Anchor Bay // 1978 // 104 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // August 24th, 2001
The legendary all-time horror classic featuring 12 minutes of additional "shot-for-television" scenes!
I guess there really is no need for me to plod on about John Carpenter's masterpiece Halloween, a film that opened the door to every other '80s slasher film known to man. Every thing I write will just be a rehash of all the other glowing reviews circling the 'net. However, because I am such a big fan I am going to say it anyway: Halloween is one of the best horror films ever made (like you couldn't see that coming). Over the years there have been a bunch of Halloween releases on DVD, including a horrible bare-bones edition, a "special edition" of sorts, and a "limited edition two-disc set." Now comes yet another edition, this time an "expanded edition" featuring 12 extra minutes that were originally shown during the TV broadcast of Halloween in 1980. This disc was originally part of the "Limited Edition" set and is now available separately as Halloween: Extended Edition from Anchor Bay Entertainment.
I feel like I am being highly redundant when I summarize Halloween, but hey, it's the job I am put on Earth to do. Without any further pause...
When he was only six years old, Michael Myers killed his little sister on Halloween night. For 15 years Michael was locked in a mental ward under the supervision of Dr. Sam Loomis (Donald Pleasence) in Smith's Grove, Illinois. During that time Michael sat comatose in a hospital room, fooling everyone but Dr. Loomis who thinks that Michael is "pure evil." On October 30th, 1978, Michael does the unthinkable: he escapes. Dr. Loomis knows exactly where he is headed: Michael's hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois.
Haddonfield is the type of place that everyone wants to grow up in; it's quaint, cute, and full of good-looking women. It's here that we meet Laurie Strode (Jaime Lee Curtis), a teenage babysitter who is stalked and terrorized by Michael Myers (in one of the TV scenes we find out that Laurie is actually Michael's sister). Laurie and her high school friends soon find out what real terror is when Michael returns to his old stomping grounds in Haddonfield on the eve of my favorite holiday. Close on his trail is Dr. Loomis (who shows up in almost every sequel), a man who seems to be the only one capable of understanding how dangerous Michael Myers is.
Halloween is one of my favorite horror films of all time. It's a perfect example of a finely crafted movie. The performances, the tension, the production, the music...it's all top notch. Since that hits most all the bases, I am going to focus on the "shot-for-television" material instead of Halloween the feature (as this will be the drawing point for most consumers).
Back in 1980, NBC bought the rights to air Halloween on broadcast television. The only trouble was that because of the graphic nature of the film, the Standards and Practices Department demanded edits before it was shown. Utilizing the crew from the sequel Halloween II, John Carpenter wrote and directed some new scenes to beef up Halloween's running time after the edits were made.
This edition of Halloween features an excellent 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer just like the previous two versions of the movie. Audio is presented in Dolby Digital Mono 1.0, and though is not half as good as the new Dolby 5.1 remix Anchor Bay produced, sounds just fine.
The "big" news here is the 12 minutes of "shot-for-television" scenes. If you look through the chapter list it highlights where the new additions are. There are four separate scenes, the best being Loomis' talk with Michael when he was a child (I love Pleasence's delivery of the line "You've fooled them, haven't you Michael? But not me."). Although this scene is executed well, it diminishes Michael's horror by a notch when we see him as a child in khaki pants and a white T-shirt. Another television scene involves Dr. Loomis discussing Michael's release with the hospital board. A decent scene, though from the look s of it just a time filler. A third scene is of Loomis visiting Michael's room after his escape. The room is shattered and trashed with the word "sister" scratched into the back of the door. The final TV scene involves Laurie answering her door and finding her friend being followed by Michael via a station wagon. Another scene that looks like it was just thrown in to kill time.
Usually I am thrilled with most of the stuff Anchor Bay puts out. Day Of The Dead, Sleepaway Camp, House , Hell Comes To Frogtown...Anchor Bay has consistently done a great job of putting out titles that no one else seems to care about. The only misstep I've seen are those "limited edition" tins, which I am not that fond of.
That being said, I think that the Halloween: Extended Edition is a big rip-off for Halloween fans. Not only that, but it's also a rip-off for the people who bought the numbered "limited edition" two-disc Halloween set a while back.
The whole point of a limited edition (on DVD) is that you get something that is only limited to a certain number of copies, and that's it. Then the mold should be broken, so to speak. Only the folks who forked over hard earned cash were able to get the TV edition of Halloween (or so I assumed) in the Limited Edition two-disc set. Now, I'm not saying always release special editions and screw over the little guy who gets there too late. What I am saying is that if you are going to release a special edition, don't release almost the same thing a year later in a different package (as was also the case with the Army of Darkness: Limited Edition numbered set)!
Unless you feel that you really, really need this edition of Halloween, I'd advise you to pass on it. I don't know about you, but I would feel pretty jacked if I had to put down twenty-five bucks just to have 12 minutes of extra footage on a disc that's almost identical to one I already own. Anchor Bay needs to do one of two things: either put out a limited edition and keep it just that, or throw the "limited" material on a "wide release" and let everyone have a crack at it.
Not only that, but now fans who want both discs are forced to shell out money for an edition that doesn't even have any special features!
Anchor Bay, I love you. Learn from your mistakes and don't screw us over with these multiple editions.
Sure, I'm glad that the TV version of Halloween is available to buy or rent. However, this doesn't divert from the fact that Anchor Bay is really just screwing over consumers and Halloween: Limited Edition owners by putting out Halloween: Extended Edition. If you are a real die-hard Halloween fan and you missed the "Limited Edition," than I guess this might be worth the purchase (or better yet, just as a rental). Otherwise, pass on this copy of Halloween; in a world of tricks and treats, its just one lousy prank.
FYI: My final rating on Halloween: Extended Edition is really just for the disc, not the film itself.
Halloween is obviously free to go. Anchor Bay is slapped with a fine for making fans of this series purchase yet another copy on DVD, this time with very little to scream about.
Review content copyright © 2001 Patrick Naugle; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated