Any reviews for "Halloween" yet....?????

Lyle_JP

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My Mini Review

Well folks, I'm not a professional DVD reviewer, but I'd be glad to share with you all my feelings about this new disc so far.

First, a little background. I bought the Criterion CAV disc the day it first came out for a whopping $70, and it was some of the best money I have ever spent. I loved that disc, loved being able to see the film widescreen as it was meant to be seen, and the commentary is still the best I've ever heard for a film.

I'll also admit that I've never been a fan of the THX transfer on the previous Anchor Bay disc. I guess I got so used to how the Criterion disc looked, that some of the garish blue coloring put me off, as well as how dark the DVD was. Nighttime scenes which had depth and shadows on the laserdisc simply looked solid black on the DVD, and I was never happy with that.

I for one am thrilled with this new DVD. Those too-dark scenes have been lightened up a bit and now the details shine through again. There is virtually no haloing anywhere on this disc, nor is there any block noise in the gradients. The old disc was moderately plauged by both, most likely because Anchor Bay squeezed two versions of the film (P&S and LBX) with three soundtracks each plus a 30+ minute documentary, trailers, and TV Spots all on one disc. Now the widescreen version of the film can stretch it's legs over the entire real estate of the disc, and the result is easy to see.

Now, about the color timing issues. Yes, I know Dean Cundey was involved with the creation of the THX DVD. In truth, I think he was doing a little revisionist telecining, making it look the way he had always wanted it to look, but not really the way it ever did look in 1978. This DVD is much more representitive of film prints I have come across as a projectionist than the previous disc was. Sorry, but the Pasadena scenes always looked pretty darn green. It was springtime in LA, what did you really expect? This was decades before we could "paint with pixels" and completely digitally alter the look of a film (a la "O Brother, Where Art Thou"), and color timing tricks in the lab could only get you so far.

There are no sound difference between the two versions that I could hear (other than the inclusion of the superb Criterion commentary track, of course).

As for the new documentary, I have mixed feelings. This is very similar to the the AMC special that aired last Halloween, but the padding, oh the padding... I know it's customary to flip back and forth between clips of the film and real documentary content nowadays, but seriously, if all the clips of the film were removed, this thing would be like 25 minutes long! When they cut to a clip it seems to go on for minutes, and some of the same clips are used 4 or 5 times! The editor needs a good flogging.

As for DVDFile's claim that this disc presents a new, previously unseen trailer, I don't believe that's true. This is the same trailer that appeared on the previous DVDs and Criterion laser, but it's a new transfer, and they found one that still had its red band attached. Aside from that, nothing new.

All in all, if you're a fan, this is really a no-brainer purchase. If you are merely a casual fan who is more than happy with the current disc... you should still buy this one, dammit!


-Lyle J.P.
 

Carl Walker

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Jul 31, 1999
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163
Well, I cannot come close to Lyle_JP's review, but I just wanted to come here and say that this DVD is FANTASTIC! I am a HUGE fan of Halloween and I have seen it dozens and dozens of times. If I hadn't of come across everyone complaining about the colors, I would not have ever known the difference, to be honest with you. I watch Halloween for the story, the tension-building, and the frights. When Laurie was in that kitchen looking back at the door and knowing that Michael was on the other side, I honestly couldn't care less if the door was in a blue light or the whitish (is that a word?) light that this DVD puts it in.

Now, when it comes to DVD transfers, I am as anal as the next home theater geek. However, I see absolutely nothing wrong with this fine, pristine transfer or the colors contained within.
 

Prentice Cotham

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Lyle,

How does the new DVD compare to the Criterion laserdisc or did you sell yours like I did mine a long time ago? My favorite part was the Siskel and Ebert review.
 

Aaron Cohen

Second Unit
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Jul 25, 2002
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468
I just viewed this disc and was very pleased by the transfer. I was a bit annoyed when I discovered what was in parantheses by the name of this disc when I put it into DVDAF though....sheesh, come on. I don't recall any other disc that had a description of the transfer incorporated into the name of the damn title! How about for the original Highlander disc have it say in parantheses transfer is crap? It sounds like someone is being a little bit too anal. I'd say that the majority of Halloween fans are now being given their first chance to affordably listen to the commentary for this film and it is wonderful.
 

Britton

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Jun 3, 2001
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I have to agree with you on the dvdaf issue Aaron. As a matter of fact, I just submitted a correction to undo the changes in the title based on your argument. What next, the Reservoir Dogs "the blacks are too grey" Edition for the title?
 

Tom Tsai

Supporting Actor
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Nov 13, 2002
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565
I agree, I have always liked DVDaf for their simplicity...but now it seems like they're trying to add the smallest details possible...like what music videos are included, etc. I mean if I want to know about the details, then I would just click on the amazon.com link.
 

Lyle_JP

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Oct 5, 2000
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How does the new DVD compare to the Criterion laserdisc?
Funny you should ask. I just dug it out for a little A-B comparison. Well, A-B-C really, as I was also looking at the THX DVD.

First of all, no, the new DVD does not have the Siskel & Ebert piece found on the Criterion laser, but then, no DVD does. Nor do any DVDs have the text supplement on the LD either, but it was kind of lame anyway. Also, the new disc only has some of the TV version footage, and it's buried in the documentary. But what the DVD has of the TV footage is at least letterboxed. The Criterion laser used the broadcast master provided by NBC which was, of course, pan and scanned.

Picture quality-wise, the new DVD simply destroys the laserdisc. But hey, what did you expect? But I saw some very interesting things when I compared all three.

First of all, brightness levels (or black levels, if you prefer): The LD and new DVD are about on par with each other, whereas the THX DVD is much blacker than both (almost muddy, I'd say). In terms of color, the laserdisc seems smack in between the older DVD and the new one. For example, the scene where Michael Myers puts his arm through the door: The THX DVD seems to scream "we're using a blue gel here!", the new DVD looks nearly white, but the picture on the LD captures what I think they were trying to create best, it looks like spooky light-blue moonlight. All in all, the new DVD still looks best. It has way more image definition than any previous video version, despite different choices made by the telecine operator.

As for sound, well, here comes a shock (to me, anyway). For those who dig the 5.1 remix, I guess both DVDs will serve you well. But if you're a fan of the mono track, well, the laserdisc will simply bring tears of joy to your eyes. The dynamic range on the LD is nothing short of heart-stopping. We all know that Carpenter's score is scary, but I had forgotten just how downright menacing it gets when the Shape chases Laurie across the street. The driving, unrelenting bass from Carpenter's score in that scene is nerve-jangling. The same scene on either DVD with the mono track chosen is positively anemic by comparison, even after compensations for volume differences are made. In fact, the DVD at twice the volume still lacks the visceral impact of the LD's PCM track. I daresay there's even more going on dynamic range-wise on the LD than even on the 5.1 mix of the DVD.

So, even though I doubt I'll be giving it a spin much, I think I'll be keeping my laserdisc around just a little while longer.


-Lyle J.P.
 

Troy*H

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Feb 13, 2003
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156
Well I bought the 25th ann version today. I am thinking about also buying the LE 2- disc set as well, but I am wondering if we are going to see another "Ultimate" edition of this movie and when you expect it to be out.

Thanks
Troy
 

Paul_Scott

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i think i have to concure with the general 'street day' concensus.
i briefly owned the THX dvd witht the 'hologram' cover and to me it looked just plain awful.
whether it was due to compression problems/limitations, edge-enhancement, 'waxy' black level, or what- i had the disc in for a bout 5 mins scanning various chapters before i took it out of the machine and promptly threw it in the "to sell" pile.
i briefly owned the laserdisc years ago,
and i have actually seen this film in the theaters (back in spring of '79, it was still playing in the equivilent of the second run $1 theaters).

from just looking at the screencaps, the highly tinted blue scenes from the THX dvd are what stir my memories.
those seem to replicate best the feelings when i initially saw the movie, and i think even now, i would prefer a stylized look like that.
however, breaking down and buying the new dvd yesterday ($16...what the hell, i haven't watched the movie in years anyways) and then scanning thru it, i don't know that the C.T. changes are worth getting into an uproar over.
this is clearly the best the film has ever looked at home.

and the jacket art looks a hell of a lot better in the flesh than it does on the web.
very classy.

for $16 i won't complain.
i just wish i hadn't sold my projector off so soon.
would have loved to have watched the whole thing last night.
 

Gordon McMurphy

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I just finished checking out the transfer. Man, do I feel stupid: it's a great, great transfer. :b

It now seems obvious that Cundey and Adam Adams colour-correct every night scene, and that is Cundey's right. The color in that previous transfer is beautiful. This new transfer, it seems is just an un-corrected, fully-saturated high-def transfer. The blue hues are visable in all the scenes that should have them, ie. white surfaces. I always thought that the door that Myers punches through was lit with the blue hue - as I said previously the ancient original trailers had them - but the Criterion didn't, which makes me think that even the trailers were color-corrected for... balance's sake. I feel like such a schmuck.

Lyle: Your comments are superb!

Now, I don't want to be labled a hypocrit; it just seems that this is a straight transfer of an interpositive from the neg with perhaps some color boosting, contrast control, etc - practices common to transfering, but all in all, it is faithful to the film's original 1978 theatrical apperance.

But... the Cundey/Adams transfer is still superb - but the compression/encoding of the DVD... wasn't, but that's not their fault.

It would have been great if Cundey had been involved in this new transfer and had made sure that his previous after-the-fact changes had been augmented in this new transfer - but that didn't happen. This remains a beautiful transfer.

I guess I expected something truly awful colour-wise, but I guess I shot the gun.

What a schmuck! :b


Gordy
 

Bryant Frazer

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Thanks, Lyle_JP, for the most thoughtful comments I've seen to date on this particular release. I'm still not entirely convinced of the rightness of this transfer -- I remember some pretty striking colors in the film print of Halloween that I saw -- but I guess I'll give the DVD a chance. Fortunately, I've still got the Criterion LD as back-up.

Speaking of which, doesn't PCM rule? Where's the Web page for the campaign to include mono PCM tracks on DVDs of older movies? I watched the new Blue Underground DVD of Dead and Buried in 5.1 last night, then rewatched a few scenes in mono, and man -- give me the mono track any day, especially if it's in uncompressed PCM. The 5.1 remix, with music spread across the rear speakers, and tinny, scratchy dialogue snippets isolated in single speakers, giving them a rat-screeching-underfoot quality that turns the head of every cat in the room, is nice in its way, but more distracting than involving.

-bf-
 

Gordon McMurphy

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Yeah, Lyle's comments were really interesting, especially the comments on the mono track and Carpenter's simple, yet extraordinary score.

I just don't get why mono tracks are compressed so much on DVD, when an almost uncompressed track would be possible. It was a real drag when Jaws was released on two, count 'em - TWO seperate DVDs, but with no mono in sight, never mind an uncompressed mono track - and the hokey 5.1 remixes have all-new foley effects that are not as spooky as the original mono track. I like 5.1 remixes, but I LOVE the original mono and stereo tracks on many older films and when the don't show up, I feel a bit frustrated.

Phil Spector was right: "BACK TO MONO!"



Gordy
 

Reagan

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Lyle and Gordon,

You've convinced me. I'll give the new one a chance.

-Reagan
 

Brian Kidd

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What we have to remember is that an uncompressed PCM track takes up a lot more room than a DD track. If the mono track had been PCM on the disc, then the picture quality would have suffered. As much as I'd rather have a good mono track over a badly-mixed surround track any day, the vast majority of folks want to fill their speakers. At least we have the mono track on this one as an option, even if it's not PCM.
 

Sean Patrick

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the more i look at the halloween divimax screenshots, the more infuriated i get.

i was a little ticked by the Suspiria remix, but at least Lustig defended why he did it and seemed to at least have (his version of) a reasonable explanation.

this is just horrendous, though. part of the reason Halloween is so effective was it's use of color and light. True, part of the reason Suspiria was so effective was its use of sound, but the 5.1 remix hardly ruined the effectiveness of the film.

judging by the crispness of the "regular" footage from the new Manhunter disc, the potential for some of the best looking dvd's we've seen yet coming from Anchor Bay under this Divimax banner. but what's the use of color timing the whole release to take away color lighting effects?
 

Sean Patrick

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PS

hold the presses.

i was responding to an old version of this thread.

judging by lyle and gordon's posts i will pipe down and give the transfer a chance.

like i said the divimax MANHUNTER has some of the crispest looking images i've seen on dvd yet so this definitely has me feeling better about things.

thanks for the info.
 

Joshua_Y

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So...wait...let me get this straight...the transfer doesnt destroy the look of the film? Hell...I'll get it!
 

Matt Stone

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Jeez, this is the most flip-flopin' release I've ever seen. One minute it's a bastardization of a classic, and the next it's a hell of a transfer


At this point, I'm still not going to pick it up. I like the old transfer, and I have the Criterion LD...so I'll wait until I can get it for dirt cheap


Good news for those of you that stuck by the release though! At least it wasn't the fuck-up that we all thought it was.
 

Jim_K

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Lyle,

thanks for the informative review.
For some reason my preorder got held up at my E-tailer but its now on its way.


BTW

It never ceases to amaze me how so many people can get their panties all twisted in knots over one damn negative review.

Yes I'm gloating now.
 

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