Halloween 35th Anniversary (Blu-ray)
Anchor Bay Entertainment – 2013
Directed by John Carpenter
Written by John Carpenter and Debra Hill
Jamie Lee Curtis
It’s amazing how fast time flies. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since I reviewed Halloween 25th Anniversary DVD. Thankfully Anchor Bay Entertainment is helping celebrate another milestone for John Carpenter’s masterpiece with a superb Blu-ray that has to be the best looking so far. Director of Photography Dean Cundey supervised the transfer and you know there’s nobody more qualified than him to oversee that important job.
Halloween looks alive with autumn colors; Cundey’s breathtaking blue night time lighting and the contrasting shadows that run thought the film.
The 35th Anniversary Edition also comes with a brand new Audio Commentary with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis helps uncover some new tidbits of information about the shoot. But what’s best about this track is hearing Jamie Lee’s obvious enthusiasm for the film, even telling John Carpenter how to watch is own movie. Curtis does this in an innocent way that proves she doesn’t watch horror films and that she probably hasn’t watched Halloween that often. I found her enthusiasm genuine and funny.
There’s also a Special Feature called The Night She Came Home which chronicles Jamie Lee Curtis attending a film convention in Atlanta. This is the first and probably one of the few such events she’ll ever attend, so it was cool we get to see it. What’s so impressive is how respectful she treats people. She has the people in attendance sing happy birthday to one fan who was getting some things signed and she goes out of her way to make people feel her warmth and humanity. My only disappointment was not being there myself to meet the star of one of my two favorite films.
This also comes with On Location; 25 Years Later which was on the 25th Anniversary DVD. It didn’t hurt to see this piece again as well as the other supplements, which include; Trailers, TV & Radio Spots, Additional Scenes from the TV Version.
But there’s something else I can’t forget to mention, which is worth the price of this Blu-ray without counting anything else. The 35th Anniversary Edition comes inside this cool hard-book cover with a neat painting of Michael Myers. Better than that, inside has 20 pages of behind the scenes photos I’d never seen anywhere before with a fantastic write up detailing the making of Halloween and the response since. It’s all presented on beautiful paper stock in a layout that really gels with the film’s atmosphere.
Since I’ve already reviewed Halloween in great detail before (please click on link to read) I’d like to try something new and just riff (observation & comments) on things I noticed watching Halloween this time. The thing I really noticed was how simple John Carpenter’s Classic is. The story is crystal clear, told with mature restraint and it is never rushed. The long Panaglide shots are not only brilliantly conceived and executed (by Dean Cundey’s lighting and Raymond Stella’s camera operation) but they work magnificently by giving the film style and Carpenter was able to capture considerable page counts because of the duration of each shot. This was smart when considering the short shooting schedule. I’ve never seen or heard anyone ever talk about the editorial correlation between the ghost/Michael Myers with Lynda (P.J. Soles) scene and the first beach scene in Jaws. Watch the movie again, paying attention to this scene and you’ll see that like the first crowd beach scene in Jaws (where Chief Brody is trying to watch the swimmers) every time John Carpenter & his editors cut from Lynda to Michael (sheet covered ghost at door) each successive cut goes to a longer lens shot. Because of the edit not everyone will notice it but it’s a sneaky way to bring Michael Myers closer, amping up the intensity of the suspense. It’s also an abbreviated visual representation of how Halloween is designed directorially. The movie gets tighter and more confined as it plays out until the nerve shattering climax.
You will not find a better movie to watch on Halloween.