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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Halloween - 25 Years Of Terror (Recommended)

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#1 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted July 29 2006 - 03:06 AM

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror
Directed By: Stefan Hutchinson

Studio: Dreamworks
Year: 2006
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Running Time: 84 Mins.
Rating: Not Rated
Audio: 2.0 Dolby Digital (English)
Subtitles: English
MSRP: $19.98
Street Date: 25 July, 2006

Review Date: 29 July, 2006
(Ratings are out of five stars)

I’m a Halloween fan. There, I said it. If you’ve read any of my posts over the last 6 years, you probably figured that out as well. It is in this spirit that I review the Halloween 25 Years of Terror DVD. I only mention this so you know that I’m biased. I probably would have supported a DVD that only featured 1 hour of Donald Pleasence’s drunken ramblings…but luckily Anchor Bay has provided the fans with much, much more.

The main feature on this 2-disc DVD set is a ~90 minute documentary assembled from rare clips, interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage, and panel footage assembled from the Halloween 25th Anniversary convention held in 2003. It combines interviews with cast members, crew, critics, fans, and just about anybody else into a nicely succinct summary of the first 8 films. My only wish is that they had the foresight to see the Rob Zombie deal during the making of this documentary, and had been able to include some of that information. Luckily, he is featured in a couple of small interviews, and we get to hear his opinion on the series gradual descent. We also get to hear some good old, un-adulterated words from Carpenter on all of the sequels. Considering how long it took to release this thing (I’ve heard about it for the past two years), I’m just glad we finally got a DVD. The main thing that sticks out at me about this documentary is the warts-and-all aspect of the descriptions on making the films. Many of you out there know of the Halloween 6 fiasco, and it pleased me to see no one shy away from some good old Joe Chapelle bashing (as well as some plugs for the bootlegged Producer’s Cut). There were also a good deal of interviews with secondary cast members that I had never heard from before. I felt that I knew most everything about the films going into this documentary, but it had some info that even I hadn’t heard before. I’d go into more detail, but it would be hard not to simply recount all of the information covered in the documentary. Needless to say, if you consider yourself a Halloween fan (or even just a fan of the horror genre) you should track down a copy of this excellent DVD.

Film Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

The full-frame picture was mostly good. Some of the panel footage looked like it was recorded on a small DV cam, but it wasn’t too bad. I didn’t notice much pixelation, and the overall level of quality was dead-on for what this material called for. There is the occasional video problem (aliased lines, shimmering pixels, plasticy look), but that’s the price you pay for filming stuff on video. It’s never bad enough to distract the viewer, and I highly doubt anyone will be putting on this DVD to test out their new display device.

Video Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

I was a little annoyed early on with the recording of PJ Sole’s narration on the main doc. Luckily, her narration was pretty sparse compared to the whole documentary, but it sounds like it was recorded on a Casio keyboard or something equally extravagant. Aside from that, everything is as you’d expect it: okay but nothing mind-shattering. Most of the interviews are either behind the scenes stuff with decent recording equipment, or so-so panel recordings. Regardless, I certainly wasn’t too concerned with the audio quality on this DVD. The information is what I was in search of, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Audio Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

As you may already expect, this DVD is packed to the gills with extra material. The one detriment is that most of the extras are merely extended material (panels, interviews, etc) from the documentary. It’s good to have the extras, but some of it is redundant. On to Disk 1’s extras:
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (17:45) – A Horror Channel special on Halloween’s filming locations in Pasadena, California. A self-explanitory look at the locations featured in Halloween. PJ Soles joins the Horror Channel host for most of the tour.
Halloween 2 Extended Interviews (11:06) – Extended interviews collected from those involved in Halloween 2 at the Halloween convention. Mainly stuff that couldn’t make it into the full length documentary.
Halloween 3 Extended Interviews (13:27) – A little more of the same with some of the Halloween 3 cast/crew.
Extended Celebrity Interviews(35:52) – A fairly long batch of interviews not featured in the finished documentary. A lot of fun stuff that was a little too unrelated to put in the main documentary.
Halloween 5 On-Set Footage (7:16) – A brief but interesting look at some behind-the-scenes footage of the filming of H5.
Halloween 9 Contest (2:38) – Halloweenmovies.com featured a contest to win a walk-on role in Halloween 9 a couple of years ago, and this is the drawing featured at the Halloween convention. Cut to the chase…the annoying chick that flashes the camera (yeah, really) in the main doc wins.
Halloween Convention Montage (3:45) – A brief montage of footage gathered at the Halloween 25th Anniversary convention.
Fans of Halloween (7:36) – Extended footage of the crazy fans featured in the documentary. And I thought I was a nut [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/8/8d/htf_images_smilies_smile.gif[/img]
That covers the first disc, on to the (mammoth) second:
Halloween Panel Discussion (22:56) – Expanded panel footage from the Halloween 1 cast (featuring the likes of PJ Soles and Charles Cyphers).
Halloween 2 Panel Discussion (24:24) – Expanded panel footage featuring Pamela Susan Shoop, Tawny Moyer, Cliff Emmich, and Gloria Gifford. Some interesting behind-the-scenes stories, but primarily material that didn’t make it to the feature documentary.
Halloween 6 Panel Discussion (19:10) – Expanded panel footage featuring a large chunk of the Halloween 6 cast. Considering the controversial nature of this entry, I was hoping for a little more Joe Chapelle slamming, but unfortunately everyone was pretty nice.
Ellie Cornell Panel Discussion (15:17) – Expanded panel footage from Halloween 4/5 star Ellie Cornell. She seems like a pretty smart person, so it was interesting to hear her thoughts on Halloween 4 and 5.
Michael Myers Panel Discussion(27:58) – Expanded panel footage featuring all (well, most) of the actors that have portrayed Michael Myers in the past. The group consists of Jim Winburn, Dick Warlock, George P. Wilbur, Tom Morga, Don Shanks, Chris Durand, and Brad Loree. Unfortunately, no Nick Castle.
Dean Cundey Panel Discussion (24:25) – A nice long panel discussion with Halloween 1-3’s Cinematographer, Dean Cundey. So much of the first film is in how it was shot, so Cundey has always been someone I admired. With so few of the principles behind Halloween 1 involved, it was good to see Cundey.
Halloween Producers Panel Discussion (21:46) – Extended panel footage featuring the late Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans.
Halloween Location Stills Gallery – A self explanatory series of stills.
Halloween Convention Behind-the-Scenes Gallery – See above [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/8/8d/htf_images_smilies_smile.gif[/img]
Original Artwork Gallery – A stills gallery featuring original fan artwork.
”Pure Evil” Vicious Disorder (3:51) – A metal performance of the Halloween theme from band Vicious Disorder.

This DVD also features previews for other Anchor Bay DVDs (including the original trailers of all Anchor Bay owned Halloween films…very cool)

Extras Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img]

In Closing…
If I were forced to sum this release up into one word, it would be extensive. Some have complained about the lack of substantial extras on the previous Halloween DVD releases, but this more than fills in the gaps. In this DVD we get information about virtually every aspect of all 8 films from interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, cut-scene footage, historical commentary, etc. I would have liked to see more from Carpenter, but a lot of his information would have been redundant with his excellent Criterion LD commentary track. This is a near perfect “extras” DVD that all Halloween fans should pick up. I easily stamp my recommendation on it.

Overall Rating: [img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/4/4d/htf_images_smilies_star.gif[/img][img]http://static.hometheaterforum.com/imgrepo/a/a7/htf_images_smilies_half.gif[/img]

Matt Stone
29 July, 2006

Edited on 7/29/06 @ 8:50 to correct aspect ratio typo. -MWS
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#2 of 15 ONLINE   TravisR


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Posted July 29 2006 - 03:43 AM

The documentary was pretty good but some parts might have been a little too fan-y especially the guy who was obviously a friend of the doc makers and was credited as a "Film Critic". I don't think posting reviews on your blog should certify you as a film critic. Posted Image

Beyond that nitpick, I think any Halloween fan will be happy with this.

My favorite bit was Rob Zombie talking about test screening and he said something to the effect of
I wish someone had asked me to fix Jaws when I was 17. I'd have ruined the fucking movie!

#3 of 15 OFFLINE   Jordan_E



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Posted July 29 2006 - 07:18 AM

Picked this up the other day and enjoyed it, although, like posted above, some parts were a little "fan-y" for my tastes. But for the price, $14.99 + $3 off coupon, it can't be beat!
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#4 of 15 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted July 29 2006 - 07:59 AM

Great review. I thought it was a wonderful documentary. It was nice hearing stories about something other than just the original. It was interesting to hear the Disney guy talk about them knowing about the bootlegs of part 6 yet they haven't released it yet. I haven't gotten to the second disc yet but the first one was certainly worth the $15. It was also interesting hearing about various stalkers the actors had to put up with. Perhaps this was common news but I didn't know Carpenter was the one behind putting all the gore into part 2. I had always heard he refused to direct it because others wanted the gore in.

#5 of 15 ONLINE   TravisR


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Posted July 29 2006 - 08:41 AM

Speaking of the extras, check out the Horror's Hallowed Grounds episode. It was cool to see the locations for more than just the Myers and Wallace houses. They even showed the driveway to the sanitarium and where Michael killed the tow truck guy.

#6 of 15 OFFLINE   Travis Brashear

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Posted July 29 2006 - 08:43 AM

My exact understanding, as well. And it doesn't seem to make sense, considering how relatively gore-free the original was.
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#7 of 15 OFFLINE   WillG



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Posted July 29 2006 - 08:47 AM

Travis, I think the quote from Rob Zombie was more like this (in the context of him criticizing test screenings)
My understanding is more like this (and this comes from other Carpenter interviews outside the 25 Years of Terror Doc.) He and Debra Hill had no real interest in doing a sequel. But, due to the success of Halloween it was going to be done with or without him. Carperter saw it as a chance to at least make some money so he wrote the sequel and produced ith with Hill. As for the added gore, he felt that since gore fest films such as Friday the 13th and others had come along and proved popular, audiences would be unsatisfied with a relatavely goreless film. So he reshot some of the scenes and added the scene where Alice is killed. (I believe that part was discussed in the Doc.) The rarely shown TV cut of Halloween II supposedly is closer to Rick Rosenthal's vision of the film.
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#8 of 15 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted July 29 2006 - 10:44 AM

Anamorphic Full-Frame?

Posted Image Posted Image

#9 of 15 OFFLINE   Adam_WM



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Posted July 29 2006 - 12:11 PM

I'd really like to see this, but NETFLIX doesn't have it (yet).


#10 of 15 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted July 29 2006 - 12:31 PM

Nice review Matt...good job Posted Image

#11 of 15 OFFLINE   Matt Stone

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Posted July 29 2006 - 12:49 PM

I suppose that's what I get for using a standard template for my reviews Posted Image

Consider it corrected. (1.33:1)
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#12 of 15 OFFLINE   WillG



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Posted July 29 2006 - 03:35 PM

Just buy it. Amazon has it for $12.47 which is more than worth it if you would really like to see to see as you have indicated. It's as good of a bargain as your gonna get.
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#13 of 15 OFFLINE   DeanR


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Posted July 30 2006 - 01:38 PM

Great Review! I just rented this from creepyflix.com. It is on the way.

#14 of 15 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted July 30 2006 - 07:01 PM


#15 of 15 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted August 03 2006 - 02:05 PM

I loved this doc! My favorite is without a doubt the Michael Myers panal discussion, especially when Dick Warlock does "the walk" Posted Image, it just too bad that Nick Castle and Tony Moran couldn't be there, second favorite is the Hallowed grounds special, which begs the question, how in the holy hell does one go about moving an entire house!? Posted Image

BTW, that girl, Heather I think her name was, was freakin' hot! Posted Image
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