The Reel: ‘Halloween’ gets 35th anniversary treatment

Ben Conniff

When it comes to “slasher” films, you’d be hard-pressed to find one better than WKU alumnus John Carpenter’s 1978 classic “Halloween.”

What sets it apart from typical genre fare, like “Friday the 13th,” is that Michael Myers is no maniac in a mask.

He is quite simply a physical embodiment of the pure, unwavering evil that can lurk anywhere — even in the quietest, most unsuspecting neighborhoods.

Such terror deserves home entertainment treatment of the highest order, and audiences get that with the 35th anniversary Blu-Ray release of “Halloween.”

The most notable feature that distinguishes this from previous releases is the all-new, high-definition image transfer supervised by Dean Cundey himself, the film’s original director of photography.

The result is a gorgeously clear image that looks like it could’ve been filmed yesterday.

By looking at still photographs comparing this version to the 2007 Blu-Ray release, it’s clear that Cundey’s 35th anniversary transfer is the definitive viewing experience.

The color scheme is cooler and less vibrant, allowing for more natural-looking images that are truer to Carpenter’s original vision.

The transfer also retains its slight graininess, lending a sense of authenticity that recalls “Halloween”’s original theatrical presentation.

As for the sound, Cundey includes a new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 lossless audio track, which means the movie’s original soundtrack has been completely reconstructed to sound as crisp and clear as ever.

The classically imposing presence of Carpenter’s musical score is enhanced to evoke a greater sense of dread than in previous releases.

Additionally, a brand new audio commentary from Carpenter and star Jamie Lee Curtis is included.

This was my favorite special feature because of the way Carpenter and Curtis josh each other — while she’s freaking out at every other scene, he’s telling her how silly she is.

Through their easygoing banter, the duo provides remarkable insights into the filming experience, the mythology, casting and technical elements of the production.

The only other new feature is an hour-long documentary titled “The Night SHE Came Home,” in which a camera crew follows Curtis as she meets fans at her first ever horror convention.

It’s worth a look simply because this is the first time that Curtis has ever acknowledged the passionate “Halloween” fan base.

Her distaste for horror films and wish to disassociate from the “scream queen” image are reasons why Curtis has taken 35 years to reach out.

The other special features have all been ported over from previous home video releases.

The “On Location: 25 Years Later” featurette showcases the South Pasadena filming locations that have, by and large, remained unchanged since the late ‘70s.

Though it features rare appearances from producer Debra Hill and star P.J. Soles, such a dated feature feels out of place on a 35th anniversary release.

If anything, they should’ve updated it with the cooperation of Carpenter and Curtis.

It would’ve been fun to see their reactions and hear their stories about filming on location so many years ago.

Remaining features include a collection of scenes shot specifically for the film’s television presentations, as well as original theatrical trailers and radio spots.

Michael Myers has never looked or sounded better, so longtime fans looking for the definitive “Halloween” viewing experience should take advantage of this week’s low sales prices at Best Buy and Target.

Even if you’re a first-timer, this classic horror movie is a worthy addition to any home video collection.