So, here we are at the beginning of the slasher craze of the 80s and it was John Carpenter’s Halloween that triggered that explosion, which ultimately gave rise to two iconic cinema killers—Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees—while also triggering smaller explosions in the form of name-a-holiday-and-we-can-give-you-a-slasher-to-go-along-with-it craze (i.e. April Fool’s Day, Graduation Day, My Bloody Valentine, New Year’s Evil, Silent Night, Deadly Night, Black Christmas, etc, etc).
In the movie’s prologue it’s October, 1963 and a little boy by the name of Michael Myers is spying on his sister and her boyfriend make out on the couch from outside the house. Once the boyfriend leaves he sneaks in puts on a clown mask, fetches a knife from the kitchen and goes up into her bedroom and stabs her to death. His parents find him seemingly catatonic on the front lawn.
In the TV cut version we meet Dr. Loomis (Donald Pleasence) a tad earlier than the theatrical cut where he’s meeting two doctors in a board room trying to convince them that the now teenage Michael is extremely dangerous and needs to be moved to a more secure facility.
Obviously, that doesn’t happen and in the next TV cut scene Loomis pays Myers a visit in his room where still catatonic Micheal sits in a chair, gazing seemingly empty minded out the window. Loomis tells him he’s not being fooled.
I always found these two scenes a better introduction for the Loomis character and a better portent of the evil to come from Michael than Loomis’ theatrical introduction with the nurse in the car.
Speaking of which we then cut to the same month but fifteen years later and on this particular night Loomis and this nurse are heading up to Smith’s Grove Sanitarium to prep Myers for a court hearing, but as they reach the building they find all the patients out and about wondering around in the storm and the gates open.
A clever plan by Myers and a fortuitous one for it’s the very car Loomis and the nurse arrived in is the one he escapes in, driving pretty good for someone who isn’t supposed to know how to.
The next inserted TV scene is one that kind of gives away a crucial plot point in the sequel, a nurse takes Loomis to Myers’ room and finds it all destroyed, the window broken and the word, SISTER, scrawled on the back of the door. Again I didn’t mind this scene either.
That sister, as all die hard fans know, is actually Laurie Strode (Jamie Curtis) who is revealed to be Myers’ sibling but the Strodes adopted her after Myers killed his other sister. This entire sister connection, however, doesn’t fully blossom till the sequel. The TV version kind of jumps the gun on that. In the first movie, unaware of her adoption and the “problems” it’s going to cause her, her friends and her hometown of Haddonfield (Illinois), Laurie is just your average high school teen, with friends, Annie Bracket (Nancy Loomis) and Lynda van der Klok (P.J. Soles) and all she wants to do is have a nice, quiet Halloween babysitting this kid, Tommy Doyle (Brian Andrews).
Annie and Lynda have other plans and they involve getting plowed by their boyfriends. While all this character set-up is taking place (a TV cut insert has Lynda coming over to borrow a shirt from Laurie), we see Michael has indeed returned, but for what reason we know not. Loomis does and he follows, showing up in Haddonfield too and trying valiantly to warn Sheriff Bracket (Charles Cyphers), Annie’s father, about the massacre Haddonfield is in for, but that falls on deaf ears.
Because Michael hasn’t done anything yet, nor is there any visual evidence getting to Loomis and Bracket that he’s even in town. Myers is clever, though, he’s now dressed in overalls and has busted into a hardware store and stolen, a knife, rope and William Shatner’s face.
He stalks Laurie and her friends and waits until Halloween night to start his killing and a killing he does go, wiping out Annie, Lynda, and even Lynda’s boyfriend before setting his sights on what he’s really there for—Laurie!
Loomis finally shows up where he needs to be and puts six bullets in Myers, but as we all know a sudden diet of lead can not stop him.
Cue Halloween II . . .
I never saw Halloween when it first came out, but I do remember it the commercials. And I do remember being told all about it by friend of mine. Incidentally, I was 9 when then this was in theaters. I also have a memory of when it came to TV and just from the creepy opening and John Carpenter’s now trademark music I absolutely knew this was too scary to watch.
For a long, long time my interpretation of this movie was that it was like Friday The 13th (1980) and full of gory kills. It wasn’t until October of ’92, after I got laid off from this job after only being hired for a week, that I finally saw it and Halloween II (1981) and understood Halloween wasn’t about the gore.
The day I was laid off I had a godawful stomach ache that persisted all day long, it wasn’t until a day later when it blossomed into some kind of stomach virus that had me going through the diarrhea-blues for a week. On this one particular weekend there was a marathon of the first three Halloweens happening in a row (HIII was about the only entry in the franchise I had seen before hand). Being laid up and all, I decided I would finally watch those first two and see what they were all about.
I was actually shocked to see that the first one was nothing like Friday The 13th. In fact it doesn’t really have any gore in it at all. It’s basically a slow burn slasher flick and I found myself fascinated with it from the very start. The second has a little bit of gore but again it was not what I expected and again loved every minute of it. Halloween III: Season Of The Witch (1982) is a favorite too.
This Television Version first hit DVD in 1999 in the Halloween Limited Edition set. I watched it there for the first time, loved it more than the theatrical version, and this is the cut I watch every year. It then shows up as a stand alone DVD in 2001 and now on this Bonus Disc in Anchor Bay/Scream Factory’s Halloween: The Complete Collection (Deluxe Set) it finally gets blued. Last year Dean Cundey personally supervised a new restoration of Halloween and it was released last year as Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition. This TV version blu-ray is that new restoration with the TV cuts inserted. Unfortunately, the TV scenes were not remastered in anyway shape or form and are not in HD here. Since Cundey’s restoration is insanely beautiful, you can see the quality change when they cut to them, but it’s not like your viewing VHS quality scenes, so don’t panic. You’re just viewing them as they were in the ’99 DVD release.
Before I go any further I should stress this Bonus Disc is only present in the Deluxe Edition, and along with the TV Cut this disc also ports over the old extras from the various DVDs of the other movies in the series. And, surprise, Scream and Anchor Bay even came up with some nifty, brand new extras to add to it!
The old extras I’ll only list below:
- Interview with Moustapha Akkad about origin ofHalloween
- Featurette: Halloween UNMASKED 2000
- Featurette: The Making Of Halloween 4: FINAL CUT
- Featurette: Inside Halloween 5
- Halloween III: Season of the Witch Radio Spots
- TV Spots – Halloween 4, Halloween 5, Halloween (2007) and Halloween II (2009)
. . . the new ones, however, I will go ahead and deconstruct:
Horror’s Hallowed Grounds – When you click on this you’ll see five featurettes: Halloween 4 (25:50), Halloween 5 (24:03), Halloween: Curse Of Michael Myers (23:09), Halloween (20:39), and Bus Tour (11:25). Horror’s Hallowed Grounds is the brainchild of Sean Clark, who scours the country going to the actual filming locations of iconic horror movies.
All of these except Halloween 4 have a guest appearance from someone who worked on the film. In H5 Clark and Don Shanks, who played The Shape, hit up as many locations as possible and Don reveals the Swat team massacre he filmed but was deleted from the film.
In Curse the guest appearance is FX artist, Brad Hardin, and during the course of this one Clark reveals that the Akkad’s had no idea the Weinsteins were filming an “alternate gorier version” (a.k.a. the one that got into theaters). Hardin admits that is the first time he heard that and I have to admit I hadn’t heard that either but not surprising since the Weinsteins have a pattern of taking certain movies away from directors and re-cutting them into really shitty versions.
In the Halloween episode (incidentally this is the 2005 “pilot” Clark shot) we get a guest appearance from Lynda herself, P.J. Soles, who accompanies Clark to some of the locations. We learn the house used for the Myers’ was a house that had been around since the 1800s and was on the brink of being demolished in the 90s when it was saved, and not saved because it was an iconic movie location but because of it’s 1800s longevity. The guy who saved it didn’t know until later it was used in Halloween.
The Bus Tour is Clark taking a group around to the locations that were used for some of the Halloween movies. At one point he asks if there are any fans of the Zombie version—one person raises his hand. Yeah, I’m not a fan of those two movies he did either. Apparently this featuette sports some guest appearances too but the only one I saw was Charles Cyphers and he’s aged to such a point I didn’t know that was him, only learning it was during the course of the conversation. Dick Warlock, Brian Andrews, Tommy Lee Wallace and Erik Preston are somewhere within this extra but to be honest, also due to aging, I wouldn’t recognize them unless they were actually pointed out to me.
The next two docs, The Making Of Halloween 4 (47:47) and The Making Of Halloween 5 (44:25), pretty much covers everything you ever wanted to know about these films. Cast and crew interviewed in the H4 one are Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Kathleen Kinmont, Beau Starr, Raymond O’Connor, Erik Preston and Sasha Jensen, Stuntmen Tom Morga (Michael Myers) and George P. Wilbur (Michael Myers), Composer Alan Howarth, Writer Alan B. McElroy, Producers Malek Akkad and Paul Freeman, Special Make-Up Effects Artists John Carl Buechler and Ken Horn. And the cast and crew interviewed for the H5 one are Danielle Harris, Ellie Cornell, Wendy Kaplan, Jeffrey Landman, Jonathan Chapin, Frankie Como, Tamara Glynn, Matthew Walker, Don Shanks (Michael Myers), Producer Malek Akkad, Line Producer Rick Nathanson and Composer Alan Howarth.
As I mentioned in my Halloween 6: The Producer’s Cut review, I have very little memory of either of these films. I do vaguely recall catching them on cable and also have a vague memory of thinking Part 4 wasn’t too bad, but thinking Part 5 sucked immensely. Now that I have seen the H5 doc, yeah, I seem to think that assertion might still be true for to this day. Funny, though, Danielle Harris really likes her performance in that movie but still knows it’s not the best entry of the two.
And finally you get a short Interview With Make-Up Effects Artist Tom Burman On Halloween III: Season of the Witch(6:00) with Burman’s most interesting account of him going to John Carpenter and telling him that, perhaps, the Conal Cochran (Dan O’Herlihy) character, before he vanishes out of existence in his death scene, should transform into some kind of weird pumpkin headed-thing to show he’s the embodiment of Halloween and Carpenter actually got mad at him for suggesting such a thing. Burman’s disappointment of the movie stems from the fact that “we” never really knew who this Cochran was.