film - an awful lot of the same ground as the previous feature-length "featurette" featured on the disc.

Trailers

    The original theatrical trailer plus a theatrical re-release trailer from years later. Ho Hum.

TV and Radio Spots

    A string of TV and Radio advertisements for the film. The radio ads are mildly interesting, largely because they seem like such a thing of the past.

Stills Gallery

    A reasonably nmber of still from the film itself, production shots, and promo shots.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The US edition of Halloween, which is reported to be Region free, is identical to the Australian release, except that the video is in 1080p at 24 frames per second - a clear reason for cinephiles to import, but a difference that casual viewers may be happy to ignore. The US edition misses out on the arguably superfluous Halloween 2000 featurette, however.

Summary

    Halloween is a genre classic - the teen slasher by which all others should be judged. 30 years on it is as enjoyable as ever.

    The video and audio are both of a high standard, particularly given the age of the material, however the video is only 1080i and the colour balance in the video is not true to the original film which, arguably, fails to deliver the intended feel of the film.

    The swag of extras is great, but all SD and nothing that has not been seen on past DVD editions.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, October 01, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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Halloween: 30th Anniversary Blu-ray - 1080i - NewcastleBoy (read my bio)