Blu-ray Reviews “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween & Madea on the Run”

Director: Tyler Perry
Starring: Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Yousef Erakat, Diamond White, and Bella Thorne / Tyler Perry, Cassi Davis, Yousef Erakat, Diamond White, Bella Thorne, Jimmy Tatro
Distributed by: Lionsgate Films
Release Dates: January 31, 2017
Running time(s): 103 / 134 min

Boo! A Madea Halloween: 3 out of 5 stars
Madea on the Run: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-rays: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

To kick off 2017, we have not one but two new Tyler Perry Blu-ray’s coming out. “Tyler Perry’s Boo! A Madea Halloween” is the first and was had in fact a very successfully run at the box office last year. “Madea on the Run” is a stage play filmed for Blu-ray. I have never seen a Tyler Perry play to date and this was very enjoyable. “Boo!” was silly fun like all Madea films. Worth checking out both if you are a fan of Tyler Perry’s most famous character.

“Boo! A Madea Halloween” Official Premise: Madea winds up in the middle of mayhem when she spends a hilarious, haunted Halloween fending off killers, paranormal poltergeists, ghosts, ghouls and zombies while keeping a watchful eye on a group of misbehaving teens.

“Madea on the Run” Official Premise: On the run from the law, Madea hides out at Bam’s house, thinking she will lie low. Unfortunately, Bam’s house is packed with rambunctious family and friends, and Madea finds herself needing to lay down her own law and drop the hammer!

Lionsgate is releasing both of these films as a combo pack with Blu-ray + UltraViolet included. For “Boo!”. The AV is average for the comedy genre. Looks good and sounds good enough with its DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. In terms of special features, only “Boo!” has them included other than the Digital HD copies. We get two behind-the-scenes featurette. The first is called “Why We Love Madea!” and the second is “Boo! From the Crew Montage”, nothing special on either. “Madea on the Run” does not have any additional bonus features.

Product Feature: Halloween at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store

When the holiday seasons roll around I just can’t wait to go into my local Cracker Barrel Old Country Store. You walk in their store and you are immediately whammed with some of the most creative and fun decorations for any upcoming holiday. I am the kind of person that would loop the Fall/Holiday season over and over if possible, so when you walk into the store in August and see Halloween already decked out ready I melt! And if the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store knows how to do one thing it is Halloween! They setup one of the coolest displays for their merchandise. My daughter usually b-lines to it to check out all the amazing new items.

This year, I had the chance to review seven of the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’s latest new products and like usual, all fantastic as usual. The first was my four year old’s choice, “Animated Halloween Puppy“. This trick-or-treating doggy aka Candy Bandit is literally one of the cutest animated toys, I have ever seen! And if it wasn’t cute enough it runs around the floors or table and plays “The Addams Family” theme! SOLD!

Next up is a “Light-Up Witch Wreath“, this is a cute door wreath for the Halloween season. There is something I love about this wreath on my first door, it is not scary-scary but it is fun and maybe a little silly and I just know that if anyone is coming to my door it is impossible not to realize and smile at for sure!

Animated Eyeball Doorbell” is one item that was NOT my four year old’s favorite due to being “too scary” but honestly that is a score for daddy cause that means that it is effective. This went right outside our door as well and I know that it has already given a few fun jumps to our friends and family, which makes me love it even more!

Who doesn’t love Peanuts and their wonderful characters? Cracker Barrel Old Country Store always has the cutest Peanuts animated figures. The latest is an “Animated Glow-in-the-Dark Snoopy“, which you immediately fall in love with! I have gotten a Snoopy animated character from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for the last three years now and each of them are better than the next. It has music, it dances (or should I say wiggles) and the glowing in the dark is just a bonus! A must have for any Peanuts fans out there!

Having a young child and being a big Halloween fan sometimes might be difficult because you have to balance the scary factor and can’t get something that will terrify for kids. The “Metal Witch Leg Yard Stake” from Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is a great product that fits right in for that balance. It is extremely fun and honestly just cracks me up everything time I walk outside (as it does my daughter). Plus it doesn’t take up a lot of outdoor space and is extremely easy to stake in the ground.

If you are looking for a little decor around the house for the subtle Halloween touch, look no further than the “Light-Up Witches Brew Potion Jar“. This light up jar is a cute way to dress up your house in addition to light it up. It gives off a nice amount of light and adds a nice Halloween accent to our counter.

Last item of the season that we had the chance to feature is also one of my favorites, the “‘Welcome My Pretties’ Wall Decor“. Since we have our front door occupied with the Light-Up Witch Wreath, our pantry door is covered with this fun decor. This piece just screams “Welcome Halloween” for me! It is fun and we have it placed in a great spot in our house and every time I see it I definitely just smile and it makes it laugh. I like to always image that a witch literally flew into our door…SMOOSH! It is reasonably priced, in fact that bring up a great point about Cracker Barrel Old Country Store that their prices are very competitive. You go to Target or Wal-Mart and sure they might have “cheap” Halloween decoration but you are getting that exactly CHEAP in quality. Everything sold at the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store seems like it is much higher than the plain ole garage you will find at those stores.

That is also one of the things that I loved about the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is that they don’t recycle all of last years crap that didn’t sell, I always feel like they have a wide variety of new products each season as well and as a consumer that makes me very satisfied. So you may not think of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store as your first stop to check out the latest holiday products but honestly it should be because this store has it all and you will have a hard time leaving without a purchase once you walk in! We should have our Christmas coverage up first week in November covering all the great new Cracker Barrel Old Country Store products as well, so stay tuned!

Product Feature: LEGO Halloween 2015 Monster Minifigures Collection

Halloween is just around the corner and LEGO is at it again delivering a great collection of collectible minifigures for the season. Halloween is easily one of my favorite times of the year and I look forward to seeing what LEGO has planned for this time of the year. 71010 Minifigures Series 14 is a series of sixteen mini-figures released in September 2015. This new Halloween-themed fourteenth series of LEGO’s Minifigures are a real treat for horror fans and come housed in traditional blind-bag packaging.

We had the chance to check out in advance three of these awesome new minifigures in this collection. The first is the Fly Monster, which looks super slick and had awesome red eyes, a red claw and wings. Really well done. The next is the Plant Monster, which is a really cool number. This has a feel like a plant ate a human and then formed around him against his will. I love the face and the hands. The last one is the Wolf Guy, which doesn’t have nards (ode for all you The Monster Squad fans), but it does have a cool bone accessory and it’s name is Kel. Great quality and detail on these.

The rest of the sixteen minifigures including: Banshee, Gargoyle, Monster Rocker, Monster Scientist, Skeleton Guy, Specter, Spider Lady, Square Foot, Tiger Woman, Wacky Witch, Zombie Businessman, Zombie Cheerleader and a Zombie Pirate. These are overall a great highlight for the Halloween season and I am dying to see what they come up with next either for future holidays or special events. There is something about minifigures that are so cool and even though they aren’t with a specific set you can use your imagination and do anything with them.

Malek Akkad talks about about his directorial debut “Free Fall” and the “Halloween” franchise

Photo Credit: 2014 Stuck Film Group, LLC.

Malek Akkad is the son of Moustapha Akkad, who is know for producing all eight “Halloween” films in the original series up until his death in 2005. Malek took over the reign with the recent reboot of “Halloween” with Rob Zombie and is continuing his father’s legacy. Malek is making his directorial debut with the suspense thriller “Free Fall”, which stars Sarah Butler (“I Spit on Your Grave”) and Malcolm McDowell (“Rob Zombie’s Halloween”). Media Mikes had a chance to chat about the film with him, along with the recently released “Halloween: The Complete Collection” Blu-ray box set and the future of the franchise.

Mike Gencarelli: Tell us about what made you take the jump from producer to director with “Free Fall”?
Malek Akkad: My intended focus when I came out of film school was to do direct. I was doing a lot of music videos, commercials and trying to get up and running in that career. I was a production manager on a couple of shows. My path just took me more on the side of producing and then I started working with my father. In this business, you have to take it where it comes from. So I did spend a few years working in the producing gig, which I do love. My passion is just being in production in general. But I did want to get back into directing, so this was a good opportunity and we had some time between other projects. We came across this script and it felt like it would be a run ride to take.

MG: What made you decide to tackle a suspense thriller instead of horror?
MA: For one thing, I thought the horror genre would be the obvious route to go and I wanted to tackle something that would be outside of the realm that I was comfortable in. Plus I didn’t want to get pigeonholed as “the horror guy”. I found this script and thought the writer was able to really flip the head on a few genre key elements, which I liked. It was also a script that I was able to use some themes that I wanted to address. So it worked on a lot of levels.

MG: You know you seriously just took elevators to a whole new level here, right?
MA: Oh great, awesome! I am great to hear that. Every time I get into an elevator now, I am thinking that karma is going to get me [laughs].

MG: Was it always planned to reunite with “Halloween” star Malcolm McDowell?
MA: He was just perfect for this role. We had worked together twice before and he is just a joy to work with. He also fit the character perfectly actually, so it was an honor that he agreed to do this with me. It is also great to be able to work with actors that you are comfortable with. It was great to work with him once again.

MG: Let’s talks about the “Halloween: The Complete Collection”; how involved were you with this release?
MA: It was a hurdle of getting all the involved parties together. In this franchise, there has been so many different distribution companies and production entities. The first thing to tackle was getting everyone on the same page. Between Shout! Factory and Anchor Bay, they really did a great job in doing that. With the behind-the-scenes material, I think that Shout! Factory really did a great job in putting together a lot of new material. Then we had to go to Miramax and dig up the old elements for “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”. So I definitely had an involvement but most of the credit needs to go to Shout! Factory for putting together a great package that the fans have really been responding to.

MG: Why do you think the idea of Michael Myers is still so effective after all these years?
MA: There are so many answers to that. With horror genre, going back to the great Universal Monsters, is filled with just such hardcore fans. People just love to go in and have that controlled sense of fear. There is enough fear in the world that people can’t control. So if you can spend two hours and you know you are somewhat safe, I think that is something cathartic in that. I think all that feeds into what this franchise has become. Of course, it all goes back to the amazing classic from John Carpenter.

MG: Any progress updates for the next “Halloween” film in the franchise?
MA: Yeah, we are working on one right now. We are due a new draft any day now. We are working really hard to take it to the next level and keep the fans as happy as we can. I think we have a really fun pick and getting everyone involved and on the same page and behind one storyline takes longer than you would think. I think we have finally cracked something that we really liked and we are going to have some announcements very soon!

Blu-ray Review “Halloween: The Complete Collection (Limited Deluxe Edition)”

Starring: Donald Pleasence, Jamie Lee Curtis, Danielle Harris, Nancy Loomis, Nancy Stephens, Malcolm McDowell
Directors: Rob Zombie, Rick Rosenthal, John Carpenter, Steve Miner, Joe Chappelle, Tommy Lee Wallace
Number of discs: 15
Rated: NR (Not Rated)
Studio: Anchor Bay
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Run Time: 1287 minutes

Overall: 4 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars

Halloween is right around the corner and what better way to celebrate than with the The Complete Collection of the “Halloween” film franchise. This collection includes all ten films from the series. I love Michael Myers, he is one of the rare horror icons that still creeps me out. I love Freddy and Jason but Myers still steals the show for me. Even though all of the films aren’t gems, as a whole they are a great franchise. This is the first time that these films have ever been released together in one massive box set. I personally would have hoped for a little more in terms of “wow factor” especially from the Limited Deluxe Edition luckily, I get my “wow” from the extras. What we get is a simple slipbox (with great cover art BTW) which holds the ten (black) cases, along with a thin 42-page booklet. There is nothing special or flashy about this release. Still though, I am fairly happy with this release and should make hardcore horror fans happy as well.

Official Premise: Halloween night – Haddonfield, IL. A young boy butchers his older sister with a kitchen knife. 15 years later, he escapes from a mental institution only to return home and terrorize the town, including babysitter Laurie Strode. Now pursued by Dr. Loomis, the doctor who tried to treat him until he realized that “what was living behind that boy’s eyes was purely and simply… evil”. His name is Michael Myers. And so began one of the most iconic horror franchises in history – what producers Moustapha Akkad and Debra Hill, writer/director John Carpenter and stars Jamie Lee Curtis & Donald Pleasence started has spawned 10 feature films and lasted over 35 years. Now, for the first time ever, experience the terror of every Halloween film available together in 1 set! This limited edition deluxe set includes 15 discs jammed with content Halloween fans will love.

Here is a breakdown of what films/cuts we get within the 15 discs: The first two discs are decided to the original classic “John Carpenter’s Halloween” (1978), the second disc being a Deluxe Edition Exclusive. Disc three contains the theatrical cut of “Halloween II” (1981), while disc four, which is a standard DVD, contains, the infamous television cut, also a Deluxe Edition Exclusive. Disc 5 is “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982), plain and simple, as is Discs 6 & 7 housing “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” (1988) and “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” (1989), respectively. Disc 8 includes the theatrical cut of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995″, while disc 9 is going to be a big draw for fans with the highly sought upon Producer’s Cut, another Deluxe Edition Exclusive.

Disc 10 includes “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (1998) and Disc 11 houses “Halloween: Resurrection” (2002) closing out the original series. Then disc 12 brings us the remake/reboot “Rob Zombie’s Halloween” (2007), while disc 13 is a bonus disc from that film as well as a Deluxe Edition Exclusive. Disc 14 is “Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2” and wrapped up the release is disc 15 with Additional Bonus Features, which is again a Deluxe Edition Exclusive and includes a massive amount of extras including the 101-minute extended cut of “John Carpenter’s Halloween” (1978) in full 1080p HD! This is worth the purchase alone just for this disc. But what I should note that is very strange is that this 15th bonus disc is housed in the case for “Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2”, which honestly doesn’t make any sense most likely because of lack of space in the box. Not a huge deal, just very odd decision to be honest.

The next part is where the deal gets a little sour for this release. There is no consistency with the audio/video presentations. All of these films have been released before on Blu-ray and besides the first film and the Rob Zombie films, the presentations have been a bit rocky. Unfortunately, this box set does not include new transfer of these films they are merely exact copies of the previous rather disappointing releases. I would have loved Anchor Bay to dive in and fix the poor releases of “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” (1995), “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” (1998) and “Halloween Resurrection (2002)”, thanks to Echo Bridge Entertainment. They are not horrendous but definitely disappointing for hardcore fans.

Of course, not surprisingly the winner is the original “John Carpenter’s Halloween”. It comes with a solid Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Surround track as well as the Original 1978 Audio in a Dolby TrueHD Mono track. “Halloween II” (1981) (which includes the Original “Moustapha Akkad Presents” Opening Credit) and “Halloween III: Season of the Witch” (1982) include the same presentations as their Scream Factory releases. The second film comes with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround track, while “Season of the Witch” settles for a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. Same goes for “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” and “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” are the same quality from the 2012 Anchor Bay releases. Both films have a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround track but the 5th film certainly sounds better.

“Rob Zombie’s Halloween” (2007) and “Halloween II” (2009) are identical to their past Blu-ray as well. Since these are the most recent, they are also some of the best. Surprisingly though, the real underdog of the release “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Producer’s Cut” is one of the best presentations in the set with a solid video presentation and a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround track. It even trumps the Theatrical Cut, which is kinda sad but expect since it is a copy from the Echo Bridge release. I feel like this is going to be a main draw for most horror fans for sure.

Now if you are on the fence for the audio/video presentations. The main draw (behind the additional cuts) are some brand new, never before seen bonus features including new interviews with cast and crew, commentaries, behind the scenes documentaries, and much more. “John Carpenter’s Halloween” stars off with a brand new Audio Commentary with Director of photography Dean Cundey, editor/production designer Tommy Lee Wallace and “The Shape,” Nick Castle. Excellent track. There is also a fantastic Audio Commentary, which is a fan boys dream with Co-writer/director John Carpenter and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. “The Night She Came Home” is an hour extras with Jamie Lee Curtis discussing her one and only convention appearance. “On Location: 25 Years Later” takes us to the shooting locations from the first film. Lastly there are TV spots, radio spots, a theatrical trailer and a collection of scenes from the film’s television cut.

The second disc for “John Carpenter’s Halloween” brings us another Audio Commentary track with Writer/director John Carpenter, producer Debra Hill and actress Jamie Lee Curtis, which is an older track but still decent. “Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest” is a nearly 90 minutes retrospective with interviews from cast/crew. Lastly there is a fact track, TV spots, Radio spots and a trailer included. The Theatrical Cut of “Halloween II” features two commentary tracks, the first with director Rick Rosenthal and actor Leo Rossi, and the second with actor/stunt coordinator Dick Warlock. Both quite decent. “The Nightmare Isn’t Over!: The Making of Halloween II” is a retrospective documentary on the sequel. “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds: The Locations of Halloween II” takes on to the shooting locations from the film. Lastly there are Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary from Rosenthal, an Alternate Ending, some trailers and spots and a stills gallery.

“Halloween III: Season of the Witch” includes an Audio Commentary track from: Director Tommy Lee Wallace, Rob G. from “Icons of Fright,” and Horror’s Hallowed Grounds’ Sean Clark. Definitely made by fans for the fans. There is also an Audio Commentary with Actor Tom Atkins and BD/DVD Producer Michael Felsher, this is a must listen or Atkins fans. “Stand Alone: The Making of Halloween III: Season of the Witch” goes behind-the-scenes with Director Tommy Lee Wallace, Actors Tom Atkins and Stacey Nelkin, Stunt Coordinator Dick Warlock, Cinematographer Dean Cundey, Costume Designer Jane Ruhm, and others. There is an “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds”, this one called “Revisiting the Original Shooting Locales” hitting the filming locations. Lastly there is a Still Gallery, TV Spots and a Theatrical Trailer included.

“Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers” includes a decent Audio Commentary from Actors Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris as well as a track from Director Dwight H. Little and author Justin Beahm, which is a bit more entertaining. There is also the Theatrical Trailer included. “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers” includes two Audio Commentary tracks as well. The first from Actor Don Shanks and author Justin Beahm and the second from Director Dominique Othenin-Girad and actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman. Both decent and insightful tracks. “On the Set” contains some raw behind-the-scenes footage with cast interviews. Lastly there is a original promo from the film as well as a Theatrical Trailer. This is not a ton compared to other films but if you remember the 2012 Anchor Bay Blu-ray, there were bare-bones. Luckily there is more extras from 4 & 5 on disc 15.

“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers – Theatrical Cut” comes only with a Still Gallery, TV Spots and
Theatrical Trailers but no fear since The Producer’s Cut saves the day again. It includes a great Audio Commentary with Writer Daniel Farrands and composer Alan Howarth. A real winner. “Acting Scared: A Look at the Film’s Cast” features Actresses Mariah O’Brien and J.C. Brandy looking back at the film. “The Shape of Things” goes into the films issues and special make-up effects creator John Carl Buechler. “Haddonfield’s Horrors” goes behind-the-scenes with director of photography Billy Dickson and production designer Bryan Ryman. “A Cursed Curse” is an interview with Trancas International president and Curse associate producer Malek Akkad and producer Paul Freeman. “Full Circle” is a chat with Composer Alan Howarth. There is a collection of extended scenes, alternate footage and extra scenes of graphic violence cut from the film. There is also Archival Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage including an interview with the late Donald Pleasance. Lastly there is another Cast & Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasance and a teaser trailer.

“Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” stars off with a great Audio Commentary moderated by Sean Clark along with director Steve Miner and actress Jamie Lee Curtis. “Blood is Thicker than Water: The Making of Halloween H20” is an hour restrospective with tons of cast/crew interviews. There are six scenes from the film presented with composer John Ottman’s original score via an isolated music DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track. There are Vintage Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage adding up to over 45 minutes with some great interviews. Lastly there are a Still Gallery, a TV spot and a Theatrical Trailer. Again this is another film that never had special features on Blu-ray, so this is welcomed for any fan.

“Halloween Resurrection” includes an alright Audio Commentary: Director Rick Rosenthal and editor Robert A. Ferretti. There is a collection of six deleted scenes and three alternate endings with optional director’s commentary. There are over 40 minutes are Web Cam videos edited together again with optional director’s commentary. There are tons of Vintage Interviews and Behind-the-Scenes Footage. There is also Head Cam footage, Storyboard Analysis, a Set Tour, an interview with Curtis, Still Gallery and some trailers. Most of these extras are ports from the Echo Bridge Blu-ray.

“Rob Zombie’s Halloween” comes with tons of special features. There is an outstanding must liste Audio Commentary track with Director Rob Zombie. There is over 30 minutes of Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending & Bloopers. “The Many Faces of Michael Myers” is a featurette with cast/crew. “Re-Imagining Halloween” is a three-part extras looking at the filmmaking process. “Meet the Cast” is a chat with the actors. There are Casting Sessions, a Screen Test and Theatrical Trailer included. On the bonus disc there is still more with a ridiculous over four hour documentary “Michael Lives: The Making of Halloween”, which leaves no stone un-turned. Love or hate, the remake/re-imaging, this is a something special.

“Rob Zombie’s Halloween 2” wraps up the extras for the film. There is another solid Audio Commentary from Zombie that really dives into the film. There is tons of Audition Footage, Deleted and Alternate Scenes, Blooper Reel and Make-Up Tests. “Uncle Seymour Coffins’ Stand-Up Routines” is a three-part collection of full-length routines from the character. There are six music video from Captain Clegg and the Night Creatures, included “Zombie A Go Go”, “Honky Tonk Halloween”, “Redneck Vixen From Outer Space”, “Dr. Demon & The Robot Girl”, “Transylvania Terror Train” and Macon County Morgue”.

So have you had enough with the special features yet, there is still a bunch more…and I mean a bunch all assorted from the film. We start off with the mentioned above extended cut of “John Carpenter’s Halloween”. “Halloween Unmasked 2000” is more interviews coming into the films for about 30 minutes. There is a super brief interview with producer Moustapha Akkad. Lastly for the first film there is another Still Gallery. There is an interview with “Season of the Witch” make-up effects artist Tom Burman and some radio spots. “The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut” dives into the production of the film and if that isn’t enough there also is “The Making of Halloween 4” which runs almost 50 minutes and goes much deeper into the film, produced by Scream Factory. Lastly there is a another Still Gallery for the fourth film.

“Inside Halloween 5” is a vintage behind-the-scenes DVD feature that is over shadowed again by Scream Factory’s “The Making of Halloween 5”. There is also another “Halloween 5” Still Gallery and a “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” for the four, fifth and sixth film, as well as the HHG pilot episode, which focuses on John Carpenter’s original film and the HHG Fan Edition: Bus Tour. AND finally we end this release with a collection of TV spots for “Halloween 4”, “Halloween 5”, and Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” (2007) and “Halloween II” (2009). Whew, I need a nap ladies and gentlemen. This review took a week for me to produce and is easily one of the most intensive box sets I have ever tackled. Enjoy and if you are a “Halloween” fan and got a little extras spending money, I would recommend the splurge.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition”

Actors: Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Nancy Loomis
Directors: John Carpenter
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Run Time: 91 minutes

Film: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

With Halloween right around the corner, I always make sure to find time to watch one of my favorite horror films of all-time. “Halloween” is something that I feel confident calling the perfect horror film. It is celebrating its 35th anniversary and yet it has never lost a single ounce of its effectiveness. It has also never been really given a great Blu-ray release either.  But I am happy to say that Anchor Bay finally got it right this time and delivered this film in the best condition that I have ever seen it.  In fact, the transfer has been overseen and approved by the film’s original cinematographer, Dean Cundey. So I had a feeling that this was going to be quite awesome and I was not let down. “Halloween: 35th Anniversary” Blu-ray also comes in a super cool DigiBook package with great behind-the-scene black-and-white photos and text. A must own for any fan of this film and a great way to welcome the holiday season.

Official Premise: Halloween stars Jamie Lee Curtis (A Fish Called Wanda, True Lies) in her debut role. Anyone who’s ever watched a horror film in the last 35 years knows the story of Michael Myers, who as a child, butchered his sister with a kitchen knife. Committed to a mental institution and watched over by Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasance, Halloween II, IV & V, Fantastic Voyage), he engineers his escape 15 years later, returning to his hometown of Haddonfield, Illinois on Halloween night to terrorize anyone who gets in his way, including babysitter Laurie Strode (Curtis).

If you recall the original Blu-ray release Halloween”, hardcore fans complains about the transfers color timing and other issues but there is nothing to complain about here. Like I said above, this 1080p transfer is gorgeous and I have been more satisified watching this film then I was the first time I saw it on VHS tape (without my parents knowing over 20 years ago – sorry guys!) If the gorgeous transfer isn’t enough for you Anchor Bay also upgraded the audio track delivering us now with an all-new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 surround track. This 7.1 track is a thing of beauty.  I absolutely love Carpenter’s score for this film and it really works well with it. I wish there was an isolated score track. There is the original Dolby Digital 2.0 included for those purists out there.

In terms of special features, I can’t say that I am disappointed at all since there is a nice collection of goodies.  There is a brand new audio commentary track with Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Jamie Lee Curtis, who were reunited for this track.  It is a blast and honestly worth the purchase of the set alone. “The Night She Came Home!!” is another new feature, which runs about an hour and showcases Jamie Lee Curtis’ first (and supposedly only) convention visit last year. The rest of the extras are previously available including the behind-the-scenes look with “On Location: 25 Years Later”. There is a collection of scenes television cut scenes, which are cool to see them included. Lastly there are a trailer, some TV spots and radio spots included.

Blu-ray Review “Miramax Triple Feature: Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later & Halloween: Resurrection”

Directed by: Joe Chappelle, Steve Miner, Rick Rosenthal
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Kim Darby, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan, Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: November 6, 2012
Running Time: 88, 85, 90 minutes (respectively)

Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: 3 out of 5 stars
Halloween H20: 20 Years Later: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Halloween: Resurrection: 3 out of 5 stars

Echo Bridge is the studio behind this Miramax Triple Feature release. Though previously released individually before, this is the first time that “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”, “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” & “Halloween: Resurrection” has been released together. These are all the films that are under the Miramax label, as “Halloween 1-5” are under other distributors. I am a little disappointed though with the missing features on “Resurrection” from its solo release. But even though these aren’t the best film in the series, if you are a fan of this franchise now you can have a chance to get all these films together in one Blu-ray release.

Official Premises: “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”: In a single horrifying night, Michael Myers’ masked reign of terror changed Halloween forever. Now, six years after he was presumed dead in a fire, Myers has returned to kill again—and this time there’s no escape. As the homicidal fury builds to a spine-tingling climax, the long-hidden secrets of the screen’s most maniacal murderer are revealed…with shocking results. “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later”: Now the headmistress of a private school, Laurie Strode is still struggling with the horrifying, 20-year-old memories of the maniacal killer Michael Myers…when he suddenly reappears with a vengeance. “Halloween: Resurrection”: Reality programmers select a group of thrill-seeking teenagers to spend one night in the childhood home of serial killer Michael Myers. But the broadcast turns deadly when Michael himself decides to crash the party.

This Blu-ray presentations are these releases are varied but mostly with mixed results. “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” comes with a 1080i transfer and a 2.0 Stereo track, not the worst but also not the best. “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later” comes with a 1080p transfer, but is the worst of the bunch and also comes with a 2.0 Stereo track. Lastly we have “Halloween: Resurrection”, which is the best of the trio with its 1080p transfer and its 5.1 DTS audio track. But like I said earlier don’t celebrate yet because the solo release for “Resurrection” also came with a Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS-HD MA, and LCM 2.0 Stereo tracks, which are missing here. Also missing for “Resurrection” is the special features from the solo release as well. So got to take the good with the bad.  Still worth the price of the cheap Blu-ray.

DVD Review “The Halloween Tree”

Directed by: Mario Piluso
Narrated by: Ray Bradbury
Starring: Annie Baker, Alex Greenwald, Edan Gross, Andrew Keegan and Leonard Nimoy.
Distributed by: Warner Archive
Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 70 minutes

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

I remember growing up and looking forward to seeing this film each Halloween.  I have always been a big fan of Hanna-Barbera animated style. I am not sure what it is about animation but you can just tell that this is from the 90’s.  The fun little film also features the great voice talent of Leonard Nimoy (“Star Trek”) as Moundshroud. One thing that is a little bit disappointing about this release is that unlike most Warner Archive films, this film has not be remastered or restored. It was taken from the best-quality video master currently available, so it doesn’t look terrible but it could look MUCH better.

The film is presented in full frame with it’s original aspect ratio of 1.37:1. The animated is almost 20 years old and it shows its wear a little. The colors seem a little dull and could have used a little sprucing up. The audio included is a typical Warner Archive mono track and sounds good enough. The only special feature included on this release is the film’s trailer. If you are looking for a trip down memory lane and something to get you in the holiday mood (and don’t have high expectations) then this film is for me.

Synopsis: Sit on the edge of your seat and enjoy master storyteller Ray Bradbury’s classic adventure of four youths who try to save the spirit of their friend Kip from the ghosts of Halloween past. The four encounter a mysterious character, Moundshroud who takes them on a magical journey that sweeps them back as far as 4,000 years and touches down in exotic places all over the world like Egypt, England, France and Mexico. Along the way they discover the magic and meaning of Halloween – and friendship. This enchanting adventure features the voice talents of Leonard Nimoy as Moundshroud and the animation wizardry of Hanna-Barbera. It’s a story as timeless as Halloween itself – a bubbling cauldron of thrills and suspense that will stir the imagination of the entire family. Bradbury’s popular story is destined to become a perennial Halloween favorite.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers”

Directed by: Dominique Othenin-Girard
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Beau Starr
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 88 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 3 out of 5 stars

After the cliffhanger of “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”, the series takes another downfall. Although the fifth installment is still a decent film. The film also features some great gore from our buddies over at KNB EFX Group. The film has been full re-mastered and like the recent release of “Halloween 4”, it is definitely an essential upgrade from the previous DVD releases. Personally I am more excited about Scream Factory’s upcoming releases for “Halloween 2” and…yes…even “Halloween III”. If you are a fan of the series then this release will be a must.

“Halloween 5” looks very sharp and clear on Blu-ray just like “Halloween 4”.  It’s 1080p transfer is impressive with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The audio track, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is also surprisingly a lot better than the fourth film also. The special features does include a few new items unlike “Halloween 4”.  I am not sure why “Halloween 4” promised a bunch of new extras but didn’t deliver on the release.  This release is still missing the “Inside Halloween 5” featurette and the intro from Danielle Harris and Ellie Cornell from last DVD release.

The special features include a few ports from previous DVD releases, along with the new content.  I am a confused though since the packaging contains a bunch of typos and mismatched the names for each commentary.  Who was the proofreader for these releases? There is an audio commentary with director Dominique Othenin-Girard and actors Danielle Harris and Jeffrey Landman, worth checking out.  The star of this release is the audio commentary with actor Don Shanks aka Michael Myers and moderated by author Justin Beahm, this is new for this release. I also enjoyed the 17 minutes mix of raw production footage in “Halloween 5: On Set Footage”, a must for fans.  Lastly there is a the original promo trailer included.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers”

Director: Dwight H. Little
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Ellie Cornell, Danielle Harris, Sasha Jenson, David Jensen, Beau Starr
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Anchor Bay
Release Date: August 21, 2012
Running Time: 88 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
EXtras: 2.5 out of 5 stars

I always thought that “Halloween 4” was a great reboot of the series especially after “Halloween III”, which lost it aim on the franchise. This will does what the subtitle says, it brings back the master murder Michael Myers. As a big fan of the “Halloween” series, I was hoping that this release would really bring something new to the table for its fans. In that sense, it really doesn’t but it is still an essential upgrade from the previous DVD releases. It is also crazy to believe that it has been almost 25 years since this was released.

“Halloween 4” looks very sharp and clear on Blu-ray.  It’s 1080p transfer is impressive with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.  The audio track, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 is good but a little bit of a let down overall. The special features are also a bit of a let down, especially since Anchor Bay reported about a full half hour of deleted and alternate scenes but they are no one to but found. Also MIA is a promised audio commentary with writer Alan B. McElroy.  Also from past DVD releases, the “The Making of Halloween 4: Final Cut” is not included as well.

Since these features are all ports from past releases, don’t expect anything new.  The bulk of the special features are audio commentaries.  The first is from director Dwight H. Little with Justin Beahm, the editor-in-chief of halloweenmovies.com as the moderator. It is definitely worth checking out.  The second commentary is with actresses Ellie Cornell and Danielle Harris, which is not as good.  There is a “Halloween 4/5 Discussion Panel”, which is from the H25 convention and runs about 20 minutes.  Lastly a standard-def trailer is included.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers”

Directed by: Joe Chappelle
Starring: Donald Pleasence, Paul Rudd, Kim Darby, Marianne Hagan, Mitch Ryan
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 10, 2011
Running Time: 88 minutes

Film: 3 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

“Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers” is a very touchy release. Following the the impressive fourth and fifth films, it its harshly criticized. I have always been a fan of this film, especially since it also was the first in the series that I saw in the theaters. Personally though, I am a fan of the producer’s cut or “Halloween 666” as the fans know it by. Even though it is not the best release kudos to Echo Bridge for bringing the “Halloween” franchise to Blu-ray.

The best part of this film is that it brings back Donald Pleasence in what was unfortunately his last role. The film follows the terror of Michael Myers six years after he was presumed dead in a fire and he returns to kill his bloodline again.  Long-hidden secrets of the maniacal murderer are revealed and end with shocking results. The film also stars Paul Rudd. who was just coming off his role in “Clueless”.

The Blu-ray release is not the best I have ever seen but far from the worst. The high definition transfer only clocks in at 1080i and is decent but not amazing. Though I am a not a major big fan of the DTS-HD MA 2.0 track, it is decent but I would have preferred a surround track. The special features on this release are also M.I.A and comes with no extras. If you are reading this Echo Bridge, make the “Halloween” fans happy and finally release the “Producer’s Cut” of this film. I guarantee you will not regret it.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween H20: 20 Years Later”

Directed by: Steve Miner
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Josh Hartnett, LL Cool J, Michelle Williams
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Running Time: 85 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 0 out of 5 stars

“Halloween H20” was never really my favorite installment in the “Halloween” franchise. I felt like it was a bit too much Hollywood and lost its edge. Nonetheless it is still a “Halloween” film. Laurie Strode is also one of the best strong female horror icons, so it is always great to see Jamie Lee Curtis take on the role. Echo Bridge did not put a lot into this release though and fans of this franchise will not be happy overall with this. It is barely a step up from a DVD release.

The film picks up with Laurie Strode (Curtis), who is now a headmistress of a private school and still struggling with her 20-year-old memories of Michael Myers. Of course guess who suddenly reappears looking to continue to stalk his sister. Michael also sets his sights on the school’s students and staff including Laurie’s son (Josh Hartnett), his girlfriend (Michelle Williams) and the school security guard (LL Cool J). It is up to Laurie to conquer her greatest fears and go up against her brother, Michael, once and for all…or at least until “Halloween: Resurrection”.

This Blu-ray presentation is extremely disappointing with a weak 1080p transfer, which looks bland and lacking sharpness. The film is presented in 1.78.1 but was shot in 2.35.1, so you can expecting cropping. The audio track is also a bit disappointing with its DTS-HD MA 2.0 and no surround track. What is even more disappointing is that the DVD release at least offered a 5.1 track. If you are looking for special features you will be disappointed again. This film is baron, there is no extras, trailers or even subtitles. Sorry Echo Bridge, very weak release.

Blu-ray Review “Halloween: Resurrection”

Directed by: Rick Rosenthal
Starring: Jamie Lee Curtis, Sean Patrick Thomas, Thomas Ian Nicholas, Tyra Banks, Busta Rhymes
MPAA Rating: R
Distributed by: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Release Date: April 17, 2012
Running Time: 90 minutes

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Alright we all know that “Halloween: Resurrection” is not the best in the series, but it is far from the worst. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Busta Rhymes kung fu kick Michael Myers? When this was released back in 2002, it a smart way to pick up from “Halloween: H20” and a great way to continue the series, although it didn’t turn out that way. With horror franchises like “Halloween” it’s fans just want to watch Michael Myers continue his killing spree, the film itself can just be so-so. I wish they would continue stop constantly rebooting these franchises and just continue with sequels like this one. They are fun and able to be re-watched over and over.

With the rising craze of reality TV, this installment of the “Halloween” franchise adds that aspect the Michael Myers story. Reality TV producers (Rhymes, Banks) pick a group of teenagers who are chosen to spend a night investigating in the childhood home of serial killer Michael Myers. . The live streaming broadcast takes a turn for the worse when Michael Myers himself shows up and starts killing the shows contestants.

The Blu-ray presentation is damn impressive. Of course there is a big focus on head cams in the dark, so completely clarity is not expected. The 1080p transfer looks great overall and the film is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. There also is a great variety of audio tracks included a Dolby Digital 5.1 HD, DTS-HD MA, and LCM 2.0 Stereo tracks, very impressive. Kudos to Echo Bridge for stepping up with this release.

Unlike most Blu-ray releases from Echo Bridge, “Halloween: Resurrection” comes packed with some decent special features, even if they are only in 480p. There is an audio commentary track from Director Rick Rosenthal and Editor Robert Ferretti, which is very informative and interesting. There are about 10 minutes of Alternate Endings and Deleted Scenes. There is a tour of the set with Production Designer, Troy Hansen. “On the Set with Jamie Lee Curtis” focuses on the role of Laurie Strode in the film. “Head Cam Featurette” takes a look at the cameras used in the film. Lastly there is a storyboard split screen which compare various scenes in the film, decent but a little short. Overall very impressive features for fans of the series.

Comcast Brings Annual “Halloween Moviethon” Collection to Xfinity

COMCAST BRINGS ANNUAL “HALLOWEEN MOVIETHON” COLLECTION WITH
MORE THAN 200 OF THE BEST SILVER SCREEN SCARES TO XFINITY ON DEMAND AND XFINITYTV.COM

WHAT: During the month of October, Xfinity On Demand and XfinityTV.com are serving up more than 200 movies in a comprehensive collection of classic and current horror and monster films, from edge-pushing slasher and giant monster epics to family-friendly animated scares in its “Halloween Moviethon” collection.

Xfinity On Demand

Xfinity On Demand’s “Halloween Moviethon” offers instant access to a bevy of the greatest movies that can get any member of the family into a scary holiday mood, from the vampire-obsessed teens to the 20-somethings and Scooby-Doo loving toddlers.  The films are grouped according to genres, such as: Creepy Classics, Frightful Family Fun, Horror Franchises and Scream with Laughter. Highlights include:

Creepy Classics

  • The Birds
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Shining
  • Carrie
  • Alien

Frightful Family Fun

  • Young Frankenstein
  • Addams Family Values
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Ghostbusters
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Men in Black

Horror Franchises

  • Friday the 13th (starts 10/7)
  • Resident Evil
  • Halloween (starts 10/7)
  • Saw
  • Final Destination
  • The Grudge
  • Underworld
  • Human Centipede (starts 10/12)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (starts 10/7)
  • Romero’s Living Dead (starts 10/7)

In addition, to help make this Halloween even more haunting, Xfinity On Demand will be offering a slew of activity-oriented programming just for kids.  This varied content includes activities such as costume making, pumpkin carving, magic tricks and much more and can be found at Xfinity On Demand>Kids>Kids Picks>Halloween.

XfinityTV.com
XfinityTV.com is also hosting films, including classic creepers like The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror (1979) The Phantom of the Opera, Village of the Damned, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Bride of Chucky along with special Halloween themed TV episodes including HGTV’s Halloween Block Party and VH1’s Scream Queens, to get revelers in the mood for the season of scary.

WHEN: Now throughout the month of October

WHERE: For the “Halloween Moviethon” collection, customers can go to Xfinity On Demand >Top Picks>Halloween Moviethon or visit XfinityTV.com.

For kid-friendly activities customers can go to Xfinity On Demand>Kids>Kids Picks>Halloween.

About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.