"Halloween: The 30th Anniversary Commemorative Edition" 6-Disc DVD Review

October 15, 2008 by James Harvey

It goes without saying that Halloween is one of those landmark horror films that will never be forgotten. Often imitated, never duplicated, is how the saying goes, I think. Here, it's no different. The original Halloween remains just one of the best horror films of all time, and has spawned several sequels. And now, Anchor Bay has packaged them all in one excellent little box set for fans of this terrifying classic. So, finally, we get the see the entire frightful storyline in one collection. The entire Michael Myers mythology, well, all of which Anchor Bay holds the rights to, are here, and with Halloween around the bend, now is the perfect time to pick up this collection.

On the final night of October 1978, he came home. What lived behind his eyes was pure and simply evil. What lay before him became legend. His name was Michael Myers, and Halloween would change the shape of horror forever. Thirty years later, celebrate John Carpenter's masterpiece in three different versions, including the stunning Blu-ray edition, plus two of its most popular hit sequels, the definitive documentary on the series' history and much more. What began in Haddonfeid three decades ago lives on today. The 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set brings all the horror home like never before. And it's all about that night, that night of evil. But this evil, this evil that destroys everything it touches, is more complicated, more catastrophic, and more devious than anyone could have ever imagined.

Now, we've been here before, looking at the original Halloween feature, and, well, there's not much more I can say about this absolutely amazing movie. It's a movie that still stands up as a genuine frightfest after all these years. But what about the sequels? Well, in some case, the less aid about those the better. Now, that's not to say that all of them are weak, just...well, the majority of the sequels are kind of weak. So, let's breeze through these quickly since, in terms of this type of release, readers are likely more interested in the actual DVD collection than the content itself. So, like I said, Halloween is a total classic in every respect, so what about the other titles included in this collection?

Well, Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers picks up where Halloween 2 left off. Ten years after his killing spree, Myers is back to wreak havoc and cut down those in his path. And, surprisingly, Halloween 4 is a good film and a great follow-up to Halloween 2, surprising given that this is the fourth installment of a horror franchise. Of course, many things have changed since Myers originally terrorized the night. What I like about this movie is the natural sense of progression. Since that now infamous night is public knowledge, when Myers returns to go on a rampage, the town inhabitants decided to fight back, leading to probably one of the coolest endings of the Halloween franchise. Halloween 4 is a seriously good horror flick that continues the Halloween story.

But then came Halloween 5. After everything was so effectively wrapped up in the last movie, we get Myers once again impossibly resurrected to wreak havoc. Halloween 5 is basically a long and unnecessary epilogue to the Myers storyline, one that sort of doesn't matter after the last one, although fans of H20 beg to differ. I suppose it's a good way to kill an hour and a half, especially if you're a fan of the Halloween franchise, but I was really letdown after the previous installment of the Halloween series turned out to be surprisingly strong. Halloween 4 was a good follow-up to Halloween 2, which in itself was a good follow-up to the classic original, but Halloween 5? Not so much. I can ignore Halloween 3 personally, because it's such a ridiculous movie that has nothing to do with the Myers storyline, but Halloween 5? Man, what a letdown.

Still, overall, it's a pretty good collection of movies. It's not complete, mind you, but Anchor Bay has a nice collection of Halloween movies to be found here. Ideally, they'd also toss in Halloween 2 and Halloween: H20, but since they apparently do not own the rights for the films, we're going to have to make due with what we find here, and the movies here are pretty good. Halloween 5 is a letdown, sure, but it's still pretty fun to watch, despite it being utterly predictable and the fact that it doesn't even add anything new to the Myers story. Still, personally, for those looking for a good fright night, then these films come Recommended for viewing.

The DVD:

Another Halloween release? Really? I'm sure many fans are asking themselves if they should bother plunking down their hard-earned money on yet another release of Halloween and, well, I think they might not mind picking up this release! Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has released a great looking package, so let's start on the outside and work out way in!

The six disc set is housed in a regular-sized Amaray case which itself is housed in a massive cardboard sleeve. What's so special about this cardboard sleeve is the fact that it contains a plastic replica of the infamous Myers mask on the front. Remember that special Saw Trilogy release from last year? Well, Anchor Bay has provided their own alternative with this release and it looks great. The entire package is housed in a plastic sleeve that keeps the everything together. The Halloween 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set looks great on the outside, no question, but what about the inside?

Once we're able to get to the discs through all the packaging, fans should be plenty surprised by what they find. Right away, fans should notice the Blu-ray Halloween disc, which contains a high-definition 1080p widescreen presentation, uncompressed audio, commentary with John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis and producer Debra Hill, and the documentary Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest. A solid Blu-ray disc that fans should be very pleased with. Of course, the bonus features here are the exact same as the recent Halloween Blu-ray disc released not too long ago.

Next up is Halloween (Restored 1978 film), with a THX-Certified transfer, a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack, full-frame presentation, the theatrical trailer, TV spots, a radio spot, the Halloween Unmasked 2000 featurette, and a collection of talent bios and galleries. The next disc contains arguably the biggest get for Halloween fans in this collection, that being the Halloween: Extended Edition, which has been out of print for years. This version contains 12 minutes of all-new scenes and alternate footage, footage that Halloween fans have long since sought after and is now available here in this release. Fans should be very pleased to have this version now readily available.

Halloween: 25 Years of Terror is next up on it's own disc. This comprehensive retrospective chronicles the story behind the mow infamous terrifying tale. This documentary features interviews with cast, crew and those who were inspired by this film. The retrospective also contains a host of nice extras, including featurettes, montages, on-set interviews, and much more. In short, this is a great look at the Halloween storyline, including the good, bad, and ugly sides of it all.

The collection is rounded out by the inclusion of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers and Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers. Bonus features are surprisingly extensive for these two films. For Halloween 4 we get a couple audio commentaries, a Halloween 4/5 discussion panel, a Making Of, and the theatrical trailer. Halloween 5 gets even ,ore! There's an audio commentary, a Inside Halloween 5 documentary, deleted footage, interviews, an introduction, on-set footage, and a theatrical trailer. A very well-rounded batch of extras for two movies that many moviegoers don't really acknowledge. As you can expect, the transfers are good for the movies, given their age.

Overall, when looking at the complete package, I'm torn. It's a great package that finally brings the extended cut of Halloween back to the masses, but, outside of that, there's no real new content. And that is where I'm torn. I'd have to say that only the die-hard fans should consider picking this up, but, realistically, if you're a horror fan, I think that this collection should really be added to your collection, especially given the price its available for, the great packaging, and that fact that this collection can easily replace four or five DVDs in your collection. I know Halloween has been released countless times on DVD, but this is the one to own! True, there's no new content, but this is a great release. Personally, this is one collection that, for horror fans, I think I'd tick this off as a Must Own. Not only does it contain three versions of the one of the best horror films ever made, but it also contains an amazing documentary, two sequels, and piles of bonus features. The only major drawback to this collection is the lack of new content, something fans have been vocally upset about. Anchor Bay Home Entertainment has released a good collection that includes the all the Halloween content they have the rights for and it looks great. And, come on - you get a replica of the mask! It's a great collection, both inside and out, and one that fans hopefully won't be disappointed with. Halloween: The 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set is a great set that does justice to one of the greatest horror films of all time, and now it's available just in time for Halloween.

Halloween: The 30th Anniversary Commemorative Set is now available to own.

 

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