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Anchor Bay Entertainment presents
Halloween: Restored (1978)

"You've fooled them, haven't you Michael? Well, you haven't fooled me."
- Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: August 13, 2007

Stars: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis
Other Stars: P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis
Director: John Carpenter

MPAA Rating: R for (graphic violence, nudity)
Run Time: 01h:31m:02s
Release Date: August 14, 2007
UPC: 013131542899
Genre: horror


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A+ A+A-A C

DVD Review

John Carpenter's original classic, Halloween, will always be considered one of the best horror films of all time. It broke new ground in so many ways, but it also opened the door for copycat after copycat, as well as far too many sequels. Another byproduct of its huge fan base is a spawning of a ridiculous number of different DVD releases through the years, most of which have been blatant attempts to milk more and more money out of the franchise. The latest, again from Anchor Bay (albeit for the first time under the Starz moniker), is coming at us only a few weeks before Rob Zombie's remake/reimagining of the original, a dicey proposition in and of itself.

Following an unforgettable opening sequence showing a young boy murdering his teenage sister, we meet Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence). He was the doctor caring for this young boy, named Michael Myers, while he was institutionalized. On Halloween Eve, 1978, Myers escapes from the hospital and heads for his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois. With the town's children chomping at the bit to do some trick-or-treating, both they and their parents are oblivious to Myers' presence. However, one teenager, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis), can't shake the feeling that she's being watched. Little does she know, that this "watcher" is really the epitome of evil.

One of the perks of the multiple DVD releases is the excuse we are given to revisit the film over and over again. A true sign of a classic is its penchant for granting us a new experience with each subsequent viewing. This is one of those classics where each and every frame deserves to be dissected in a film school, as aspiring filmmakers can learn a heck of a lot from Carpenter's unique (at the time) methods. The precise framing and ability to make do with the limitations of an extremely low budget are pioneering, to say the least.

The impact of each and every scare (of which there are many) is further enhanced by the score, which Carpenter is also responsible for. Rarely has music played such a huge part in a horror film's success, but here, we're virtually bombarded with repetitive, yet engrossing piano chords and tight bass lines. The flow of the synchronized sounds builds the suspense to a fever pitch, heightening the terror, and never missing a horrifying beat. The opening title music has stayed the course through all of the sequels (except the Myer's-less Halloween III), but the entire score for the original will never be equaled.

Again, with this being the umpteenth release of the title, fans of the film are most concerned about what, if anything makes this one stand out. Sporting the THX certification, the packaging boasts of the brand new transfer that makes this the best the film has ever looked on DVD. This is true, but it's also extremely similar, if not identical, to the presentation from Anchor Bay's 1999 DVD release. The same rings true for the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, as well as the extras, so unless you don't already own the 1999 disc, this new release is only for die-hard collectors.

Rating for Style: A+
Rating for Substance: A+

 

Image Transfer

 OneTwo
Aspect Ratio2.35:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno
Anamorphicyesno


Image Transfer Review: We get the choice of watching this in either an anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen presentation, or in a full frame format. While the widescreen transfer (don't bother with the full frame) is nearly identical to that on the 1999 DVD, it's still very impressive. A wide color palette is in play, with deep, rich blacks, and accurate flesh tones throughout. Most of the grain, dirt, and other print defects have been cleaned up, making for a presentation with as many detailed images as possible.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
MonoMonoyes
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is amazing, opening things up to craft the most dynamic audio experience the film has ever benefited from. It breathes new life into Carpenter's unforgettable music, bringing every chord to the forefront at the appropriate time. The dialogue is crystal clear as well, and the original mono track to keep purists happy.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 26 cues and remote access
Cast and Crew Biographies
Cast and Crew Filmographies
2 Original Trailer(s)
3 TV Spots/Teasers
1 Documentaries
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Radio Spots
  2. Publicity Photos and Posters Gallery
  3. Behind-the-Scenes Gallery
  4. Trivia
Extras Review: The extras have been recycled from the umpteen previous releases of the film, but begin with the 27-minute documentary Halloween Unmasked 2000. This piece focuses on the impact the film had on the horror film business, and also provides some nice insight into the struggles Carpenter dealt with daily on the set.

We also get a pair of trailers, as well as three TV spots and three radio spots.

Also on board are cast and crew biographies and filmographies, a pair of still galleries, and some textual factoids posing as "trivia."

Extras Grade: C

 

Final Comments

If you're looking for the definitive edition of John Carpenter's horror masterpiece, Halloween: Restored isn't it. However, it does represent the film with the finest audio and video presentation yet. Plus, the keep case is enclosed by a very cool slipcover, although that's not exactly a good reason to pick this up.

 


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