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Synapse Films uncovers Halloween's complete original camera negative!


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#1 of 14 OFFLINE   Matt_H

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Posted August 29 2006 - 09:07 AM

http://www.fangoria....cle.php?id=2585
Quote:
Don May Jr. of Synapse Films gave Fango the exclusive news of an amazing discovery regarding John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN: “What we’ve got is pretty much all the unused original camera negative from John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN,” he says (see another photo below). In conjunction with friend Billy Kirkus, Synapse was able to obtain these materials and save them from heading into a trash bin. “Luckily, Billy was able to find this material before it was destroyed,” May tells Fango. “The story on how we got the negative is a long one, but we’ll save it for when we’re able to showcase the materials in some way. Kirkus should be commended for pretty much saving the Holy Grail of horror films.

“Right now, I need to physically go through all the reels and, hopefully, match up the numbers on them with a lined script, like I had to do when I was looking for extra scenes from A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET,” May continues. “I called HALLOWEEN editor Tommy Lee Wallace, and he was pretty excited about the find and will hopefully find us a lined script to reference the individual shots. He was amazed that this material has shown up almost 30 years after filming.”

HALLOWEEN fans will likely be amazed too when they eventually get to check out the visual riches Synapse and Kirkus have unearthed. “Wallace told me about some specifics of the original shoot,” May says, “and pointed out that what we have probably contains scenes that were originally filmed much differently and reshot. 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.”

Which is not to say he hasn’t already started checking out part of this treasure trove. “Last time I was in Los Angeles working, I shipped a few of the reels to myself and put them up in an HD telecine room,” he says. “The negatives were in such good shape, they looked as if they were shot yesterday. The sequences I randomly grabbed were Jamie Lee Curtis talking on the phone and carving the pumpkin, and the sequence where Kyle Richards tries to pull Nancy Loomis out of the laundry room window. [Laughs] Poor little Kyle doesn’t quite succeed and, after failing to pull Nancy properly, just turns, looks at the camera and shrugs. An obvious blooper! God only knows what else we’ll find.”

It’s also uncertain at this point exactly what use will be made of all this material. “Malek Akkad [son of late HALLOWEEN producer Moustapha Akkad] has been in contact with me, and we’re speaking right now,” May reveals. “Obviously, Malek really wants the materials. I want to work with him and make sure it’s all properly transferred and preserved, and Kirkus was very adamant that the footage not go anywhere without my participation and restoration services. It will be a major undertaking. It’ll take months. I’ve restored some classic horror films before [TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, RE-ANIMATOR], but I’ve never been so excited about a project. I mean, this is HALLOWEEN we’re talking about here—one of the most influential and important horror films of all time—and we’ve got around 45,000 feet of unused footage. It’s worth it to go all out and make sure it’s all properly archived and transferred.”

And he’s hoping to team with another of the big guns in the cinematic restoration field. “I recently spoke to film preservationist Robert Harris about all this,” May says. “He has restored classic films for major studios, like VERTIGO and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. He’s been a friend of mine for over 10 years, and even he was surprised at our find. We only spoke briefly about it, but can you imagine if Synapse and Robert Harris were to join together for this restoration undertaking? It certainly could happen!” And Fango will keep you informed of any and all updates. —Michael Gingold


#2 of 14 OFFLINE   Russell G

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Posted August 29 2006 - 09:54 AM

Sounds neat!

Does this mean possibly another version of halloween though? Wasn't the Divamax version from the camera negative?

#3 of 14 OFFLINE   Adam_S

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Posted August 29 2006 - 10:21 AM

Are they referring to discovering all the dailies that were printed? rather than just the final locked negative of the feature film?
 

#4 of 14 OFFLINE   RickardL

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Posted August 29 2006 - 11:54 AM

How much is 45,000 feet of film, 8 hours 21 minutes?

#5 of 14 OFFLINE   Dave Mack

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Posted August 29 2006 - 12:07 PM

This is SO awesome!!!!

#6 of 14 OFFLINE   Jay Pennington

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Posted August 29 2006 - 04:47 PM

UNUSED camera negative. Meaning everything that was shot EXCEPT what ended up in the theatrical cut.
-Jay

#7 of 14 OFFLINE   David_Blackwell

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Posted August 30 2006 - 03:21 AM

wow. this is amazing news. The next best thing would be the release of the Halloween 6 producer's cut to DVD.
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#8 of 14 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 30 2006 - 06:32 AM

Great news! Hopefully we'll see some release of this sooner rather than later.

#9 of 14 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted August 31 2006 - 06:36 AM

Is this "great" news? The neg trims? Great for bloopers, but with this type (low budget horror) of film, there won't exactly be startling dramtic scenes. It was a pretty tight shoot and I would imagine that there weren't many, if any, deleted scenes. Like The Fog, it may be the case that the alternate scenes are less scary than what ended up in the final film. Watching stuff like that can tarnish a film's beauty in one's mind sometimes. I generally steer clear of bloopers and raw outtakes for films that I greatly admire. They are great for comedy movies, but they often can become flies in the ointment in one's mind when later watching the movie, proper.

A great find, though. But, there would surely have to be negotiations with many parties - and how can Synapse make a claim to this footage? Who does it really belong to? Frankly, it would be weird to see a Halloween: The Outtakes DVD from Synapse with hours and hours of outtakes. 30 minutes of the most interesting material could be worked into a future Anchor Bay edition (and God knows they'll find a way to revisit that jewel in the crown) but a stand-alone release would be misguided, I feel. There has been an overkill with Halloween releases over the years and the latest documentary was the last straw for me; I love the original, but I feel that Carpenter's other films now need to get more props, especially Prince of Darkness. Universal even left out quite a lot of deleted scenes from their The Thing remastered DVD, to the regret of fans; some of that stuff is excellent, plus the deleted scenes that are on the DVD, are in pan and scan, from an old analogue source.

So, while this footage sounds interesting, it might actually be quite dull, overall, especially for non-die-hard fans.

#10 of 14 OFFLINE   JulianK

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Posted August 31 2006 - 09:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McMurphy
So, while this footage sounds interesting, it might actually be quite dull, overall, especially for non-die-hard fans.

On the other hand, it might include the film's original ending, amongst other gems!

The original ending:
Michael dies!


#11 of 14 OFFLINE   TravisR

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Posted August 31 2006 - 10:19 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McMurphy
So, while this footage sounds interesting, it might actually be quite dull, overall, especially for non-die-hard fans.
You're 100% right about the non-die hard fan but I'm a die hard fan so it's great news to me. Posted Image

#12 of 14 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted September 01 2006 - 01:51 AM

I admire the filmmaking of Halloween and I used to be obsessed with it as a teenager, but for me now, it is definitely one of, if not the least interesting of Carpenter's films. Great camerawork and music, but there's nothing else going on, really - not much to think about, unlike Prince of Darkness, which is a film that can haunt the mind for days afterwards. I feel that The Thing is his masterpiece, though it is a film that definitely was a team effort, starting with W.D. Richter's superb screenplay and aside from the astonishing, ever-powerful special effects, it is that great body of fine actors that holds it all together.

I will still be interested to see what shows up on DVD from those outtakes, though; but I with a little imagination, I can picture what it generally is. Halloween is one of those tight, compact, neat little gems that I am very familiar with and have assimilated into my mind and I wouldn't want to encumber or distort that collective image in my head with outtakes and bloopers. Lawrence of Arabia would another film in that regard. John Houseman saying, "Shit!" in the outtakes of The Fog is funny, though and Pleasance was a tempestous, cranky person, so there could be some interesting stuff with him.

#13 of 14 OFFLINE   Vincent_P

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Posted September 01 2006 - 07:16 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon McMurphy
... But, there would surely have to be negotiations with many parties - and how can Synapse make a claim to this footage? Who does it really belong to? Frankly, it would be weird to see a Halloween: The Outtakes DVD from Synapse with hours and hours of outtakes...

I don't see where in his postings Don has claimed that Synapse owns the footage or would be releasing it. In fact, he mentions who he's contacted Malek Akkad re: the footage and Akkad gave him permission to go through it and log it. Don helped LOCATE and save the footage from the garbage heap, but he never claims any legal rights to release it anywhere.

Vincent

#14 of 14 OFFLINE   Gordon McMurphy

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Posted September 01 2006 - 07:24 AM

Vincent, you're right; I should have read the article more carefully.


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