Thursday, 24 October 2013


There's not a lot you can say about John Carpenter's Halloween that hasn't already been said, bar this - Halloween 35th Anniversary is available in a limited edition collector's steelbook and brand new high definition transfer. Anchor Bay has just released the definitive slasher movie on Blu-Ray for the first time in the U.K. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis (True Lies) and Donald Pleasence (Escape from New York), Halloween comes with an all new audio commentary with Carpenter and Curtis, a 59 minute documentary featuring Jamie Lee, a retrospective look 'On Location: 25 Years Later', trailers, TV spots and the extra scenes filmed for the TV edition of the movie.

We all know the story. On Halloween night, 15 years ago, six-year-old Michael Myers brutally killed his older sister and was incarcerated in the Smith's Grove Sanatorium under the care of psychiatrist Sam Loomis. The town of Haddonfield was coming to terms with the tragic crime, until Loomis (Pleasence) returned to warn of Myers' escape. Laurie Strode (Curtis) finds her night of babysitting turns into a night of sheer terror as she comes face to face with the 'Bogeyman'. With Michael hell-bent on killing a group of high school students, Loomis seeks the help of the town sheriff to stop him before it's too late. Laurie becomes the focus of attack, turning one night into what seems like a lifetime.

Halloween spawned seven sequels, a 2007 remake and a 2009 sequel, both directed by Rob Zombie. I'm a big fan of both movies, but the critical response was less kind, and Michael Myers has yet to be resurrected for an eleventh time. Of the original films in the series, only Halloween 2 (1981) was written by Carpenter and Hill. It begins exactly where Halloween ends, and was intended to finish the story of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. Halloween II was hugely successful, becoming the highest grossing horror film of 1981. The Halloween saga, much like it's bogeyman, was not about to be laid to rest, but the next instalment did try to shake things up a little.

Halloween 3 - Season of the Witch (1982) is unrelated to the other films in the series, but after a negative critical reception, the filmmakers brought back Michael Myers in The Return of Michael Myers. None of the sequels are worth mentioning, with the exception of Halloween H20, which saw Laurie Strode return to the franchise under the tutelage of Steve Miner and horror scribe, Kevin Williamson, who acted as co-executive producer. H20 takes place twenty years after the original slayings, and brings with it a smart script and creative kills. Once again the filmmakers attempted to complete the story of Myers and Strode, but H20 was also a big success, and besides, true evil can't be killed, right?

The original movie gave us horror's first true scream queen in Jamie Lee Curtis, and her return to the Halloween franchise in the documentary, 'The Night She Came Home', is a fascinating addition to this Blu-Ray release. Halloween is memorable for so many reasons, which is why - to this day - it is still loved and admired by audiences the world over. 

It's the benchmark for modern horror movies, a 'how to' guide for every slasher movie made since. Pick your favourite part: the haunting score, a formidable horror icon, the beautiful tracking shot that opens the movie... Halloween is a nerve-shredding ride of tension and torment from start to finish. Carpenter's direction is faultless, his work behind the camera is sublime, and the scares, suspense and horror he conjures remain effective to this day. Halloween is - without doubt - the definitive slasher movie.

The 35th Anniversary release of Halloween is an essential addition to your Blu-Ray collection, because everybody's entitled to one good scare. The night he came home in high definition has never looked or sounded better, making the terror seem even more personal. Just one niggle though. I still don't know who taught Michael Myers to drive. We will let Lynda have the final words for a change, "See anything you like?" AW

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