HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR
Directed by Stefan Hutchinson
Written by Stefan Hutchinson & Anthony Masi
2005/84 mins/Color/Dolby Surround 2.0
Full Screen/English/US/NTSC Region 1
Review from Anchor Bay DVD
Narrated by P.J. Soles, who was one of the stars of John Carpenter’s original classic, this excellent documentary takes an in-depth look at the series as whole, focusing on each of the eight films. It begins with the history and success of the original, and even manages to touch upon, however briefly, on the excellent BLACK CHRISTMAS, a film that predates HALLOWEEN, in many of its concepts. Each film is covered and, what is best, not white washed. Although, I would have loved for the last two entries to be heavily criticized, but this more due to a personal disliking of them, than anything else. There is much honesty in the deliverance and discussion of the films. Their success or failures are mentioned, as are some of the controversies that arouse. Some of the ones touched upon, include not using Michael in HALLOWEEN III: SEASON OF THE WITCH, the annoying character of Tina in pt. 5: THE REVENGE OF MICHAEL MYERS, the two different cuts of CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS, and the mistake of having Busta Rhymes in RESURECTION. It is interesting to note that someone from Dimension films mentions that “They are looking into releasing” the producer’s cut of CURSE, but I, personally, wouldn’t hold my breath on it.
There are also great interviews with cast and crew from the films including: John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Moustapha Akkad, Jamie Lee Curtis, Tom Atkins, Danielle Harris, Kathleen Kinmont, Nancy Loomis, Greg Nicotero, Nick Castle, Ellie Cornel, Jodi Lynn O’Keefe, etc, as well as interviews with fans such as Rob Zombie, Clive Barker, Kim Newman, Edgar Wright, and fans who were at the “Return to Haddonfield Convention”. There is some really scary, very real moments revealed by stars like Kinmont and Harris as they talk about their terrifying experiences with their stalkers. But, they, and everyone else, admit that most of the fans are awesome, and the docu goes a long way in portraying us fans in a positive light.
HALLOWEEN: 25 YEARS OF TERROR teaches us the wonders of Michael Myers and HALLOWEEN courtesy of Anchor Bay. It is presented in a full frame aspect ratio, though the clips from the films are presented in their correct aspect ratios. The sound in Dolby Surround Stereo is quite good, with some very clear conversation. And, any time the theme or even the jingle form SEASON OF THE WITCH comes up it all sounds quite nice.
The DVD is jam packed with extras. On the first disc, of this two disc set, comes “Horror’s Hallowed Grounds” from the Horror Channel, as a host takes you through the places where some of the major scenes in the original HALLOWEEN were actually shot at. At some points, P.J. Soles joins in on the tour, as well. There are also extended interviews with the stars of HALLOWEEN II and III. The best stuff comes, not surprisingly, from Tom Atkins. I love it when he talks about weather or not he is a “ladies’ man”! There are also extended interviews with other celebrities from the film series, like the very cute Danielle Harris, the lovely Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, and many others. Lots of great stuff is revealed here, too. There is just such an endearing and loving feel to all of these.
For HALLOWEEN 5, we get some decent on-set footage. There are some interesting interviews, to say the least. I was most curious in hearing Wendy Kaplan talk about her role as Tina. She says all these great things about her character, which leads me too believe, either she did not want to admit it, or she did not notice that she played one of the most annoying characters in slasher history. But, hey this was shot on set, and she not seen the finished product, so let’s give her the benefit of the doubt, here.
Then, there are looks at the fans at the fans of HALLOWEEN at the aforementioned convention. As I regular convention goer, myself (although, I sadly was not at this one), I really enjoyed seeing the fans and the dealer’s rooms. Another similar feature has Moustapha Akkad giving one very lucky and lovely blonde, who also appears in various parts in the docu, itself, a walk on role in HALLOWEEN 9. But with that idea for sequel being dropped in favor of a remake, I wonder if she will be that, instead.
Moving on to disc 2, we find fully recorded discussion panels for HALLOWEEN I, II, and 6. I wish they had presented the discussion panel for part 4 here as well, as not only is that my favorite sequel, by far, but it also has Kathleen Kinmont and Danielle Harris in it, and what fan doesn’t want more of these lovely ladies? Said panel is shown in bits and pieces in the main docu, but sadly not in it’s entirety as an extra. Out of these panels, that are fully shown, the best one is the one for the 6th one. The panel is lively and fun, and a lucky fan even gets a hug and kiss from the lovely Marianne Hagan.
We, then move to more star-centric, as opposed to sequel-centric, panels. They are: Ellie Cornell, Michael Myers, Dean Cundey, and the producers (Moustapha Akkad and Irwin Yablans). All of these are of definite interest, with the Michael Myers panel being the most fun. The guys who played Michael (sadly Nick Castle was not present) come off as great guys. From a cinematic point of view, the most interesting and educational of these comes from Cundey. While, at times he may come off as a bit dry and boring, hearing the aspects of the cinematography of this classic is still fascinating. It is also very interesting to hear, the sadly late, Akkad talk about how the fans are so important to him. And, while he seems genuinely touched by the fans, one has to ask, then why the fiasco of the last two HALLOWEENS ignoring parts 4, 5, and 6; if he cared so much about us? Nonetheless, Akkad came off as a likable person. As, for Cornell’s, she is very likeable and makes for a great discussion, though it would have been awesome if she had actually been able to do it with Harris and Kinmont.
There are also various stills, including location shots from HALLOWEEN I & III as well as H2O, shots of fans and celebs at the con, and some very cool artwork, inspired by the series. Then come some short films. My favs of the shorts are the one where this little doggie is terrorized by a McFarlane Michael Myers action figure; and one about Michael coming home to his wife. Both of these are cute and funny. But, even worst of these shorts show the love for Michael and the series that fans have, and that is the most important part.
Both discs come in a keep case, which is as thin as a single one, but holds both. There is a slip cover with raised letters and face of Myers. Inside, comes a booklet that opens up to reveal some cool linear notes from co-writer/ producer Anthony Masi talking about how the DVD came to be. On the back of it is a listing of the 16 chapters the film is broken up into. The menus are static but they are accompanied by the classic theme.
It also comes with a rather cool comic, with some nice artwork, about a photographer who becomes obsessed with looking for Myers. He even begins to follow Loomis around. The ending to the comic is good. And, even though it is hard to figure out when this takes place (I would guess between parts II and 4, but some continuity is a bit off); it is definitely worth a read a very cool extra.
This Film Features:
Review by Giovanni Deldio. All Right Reserved. 2006. ©