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4K Ultra HD

Blu Ray

  • Score
    from 5 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Halloween 4K UHD: Iconic horror enhanced but with mixed reviews on audio.

    Halloween 4K UHD Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
  • Halloween's 4K UHD release enhances detail with HDR, but faces mixed reception on color timing and contrast adjustments, still earning Carpenter and Cundey's approval.

  • Audio
  • The 4K release's Dolby TrueHD 7.1 sound mix enriches the iconic score and ambiance, yet lacks the original mono's warmth, causing mixed feelings among purists.

  • Extra
  • This UHD release includes all previous extras, featuring engaging audio commentary, unique features like Jamie Lee Curtis at a convention, and 35th Anniversary edition content, despite the 2007 Blu-ray's color issues.

  • Movie
  • The iconic 'Halloween' impresses in 4K, enhancing its legacy with superior visuals, despite color timing debates and the absence of original mono sound.

    Video: 84

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Halloween" marks a significant upgrade in video quality from previous editions, fully utilizing its 4K scanned resolution to deliver a presentation that is both vivid and faithful to the original vision of director John Carpenter and cinematographer Dean Cundey. Mastered from a native 4K 3840 x 2160p digital intermediate in the widescreen 2.35:1 aspect ratio, it employs 10-bit color depth, a wider color gamut (WCG), high dynamic range (HDR), and HEVC (H.265) encoding to enhance both HDR10 and Dolby Vision outputs. Reviewed on a top-tier Ultra HD 4K TV and player setup, this release showcases the film's cinematic aesthetics and its meticulous production design with unprecedented clarity.

    Detail reproduction here is exceptional, showcasing textures like skin, clothing, and domestic coverings with sharply defined edges that surpass all previous releases. The disc's HDR and WCG significantly enrich the picture's depth, with restored blue hues cooling the overall palette and ensuring colors are more authentic to the filmmakers' original intentions. Despite the controversy around previous editions' color timing, this version seems more aligned with Cundey’s vision, particularly noticeable in its cooler flesh tones and the intensified blue of nighttime scenes. Black levels are notably deep, revealing intricate details in shadows without compromising on the film’s inherent grain structure, preserving its filmic essence.

    However, not all technical aspects have translated perfectly in this UHD release. While the enhanced definition and clarity in most scenes are a welcome improvement—revealing subtle details previously unnoticed—the HDR grading has drawn some criticism for occasionally resulting in bland contrast levels and affecting the vibrancy of certain colors. Notably, daylight sequences can appear somewhat subdued, lacking in vitality, which may disappoint some viewers. Nonetheless, the presentation improves upon static elements like fabric textures and facial complexities, offering a refined visual experience that maintains a consistent grain field reminiscent of its original 35mm film stock. Blacks are richer, enhancing the film's creepy ambiance, though aliasing issues on chrome trims remind us of its limits. Despite these mixed receptions, this version, with its intricate balance between improved sharpness and faithful color representation, likely represents the best "Halloween" has ever looked on home video, making it a must-have for fans and purists alike.

    Audio: 81

    The audio presentation of the 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Halloween" retains the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack familiar from its Blu-ray counterpart, evidently foregoing an upgrade to more immersive surround formats such as Dolby Atmos or DTS-X. Despite the absence of the original mono mix, which purists might find disappointing (only available in the ScreamFactory! 15 disc box-set), this audio track manages to deliver a satisfying experience. The track excels in preserving the film's eerie ambiance with a thoughtful balance of silence and sound, leveraging its 7.1 setup not for constant, aggressive surround effects but for an atmospheric enhancement that complements the film’s suspenseful moments. The iconic score by John Carpenter is given due justice across all channels, with bass being strong yet not overpowering, underpinning the audio landscape without detracting from key elements such as dialogue clarity and precision.

    Critics and fans alike may note the presentation’s somewhat restricted dynamic range and a mid-range that doesn’t fully capture the depth or warmth potential of the film’s original audio essence. Dialogue remains intelligible and well-prioritized within the mix, ensuring that character interactions are front and center, supported by a soundstage that, while front-oriented, makes good use of lateral and rear channels to add depth when needed. The design choices in terms of sound effects and their spatial distribution can seem uneven at times, with some scenes achieving a tangible sense of space while others feel more contained or artificially enhanced.

    Ultimately, this Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mix offers a serviceable yet imperfect auditory experience for "Halloween" on 4K UHD. It might not satisfy audio purists longing for the rawness and simplicity of the original mono tracks or those hoping for a cutting-edge immersive sound experience. However, it offers a solid foundation that respects the source material’s legacy, balancing between modernizing the audio experience and maintaining the film's original atmospheric dread. This mixed bag raises valid discussions among enthusiasts about the prioritization of fidelity to original mixes versus adapting classics into the surround sound era, leaving room for future releases to possibly bridge this divide.

    Extra: 78

    The 4K UHD Blu-ray release of "Halloween" offers a comprehensive collection of extras, seamlessly ported over from previous releases, ensuring that aficionados and new fans alike can delve into the rich tapestry of this horror classic without missing a beat. Notably, the set includes both the UHD and the 2007 Blu-ray versions, the latter carrying its original array of supplements despite criticisms of its transfer quality. Standouts among the special features are the engaging audio commentary by John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, offering both technical insights and entertaining anecdotes, and "The Night She Came Home!!," an exceptional feature that follows Curtis to a Halloween convention. While some may balk at the inclusion of the 2007 Blu-ray for its less-than-ideal transfer, its inclusion is justified by the continuity of extras it provides. This collection is a testament to the enduring legacy of "Halloween," presented with a level of detail that fans will appreciate.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • Audio Commentary: With John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis.
    • The Night She Came Home!!: Jamie Lee Curtis at a Halloween convention feature.
    • On Location: 25 Years Later: A look back at the filming locations.
    • TV Version Footage: Additional footage found in the TV broadcast version.
    • Trailer: Original movie trailer.
    • TV Spots: Television commercials for the film.
    • Radio Spots: Radio commercials promoting the movie.
    • Blu-ray - 35th Year Anniversary edition: Previously from Anchor Bay.
    • 5 Art Cards: Featuring images from the film.

    Movie: 91

    John Carpenter's seminal 1978 horror masterpiece, "Halloween," has been scaring audiences for over four decades with its unparalleled tension-building and influential cinematography. Returning to Haddonfield in stunning 4K UHD, this release breathes new life into the haunting tale of Michael Myers, standing alone in its meticulous construction of fear. The film's new 4K scan profoundly impacts the visual presentation, readdressing colour timing in a way that both purists and new fans will appreciate. As a foundational film that launched a genre, "Halloween" remains an unmatched experience in modern horror, its careful escalation of terror setting a high bar for suspense and visual storytelling. Despite the numerous editions released over the years, this UHD version presents the film as never seen before, promising a fresh look at Carpenter's dark vision.

    Despite the wafts of controversy regarding sound mix choices, namely the absence of the original lossless mono in favor of a newer mix, this release aims to reignite interest ahead of the franchise's newest installment. The technical merits extend beyond the audio, notably in the improved picture quality that aligns closer with the 35th Anniversary edition than its Blu-ray predecessors. This release not only caters to die-hard enthusiasts but also invites new generations to experience the chilling tale of Michael Myers, ensuring its legacy continues to thrive. Lionsgate's decision to pair this 4K UHD version with the original Blu-ray release, known for its debated brightness and color timing, further incites discussion amongst fans. However, the stark improvements in visualization and homage to the original's grim atmosphere provide a compelling reason for both newcomers and long-time fans to revisit Haddonfield's night of terror.

    John Carpenter's "Halloween" is more than just a slasher movie; it's an exploration into the essence of pure evil, embodied by the character of Michael Myers - "The Shape". This figure, devoid of personality yet overflowing with menacing presence, epitomizes the boogeyman legend within the cinematic realm. The success of "Halloween" propelled not only a genre but also a cultural phenomenon, setting a standard for horror that few have reached. This 4K UHD presentation retains the movie’s core elements - suspense over gore and psychological terror over cheap thrills. Carpenter's work is a testament to horror's capability to engage and terrify through atmosphere and anticipation, making "Halloween" an enduring classic that this release respectfully celebrates.

    Total: 83

    John Carpenter's "Halloween" has stood the test of time as a pioneering slasher film, its spine-tingling narrative and the eerie presence of Michael Myers becoming iconic in horror cinema. As it celebrates over four decades of scaring audiences, Lionsgate's release on 4K UHD Blu-ray brings this classic into the modern age with an outstanding visual and auditory upgrade. The 4K restoration offers a detailed, well-colored image that retains the original's cool, dark aesthetic with enhanced highlights, ensuring Carpenter's vision is presented with the clarity and intensity it deserves. However, despite the impressive Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track that effectively utilizes surround sound and bass, some purists might find the absence of the original mono track a notable oversight.

    Comparing this release to previous editions, notably the 35th Anniversary Blu-ray, the 4K UHD version is a distinct improvement, albeit with a darker and more desaturated opening sequence. While this may divide opinion among enthusiasts, it emphasizes the chilling atmosphere Carpenter intended. However, this release is not without controversy, particularly regarding audio options and the decision to overlook certain legacy content. Nevertheless, for longtime fans and collectors, especially those who possess the comprehensive Halloween: The Complete Collection box set from Scream Factory, adding this 4K disc will complement their collection, offering the best visual experience of the film to date.

    In conclusion, while not the definitive end-all version of the film—given certain reservations around audio choices and extras—Lionsgate's 4K UHD release of "Halloween" is a commendable addition to a fan's collection, mainly for its unmatched visual quality. Priced attractively at $18 on Amazon at the time of reviewing, it's conditionally recommended for diehards and completists. Whether you're revisiting Haddonfield or experiencing the terror of Michael Myers for the first time, this edition ensures "Halloween" has never felt more real or terrifying.