Review: Halloween – 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Steelbook / Cert: 18 / Director: John Carpenter / Screenplay: John Carpenter, Debra Hill / Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasance, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis / Release Date: October 21st
What is there to say about John Carpenter’s Halloween? To try and describe it really wouldn’t do it justice. One of the all-time classic horror films, Halloween is a movie where terms like ‘iconic’ and ‘legendary’ are most definitely applicable. Starburst is going to go out on a limb and assume that everybody who reads this mag has seen the film – unless you’re here purely for the Who-ness – so going too deep into the plot would seem like a bit of a waste of energy. If you’re not in the know, the film pretty much goes like this: child kills his sister, gets locked away for over a decade, breaks out, returns ‘home,’ stalks and kills teenagers in his own neighbourhood.
John Carpenter’s breakthrough film, Halloween is simply a stunning horror film. The shooting style, pacing and technique of Carpenter, combined with his own unique, now iconic, score, all mix together to make a fantastic viewing experience for horror aficionados. The cast are great in their roles, with Jamie Lee Curtis becoming a fully-fledged ‘scream queen’ here, and Donald Pleasance is ridiculously over-the-top in his fantastically indulgent, intense, playful portrayal of Dr Sam Loomis.
Enough about the plot, direction and performances, though. Halloween originally hit screens in 1978, meaning we’ve seen a plethora of variants and re-releases of this iconic film over the decades (this writer already owns 7 different versions), so the nitty-gritty of this review is what really does make this new ‘35th Anniversary Edition’ worth your time. Firstly, this new release is a completely new transfer of the film, created by long-time Carpenter collaborator and cinematographer Dean Cundey. Simply put, Halloween never looked so good. As crisp and fresh as an autumn evening, the film is radiant. The only way it could look any better is if we saw it through the eyes of John Carpenter himself. Leaves are remarkably crisp, colours shine bright, yet the film manages to still keep its dark, sinister and slow-burning edge.
In terms of extras, this set boasts a brilliant hour-long featurette on Jamie Lee Curtis’ one-off appearance at a horror convention, with the footage chronicling Jamie Lee arriving, taking part and leaving. It’s a great little insight for long-time Halloween fans, and there’s also a gaggle of familiar Halloween faces thrown in for good measure. The rest of the extras mainly involve featurettes and spots that have been included in previous releases of Carpenter’s iconic film.
Yes, there are literally dozens of previous releases of Halloween, but this is a must for all fans of the Halloween series, and I’d urge any genre fan to pick this up as soon as they can.
Extras: Three Featurettes / Trailer / TV Spots / Radio Spots