Just when you thought Anchor Bay Entertainment had released the last edition of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” on DVD or Blu-ray, another one emerges to taunt the movie’s die-hard fans with the possibility of purchasing it. Now we have the “Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition” which was released on Blu-ray and contains an all-new high definition transfer supervised and approved by the film’s Director of Photography Dean Cundey. With a couple of new special features combined with a few from previous editions, is it worth paying a few more bucks to own another version of this horror classic? Well, let’s find out…
Anchor Bay has released almost as many special editions of “Halloween” as they have of “Evil Dead” and “Army of Darkness,” so it’s hard to see what the point was of putting out yet another. But after watching the 35th anniversary edition Blu-ray, I can certainly see why. The colors on this high definition transfer look very balanced, and the whole movie looks much more vividly frightening as a result. It is a huge improvement over the 25th anniversary DVD which Anchor Bay released as part of their Divimax Series as that one proved to be hard on the eyes due to certain colors being far brighter than they needed to be. Seriously, this particular Blu-ray edition makes me want to watch “Halloween” over and over again as if I had never watched it before, and I have already seen this horror classic several hundred times.
Among the brand new special features, the one I was surprised to see the most is a brand new commentary with Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis. The fact that Carpenter would even consent to doing another commentary on “Halloween” which he has by now answered every conceivable question to is astonishing, but he sounds very enthusiastic here as he talks with Curtis about what went down during this movie’s making. It’s also great to hear Curtis’ thoughts on “Halloween” as we haven’t heard her talk too much about this film in a long time. Carpenter’s commentaries are always more fun when he has someone to converse with, and he and Curtis end up sharing a lot of great memories here.
The other new special feature to be found here is the documentary “The Night She Came Home” which follows Curtis as she attends her first ever horror convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Curtis talks about how she has stayed away from her past in horror movies because she was working on other things or being a mom, but now she feels the need to honor the fans who love “Halloween” so much because she now realizes just how strong the horror fan base is. It’s fun watching her sign autographs for fans who have waited hours in line, and her generosity to them is genuinely sweet. The convention also proves to be a reunion of sorts as Curtis meets up with Charles Cyphers who played Sheriff Leigh Brackett, Brian Andrews who played the young Tommy Doyle, Production Designer Tommy Lee Wallace who would later go on to direct “Halloween III: Season of the Witch,” and filmmaker Nick Castle who was the first person ever to play Michael Meyers.
As for the rest of the special features, they are recycled from other previous editions. There’s the featurette “On Location: 25 Years Later” which looks at where “Halloween” was shot, and it’s the same one that was featured on Anchor Bay’s 25th anniversary edition. Also included are the movie’s trailer, some TV and radio spots, and footage that was shot specifically for the movie’s TV version. You’d figure that Anchor Bay would make this another ultimate edition that would be jam packed with extras, but since this the umpteenth edition of this horror classic, I guess they didn’t want to make the previous editions seem altogether disposable. So for those of you who still own those editions, you should hang onto them as they still contain a lot of extras and commentaries that will not be found here.
Is it worth it to buy the “Halloween 35th Anniversary Edition” from Anchor Bay Entertainment? Well, it may depend on just how much you love this movie. I have said this in many other Blu-ray reviews that I’ve done, but the movie has never looked as good as it does here. The remastered high definition transfer almost makes it look like it was filmed not too long ago, and watching it here quickly reminds you of what a frightening experience this horror classic can be. You also get a nice booklet with some interesting behind the scenes photos of the production and an essay by Stef Hutchinson which details why this movie still has a powerful impact on people years after its release.
The fact is that none of the sequels or shameless imitators of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” can ever fully take away the suspense and uneasiness this movie was able to generate. I find myself revisiting this classic quite often, and the new 35th anniversary edition makes me want to revisit it more and more. If you are happy with the special edition you have now of “Halloween” then you probably won’t need to buy this one, but at the very least you should check out how it looks here. For those who are still committed to buying every single incarnation of this movie that Anchor Bay among other companies have released, I think it’s definitely worth purchasing.