Film Length: 89 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (2.35:1)
Subtitles: English & Spanish
Evil Finds Its Way Home
In 1978 director John Carpenter introduced us to a
character that would immortalize the horror genre.
That character is Michael Meyers, a character that
seems to be unkillable as nearly 25 years later, the
Halloween series is still churning out new entries.
I suppose you can't blame anyone for continuing to
make these films -- as of all the slasher franchises,
none has a more bankable name than Halloween.
Well kids, Michael Myers is back once again. He
has somehow managed to survive being shot and falling
off a balcony, being shot and burned, being shot
and having his head chopped off and so on and so forth.
I'm surprised nobody has thought of having him die
from food eaten on Holland America cruise lines.
In this film, Michael goes home. As the film begins,
he has tracked down his sister (Jamie Lee Curtis)
who has now been institutionalized for the events
of the previous movie. From there, we are introduced
to six young college students who are chosen to
take part in an online Halloween stunt by an Internet
promoter (Busta Rhymes) and his sultry business
partner (Tyra Banks). The plan? To hire the students
to spend Halloween night in Michael Myers' childhood
home. By strapping tiny cameras to their heads, the
students provide of broadcast what they see live on
the Internet. Once inside the rickety old house, it
doesn't take long for Michael to take them out one
To give this film the credit it's due, fans that
continue to shlep to the theaters to see this kind
of fare know exactly the kind of film they are in
for. While the filmmakers have certainly tried to
reinvent this series with lots of high-tech gadgetry,
there is no getting around the fact that the film
is tired and predictable.
How is the transfer?
Those that may easily tire by the action on screen,
will certainly be held captive by this immaculate
transfer that just looks stunning. This is one of
those top-rated transfers that comes across with
amazing clarity. Picture is finely detailed with
pleasing color saturation and rock solid black
levels. During the day lit scenes, colors take
on a vividly bold neon-likeness that almost take
on a life of their own. The night scenes are
painted with wonderfully warm blue filters. Since
most of the film takes place in dimly lit rooms,
you can appreciate the fact that detail is never
lost here. There isn't any film grain to be seen
anywhere, giving the picture a nice smooth look.
The most important element in a horror film is
not necessarily what you see on screen. Nothing
could prove that philosophy more than listening to
this highly aggressive 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.
The film begins with the familiar piano theme as
it slowly envelopes the listening area. Rising above
this music is various "eerie" creaks that emanate
from the center and rear channels. The music becomes
much more prominent, accented by deep rumbles from
the LFE channel. At this point you could turn off
the TV and close your eyes as you get lost in the
the surrounding woods with the sounds of crickets,
frogs, and hooting owls. In the rear channel you
can often hear Michael breathing beneath his mask.
Of course, there's always the pulsating music with
its accented bass line that builds like a roller coaster
about to reach the very top of the track before its
fall. It is this remarkable mix of sound elements
that plays the most important role of invoking fear.
First up is commentary by director Rick
Rosenthal and editor Robert Ferretti. I really
only had timeto listen to various bits of the
commentary from scene to scene, and it didn't
take me long to realize that Rosenthal and
Ferretti don't seem overly enthusiastic here.
The conversation never flows fluidly, with lots
of small gaps, and most of the information they
provide doesn't seem to be of interest to fans
that have stayed with this series for seven films.
Fortunately, for those interested in how the film
was made, both these gentlemen do talk about their
shots, including pointing out the seams between
actual street scenes and those shot on a sound stage.
Not a bad commentary, but certainly a bit too low-key
to remain interesting.
There are six deleted scenes included on this
Special Edition. They include...
* Nick and Nora checking out the control room
located inside the garage of the Meyer's house.
* A longer montage of Nora interviewing the
* Sara and Jenna sharing a hotel room as they
consider whether dropping out is the right thing
* Michael returns home as he drives a stolen car
right up to the front of the house.
* Locked inside a closet and then rescued, the
girls find a small door that leads to the discovery
of a photo album.
* A sort of repetitive dialogue scene featuring
Freddie at the end of the film.
All of these scenes play under a minute each, and
add no value to the film. Even the optional
commentary by director Rick Rosenthal isn't that
I was surprised to find that there were no less
than three alternate endings shot for this
film. Original ending with Deckard is a
sort of heroic rescue from a burning house. CSI
Hand in Manhole ends with a sort of surprising
"jolt" from beneath the street. Axe Ending
is probably the best of the three endings, but I
am not sure whether it plays better than the ending
that made the final cut. All of these scenes can
be played with optional commentary by director
Rick Rosenthal, who unfortunately does not provide
any in-depth information here.
A web cam special is rather interesting, but
it's an idea that never reached its potential. Here
we watch 40 minutes of the film via the perspective
of the character's head gear camera. The original
intent was to provide an interactive DVD function
where you could watch the Meyer House walk through
from a set of different angles depending on which
point of view you pick. With optional commentary,
director Rick Rosenthal explains the controversies
involved in trying to pull off such a stunt. It
meant having to go in and shoot the footage six
different times. In the end, the project was just
too enormous an effort to consider.
Tour of the set with the Production Designer
introduces us to Troy Hansen. He takes us on a
personal guided tour of the Meyer house that was
built on a huge sound stage. With the aid of
storyboards and conceptual designs, we see how this
set was originally envisioned as he takes us from
room to room. Quite interesting!
(length: approx. 6 minutes)
On the set with Jamie Lee Curtis begins
with a montage of behind-the-camera shots as we
segue into an interview with Jamie Lee Curtis
who talks about how her character has become
weathered and beaten since her early virginity
days. Director Rick Rosenthal has nothing but
admiration for the actress who brought a presence
to the set. Through additional interviews with
the cast, you can see how excited they were to be
working with this actress. The best part of this
featurette is watching this skilled actress working
on the set.
(length: approx. 4 minutes)
In Head Cam Featurette, the young cast seems
to be overly excited about the small camcorders
attached to their heads that provide live video
feed to the film camera. Video unit director Jessica
Landaw carefully shows us how the placement of
cameras throughout the house will provide the
ultimate theatrical thrill. Little did the cast
know that Landaw was using the cameras to spy on
(length: approx. 4 minutes)
There are four separate storyboard comparisons
that show a comparison between the storyboard
designs and the final scenes in the film. Using
your ANGLE button, you can switch between a
sie by side comparison, a storyboard only version,
and a film only version.
A still gallery provides dozens of publicity
and behind-the-camera stills.
Although there are many trailers for many of the
horror films from Dimension films, there is
no trailer included for this film. I don't understand
how something like this was missed. Fortunately,
there is an included trailer for Martin Scorsese's
Gangs Of New York.
For fans that still care, this is probably the
best-looking transfer you will ever see of a
Halloween film. No doubt you will also
be impressed by the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix that
could actually be a feature of its own if you
turned off the television.
Though it's internet wired, the film's old and tired.
How many times can you keep beating a dead horse?
God knows that Michael Myers himself is probably
tired of this old routine by now.
December 10, 2002