Starring Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danielle Harris, Tyler Mane, Sheri Moon Zombie, Scout Taylor-Compton, Malcolm McDowell, Charles Cyphers, Tom Atkins, George Wilbur, Ellie Cornell, Paul Rudd, Josh Hartnett, Nancy Stephens, Katee Sackhoff, Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes, Brad Dourif
Directed by John Carpenter, Rick Rosenthal, Tommy Lee Wallace, Dwight H. Little, Dominique Othenin-Girard, Joe Chappelle, Steve Miner, Rob Zombie
Distributed by The Scream Factory and Anchor Bay
Horror fans, most of whom have long since grown weary of studios double-dipping on their favorite titles, finally have cause to celebrate. Rather than piecemeal releasing every film in a series ad nauseum (which they’ll still find a way to continue doing), many companies have begun to release complete series collections. This September alone sees the hi-def release of sets featuring every picture from franchises such as The Exorcist, Saw, Leprechaun and, most unexpectedly, Halloween. Considering the rights to various entries lie with different studios, it seemed highly unlikely a complete Halloween box set would ever be made available. Thanks to a joint, temporary partnership between Shout!/Scream Factory, Starz/Anchor Bay and the Weinstein Company, fans of The Shape can finally put all their eggs in one attractive little basket. The announcement was enough to whip fans into a frenzy, especially when it was announced the set would feature the home video debut for one of horror’s most sought-after holy grails: the legendary producer’s cut of “Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995).
Elation from that revelation aside, what else of value is here for fans? Finally seeing the oft-reviled sixth entry in a cleaner form than the ubiquitous bootlegs that littered the horror convention circuit is a major draw, but there’s got to be more than just a recut version of a tepid entry to entice people to cough up $100+ on redundancy. This set was made for hardcore Haddonfield fans, and more than likely the majority of them have purchased every film in the series numerous times on differing formats. Many of the discs included here are identical to current releases – releases likely sitting on fans’ shelves – and when excitement is held aside it looks an awful lot like people are dropping serious coin for an alternate cut of an unpopular entry and… that’s it?
Not exactly. It depends on how much of a bonus feature viewer you are. The set includes nearly all of the supplemental material found on prior releases (more on that later), along with newly-produced, in-depth featurettes that are absolutely fantastic. These new behind-the-scenes pieces dive deep, churning up all kinds of information on the sequels that will captivate fans eager to learn all they can.
This review will closely examine all of the new content presented, while taking a cursory pass at what is carried over. As previously mentioned, this set was made with fervent fans in mind; fans who likely own all of these films on Blu-ray already. For those of you who don’t, or if you only have the films on DVD and are looking to make the jump to hi-def, then just stop reading now and buy this set. It will not get any better than this; especially since Scream Factory has said the licensing agreements that made this set possible expire next year, meaning this deluxe limited edition might actually be limited after all. Regardless, odds are you know the films, you like them to varying degrees, and you just want the details on this hulking Blu-ray behemoth. What will follow is a disc-by-disc breakdown, covering what’s new, what’s old and what’s gone. And rather than review films in long form most have seen a hundred times, each one is getting a haiku (somewhere, a Dead Right Horror Trivia player just broke a sweat).
Disc One: Halloween (1978)
Little Mikey kills; Shatner face stalks all the girls; A franchise is born
Aside from the disc art, this is the exact same 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray Anchor Bay issued last year in an attractive DigiBook package.
The picture – 2.35:1 1080p – remains the same, and it contains the same robust English Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround sound track found on that release, but this edition adds the original mono mix in, Dolby TrueHD, for those purists out there. Previous releases have offered a mono option, but they were either a downmix or taken from the revised audio, and not the true original mono track.
Well, hey, look here – an audio commentary track, featuring director of photography Dean Cundey, production designer/editor/jack-of-all-trades Tommy Lee Wallace and The Shape himself, Nick Castle. Can I just say how refreshing it is to hear some perspectives on making the film not coming from Carpenter or Curtis? Not that they aren’t excellent commentators, but hearing from others who were involved allows for additional technical details and anecdotes, which are in no short supply between these three. Wallace keeps course here, asking questions of the other two while highlighting the many hats he wore on set. There’s such a great rapport between these old friends it’s palpable, making this an excellent track that is a must-listen.
- Audio commentary with co-writer/director John Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis
- The Night She Came Home!! featurette
- On Location: 25 Years Later featurette
- TV version insert scenes
- TV spots
- Radio spots
Disc Two: Halloween (1978)
Anchor Bay must’ve had some old stock of the first Blu-ray released in 2007 lying around, because that’s what this disc is. It’s inclusion is a nice touch, not only because this features the controversial color timing that was “corrected” (quotes because some loved it while others abhorred it) for the 35th Anniversary Edition release – which will allow fans to watch the film transfer of their choosing – but there are some bonus features found on this disc that weren’t on that edition, too. The picture is presented in 2.35:1 1080p, while the audio offers a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track, uncompressed PCM 5.1, or a mono mix.
- The old Criterion laserdisc audio commentary, featuring co-writer/director John Carpenter, actress Jamie Lee Curtis and producer Debra Hill
- Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest featurette
- TV spots
- Radio spots
Disc Three: Halloween II (1981) – Theatrical Version
I shot him six times; Less stalking and more slashing; Loomis and Michael go boom
If you are an owner of Scream Factory’s current disc, then you are also the owner of this disc, which is identical to what was released a few years back. Nothing has been added, nothing has been removed. Although, if you want to get technical it does lose the reversible cover art, electing to only offer the original theatrical key art. Tech specs remain unchanged – 2.35:1 1080p, with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 options.
- Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi
- Audio commentary with stunt coordinator/actor Dick Warlock
- The Nightmare Isn’t Over – The Making of Halloween II featurette
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – The Locations of Halloween II
- Still gallery
- TV spots
- Radio spots
- Alternate ending with optional commentary by director Rick Rosenthal
- Deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Rick Rosenthal
Disc Four: Halloween II (1981) – Television Version
This is the same DVD included with the previous issue of Halloween II by Scream Factory, featuring the TV cut of the film, presented in 1.33:1 4×3 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo track.
- Download Film Script (stick the DVD in your PC and follow the instructions)
Disc Five: Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982)
Tom gets all the girls; Six more days till Halloween; You’ve got to stop it!
Do you own Scream Factory’s prior excellent release? Then you own this disc. Nothing new has been added, though it may irk some to know the reversible cover art has been done away with here, too. Tech specs remain unchanged – 2.35:1 1080p, with audio in English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or 2.0 options.
- Audio commentary with director Tommy Lee Wallace
- Audio commentary with actor Tom Atkins, moderated by Michael Felsher
- Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch
- Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – The Locations of Halloween III
- Still gallery
- TV spots
Disc Six: Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988)
Back to Haddonfield; Michael is at it again; Loomis looks melted
Anchor Bay issued both this film and its direct sequel on Blu-ray back in 2012. This disc sports the same 1.85:1 1080p image, along with an English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound track.
Unfortunately, it also features the same sound synch issues that affected the first release; a glaring problem which, according to reports, is actually exacerbated on this new release. The problems start around the 45:30 mark, when Jamie is wandering the streets alone, having lost her group of trick-or-treaters, before bumping into Rachael. The character’s lips are clearly not matching up with their words, some lines much more obviously than others. The issue persists for a good ten-minute chunk before correcting itself. Fans have brought this problem to the attention of both Scream Factory and Anchor Bay via their respective Facebook pages, and the response has been… less than helpful. The problem doesn’t lie with Scream Factory since Anchor Bay first issued the disc, and while AB acknowledges there is an issue their response essentially suggests fans “enjoy what is an otherwise great set.”
I have to call bullshit on that. I understand a lot of time, effort, etc. went into culling this big box together, but paramount to everything – packaging, bonus features, what have you – should be A/V quality. Period. Fans may enjoy the bells and whistles, but they’re buying the films. Films that are going to get watched many, many times. To release a disc with a known audio defect simply because you didn’t want to pony up and pay to re-author it properly isn’t excusable; it’s lazy. I can only hope that by the time of this writing, there is an exchange program put into place that will allow fans to receive corrected copies of the film.
Plenty, but those features have been saved for the bonus disc included in this collection.
- Audio commentary with director Dwight Little & author Justin Beahm
- Audio commentary with actors Danielle Harris & Ellie Cornell
- Theatrical trailer
A panel from the Halloween 25th anniversary convention covering both Halloween 4 & 5, which ran for nearly twenty minutes, has been excluded. Considering how much ground is covered in all the supplements included here, however, its loss is insignificant.
Disc Seven: Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989)
Kind loner heals Mike; Better stab him and get home; Who’s this Man in Black?
Just like Halloween 4, this disc is identical to the previous Anchor Bay release. Tech specs remain unchanged with a 1.85:1 1080p picture and audio available in English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround sound. Thankfully, there are no audio defects to be heard here.
As with H4, the new material is saved for the bonus disc.
- Audio commentary with Don Shanks and author Justin Beahm
- Audio commentary with director Dominique Othenin-Girard and actors Danielle Harris & Jeffrey Landman
- Halloween 5: On Set featurette
- Halloween 5: Original Promo featurette
- Theatrical trailer
Nothing from the prior Blu-ray, but if you’re a real stickler the Anchor Bay Divimax DVD contained an introduction to the film with Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell.
Disc Eight: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) – Theatrical Version
New mythology?; Look, Mommy, it’s raining red; Bye, Dr. Loomis
The sixth entry in Michael Myers’ story is part of the “Miramax trilogy” that also includes the two subsequent sequels, H20 and Resurrection. Fans are already aware these films have often been given less-than-stellar (or even average) releases, both here in the U.S. and in Canada. Previous issues included a stand-alone release from Echo Bridge Entertainment, various double-and-triple-features with the following sequels, and a Canadian release from Alliance that crammed the all three films onto one Blu-ray disc. And all of these releases were in 1080i, with audio that was severely lacking.
This new release is roughly on par with those prior editions, sporting a 1.78:1 1080p image and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound and 2.0 stereo offerings. The picture enjoys a minor boost in quality thanks to this progressive (rather than interlaced) transfer, though it’s still far from exemplary. Colors look a little oversaturated, black levels suffer from crush sporadically, and there are telltale signs of edge enhancement application. Still, these are deficiencies most viewers might not even notice, let alone ruin their enjoyment of watching the film. Audio-wise, the multi-channel track features a wider range and a host of discreet effects, even if the rear speaker assembly isn’t employed as often as it should be. Of all the released editions of the film available in North America, this is undoubtedly the best presentation it has enjoyed, even if it’s far from perfect.
To my knowledge, none of the previous editions have had any bonus features, so the little bits featured here are all new, even if they’re mainly ephemera.
- Theatrical trailer
- TV spots
- Still gallery
Disc Nine: Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995) – Producer’s Cut
Now, the Holy Grail; This is what we waited for?; What are these dumb rocks?
Here it is, folks: the unicorn of horror filmdom – Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers Producer’s Cut, presented in beautiful HD with improved audio and an absolute heaping helping of bonus goodies. You didn’t think this day would come, did you? Well, it has.
Here’s the thing – it’s absolutely awesome that Scream Factory/Anchor Bay have teamed up to bring this rarely-seen gem to home video, giving fans the last jewel in the Michael Myers crown. This version only existed in whispers and apocryphal tales before becoming a denizen of the bootleg circuit, where rabid fans would gleefully exchange their hard-earned money for something that looked like it was recorded from a twelfth-generation VHS tape. All those years of frothing at the mouth imaging what could have been are now over with this release, which allows fans to compare both versions as presented in equal quality.
Frankly, neither one is very good. Have you ever watched a movie as a kid, loved the hell out of it, and revisited it decades later only to discover what you had fallen in love with was actually a bad film? This producer’s cut invokes a similar feeling; all those years of pent-up demand, wondering what footage this mythical cut contained, and the experience of watching it ends with the same sense of deflation provided by the theatrical cut. Great modern example: the two differing cuts of the fourth entry in The Exorcist series, neither of which is worth anyone’s time. Shrader’s lost cut only held a semblance of promise until it was shown, when everyone realized it, too, sucked a great deal. These films aren’t that bad, but they’re far from satisfying.
Personally, I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for the theatrical cut because it was the first Halloween film I saw in theaters. I remember dying to see the film after watching Halloween 5 and being desperate to know who this Man in Black was. In fact, I can recall an interview with Joe Chappelle (I think?) in Fangoria, where he said the answer to the Man in Black’s identity was contained in the first film, which I then watched obsessively, scrutinizing every frame and bit of dialogue trying to yield some clues. It turns out Chappelle’s clue referred to a brief bit when Loomis is at Smith’s Grove and a “Dr. Wynn” is paged by the nurse. Totally obvious, right?? Anyway, even with my rose-tinted view I can say the theatrical cut is far from a good film. In the canon of the series, I’d rank it above 5, Resurrection and both of Rob Zombie’s films.
The producer’s cut is very different in terms of thematic content. The theatrical cut is much more a traditional slasher film, whereas the producer’s cut contains more of the rune/ritual stuff. The mid-‘90s were a time when many slasher icons were being redefined and taken to new places, eschewing the standard storylines they’d all followed up to that point. Freddy went meta. Jason disappeared for 90 minutes before getting dragged to Hell. Leatherface listened to heavy metal and learned how to read. Pinhead became an astronaut. Michael Myers joined a cult. Farrands’ script veers wildly off the trodden path, suggesting Michael has been under the control of a clandestine group of hooded druids who use him to do their bidding. Michael’s actions are controlled by his “caretaker” and lunar cycles and planets and… what? It gets convoluted. Origins are rarely fun, especially when they come this late in the game. Who cares why Michael kills? The producer’s cut makes odd choices, like keeping Jamie around past the opening (she dies in the TC) only to kill her off later on after serving no real purpose. And don’t even get me started on Paul Rudd’s rocks freezing Michael in place. Considering Michael is relegated to background player status for a lot of his own movie, I’d rather see the bloody, gratuitous theatrical cut. Still, this makes for an interesting, alternate oddity in the canon and its inclusion here is a huge selling point.
In terms of A/V quality, the producer’s cut looks a bit better than the theatrical cut, featuring the same 1.78:1 1080p picture. Setting aside the fact that virtually anything would have looked better than what’s out there, the image here is highly defined, with a healthy layer of film grain and no visible print damage. Colors are accurate and black levels, though a little hazy at times, are generally strong. The fact that you’d be hard-pressed to tell this transfer from the theatrical cut should be an indicator as to how good it looks, relatively speaking. Audio quality is just as strong, with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track with clear & clean dialogue. Fidelity is good, with a decent range to the soundfield and nicely balanced effects. Surrounds don’t get as much use as they should, but the discreet effects used up front almost make up for it. Sure beats the VHS I’ve been playing for years, I’ll tell you that.
Everything, and there’s so much of it. Most newly-produced, some vintage material.
Kicking things off is a highly informative audio commentary track featuring screenwriter Daniel Farrands and composer Alan Howarth. Barring a commentary from Chappelle (that will never happen), this is a must-hear is you want to know everything detail major & minor about the making of this troubled production. Farrands talks about the original script, what was changed, what was kept, his ideas for the series, and so much more. Interesting note: he originally wrote the role of Dr. Wynn for Christopher Lee. How awesome would that have been? Howarth interjects with minimally, but with good anecdotes.
Acting Scared – A Look at the Film’s Cast features interviews with both Mariah O’Brien and J.C. Brandy, with both actresses talking about their own careers, getting their respective roles and how they feel about the alternate cut of the film.
The Shape of Things – A Look at Michael Myers’ Murder and Mayhem is all about sculpting the film’s masks and creating the special FX.
Haddonfield’s Horrors – The Sights of Halloween 6 takes a look at production design & cinematography. Of all the films in the series, I would arguably say this one nails the atmosphere of Halloween better than most.
A Cursed “Curse” – An Interview with Producers Malek Akkad & Paul Freeman features both men, interviewed separately, discussing getting the film together, story concepts, initial visions and more.
Full Circle – An Interview with Composer Alan Howarth finds the legendary composer discussing how he approached the score for this entry.
Jamie’s Story – An Interview with the Original “Jamie” Actress Danielle Harris features this film’s almost-Jamie discussing why she didn’t reprise her role here. Hint: $$$.
Cast & Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasence is full of gushing about the late actor. There aren’t many stories, just lots of kind words.
The original teaser trailer, released as Halloween 666: The Origin of Michael Myers is included. For those of us who vaguely remember seeing this on TV and swearing it was real, now you have eternal proof.
Archival Interviews & Behind the Scenes Footage features vintage footage of the principal cast & crew talking about the project, along with some B-roll on-set shots.
Behind the Scenes Footage is almost 25 minutes of footage shot by Farrands during the 1st week of production. It’s all handheld and very candid.
Alternate Deleted Scenes (Not Present in Either Cut of the Film) presents roughly seven minutes of footage that isn’t very revelatory or different, but those who want to see all they can will dig these odds and ends.
Finally, there’s an Electronic Press Kit from 1995 with some interviews and the usual stuff found in those puff pieces.
Disc Ten: Halloween: H20 (1998)
Laurie Strode is back; That ending will never stick; Michael cannot die
Now we move on to what may arguably be the best sequel in the series, Halloween: H20. Personally, because my opinion certainly matters, I give Halloween II the edge only because this film has some ‘90s teen horror moments that I hate. And before anyone says Halloween III: Season of the Witch is the best sequel, know you’re right. But I don’t consider it part of this series, really. It should just be retitled “John Carpenter’s Season of the Witch”. But I digress.
H20 has been released on Blu-ray before, but it was either the incorrect aspect ratio (Echo Bridge) or in 1080i (Alliance). This release restores the intended 2.35:1 aspect ratio and presents it in full 1080p. Anyone who prefers the “open” 1.78:1 image put out by Echo Bridge should understand that this film might have been shot on Super 35 but it was composed for scope. So the only picture information you are “losing” is the stuff the filmmakers meant to lose in the first place. As far as quality goes, this bests the Echo Bridge edition, though not by much. Detail is much stronger and colors appear more vibrant, but there’s still a murky veneer that infiltrates many of the nighttime images. A proper remaster may have helped here. The English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track utilizes a contemporary sound design that allows for great fidelity and a wide range for effects to be placed discreetly. Dialogue is balanced and clean, and there’s a decent low end to the mix.
More or less, everything here is new. Previous Blu-ray releases held no bonus material, and what little was on the DVD release isn’t of importance.
Remember that time this movie came out on DVD and it claimed to have an audio commentary track with director Steve Miner and actress Jamie Lee Curtis that wasn’t actually included? Well, here it is. The two are moderated by Repository of Halloween Knowledge Sean Clark, who knows when to let the main participants speak and when to chime in with questions to keep the track on… track. Curtis dominates, though, with few moments of silence heard.
Blood is Thicker Than Water – The Making of Halloween: H20 is one of the main reasons fans should be buying this set. This in-depth piece – which runs nearly an hour – features interviews with Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Harnett, and other members of the film’s cast & crew. Lots of ground is covered here, delving into aspects of the production both big and small. As a nice touch, archival interview clips with Moustapha Akkad and L.L. Cool J are included to help round out cast & crew thoughts on the film. There is also a good amount of time dedicated to talking about the many masks used during filming, which sometimes change from shot to shot. Capping off with Jamie’s role as Laurie Strode, the piece ends with some talk regarding her (weak) demise in Resurrection. Featurettes like this are exactly how bonus features should be done.
Scenes with John Ottman’s Score presents around 25 minutes of footage featuring original composer John Ottman’s compositions. Dialogue has not been mixed in, with the score being isolated completely.
Vintage Interviews & Behind the Scenes Footage contains over 45 minutes of on-set interviews as well as footage of the film being shot. Every principal gets some face time here – L.L., Miner, Curtis, Williams, Hartnett, etc.
The disc also includes a theatrical trailer, TV spot and still gallery.
Disc Eleven: Halloween: Resurrection (2002)
Finally back home; ”Trick or treat, muthafucka”; A franchise is dead
Unsurprisingly, the final nail is the original series’ coffin is dumped here with little fanfare.
Resurrection is truly a terrible film; an unredeemable sack of rancid meat that stinks worse each time you open the bag. Maybe it’s kind of cool that Myers has finally returned home. What isn’t cool is populating the film with some of the most annoying teens to ever grace the silver screen. Even worse, we have to contend with both Busta Rhymes and Tyra Banks, who we don’t even have the satisfaction of seeing killed. At the time, bringing Rosenthal probably seemed like a great idea; in hindsight, it was a death knell. The series should have remained dormant for a long while after the events of H20, but Moustapha Akkad absolutely refused to let Michael Myers die. Can’t blame the guy, it was his cash cow, after all. The film commits any number of cinematic atrocities, but the worst is killing off famed heroine Laurie Strode so ignominiously. Make it grand if you’re gonna do it.
Tech specs are similar to what was released on Blu-ray by Echo Bridge, which was a surprisingly strong release considering their track record. The 2.35:1 1080p image here may actually be a little weaker than that release. Film grain appears overblown and noisy, moreso than before, and black levels definitely seem anemic. Colors look good for the most part, and detail is strong in close-up shots. Medium and wide shots, however, look a bit dull and drab. This has never been a particularly good looking entry in the series – and it isn’t likely to leave most fans’ sets – but expect little in the way of visual impressiveness despite being a newer entry. At least the audio handles well, with a strong English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track that provides a boisterous, enveloping soundfield to immerse viewers in the world of Dangertainment.
Vintage Interviews & Behind the Scenes Footage hasn’t appeared on any previous Region 1 release, though it may be the same material that was found on Region 2 copies of the DVD. As you’d expect, it’s a bunch of talking heads and on-set footage. Nothing special, but its inclusion is appreciated.
- Audio commentary with director Rick Rosenthal & editor Robert A. Ferretti
- Alternate endings with optional commentary by director Rick Rosenthal
- Deleted scenes with optional commentary by director Rick Rosenthal
- Web Cam Special with optional commentary by director Rick Rosenthal
- Featurette: Head Cam
- Storyboard Analysis
- Set tour with production designer Troy Hansen
- Set interview with Jamie Lee Curtis
- Theatrical trailer
- Home video TV spots
- Still gallery
Other than a note of apology from Rick Rosenthal? Nothing, it seems.
Disc Twelve: Halloween (2007) – Director’s Cut
One good fucking scare; Michael fucking Myers, fuck/Man, fuck this movie
Rob Zombie’s pastiche of white trash suburbia horror is easily the most divisive film in the series. He deserves a modicum of credit for getting exactly two things right: the production design is strong, and the Myers mask is easily the best to appear in the series since the first film. Otherwise, it’s half a movie featuring an origin nobody wanted, followed by compressing Carpenter’s original film into half its original running time. And, Christ, if Scout Taylor-Compton’s Laurie Strode isn’t one of the most annoying characters to ever appear on screen then I don’t want to know who is. Anyway, the less said here, the better.
This is the same Blu-ray released by TWC, with a 2.35:1 1080p transfer and English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound audio.
- Audio commentary with writer/director Rob Zombie
- Deleted scenes
- Alternate ending
- The Many Masks of Michael Myers
- Re-Imagining Halloween
- Meet the Cast
- Casting Sessions
- Scout Taylor-Compton Screen Test (Laurie Strode)
- Theatrical trailer
The theatrical cut, which should be considered the superior version simply because it doesn’t feature that horrendously gratuitous rape scene during Michael’s escape. It got a Blu-ray release in Canada, on a double-feature disc with the theatrical cut of its sequel, but in the U.S. it’s only ever been released on DVD. Personally, the best version of this film was the workprint that got floated around near the time of the film’s release, but even that is a mostly-unwatchable piece of crap.
Disc Thirteen: Halloween (2007) – Bonus Disc
This disc houses exactly one extra, but it’s a big one: Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween is a gargantuan documentary that covers every conceivable aspect of the film’s production, clocking in at a whopping 4 hours and 20 minutes. It is arguably better than the film itself and well worth watching, even if you don’t like the movie.
Disc Fourteen: Halloween II (2009) – Director‘s Cut
Transient Michael; An existential journey; Fucking fucking fuck
The adventures of Hobo Myers continue. I’ve noticed some people who still hate Zombie’s first film have decided to give this one a major pass because he tries to do something different. He does, yet it’s still an abysmal failure; an incoherent mess full of puerile scripting, over-the-top brutal violence, and nonsensical hallucinatory sequences.
Once again, this is the same disc that was released before, with no new additions. Zombie switches up aspect ratios between films, shooting this with a tighter 1.85:1, and this disc features the same 1080p transfer previously issued. Audio, too, remains unchanged with an English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound track.
- Audio commentary with writer/director Rob Zombie
- Deleted & alternate scenes
- Blooper reel (which, surprisingly, doesn’t just play the entire film)
- Audition footage
- Make-up Test Footage
- Uncle Seymour Coffin’ Stand-Up Routines
- Captain Clegg & The Night Creatures Music Videos
As with the last film, we don’t get the theatrical version here. This director’s cut runs around 14 minutes longer, and doesn’t feature added rape-y scenes, so it’s probably the one to watch if you’re feeling masochistic.
Disc Fifteen: Bonus Disc
Here’s the treasure trove, people. Shoved unceremoniously into the casing of Halloween II (2009) is this disc, exclusive to the deluxe limited edition box set. Why wasn’t this given its own case? I mean, you’ve already got ten cases in this set, so what’s one more? Most people won’t even open up Zombie’s cinematic bowel movement of a sequel, meaning many may overlook the fact there’s a disc chock full of goodies stashed away in there. It’s a mix of new and vintage material, and not exactly well-organized in terms of menu, so let’s break it down.
The Making of Halloween 4 is another comprehensive warts-and-all featurette, running over 45 minutes, from the guys who put together the in-depth featurette for H20. Just about every major face shows up here to discuss their time on set, and there’s also talk about the problems the production faced regarding making the right mask. It’s almost hilarious how a mask that seems so simple in design has been a source of constant contention on the set of every single sequel.
The Making of Halloween 5 also comes from the same team as the other two great featurettes. This featurette still manages to be interesting despite the fact the film isn’t all that great. One nice touch I liked: each of these featurettes has a custom carved pumpkin in the background, featuring the art for the film they’re discussing.
Interview with Make-up Effects Artist Tom Burman on Halloween III: Season of the Witch is a nice, unexpected piece, featuring the FX artist discussing his work on that sequel as well as his career in general. He also did The Devil’s Rain (1975)!
There are also a handful of new Horror’s Hallowed Grounds episodes included here. While it would have been nice to have every episode either in one place (on this disc) or on a disc with their respective films, that would’ve required all kinds of re-authoring of discs and this was clearly the easiest option. Included here are new episodes for Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween 6, and an extended cut of the original Halloween episode. As a bonus, there’s also an episode shot on the last day of the Halloween – 35 Years of Terror convention (which was co-produced by yours truly), featuring host Sean Clark and a handful of the series’ actors visiting the local filming locations in Pasadena, CA.
Halloween (1978) Extended Version in HD (TV inserts in standard definition). I considered putting this in the “new” category, but it isn’t really new. It’s odd that it says “extended version in HD” when the extended scenes are in standard definition. Even worse, word is that Anchor Bay has the film elements for these additional scenes, meaning the only reason they aren’t in HD here is because it would have cost money; and, more likely, because they need something to hook fans into buying another edition of the film down the line. The HD version used here is the print from the 35th anniversary edition, with English DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio. The additional scenes don’t look all that bad, but clearly a bump to HD would have made them appear seamlessly within the film.
- Halloween Unmasked 2000 featurette
- The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut
- Inside Halloween 5
- Interview with producer Moustapha Akkad
- TV spots for Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)
- Radio spots for Halloween III: Season of the Witch
- Halloween, Halloween 4 and Halloween 5 still galleries
The set comes housed in a large, sturdy slipcase, with each film housed in a black Blu-ray eco case. There’s a thick booklet, full of production phots from the series and an essay by Fangoria’s Michael Gingold.
Is this the final, definitive set to end all sets? Of course not. There will always be a new angle to sell these films over and over, but for most fans this set represents the end of the line. Previous editions of the first three films and Zombie’s films covered all the ground they had to, and the bonus features afforded to the middle sequels has now done that job, too. I’m aware some people are still frothing at the mouth over Don May Jr.’s reels of outtakes and alternate scenes not being included here. Their inclusion would have been welcomed, but, really, hours of raw footage with no audio shouldn’t be a deal breaker for anyone. Fans can and will nitpick this set into oblivion, yet the fact remains that just getting all of this together was a monumental achievement.
- Exhaustively covered above