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

HalloweenStarring: 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 Halloween-LimitedMyers” (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. Halloween-backMost 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.

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