It must be getting close to All Hallows’ Eve because all the classic horror movies and franchises are getting special edition Blu-rays and things to populate your binge-watching schedule once October begins. We’ve got the godfather of slasher movies in a complete box set, a series with one great movie, one terrible one, a good movie that shouldn’t be part of the series, and a series of where basically they just kept going “How can we be gross and effed up?” Also, because it’s the beginning of the TV season, we’re getting even more season box sets. It’s box set fevah up in herrr. (I’m so very sorry for that, it will not happen again.)
Last year was the 35th anniversary of John Carpenter’s Halloween, and Anchor Bay put out a really nice Blu-ray of it, with a new commentary and a new documentary about Jamie Lee Curtis going to a Halloween convention. Based on this, I would never have expected another Halloween release so soon, but it happens to be a mammoth, fantastic one: Anchor Bay and Scream Factory have teamed up to release a complete Blu-ray box set of all 10 Halloween movies, from Carpenter’s original all the way through Rob Zombie’s two. And not only that, but each film has a bevy of amazing special features, including new retrospective documentaries and featurettes on Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Halloween 5, Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, and Halloween Water, which had been released by other companies with only meager features prior to this. Halloween: Resurrection, and Rob Zombie’s Halloween and Halloween II don’t have any new features, but at least Zombie’s two had decent features to begin with. And, let’s face it, Resurrection isn’t really worth a bunch of new features.
For me, obviously Halloween is one of the top five horror movies ever made, and just an utterly astounding piece of suspense filmmaking. It’s the catalyst for a billion knock-offs and holiday-named pretenders, but none have ever come close to its brilliance. Even the much more popular Friday the 13th series, which made a star out of its hulking masked murder Jason, is mostly comprised of stupid and schlocky scares. The Halloween series has always been my favorite of the slasher franchises and I think, in general, it has the highest number of good entries. Halloween II wasn’t as good as Carpenter’s original, but nothing can be. Halloween III: Season of the Witch obviously isn’t a sequel really, just a continuation of the theme of Halloween-set horror, this one a weird little witchcraft-aliens-mind control movie, which I think is severely underrated. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers is actually a really good, if low budget and sort of dreary, next installment of the Michael Myers saga and probably my second favorite of the bunch, which is sad because it’s followed by the largely abysmal Halloween 5, and the heavily-plagued Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers, which had too many cooks in the kitchen with its new involvement with Dimension films. (H6 features both the theatrical and producer’s cut of the film.) Halloween H20 is actually quite a good, if incredibly brief, movie and sees a welcome return to Jamie Lee Curtis. This should have been the end of everything, but they made Halloween: Resurrection which tried to be way too topical and failed miserably. Zombie’s two movies are interesting. The first one tries to tell more of Michael’s backstory but kind of only succeeds when it’s aping Carpenter directly, and the second one… well, Zombie himself didn’t even really want to make that one.
The 15 disc collection is super packed with extras, compiled from the many releases of the movies over time, so I’ll only mention the new ones especially for this set.
– Commentary with director of photography Dean Cundey, editor Tommy Lee Wallace, and the guy who played The Shape, Nick Castle.
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers:
-Audio commentary on the producer’s cut by screenwriter Daniel Farrands and composer Alan Howarth
-Jamie’s Story – Interview with original Jamie Lloyd actress Danielle Harris (not in the movie).
-The Cursed “Curse” – Interview with producers Malek Akkad and Paul Freeman
-Acting Scared – Interview with actresses Mariah O’Brien and J.C. Brandy
-The Shape of Things – Special effects makeup talk with John Beuchler and Brad Hardin, and actor George P. Wilbur.
-Haddonfield’s Horrors – Interviews with DP Bill Dickson, production designer Brad Ryman, and additional scenes DP Thomas Callaway
-Full Circle – Interview with composer Alan Howarth
-Cast and Crew Tribute to Donald Pleasance
-Commentary by Jamie Lee Curtis and director Steve Miner, moderated by Sean Clark
-Hour-long making-of featuring Curtis, Josh Hartnett, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Nancy Stephens, Adam Hann-Byrd, and all sorts of crew members. (Note: REALLY excellent doc; maybe my favorite of the bunch)
–Halloween the extended edition, featuring the TV version of the movie
-The Making of Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
-The Making of Halloween 5
-Interview with Halloween III: Season of the Witch makeup effects artist Tom Burman
So, pretty much if you haven’t guessed by now: this set is a major recommendation from me and absolutely the definitive set for anyone who enjoys these movies. Solid, amazing work to all involved.
The Exorcist Complete Anthology – Not to be outdone, but is still totally outdone, all the Exorcist movies have gotten a Blu-ray box set. This one contains The Exorcist in both theatrical and extended cuts, Exorcist II: The Heretic (which is just godawful), The Exorcist III (which is good but absolutely should not have been made as a sequel to The Exorcist, having been adapted from William Peter Blatty’s unrelated novel Legion), Exorcist: The Beginning, the prequel by Renny Harlin, and Dominion: Prequel to The Exorcist, which was Paul Schrader’s original go at making a prequel, which then got scrapped and Harlin’s got made. Very weird saga. Still, the first movie’s awesome.
The Saw Collection – Which contains all 7 unrated films on 3 discs. Sooooooo, no features at all.
Neighbors – The raucous frat versus squares comedy starring Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne as stuffy new parents who move in next to a fraternity house and run afoul of the brothers there, played by Zac Efron, Dave Franco, and Jerrod Carmichael, among others.
The Rover – The post-apocalyptic Australian film from the director of Animal Kingdom starring an unhinged Guy Pearce who takes sloppy young thug Robert Pattinson hostage as leverage on the gang that killed his family. Quentin Tarantino sang its praises.
Brooklyn Nine-Nine Season One – This had to be one of the best first seasons of a comedy in a good long while. Sure, there were a few rocky episodes up front, and that pilot left a whole lot to be desired, but it proved to be one of the best ensemble shows on TV and a show that consistently made me bust a gut, even if FOX is banishing it to Sundays for Season 2.
How I Met Your Mother: The Complete Collection – All 9 seasons of the show that started out good, got great for a couple of years, started slipping, and then really made people angry in its final year. I know it had a lot of fans throughout, but I was not one of them. Still, soft spot in my heart for seasons 1-4.
Attack On Titan Part 2 – The back half of the anime series that’s as weird and downbeat as anything ever put on television. Consistently more devastating than The Walking Dead and always unsettling. Those Titans looks so frigging creepy, man. I can’t stand it.