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Halloween

4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    91
    from 3 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Halloween's 4K set enhances its classic horror, despite missing footage, offering the best version yet with extensive extras.

    Halloween 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    90
  • Shout Factory's UHD release of Halloween enhances film's visual fidelity with a balanced color scheme and true-to-original details, receiving acclaim for its technical execution and cinematography-approved restoration.

  • Audio
    87
  • Available audio options offer differing experiences; 7.1 and Atmos enhance immersion with detailed soundscapes, while the original 2.0 mono mix provides crisp, albeit thinner, audio quality.

  • Extra
    89
  • Scream Factory's set brims with exhaustive "Halloween" extras, pairing nostalgic commentary with ample behind-the-scenes content, catering to fans and preserving the film's legacy.

  • Movie
    93
  • John Carpenter's Halloween, a low-budget masterpiece, endures 40+ years on, inspiring franchises with its style, escalation, and iconic boogeyman Michael Myers.

    Video: 90

    The Shout Factory's recent release of "Halloween" on 4K UHD Blu-Ray marks another attempt to redefine the visual presentation of this classic horror film. Utilizing a native 4K scan from the original camera negative, approved by cinematographer Dean Cundey, the movie is showcased in its original 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, enhanced with Dolby Vision and HDR10. This edition aims to replicate the film's authentic theatrical experience, focusing on maintaining its natural grain, which is both fine and film-like, ensuring the preservation of John Carpenter's intended visual darkness and texture. The precise delineation and extended use of shadows enhance the suspense, allowing for a clearer presence of Michael Myers lurking in the backgrounds, while still elevating facial textures and costume details.

    Color grading under the new scan showcases a significant improvement over previous releases, leaning towards a more natural palette while balancing the cool, autumnal tones with warmer, brighter hues where necessary. Skin tones are rendered more naturally, compared to the ashy or overly saturated appearances in prior transfers. The adjustments in scene-by-scene color timing have made green and orange tones pop more vividly, closely aligning with the visual aesthetics of the original release without compromising on the deep, inky blacks that contribute to the film's ominous atmosphere. The delicate balance achieved here respects both the director's original vision and the film’s iconic status, making it arguably the best-looking version of "Halloween" available to date.

    This 2021 release distinguishes itself with subtle yet noticeable enhancements in detail and color fidelity, offering a compelling reason for fans to revisit Haddonfield. While it might not fully revert to the brighter tones of very early DVD releases, it successfully avoids past pitfalls like overt brightness or color imbalances. It is a testament to Scream Factory's commitment to presenting "Halloween" in a manner that respects its legacy while also embracing modern home video technology standards—resulting in a deeply improved watching experience that serves as a vital update for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

    Audio: 87

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-Ray for "Halloween" provides a diverse auditory experience with three distinct options: 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, 5.1 DTS-HD MA, and a newly improved 2.0 DTS-HD MA mono mix. While the original mono mix has been historically thinner, lacking the depth and richness of its counterparts, the updated DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track significantly boosts the dialogue clarity, music impact, and overall sound effects vibrancy when compared to its previous Dolby Digital iterations, now closely matching the Dolby TrueHD 2.0 mono found in deluxe sets but with an inexplicably stronger presence. The 5.1 mix, albeit clear and somewhat decent, comes off as lackluster, being criticized for its front-heavy concentration and an apparent lack of genuine surround channel utilization.

    Introducing a new English Dolby Atmos mix builds upon the foundation laid by the 5.1 mix, adding subtle yet appreciable enhancements like the judicious use of height channels for atmospheric sounds such as thunder and leaves rustling, which along with a slightly enhanced low-frequency presence offers a more immersive audio experience. However, despite these improvements, it's observed that much of the film's soundstage remains predominantly front-centered with only sporadic side and rear activity, undermining the potential fullness of an Atmos experience. The Atmos mix does provide a more spaced out auditory scene, aiming for naturalism by avoiding overcrowded elements, yet it stops short of being revolutionary.

    Critics and enthusiasts alike spotlight the Atmos and updated mono mixes as superior options for their respective reasons. The clear preference for the mono track emphasizes its indispensability as the go-to choice for purists or those seeking authenticity, bolstered by its improved dynamism over previous releases. Meanwhile, Atmos gains favor for its enriched environmental cues and modestly elevated bass tones, despite its overall execution being perceived as restrained. Each audio selection presents its own merits and limitations, with preferences likely to vary among viewers based on their desired balance of fidelity, immersion, and nostalgia.

    Extra: 89

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray edition of "Halloween" offers a comprehensive and insightful collection of extras that celebrate the film's enduring legacy. With exceptional offerings like two audio commentaries featuring the creative minds of John Carpenter, Jamie Lee Curtis, Dean Cundey, Tommy Lee Wallace, and Nick Castle, viewers are treated to behind-the-scenes stories and technical reflections. The supplemental material deepens the appreciation for this horror classic, heavily featuring interviews, making-of featurettes, such as "Halloween Unmasked" and "Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest," and unique content like "The Night She Came Home," showcasing Curtis's fan interactions at a horror convention. Notably, it consolidates a wealth of material from previous releases, making it nearly definitive save for a few omissions due to licensing. This package is an enticing draw for both new fans and collectors, offering varied content that ranges from historical retrospectives to fan-centered events, ensuring a multidimensional viewing experience beyond the main feature.

    Extras included in this disc:

    Audio Commentary featuring John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis: Co-writer/director and leading actress share their memories of creating the film.

    Audio Commentary featuring Dean Cundey, Tommy Lee Wallace, and Nick Castle: A discussion with the cinematographer, co-editor/production designer, and actor.

    The Night She Came Home Featurette: Jamie Lee Curtis at a 2013 horror convention.

    Halloween Unmasked: A deep dive into the making of "Halloween."

    Trailers From Hell with Adam Rifkin: Personal insights on "Halloween."

    TV Version Additional Footage: New scenes added for television broadcast.

    Theatrical Trailer

    TV and Radio Spots

    News Print Ad Gallery

    Still Gallery

    Halloween: Extended Version: The film with additional scenes in SD.

    Television Cut: Edited version for NBC broadcast.

    Halloween: A Cut Above The Rest: Comprehensive documentary on the making of "Halloween."

    Vintage Moustapha Akkad Interview: Producer discusses the original pitch for the movie.

    Horror’s Hallowed Grounds (Original Pilot): A tour of filming locations.

    Horror’s Hallowed Grounds Bus Tour: A contemporary revisit to the iconic locations.

    Movie: 93

    John Carpenter's 1978 masterpiece, "Halloween," has transcended its low-budget origins to become an indelible classic of the horror genre. Over forty years since its inception, the film's ingenious mix of suspense and terror, paired with one of cinema's most memorable scores, continues to captivate audiences and influence filmmakers. The story of Michael Myers—his brutal killing spree in Haddonfield, Illinois, after escaping a mental institution—remains a pivotal moment in horror cinema. Carpenter’s directional prowess elevates what could have been a mere exploitation flick into a stylistically refined, escalating thriller that has not only spawned a vast franchise but also defined the slasher genre for generations.

    The 4K UHD presentation of "Halloween" breathes new life into this iconic film, allowing both longstanding fans and new viewers to experience the chilling tale of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers like never before. Despite its obvious production limitations, the film's transition to 4K UHD showcases Carpenter’s mastery over suspense and atmosphere in stunning clarity, preserving the film’s gritty aesthetic while enhancing its visual and audio components. The enduring appeal of "Halloween" is evident in its ability to remain a significant cultural touchstone, inspiring countless imitators and revitalizing interest with each new entry in the series.

    Technical anomalies aside, such as playback issues noted with certain Blu-ray players, the release of "Halloween" on 4K UHD Blu-ray offers an immersive viewing experience that honors the film’s legacy. This edition not only presents the movie in unparalleled visual quality but also includes additional features that deepen appreciation for this seminal work. "Halloween’s" significance is not merely in its creation of the boogeyman archetype but in Carpenter's innovative approach to storytelling and tension-building, elements that are magnificently preserved and highlighted in this 4K UHD release.

    Total: 91

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray presentation of John Carpenter's "Halloween" elevates the viewing experience, offering pristine picture quality with enhanced detail and depth that breathes new life into this timeless horror classic. Fans of the film will appreciate the comprehensive package that includes a treasure trove of extras, ranging from production insights gathered over the years to multiple versions of the movie for a comparative viewing experience. While the set is exhaustive in its offerings, it notably lacks the unearthed camera negative footage discovered in the mid-2000s, containing mostly silent alternate takes and outtakes, a missing piece that enthusiasts may miss despite its limited accessibility through a few watermarked stills and a Panaglide camera test.

    Scream Factory’s release of "Halloween" on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray is commendably packed with three discs, showcasing an improved transfer that positions this edition as arguably the best the film has looked for home viewing. Despite some purists possibly seeking an even higher standard, the improvement over past releases is unmistakable. Including two additional cuts of the movie and an expansive collection of bonus features, this edition stands as a must-have for collectors and fans, ensuring its place alongside other copies of "Halloween" in their libraries.

    In conclusion, this 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Halloween" is a substantial offering that not only enhances the visual fidelity of John Carpenter’s masterpiece but also enriches the viewing experience with a plethora of supplementary content. While it falls short of including all potential materials, namely the elusive camera negatives, it remains a definitive version that honors the legacy of this quintessential horror film. Highly recommended for avid collectors and first-time viewers alike, this release solidifies "Halloween"’s enduring appeal and its iconic status in the horror genre.