PictureHaving never seen any previous editions of Halloween I was expecting a rather poor video transfer. However, this release from Anchor Bay is from their DiViMax range, which according to the spiel on the DVD cover is “a High Definition film transfer process that provides state-of-the-art picture quality.” Surprising then that there's no THX certification like one of their earlier releases, but on giving the disc a spin I was genuinely dumbstruck by the video transfer.Did I mention that this movie is 25 years old? By all accounts, the 2.35:1 anamorphic image here looks better than some recent releases, and it definitely doesn't look its age. With nigh a scratch in sight, this looks incredibly clean with no dirt visible, and no unsightly “jumps” in the transfer. Blacks look suitably black, with no noise, and although not as detailed as you'd expect a new movie to be, the shadows hold up to scrutiny well.
Speaking of detail, there are some excellent moments here. The American suburbs look excellent, with colours looking natural and clean, and good detail amongst the leafy trees and freshly mown lawns. Although slightly softer than we'd expect now, it's still remarkable for a film of this age, and a testament to the people who painstakingly cleaned the original print frame by frame.
SoundRemastered in Dolby Digital 5.1, the soundtrack is a mixed bag. Feeling more pro-logic than the full 5.1 joys that we're accustomed to, the sound is mainly locked to the front soundstage. Whilst it's clean and precise - dialogue remains clear and audible - the steering feels rather flat, with little in the way of dynamics.
Speaking of dynamics, LFE is rather sparse (which, lets be honest should be no surprise for anyone), although the sound engineers have added in a few effects: for example the thunderstorm where Myers escapes from the mental institute will have your subwoofer working as it issues a few deep throaty growls, although this is one of the rarer moments.
The surrounds, too, remain rather quiet throughout the running time. Audible when we hear the musical score and for ambient effects - again the thunderstorm is a good example and in other moments ambient noises such as chirping birds can be heard - they're really subdued and almost go without being noticed. Purely a personal thought, but to my ears more could have been made of the surrounds, e.g. the scenes where we hear Myers breathing would benefit from the sounds being positioned in the surround channels: it would be more atmospheric certainly, and all the more ominous for it.Overall this is a rather flat, if workable remix, however given the age of the film it should be considered perfectly acceptable.
ExtrasPacked onto the 2nd disc is a host of features, the most worthy being the 87 minute documentary which contains a number of interviews, clips from the movie and plenty of behind-the-scenes footage.
Also on offer on disc 1 - and this will delight fans - is the extensive commentary featuring John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and producer Debra Hill, which offers some fascinating insights into the making of the movie, editing etc, with all of the participants making it a lively discussion.Finishing off the package we also have the following: 10 minute Featurette (“On Location - 25 years later”), the original Theatrical Trailer plus TV spots, Radio Spots (spot the padding), Poster and Still Gallery, and finally Talent Biographies.
Overall this is a good set of extras which will definitely interest fans of the movie, particularly the commentary and documentary.
VerdictThe original and some might argue best, this is a pensioner of horror with a healthy set of teeth: this DVD comes with a superb video transfer and a reasonable soundtrack, together with some excellent extras.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.