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Case Number 09718

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Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror

Anchor Bay // 2006 // 84 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Brett Cullum // July 24th, 2006

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All Rise...

Judge Brett Cullum can't wait for the documenary about April Fools's Day.

The Charge

The night EVERYONE came home!

Opening Statement

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror is the definitive documentary on the entire Halloween franchise from the 1978 original up to 2002's Halloween: Resurrection. Now don't even ask me why it's titled 25 Years of Terror when the movies span only 24 years, and this release arrives on its 28th anniversary year. So mathematically, the title makes little sense, but who cares? The real seduction of releasing the disc now is the death of executive producer Moustapha Akkad (the only man involved with all the productions to date), and the imminent resurrection of the franchise at the hands of musician-turned-horror-director Rob Zombie (The Devil's Rejects). Evil never dies, and I doubt we will see the last Halloween movie in our lifetimes (not as long as someone keeps buying tickets).

Facts of the Case

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror consists of talking heads, film clips, and a narration by original Halloween star PJ Soles. There's an onslaught of actors, directors, producers, and even common fans of the films talking about their favorite unstoppable serial killer. It fleshes out common myths concerning the series, but avoids some of the more controversial topics. John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Debra Hill are hardly featured and appear mainly from previous interviews done around H20's release. A lot of the footage is culled from various sources, and the most documentation exists for the final chapters of the series. The feature part of this DVD set runs eighty-four minutes, and gives a brief overview of the concept and execution of each Halloween movie. Also explored are the trends that shaped the series including organized Internet fanbases, conventions, and the merchandising of the films.

The Evidence

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror is a great look at a horror series with a rabid fanbase. I somehow ended up collecting all the films, save for the last chapter Halloween: Resurrection (as if that makes me picky, considering the rest of them). I'm a pretty ardent supporter of Halloween; I believe it will outlast the sequels as a classic. The documentary is very well done for this set, although it is far from perfect in terms of balance and revelation. Despite any criticisms, it's well worth a look for fans. With the inclusion of over four hours of extras, the two-disc collector's set is the one to buy. You're not going to find a more extensive library of Halloween reference materials anywhere.

Extras are downright exhausting including panel discussions, interviews, galleries of art work, explorations of the real physical locations, and onset footage. Basically if their name appeared in a credit in any of the eight Halloween movies, it's a safe bet they will show up somewhere on this collection (even if it is in previous interviews, such as the case with series star Donald Pleasance). There are lengthy discussions with major and minor players, and looks at the 2003 convention that celebrated the original film's twenty-fifth year (so that is why it's "25 years of terror'!). All you can say is wow, and plan to sit in front of the television for the next two days geeking out to Halloween trivia. Technically the presentation is fullscreen and simple stereo which fits a documentary of this nature quite well.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

My only gripe is we don't get enough John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, or Debra Hill—three names who shaped the original film that started it all. Because of their absence the film seems too concerned with the last half of the sequels which is frankly not why the series is so influential. Arguably there are slashers who have multiple installments worth discussing beyond the first flick, but Michael Myers has struggled to define himself over the eight films released to date. His history has been revised, his masks have changed, and the poor guy can't catch a break even when Kevin Williamson (Scream) steps in to make him more hip. I wish we could spend eighty-four minutes on the first film, but luckily the 2003 Divimax release of Halloween has such an experience in its extras. And since most of the rest of the series was released bare bones, it's nice to finally have some extras for what followed.

Closing Statement

It was amazing to see Moustapha Akkad set on a panel and act as if he was responsible for the entire Halloween phenomenon from the start. At first that irked me, but then each participant in the film began to take ownership of the films and the fan furor. The truth is a lot of people have had their hands in the horror series over the years, and they all feel some responsibility and rightfully so. Because once Halloween was released back in 1978 it stopped belonging to John Carpenter, and started belonging to everyone who screamed along with Jamie Lee Curtis. In the end, it's the people out there curled up in a dark room on a fall night that own the movie and the surrounding constant celebration of the original that started it all. If Halloween: 25 Years of Terror proves anything, it's that you can't keep a good fan down. And this one is all for them!

The Verdict

Guilty of being the best look at the Halloween series so far. And hey, at least it's not another repackaging of the original film from Anchor Bay. Thank your lucky stars, and snatch it off the shelf before Michael finds you.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 100
Acting: 85
Story: 85
Judgment: 90

Perp Profile

Studio: Anchor Bay
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• None
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Horror's Hallowed Grounds -- Locations
• Halloween II and Halloween III Extended Interviews
• Extended Celebrity Interviews
• Halloween 5 Onset Footage
• Halloween Convention Montage
• Fans of Halloween -- Collections, Props, and Memorabilia
• Panel Discussions of Halloween, Halloween II, and Halloween 6
• Ellie Cornell Panel Discussion
• Michael Myers Panel Discussion
• Cinematographer Dean Cundey Panel Discussion
• Halloween Producers Panel Discussion
• Halloween Location Stills
• Halloween Convention Behind-the-Scenes Gallery
• Original Artwork Gallery
• Exclusive Comic Book

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