I never thought that I would stand for another Halloween DVD dip (what would this be, the Decalogue Dip?), but it turns out that sometimes unforeseen circumstances can lead to you buying a movie yet again and being happy about it. In this case it’s because of a truly historic find – “pretty much all the unused original camera negative from John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN,” says Don May Jr, the man behind my favorite DVD label, Synapse. These original camera negatives were actually about to be destroyed when May and a friend saved them.
“What we have probably contains scenes that were originally filmed much differently and reshot.” May told Fangoria. “The ‘clothesline’ sequence was completely redone by Carpenter; what you see in the film wasn’t the way it was originally done. The most exciting possibility is that Wallace told me about the original ending—and if this is indeed all the original camera negative, then we certainly have it. Wallace explained that he always thought it was funny that, even in the ‘original shooting scripts’ that are for sale for HALLOWEEEN, the ending always has Michael Myers disappearing at the end. That isn’t the way they originally shot it. The original shooting script, and the way the movie was initially filmed, had Michael dying at the end. Only a few days later did Carpenter decide to reshoot the ending with him staying alive. They filmed him falling, and Donald Pleasance doing a bunch of different reaction shots on the balcony, just in case they decided to change it…which they did.
“There was even one can in those boxes labeled ‘1981,’ ” May adds, “so it makes me wonder if what we have is the new footage that was shot for HALLOWEEN’s television version. I won’t know for sure until I start digging through them.”
It’s a pretty great find, and May’s already been in touch with Malek Akkad, son of the late Moustapha Akkad, Halloween producer, so you should expect to see some sort of new DVD release with this stuff in the future. May’s just the guy to handle this film – he’s restored movies like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Re-Animator and Night of the Living Dead. Plus he runs a completely kick-ass DVD label that’s putting out a second collection of exploitation film trailers, 42nd Street Forever Vol 2: The Deuce, later this year (read my review of the first one here), as well as a new two-disc special edition of Street Trash, the best film ever made about melting bums. I am working on getting an interview with Roy Frumkes, the writer and producer of that great film, so keep an eye oozing out of your socket for it.
Read a lot more about this historic find at Fangoria.
Check out Synapse Films here.