Halloween – 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Halloween (1978) Movie Poster

It may not seem like it nowadays, but Halloween was an incredibly influential horror film. The film helped popularize the slasher genre and became Hollywood’s first horror franchise. Halloween provided the prototype for all future slasher franchises. The good-natured “final girl” who goes up against a seemingly invincible killer. Okay, so the film’s storyline isn’t that complex or unique at all.

However, the allure of Halloween is through the eerie tension and dread. Not to mention, the setting adds to the fear too. It’s not set in an extravagant setting or a creepy European town. Instead, Halloween takes place in a regular suburban neighborhood setting. Needless to say, it’s vastly different than the settings of other horror films. That means that a Michael Myers could mysteriously show up in your regular suburban home and murder you.

On top of that, Carpenter’s eye for mood lighting in dark areas. They give the film some eerily claustrophobic scenes. Because of Myers’ white mask, the use of his mask popping from the shadows is bound to make you jump. Also, who can’t forget Carpenter’s iconic Halloween theme which still gives people goosebumps forty years later.

Unfortunately, the only downside is the slow build-up to Halloween night. The film takes its sweet time before Michael Myers begins to terrorize the teenagers at Haddonfield. So for those of you who are used to faster-paced slasher films then you might get bored with this film. Unbelievably, the film also lacks a lot of blood and gore as well. Carpenter is able to show some great restraint and decides to develop the film’s characters instead.

Nevertheless, Halloween still has the iconic Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode. To horror fans, Strode became the most beloved of all the “final girls” in horror history. That’s because of Jamie Lee Curtis. She gives a shy and feeble performance but she’s able to go into survival mode at the drop of a hat. This natural transition is what makes her so iconic. When push comes to shove, anyone can rise above evil and make it out alive. This is an inspiring character as we found out at Comic-Con this year.

Donald Pleasence provides the film a kind of hero that audiences can hold onto for comfort. He’s not a cop nor a fighter, he’s a regular person who’s out to stop Michael Myers. In other words, he’s similar to the Warrens in The Conjuring films.

Overall, Halloween is easily one of the best horror films of all-time. It’s a film that redefined the horror genre and started the boom of slasher films. Not to mention, the film has given us some of the most iconic things in horror history. From Michael’s mask to the music, you’ll recognize it all. That’s why this film remains a classic forty years later.

Rating: 5/5 atoms

Halloween - Jamie Lee Curtis

Halloween hits 4K Ultra HD with a Dolby Vision/HDR10 4K transfer and a 2.39:1 aspect ratio.  The black levels are incredibly inky and dark in this release. Thankfully, no shadow details are lost in these dark areas. This is great news since the film does take place mostly at night. Unfortunately, the bright areas aren’t as vibrant or poppy as other Ultra HD releases. Similarly, the colors don’t seem to pop from the screen either. The colors aren’t as richly saturated as other releases. Fortunately, the film doesn’t feature a large color palette since the film doesn’t mostly take place at night.

For a film that’s forty years old, the video looks pristine as the detail clarity is crisp and sharp. However, the film grain is very noticeable here. It’s essentially the only thing that displays the film’s age. Overall, this is a really good video transfer for a forty-year-old film.

Video Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

Halloween - Donald Pleasence

Halloween hits 4K Ultra HD with a 7.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track. As atmospheric as the visuals are, the audio mix apparently isn’t cut from the same cloth. The audio comes primarily from the dialogue which is prominently featured in the center channel.

Other than that, the other channels are used sporadically. There are times where sound effects completely fill the soundstage which adds to the eerie scene. But most of the soundstage will be filled with John Carpenter’s iconic score. Once the theme starts playing then it begins to blare through the speakers. Also, the audio mix shows its age at some points. There are several times where the audio sounds vintage with that analog sound. Other times, the audio sounds absolutely clear.

Audio Rating: 4/5 atoms

Special Features
Halloween - Jamie Lee Curtis & Tony Moran

Halloween‘s 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc contains the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary with Writer/Director John Carpenter and Actor Jamie Lee Curtis
  • “The Night She Came Home” Featurette
  • “On Location: 25 Years Later” Featurette
  • TV Version Footage
  • Trailer
  • TV Spots
  • Radio Spots

As you can probably tell, the special features are both lacking and old. If you own the 35th anniversary Blu-ray of Halloween then you already own all of these special features. It makes me wonder if we’ll get a new Halloween featurette when the new film is out on Blu-ray. “The Night She Came Home” is a low-budget documentary which focuses on Jamie Lee Curtis’ rare appearance at a Horror Hound Convention in order to raise money for charity. It’s a bit weird to see Jamie’s hesitation to participate in the horror culture. However, the documentary doesn’t quite grab your attention as most documentaries should. However, it’s nice to see how kind Jamie Lee Curtis is to the fans.

“On Location” is another legacy featurette that’s been out for quite some time. The featurette has not aged very well. “On Location” has a cheesy narrator and cheesy visuals which dates the featurette. Nevertheless, the featurette contains some interesting information about the making of the film. It’s a nice retrospective look back on the film. TV Version Footage essentially plays out like a collection of deleted scenes. Luckily, each scene is interesting enough to keep your interest throughout the entire feature.

Special Features Rating: 2.5/5 atoms

Overall, Halloween is a horror film that definitely deserves its classic status. It’s a film that still holds up forty years after its release. The video presentation is fantastic but unfortunately, the audio mix lack any sort of immersion and dynamism. Also, the special features for this release are lacking as well.

Overall Rating: 4/5 atoms

This Blu-ray was reviewed using a retail/advance copy/unit provided by Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

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