Best release yet 4.5 Stars

John Carpenter’s Halloween has been released numerous times on every home video format, so often that many have lost count. Shout! Factory’s new 4K release, though, may have finally transferred the film as close to its original theatrical release as possible.

Halloween (1978)
Released: 27 Oct 1978
Rated: R
Runtime: 91 min
Director: John Carpenter
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Cast: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nancy Kyes, P.J. Soles
Writer(s): John Carpenter (screenplay), Debra Hill (screenplay)
Plot: Fifteen years after murdering his sister on Halloween night 1963, Michael Myers escapes from a mental hospital and returns to the small town of Haddonfield to kill again.
IMDB rating: 7.8
MetaScore: 78

Disc Information
Studio: Scream Factory
Distributed By: Shout! Factory
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
Subtitles: English SDH
Rating: R
Run Time: 1 Hr. 31 Min.
Package Includes: UHD, Blu-ray
Case Type: 3-disc UHD keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 10/05/2021
MSRP: $36.99

The Production: 4/5

John Carpenter’s horror classic Halloween still holds up as a blueprint on how to stretch your dollar for independent filmmakers. Made quickly on a shoestring budget, Carpenter’s tale includes an exciting prologue shot in what seems like one take (it’s not) with a steadicam, moving in and out of the house through the eyes of a young boy as he quickly murders his family. Flash forward fifteen years, and that young boy, Michael Myers (Nick Castle), has now escaped from the sanitarium where he was serving a life sentence, heading back to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. Hot on his trail is his psychiatrist, Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasance), hoping to catch up with Michael before it’s too late. As things turn out, it is too late, as he immediately begins stalking teenage babysitter Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and her friends Annie (Nancy Kyes) and Lynda (P.J. Soles). Although Halloween may be credited with launching the slasher film, there isn’t much blood or gore in Carpenter’s film, relying more on the audiences’ imagination and clever use of camera angles, editing, and music (which Carpenter composed himself). The film also launched the careers of actresses Jamie Lee Curtis and P.J. Soles, cinematographer Dean Cundey, and made Carpenter a bankable director.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

Halloween arrives on 4K UHD for a second time in less than three years, this time from Shout! Factory and sourced from a new 4K scan of the original camera negative (Lionsgate’s release from 2018 was reportedly sourced from a 4K scan of an interpostive), and supervised by Director of Photography Dean Cundey. Shout Factory’s 2160p transfer retains the film’s original 2.39:1 aspect ratio, and utilizes both HDR10 and Dolby Vision high dynamic range standards (I reviewed this on an HDR10-capable display). The film has been released multiple times on just about every home video format (each time with a different color timing), so the question one has to wonder – is this the final version? I would certainly hope so. I reviewed the Shout Factory/Anchor Bay/Miramax Complete Collection 15-disc Blu-ray release from 2014, and the transfer of Halloween featured on that release was, coincidentally, supervised by Mr. Cundey as well. There is a noticeable improvement in overall detail, with sharper imagery and more defined textures, yet still exhibiting an organic film grain structure. Where this release really shines is in the darker nighttime sequences, making excellent use of high dynamic range and bringing out much more noticeable shadow detail than we’ve seen on previous transfers. The real bonus for those who have not yet made the upgrade to UHD is the fact that the included Blu-ray edition was sourced from the same new 4K transfer.

Audio: 4.5/5

It is certainly very interesting what a good sound engineer can do with what was originally a mono mix and create various multi-channel surround configurations. This release of Halloween offers up not only the film’s original mono (in DTS-HD MA 2.0) as the disc’s default track, but also a DTS-HD MA 5.1 track, and a new Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1) track that will delight fans of the film who are so equipped. That is not to say it is on the same level of a more modern Dolby Atmos mix, but it does open up the soundstage considerably, both wider in the front and deeper to the rears and heights. LFE has a bit more weight than the 5.1 mix (the 2.0 mono is anemic), yet dialogue remains clear and understandable throughout. The same audio options are available on the included Blu-ray edition. Oh, and don’t let the opening logos from the current rights holders of the film fool you, as those are mixed and presented in DTS-HD MA 2.0 stereo, but once the film begins, the soundtrack reverts to your selection.

Special Features: 5/5

Shout! Factory has included nearly all of the video supplements associated with Halloween from their 15-disc Complete Collection Blu-ray release from 2014.

UHD Disc:
Audio Commentary with Dean Cundey, Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle: Exclusive to the 2014 Complete Collection set, this track is a nice complement to the track listed below, with Cundey and Wallace discussing the overall look of the film, and Castle occasionally dropping in with his opinions.

Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis: Ported over from the 1994 Criterion laserdisc edition, the two discuss making of the film, including trivial aspects including wardrobe and hair. It’s an insightful track, and well-worth listening to.

Blu-ray Disc One:
Audio Commentary with Dean Cundey, Tommy Lee Wallace and Nick Castle: Exclusive to the 2014 Complete Collection set, this track is a nice complement to the track listed below, with Cundey and Wallace discussing the overall look of the film, and Castle occasionally dropping in with his opinions.

Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis: Ported over from the 1994 Criterion laserdisc edition, the two discuss making of the film, including trivial aspects including wardrobe and hair. It’s an insightful track, and well-worth listening to.

The Night She Came Home (1080p; 59:43): We follow Jamie Lee Curtis as she makes her way to a fan convention, auctioning off memorabilia from Halloween to raise money for charity. There’s some interesting discussions with the actress, but it could have easily been trimmed by 30 minutes, at least.

Halloween Unmasked: 2000 (1080i; 27:16): Another look at the making of the original Halloween, archived from a previous DVD release, and upscaled from an SD source.

Theatrical Trailer (480i; 2:42): The red-band trailer for the film.

**NEW** Trailers From Hell – Adam Rifkin on Halloween (1080p; 3:01): Trailers From Hell guru (and film director) Adam Rifkin provides commentary of the red band trailer (which appears to have been sourced from an SD source.

TV Spots (480i; 2:18)

TV Version Additional Footage (480i; 10:46): Footage Carpenter had to shoot during Halloween II to pad out the running time for NBC’s broadcast of Halloween.

Radio Spots (1:24)

**NEW** NBC Broadcast TV Promo (1080p; 0:29): Upscaled from an SD broadcast master, this network promo looks to be in remarkably good condition.

Newsprint Ad Gallery (1080p; 3:42)

Still Gallery (1080p; 13:04)

Blu-ray Disc Two:
Halloween – Original Color Timed Version (1080p; 91:30): Audio options are lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 mono or DTS-HD MA 5.1.

Halloween – Extended Version (1080p; 101:08): The TV reshoots (upscaled from an SD source) have been edited into the film to provide a “complete” edition.

Vintage Interview with Producer Moustapha Akkad (1080i; 1:17): A way too short archival interview with the series Executive Producer, upscaled from an SD source.

Television Broadcast Version of Halloween (1080p; 97:37): Upscaled from a 4:3 SD source, the movie is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

**NEW** Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (1080i; 20:40): Upscaled from an SD source, host Sean Clark visits many of the locations used in Halloween, and joined by actress PJ Soles. This was the pilot for the series.

**NEW** Horror’s Hallowed Grounds Bus Tour (1080p; 11:27): Host Sean Clark hosts a bus tour of the locations used in Halloween.

Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest (480i; 87:07): Produced for the FOX Movie Channel in 2003, the documentary features interviews with many of the cast and crew.

Overall: 4.5/5

This is the best Halloween has looked or sounded on home video, and Shout! Factory has ported over most if not all of the special features associated with this film from their massive and out of print 15-disc Complete Collector’s Edition, and thrown in a few extra tidbits.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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View thread (13 replies)

Malcolm R

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But the question is ... does it look like autumn in Ohio? :D (or I guess it's Illinois?)
 
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But the question is ... does it look like autumn in Ohio? :D
Actually, no. It looks like that guy's perfect lawn in Pleasantville at the end when it switched to living color. The one who was always watering his grass. But you can see the leaves they spread around for effect plain as day also. You could probably count them if you so desired.
 

gregstaten

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Quick correction to the review. The SD elements are not "upscaled" but are mastered to disc as 480i assets. The upscaling (to Full HD or UHD) will be done by your player.

-greg
 

Todd Erwin

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Quick correction to the review. The SD elements are not "upscaled" but are mastered to disc as 480i assets. The upscaling (to Full HD or UHD) will be done by your player.

-greg
No, they are upscaled at the time of authoring. These appear as 1080i regardless of player. If what you are saying was true, then the trailers and TV spots would show as 1080i as well.
 

Clinton McClure

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I bought the Lionsgate 4K release last year and never got a chance to watch it before October ended. I’m not a big fan of horror movies so I tend to only watch that genre during October, leading up to Halloween. I’ve only ever seen Halloween once before, way back around 2003-2004. Now I don’t know if I want to even bother watching the Lionsgate release or order the new one from Shout Factory and hope it gets here before the 31st.
 

Ken Koc

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The image looks fantastic but the center channel with the dialogue is at a much lower level than the surround track. Very frustrating. The mono version is fine.
 

John*Wells

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Will there be a box set with all of the films? Or are they just being released one at a time?
 

TravisR

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Will there be a box set with all of the films? Or are they just being released one at a time?
I can't speak to the future but as of now, they're individual releases. Even the $300 'set' that has each movie, records, and pins and is sold on Shout Factory's website is just everything in a shipping box and no special slipcase or anything.
 

Dave Moritz

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Just pulled the trigger on Halloween 1 -5 4K Shout Factory releases and they should arrive tomorrow. They will be a welcome addition to my 4K library!


halloween-4k-uhd-blu-ray-840x440.jpg
 

Dave Moritz

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Halloween has arrived in 4K and I can not wait to watch all 5!

Halloween 1 thru 5.jpg



Has there been any news about the remaining Halloween movies getting new 4K transfers and making it to 4K Blu-ray?
 
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Mark_TB

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Forgive my ignorance, but can someone elaborate on the original color timed version on the second Blu-Ray? Does this match the look of the original theatrical release?
 

Worth

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Forgive my ignorance, but can someone elaborate on the original color timed version on the second Blu-Ray? Does this match the look of the original theatrical release?
I've seen the movie in 35mm, but that was years ago and I won't pretend to remember exactly what the colour looked like - that was also many years after its initial release and the print may well have faded. I will say I find the bonus disc ("Original Color Timed Version") looks more the way I'd expect a film from 1978 to look than either of the 4K versions.