Quantcast

Halloween (4K UHD Blu-ray)

“See anything, you like?” Michael Myers returns to theaters in next month, but this month, he’s returning to home video in an exciting 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release from Lionsgate. In a bit of perfect timing, the film turns 40 years old this year and there is no better way to celebrate than giving Michael Myers original trip home the 4K upgrade. John Carpenter’s film will be receiving a visual update, but the audio and bonus features from the previous 35th Anniversary Edition will remain the same. Unfortunately no digital copy is included. However, they’ve set it at a beautiful price point (And even better if you managed to nab it on the day it was $16.99), so that makes it a bit better. On September 25th get ready to watch Michael break out of Smith’s Grove, Laurie carve jack-o-lanterns at the Doyle house and Dr Loomis scare Lonnie Elamb the Myers’ house front lawn. All in glorious 4K Ultra-HD!

Film 

On a black and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold blood. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital — until tonight. Tonight, Michael returns to the same quiet neighborhood to relive his grisly murder again…and again…and again. For this is a night of evil. Tonight is Halloween!

Seeing as Halloween is my personal favorite film of all time, I’ve covered this one plenty of the years. Every year something seems to pop up and have me spilling out doodles about it. Recently, I just wrote about the history of the series on home video in anticipation of this 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray release. Back when the film was celebrating 35 years of existence, my Naptown Nerd blog did 31 straight days of dedicated content to the film and its sequels. And of course, every time there’s a new blu-ray release, I’m covering it here.  And we had a good run with the complete collection and The Curse of Michael Myers producer’s cut and bonus disc reviews too. I’ve even tied in thoughts to other pieces as well. If you veer toward podcasts I’m there as well.

Forty years later, Carpenter’s film continues to warm me and impress me with its craft, restraint and such excellence with a little film. As I’ve mentioned before, I learned a lot of what I did about filmmaking from this mere “slasher” film. But more than that, it opened a whole new set of doors for me as well. It led me to Italian cinema, many of John Carpenter’s own personal influences and favorites, appreciating Hitchcock and seeing him in a new light even. The impact this film had on me as a student of film, from trying my best and writing and crafting, all the way to appreciation and critical thought have come from this original point. Yes, Star Wars is very important to me and Tim Burton’s Batman was the film that changed my life and took me to this avenue, but the original Michael Myers-Laurie Strode encounter filled it all out and made me better for it.

Another arena it lead or kept me in was that of the 1980s slasher run. I was and am still fascinated with these films for better or for worse. I’m obsessed with these films and seeing what it is someone thought about John Carpenter’s Halloween. Many took it and said, “Hell, we could do that cheaply and make a few bucks”. But importantly they had to find an element or elements from the film and figure THAT’S why it worked. From He Knows You’re Alone to Final Exam, someone thought they found the key ingredient and ran with it. Was it the score that helped? A signature mask? An aged star from Hollywood’s past to help guide a young cast? Some of them do it poorly, others actually are pretty entertaining or just fun, enjoyable films to look back on.

Halloween itself was a bit of a borrower. While considered the granddaddy or blueprint for the 1980s teenage slasher cycles, it came from influences for Carpenter, Debra Hill and the other minds on the film. Just looking back a couple years at Black Christmas, those elements are strongly present. I’m not going to argue calling that one first, its just nobody saw that one. Halloween was SEEN and celebrated. Many also cite Psycho as the prime Hitchock influence, probably due to a knife and Janet Leigh, but his other works, namely Strangers on a Train feel more prominent. Carpenter may have made a film that seems laxed and easy, but he’s not quite that type of person and never very on the nose. Even when he seems he is, it doesn’t quite catch on to everyone (Hardcore conservative Republicans still go around rocking They Live gear. Not a joke, I’m serious).

I haven’t stretched much into dissecting or diving headfirst into the film itself, but this is what I felt like writing about today or this year for Halloween. Much of my passion for doing something this year revolved around doing something for the Home Video History which I posted a few weeks back. I may still have something in store for around the time the new film releases (Depends on if I have the time, but there’s an idea floating in my head). For those wanting deep dives on the film, I’ve left links here where you will have PLENTY of information and good reads to go through. Halloween remains a simplistic, thrilling nightmare that holds up well if you allow yourself into its world and realize its a 1970s film taking place in the 1970s (I know, hard concept right? But you’d be surprised how foolish the modern viewer is). I will always love the film (Which is 4 years old than me), as it has transcended beyond just the film’s 90 minute content itself. As for the new film, I’m always excited just for the opportunity to see Michael Myers haunt the streets of Haddonfield one more time as I feel his original story lives in infamy and legend akin to that of Count Dracula.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: With the 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray of Halloween, a 4K restoration had taken place and been supervised by Dean Cundey. It looked fantastic. How big of a jump would the 4K Ultra-HD release be? Well, it does improve, but its more taking care of some house maintenance than skyrocketing the picture quality. Overall, I’m very pleased and happy this was released. For some, it may not be enough of a difference as that Blu-ray was already a fantastic improvement. Being my favorite film of all time and able to watch and recite it with my eyes closed, I was able to pick up on every little difference and improvement right away throughout. Many may not be as in tune to discern that or might not even care. Here, we see a little bit more crisp picture, added details and some more confidence in camera and character movements. The best friend here is the HDR, which saturates and improves the nighttime and darkened home moments of the film, allowing you to see a lot more information than previously. In some scenes the grain is more apparent (Not distracting, complimentary) and other moments things look a little blurrier than they were before (Part of the source). The leaps and bounds for the image took place 5 years ago, what we have here now is the final touches to it and perfected of an already awesome picture.

Depth:  Depth sure is improved here and in some sneaky ways, too. I’ll cite an example right at the beginning. After young Michael’s parents unmask him and the camera pulls back, look inside and you’ll see it how three dimensional and pushed back it looks overall. Something small, but I found it pretty cool and neat. Much of the film improves in some incremental and impressive ways to improve the film. Motion is still terrific and cinematic in nature with no distortion issues.

Black Levels: Blacks are now more natural in the film and it takes a bit more of a inherent darkness. The classroom scene early on is now more noticeably dark. The blacks are really well saturated too, and you can make out cool little nuances and such in the darkness. Overall, it looks really rich and adds to the beauty of Carpenter’s urban nightmare.

Color Reproduction: Color work finds more shades and improved saturation. The HDR is applied in really fun and natural places in the film. The obvious being taillights on cars as well as lamps in homes. One of the first bits of fun is the jack-o-lantern that Michael’s POV passes by that pops and glows. When Nurse Marion lights a match to fire up her cigarette it crafts a really bursting, lifelike glow (And of course the cherry pops off the screen too). Dashboard lights reflecting on people, porch lights and so much more all look much more lifelike, lively and adventurous to add to the film.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones have a natural, slightly colder look to them. They maintain consistent from the start to the finish. Make-up, dimples, skin lines and more are evident from any reasonable camera distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  Halloween’s 4K Ultra-HD debut carries over both the 7.1 and mono tracks featured on 35th anniversary edition release. This unfortunately means that the mono track has reverted back to being Dolby Digital and is based upon the revisionist 7.1 mix, which is a BIG bummer for many (Including this writer). The 7.1 is quite fulfilling even if it is a bit revisionist (So much thunder). There are some added and redone effects in this mix that differ from the original theatrical presentation. My preference was to just go with the lossless mono which is no longer here (For us with the boxed set), but I still have enjoyed the 7.1 track and they did put a pretty good effort into making it. Some love when an old movie gets to take advantage of their modern home theater system, some are purists and can’t wait to rock their Dolby Atmos system with a 2 speaker mono track. All good everyone, I’m just having fun.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  There is a nice boom from the subwoofer when lightning strikes and the music bum, bum bums. Decent accompaniment comes in the form of things slamming and stabbing, too. Could be deeper, but its more than serviceable and effective.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Most of the action hangs out up front, as to be expected, but the rear and side channels do provide some unique contributions in addition to just assisting the room. Some of it is “new”ish, others are old sounds just placed differently.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear, crisp and sound fresh as hell. Its really good and has no real obvious analog source additions to it.

Extras 

Halloween 4K Ultra-HD comes with the 2007 Blu-ray release of the film. All bonus features are the ones appearing on the 2013 – 35th Anniversary Edition. Between the 2 discs, you have all the bonus material Anchor Bay/Starz/Lionsgate have put on Blu-ray for the film.

Audio Commentary

  • With Writer/Director John Carpenter And Actor Jamie Lee Curtis

The Night SHE Came Home!! (HD, 59:43) 

On Location: 25 Years Later (SD, 10:25) 

TV Version Footage (HD, 10:46) 

Trailer (SD, 2:42)

TV Spots

  • TV Spot #1 (SD, :32)
  • TV Spot #2 (SD, :32)
  • TV Spot #3 (SD, :12)

Radio Spots 

  • Radio Spot #1 (SD, :29)
  • Radio Spot #2 (SD, :27)
  • Radio Spot #3 (SD, :28)

Summary 

Halloween’s 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray debut indeed is an improvement over the 35th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release from 5 years ago. However, look upon it more as house maintenance or putting the finishing touches on that one. As someone who knows the movie top to bottom I found the differences with ease and really got a kick out of the enhanced picture quality. That’s the only difference here, as its merely a port of that prior edition. Unfortunately, the Mono track is now the compressed version of the 7.1 mix again. There’s a nice combination of bonus materials between the 4K and standard Blu-ray discs, but someone REALLY needs to put Halloween: The Inside Story on a release and we’ve got a true definitive look at bonus material. I found this new edition of Halloween is well worth the upgrade, maybe not for everyone, but its had some good price points that are helpful in making it an easy upgrade.

In an earlier posting of this review, I mentioned the standard Blu-ray disc in this set being the 35th Anniversary Edition. I offer an apology as the I was fooled with the art on the disc looking almost identical to that edition. It is confirmed to be the 2007 release, however. 

Share

Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

5 Responses to “Halloween (4K UHD Blu-ray)”


  1. Niles Mitchell

    The Blu-Ray that comes with this package is NOT the 35th anniversary edition, but the 2007 version.

  2. Steve

    Just a few little things: Lonnie Elamb (not Lamb), Nurse Marion Chambers (not Mario). Thanks!

  3. Brandon Peters

    Hi Niles! Thanks for reading. I’ve been unable to get back to this review to correct that as I discovered not too long after posting (Its now updated). The disc art looked almost identical the 35th Anniversary edition, so I just figured that’s what it was. I was only here to review the 4K disc, so I hope my mistake wasn’t detrimental to your reading of the review.

  4. Daniel Pulliam

    The included mono track is also not the original mono at all, but a fold down of the remix, same as what appeared on the 35th release (and was later corrected in the box set). The UHD has the messed up mono track.

  5. Daniel Pulliam

    The mono included in the UHD is also not the original mono but the fold down of the remix. This messed up track appeared in the 35th release and was later fixed in the box set. The messed up track is what’s included here, sadly. No original track at all.