Question about a movie called "Halloween"

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Ocean Phoenix, Sep 12, 2004.

  1. Ocean Phoenix

    Ocean Phoenix Supporting Actor

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    I'm guessing that there's already a thread about this somewhere in the archives, but I couldn't find one. If anyone else can, please refer me to it. Anyway, the purpose of this thread is to ask which DVD set version of Halloween (the first one) is the best one to buy. I've discovered that in addition to the recent 25th anniversary edition, there is also a "limited edition" set (seemingly very rare now) that contains both the original theatrical release, as well as the "extended TV version".

    I'm not sure what the differences are between the two versions, but when I rented the movie, I rented the extended TV version (on a DVD by itself) and I enjoyed it, so I might like to have both on one DVD. It looks like the 25th anniversary edition DVD set only has one version of the movie, so I'm thinking that the limited edition DVD is better. Am I wrong?
     
  2. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    That's a matter of opinion. The 25th Anniversary edition has a new transfer of the theatrical cut that is significantly different from the other anamorphic theatrical release. It's definitely a cleaner transfer, but there are purists, like myself, who prefer the original transfer found on the previous release (both the single disc and the 2-disc LE). If you want the 25th Anniversary edition and the TV Cut, your best bet is to buy the 25th Anniversary edition and the 1-disc TV Version. If you want the original transfer, you can get the LE (only if you can find it for a good price) or as a cost saver, just buy the standard 1-disc theatrical and the 1-disc TV version (that would give you the contents of the LE).

    To help, here are the versions to consider:
    2-disc LE (contains original theatrical transfer and tv cut)
    1-disc anamorphic (contains original theatrical transfer, but few extras)
    1-disc tv cut anamorphic (contains the tv cut of the film)
    1-disc 25th anniversary (contains a new cleaner transfer that looks signifcantly different than the previous release, plentiful extras including JC's great commentary from the Criterion LD)

    The only one to avoid is the original non-anamorphic release, which is probably impossible to find anyway.

    This may sound confusing...but Anchor Bay has released Halloween about a million times, so it get's complicated...especially with the transfer on the 25th Anniversary edition./
     
  3. Ocean Phoenix

    Ocean Phoenix Supporting Actor

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    Thank you very much for the advice. It wasn't too confusing...I've got as much information on my options as I could need now.
     
  4. Greg_S_H

    Greg_S_H Executive Producer

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    I hope I don't muddy the waters with disinformation, but I understand that the color timing on the latest release is totally different from how it's ever been before. So, you have a wall lit in blue theatrically, and it's now incorrectly white. So, if you can buy the previous transfer, that would be best.

    Here's a kind of "jump right in" point in the big thread, where this very topic was being debated:

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...=&pagenumber=7
     
  5. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Yep, that's what I was refering to in my post.
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    That's actually not true. I saw a very good print of the film recently, and the colour scheme corresponded to the new transfer (lots of green trees and white walls). The transfer for the old 1999 DVD had the tinting completely redone digitally by Dean Cundey (presumably if there'd been enough money and time to get the effects he wanted originally).
     
  7. Dave Mack

    Dave Mack Producer

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    VERY interesting... And kinda what I always thought. It seemed much more likely that Cundey altered the color on a few of the shots in his supervised DVD version than if some telecine operator randomly took just some of the shots and desaturated them. That idea NEVER made sense to me. Why would they just drain the color out of SOME of the shots. There IS plenty of blue in others..

    The debate reignites, methinks...

    [​IMG] D
     
  8. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Hehe. Whether Cundey re-timed it for the '99 DVD or not, I don't think any of us remember what it looked like in 1978. Either way, I prefer the blueish timed version...but that doesn't mean everyone should.
     
  9. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    Every version I've ever owned has been "blue" and I think it's the correct color. IMO, all the atmosphere is missing from the 25th Anniversary release.

    Perhaps the next version will contain both cuts with both transfers for the theatrical version. [​IMG]
     
  10. Lyle_JP

    Lyle_JP Screenwriter

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    I agree with Jon. Every print I've seen of Halloween, as well as the Criterion laserdisc and all the older Media Entertainment VHS releases are much closer in color timing to the new 25th Anniversary disc than to the highly stylized (and quite possibly revisionist) color timing of the Cundy-approved THX edition.

    Yes, the film always had blue lighting for the nighttime shots, but it usually looked like moonlight, not like "we've just saturated this set with blue gels" lighting like the THX disc has. And contrary to some posts in the referenced thread, only one shot seems to have had the blues removed completely. The rest of the disc has the subdued blues, just like most other video releases and every 35mm print I ever saw (and working in movie theaters that specialized in showing older films over the years, I saw a few). I would like to point out that most of the complaints about the new disc came from people who had never seen it. They had seen one screenshot comparison of one scene and it was enough for them. [​IMG]

    Also, with the exception of the THX disc, which attempted to digitally bring warm fall colors to daytime scenes, every other home video and film-print release showed these scenes to be exactly what they were: springtime days in Pasadena.

    At the end of the day, the choice boils down to preference. It's not a purist vs. non-purist argument. Personally, I prefer the color timing on the THX disc. I think it looks splendid, but it's not the only issue! For starters, the actual film-to-video transfer on the old disc was done on a non-high definition telecine inferior to the one used for the Divimax disc. Also, the THX disc gives the widescreen version of the film only about 3.5 gigs of disk space to work with (since it had to share a disc with both the pan & scan version and a 30 minute documentary). The new version has twice the space so less MPEG compression was used. The new transfer is far more detailed thanks to these two factors.

    There is also the issue of shadow detail. The THX disc is way too dark to my eyes, with everything in the shadows appearing as solid black on the DVD. This was not the case with the Criterion laserdisc or any of the film prints I saw. The 25th Anniversary disc handles these dark scenes infinitely better.

    So, at the end of the day, choose the one which you think would present the film more to your liking.

    -Lyle J.P.
     
  11. Damin J Toell

    Damin J Toell Producer

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    Dean Cundey and Bill Lustig, at least, would disagree with you. Bill, who was there for the transfer's entire color timing process, confirmed for me that Dean timed the 99 transfer to use his original night-time blues (which Bill himself considered to be influential in horror for the time - a strange idea if they never existed before). Without knowing the source (the same over-used negative that was the source of the Criterion LD?), age, handling, etc., of the print you viewed , it's tough to judge how accurately it represented Cundey's original work.

    DJ
     
  12. JonZ

    JonZ Lead Actor

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    "IMO, all the atmosphere is missing from the 25th Anniversary release."

    I prefer the blue tint version as well.
     
  13. Matt Stone

    Matt Stone Lead Actor

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    Can someone provide some good times to compare shots in the film? I've got the ~98-ish AB VHS release, the Criterion LD, and the '99 DVD. I'd really like to run some comparisons.
     
  14. Michael Elliott

    Michael Elliott Lead Actor

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    I'm not sure how it matters but I saw a beat up print in a theater back in 1994, I believe, and the blue tints were there as well.
     
  15. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    I will compare the color timing of the Criterion laserdiscs to the Limited Edition (first anamorphic release) DVD tonight or tomorrow evening. For no good reason, I actually own both the Criterion CLV and CAV laserdiscs. My memory and taste w.r.t. which DVD looks better tends to run exactly opposite to Jon & Lyle's, but memory can be wrong, and, of course, there's no accounting for taste. [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  16. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Screenwriter

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    Oh, I didn't say I preferred the 25th Anniversary colour scheme - it's just the one I noticed the 35mm print I saw corresponded to most closely.
     
  17. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    Fair enough, but I should warn you that aligning your tastes and preference with mine significantly increases your chances of being wrong. [​IMG]

    Regards,
     
  18. Ryan Wishton

    Ryan Wishton Screenwriter

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    To be honest, I still this the 1999 release (theatrical/tv double set) is the best version thus far.

    I dont know. I just always liked the set best I suppose.
     
  19. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I think I posted this in the wrong thread earlier, but I was wondering if anyone had thoughts as to why in the LE Halloween, in the scene where Michael is busting through the kitchen door after Jamie-Lee that the first shot is bathed in strong blue tints, but when it cuts back, the door is grey? Was this an oversight in the transfer, or always like this? Thanks.
     
  20. Gordon McMurphy

    Gordon McMurphy Producer

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    The 1999 transfer had it's color scheme extensively altered in thw digital domain by Adam Adams, under the supervision of Dean Cundey.

    The 2003 transfer received little or no color alteration. Basically, it's a straight hi-def transfer of the new interpositive created in 1999 from the original 35mm camera negative, with extensive digital clean-up.

    I feel that what Adams and Cundey did for the 1999 transfer was, in general, fine, but I also feel that they went over the top a bit with the artificial blue highlighting of certain scenes. You'll never see a 35mm print of Halloween that looks like the 1999 transfer.

    With it being a new hi-def transfer, it would have required Adams and Cundey to begin again from scratch and re-alter the color scheme. This must have proved prohibitive; they are both in constant demand in Hollywood and command a decent paycheck. It can take a long time to create a high-quality film-to-tape transfer and any color 'correction' just adds to that time.

    The 2003 hi-def transfer is more faithful to the look of the film. But both are still on the market, so you can take your pick - I have both editions, myself. I prefer the 2003 transfer for its sharp, pristine quality and lack of artifacting.
     

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