As a lifelong diehard fan of this seminal classic -- and which I watch only and exclusively on the evening of October 31 each year -- I have had my exhaustive share of discussing John Carpenter's Halloween
with countless members of equally infinite home theater/media forums. I have to admit to playing a memorable part in the color timing/correct version fiasco all these years -- however, in seeing what's going on here and in other forums across the home theater online world and how heated and emotional everyone is getting about all this, I won't stir any pots save for some elements I'd like to add and, consequently, ask about...
I own the single-disc THX DVD of Halloween
with the kind of lame, "bare bones"-esque front cover featuring Michael's mask, as seen here:
Since this release's 1999 DVD debut, there has been much hoopla surrounding the copious shoot-off variants as well as its so-called Cundy-"supervised/approved" video transfer -- for what it's worth, I happen to think that disc's Dolby Digital 5.1 remix was effective and aggressive in a way that doesn't destroy the intention of Carpenter's original "vision" for the sound (i.e. the demo thunderstorm moment that was accompanied by healthy dollops of LFE while thunder cues were placed respectfully in the proper surround channels, the more involving impact of the iconic opening credit sequence score, etc.). The THX-approved video transfer of the 2.35:1 widescreen presentation has always indeed been dark, murky and somewhat blurry in certain sequences -- though from what I could remember, the more "reddish" looking foliage (whether "tampered with"/added or as part of Cundey's "original intent/vision" as has been somewhat brutally argued in this thread) seemed more like a fall day going into Halloween night (I realize this was shot in California and was meant to convince viewers it was taking place in a town "called" Haddonfield, Illinois).
I never picked up subsequent releases of Halloween
on DVD even after Anchor Bay completely redefined the concept of "milking a fanbase of all it's worth" with ridiculous amounts of market saturation (Warner Bros. is quickly catching up to them with this multi-dipping gimmick for unassuming "casual" fans with its Exorcist
re-re-re-releases) -- in other words, I never purchased the two-disc, still-THX certified versions known as the Limited Edition/Special Limited Edition or the DiviMax or 25th Anniversary releases...some of these coming with the kinda cool holographic slipcase while others boasted a contrast-boosted "DiviMax" widescreen transfer...
Fast-forward to Anchor Bay/Starz's 2007 Blu-ray premiere of Halloween
-- my first thought and reaction, when I saw this sitting on a "bargain shelf" of my local Target, was "can anyone tell me why a film with such monumental influence on the horror genre in general as well as Hollywood as a whole has been given such insignificant, lame, boring, bare-bones packaging and marketing presentation for its high definition debut?" The skinny, cheaply-packaged BD case screamed "cheap" to me -- but, like nearly every other fan of the title, I had to check it out in true 1080p. My conclusions? Please don't verbally bash me for this or tell me I need to commit suicide in the fashion of teenagers today when they bully others on MySpace or Facebook:
I didn't like the look of Halloween
in this variant -- to me, there was way too much distracting video noise, incredibly heightened levels of film grain (to the point it didn't support the visuals any longer, but rather destroyed much of the impact in swatches of twitchy, noisy artifacts that swallowed the scenes whole in some instances) and lack of that compelling color timing/temperature that made the THX DVD feel
like fall. Sure -- raw detail and overall impact trampled on the standard-definition versions(s), but I just didn't care for the first Blu-ray release in general, the cheap, thrown-together packaging just making it all that much worse.
With regard to that BD's audio -- I gotta say, the much-talked about and celebrated 5.1 uncompressed PCM track didn't wow me in the least, especially compared to the DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 remix which I thought was effective already. I can't actually recall now if, when watching this Blu-ray for the last couple of Halloweens now, I chose the PCM mix or the lossy Dolby track...
That being said -- with the announcement that Anchor Bay was going back and collaborating with Dean Cundey for a brand-new high definition release of Halloween
and that perhaps finally the film will receive Cundey's seal of color timing approval in 1080p, like all other diehard fans I was stoked. With kinda clumsy, offputting cover packaging aside and an overall physical feel that makes this "digibook" release appear somewhat cheap and flimsy -- especially compared to hearty digibooks like Warner's Exorcist
-- I was still eager to check out this new video transfer and reworked Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix. However, I have to say, after reading some reviews and comments from certain folks that found this release "substandard" in that the look doesn't seem much different from Anchor Bay's previous BD release and that the TrueHD audio tends to be on the quiet, "hushed" side, I'm thinking I too will be one of those fans that wait to multi-dip on this title...I understand that there have been multiple screenshot comparisons offered between the two versions on this site alone and I have looked at all of them...I realize that the two transfers DO in fact boast some visual differences, based on the shots at least, but I'm still on the fence about this one...
For what it's worth, I am going to go "old school" this October 31 and revisit the THX DVD of Halloween
to try and "mentally" compare it to the 2007 Blu-ray...
I have a question regarding the aforementioned groupings of the DVDs that have been released -- is the version I have, with Michael's mask on the cover and a simple, flat keepcase but with the THX certification, the same "Cundey supervised" version from 1999 but without the extra disc or "Special Edition" supplements? In other words -- is all that's missing from the one-disc version I own the subsequent holographic covers, extra materials and the DiviMax transfer? Just because I own the kind of "stripped-down" single-disc edition of the THX-certified release doesn't mean I don't have the "meat and potatoes" of that version, which is the video transfer, correct?Edited by IntelliVolume - 10/19/13 at 4:55pm