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STUDIO: Starz/Anchor Bay
RUNNING TIME: 92 Minutes
• Original Theatrical Trailers
• Television Spots
• Radio Spots
• Talent Bios
• Still and Poster Gallery
• Behind-the-Scenes Still Gallery
• Halloween Unmasked 2000 Produced and Directed by Mark Cerulli
“Dude, this is just like that Rob Zombie flick that just came out, but with less tits or gore. Sucks, right?”
Still getting the hang of that ‘stalking’ thing at this point.
Director: John Carpenter
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis, Donald Pleasence
The bleached, distorted face of evil: William Shatner
Say his name three times in a mirror and the ghost of Charles Nelson Reilly will haunt you ’til the end of days.
The town of Haddonfield, Illinois is just like any other American suburb you can imagine: road upon road of similar looking housing, all idyllic and well-kept, with a high school nestled in the middle, and a local homicide involving a disturbed youngster going Elliot Smith on his sister’s chest region. A couple of decades after the fact, it seems this youngster has that murderous glint in his eye yet again, and what better place to sew his wild oats than his hometown? Armed with a fastball, sinker, changeup and deceptive arm movement on his delivery Michael Myers is projected by Zips to put up something close to a 4.14 ERA and 1.37 WhiP, so be on the lookout for average middle relief and mass mayhem.
"Is your refridgerator running? Then I’m going to stab you in the face. Oh wait, let me try that again."
An analysis of the formal properties of John Carpenter’s Halloween is probably wildly unnecessary at this point. Going back to it at this point there’s a sort of pilgrimage to Mecca feel that one experiences when viewing it. You’re seeing the template from which an abnormal amount of slasher and horror films in the decades to follow have culled from, and luckily Halloween still feels as invigoratingly intense today as it must have when it was first released thirty years ago. Carpenter’s work here both with the camera and also his score (a great deal of what makes this movie is that unforgettable music cue that still manages to unsettle no matter the setting) create a sustained level of tension that one simply doesn’t see in today’s horror flicks: generally you’re going to get a jump scare or two as a pressure release in most sequences, but Carpenter generally stays the course here and his early camerawork which kept Michael just obscured enough in each shot he appeared in (on the fringes of the frame) that later on when his presence is hanging over the final act like a specter you truly believe he is milling about just beyond the edge of what we as the viewer can see, constantly keeping us on our toes.
Many critics raised complaints towards Halloween’s denouement.
Carpenter is also smart enough to leave the majority of the blood and gore off screen, knowing full-well that the monsters we conjure up in our imagination will always hold more power than those fully exposed to us. This is all well-worn territory, however. Such is the fate of seminal films whose form and content seem to show up again and again in lesser pictures, not devaluing the original work, but making it a part of the public vernacular, perhaps stealing some of the thunder that came along with it when it first came out. However, it’s where you have to start if you’re a fan of the slasher genre (proof of less is more starts here), and it’s an essential piece of the puzzle as to why John Carpenter will always be revered, no matter how many Ghosts of Mars pop up throughout his career.
"Our only hope is that a member of Funkadelic will show up just in time to jumpkick him through a window."
Perhaps there’s an extra resonance to the idea of The Shape in our current social/political landscape. We, like Dr. Loomis, are not surprised by the immediate disappearance of Michael at the end of the picture. When you’re fighting a battle against a concept or giving a single person the immense power of embodying an idea, the battle has already been lost. And that’s the sign of a classic film, speaking to any generation regardless of when it was made. And Halloween is most certainly one of those capital C classics, showing a sureness of hand one rarely sees in genre work anymore. If you haven’t seen it, what’s the wait? Get this in your eyes now.
The cover art is similar to that of most releases in the past. Although this disc in particular seems to be a re-release of the out of print special edition from a handful of years back, just now minus the lenticular cover that alternated between Michael Myers and the current cover art. I’m not entirely sure* what compels Anchor Bay to continue to re-release Halloween unless they’re in direct competition with The Evil Dead for setting the ‘amount of times released on DVD’ record, but here again is yet another release of the film, this time nicely coinciding with the release of the freshly remade Fuck You Out of 10 Rob Zombie classic. As is the case with the continual remasters, the film doesn’t look great, merely good; if you want optimum A/V you may want to opt for the Blu-Ray release. In terms of extras, you get the same pu-pu platter from the previous release. Some quick TV spots and theatrical trailers, some actor/director/producer biographies that are easily passable, and some production stills that are more or less filler**. The real feature of import on this disc is the Halloween revisited documentary. Topping out at about half an hour it manages to fit in a lot of talking head material with just about everyone involved in the production and even though it doesn’t go as in-depth as one would hope it’s a welcome addition to the paucity of extras already available. There really isn’t any incentive to triple or quadruple or septuple-dip for people who already own previous editions of Halloween. But if you’re holding off on high-def for now, there’s no reason this wouldn’t make for a solid addition to your DVD lineup, seeing as how it’s essential and all.
7.9 out of 10
**Save, for the foreign poster art and one especially curious still depicting Laurie Strode and Michael Myers in what would seem is a passionate embrace: