'Halloween: 25 Years of Terror'
(Moustapha Akkad, Ana Alicia, et al / 2-Disc DVD / R / 2006 / Anchor Bay Ent.)
Overview: A documentary that follows the evolution of the 'Halloween' movies over the past twenty-five years. It examines why the films are so popular and revisits many of the original locations used in the films - seeing the effects on the local community. For the first time, cast, crew, critics and fans join together in the ultimate 'Halloween' retrospective.
DVD Verdict: Certainly John Carpenter had no idea what sort of an impact he would be making when he created his masterpiece, "Halloween" in 1978. Not only did the movie go on to be the most successful independent feature of it's time, but it spawned seven sequels, which in turn gave birth to a large and loyal fanbase. "Halloween: 25 Years Of Terror," a two-disc DVD set, centered around an in-depth documentary, celebrates that. Captured at a 2003 convention to mark the 25th anniversary (hence the title), this set beautifully covers nearly every angle of all eight "Halloween" films, their effect on the industry, their successes, their failures, and so on and so forth.
The documentary itself, clocking it at the length of the average "Halloween" film, traces the history of the franchise, from the baby stages of the original film, to the ridiculous nature of the most recent installment, "Halloween: Resurrection." Nothing is really held back here. The producers, directors and castmembers are not shy about revealing certain problems encountered during production (especially on parts 2 and 6) but also don't treat the films as complete failures, or as cinematic scum, as some critics might label it. If you own access to the internet and have done enough research on the films, this information may not be any news to you, but it's nice to have all the wrinkles ironed out and to hear it straight from the source. We get interviews from the legends, such as Jamie Lee Curtis, John Carpenter and Danielle Harris, to the lesser-knowns like Sasha Jenson, Marianne Hagan and Pamela Susan Shoop, and are even treated to input from everyone from internet critic John Fallon (Arrow In The Head) to future "Halloween" director/reinventor himself, Rob Zombie. I was intrigued by the documentary, and was only disappointed when it ended.
Now, for Special Features, we have more than enough to overlap the feature presentation. Most of the footage you will see is from the previously mentioned convention. We are treated to loads of panel discussions, centering around the first film, part 2 and part 6, and also featuring a wealth of cast and crew. Probably one of the best and most nostalgic features would be the on-set footage of "Halloween 5," while "Horror's Hallowed Grounds" is a well done tour of Haddonfield (Pasadena, CA) as it appears today. I was very satisfied with this release, but it also left me a little depressed. Afterall, with the announcement of the upcoming remake/reinvention/reimagining/ -- whatever you wanna call it -- of the original film, it is officially clear that all these storylines are dead. I guess we all knew it. It was essentially over when "H20" came on the scene and tried to end the series definitively, and then "Halloween: Resurrection" came out and dragged the series through the mud and put the nail in the coffin. It's sad to see such great characters and, for better of for worse, great stories reach a dead-end. As a hardcore "Halloween" fan who also loved parts 4-6, it was a vindicating feeling to see that virtually no one from "H20" or "Resurrection" bothered to show up and discuss the films. It was all people from the older films. After witnessing the older, mid-section films being treated as dirt over the years, it was nice to see it gets it's respect here. If you are a "Halloween" fan, regardless of what your opinion of the rest of the franchise is/was, this set is worth every penny. With so many "Halloween" DVD's and so little features, it's nice to have a place that holds just about everything you could ever want. This is a Widescreen presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and come with the Special Features of:
"Horror's Hallowed Ground" featurette
"Fans of Halloween" featurette
Halloween II and Halloween III extended interviews
Extended celebrity interviews
Halloween 5 On-Set Footage
Halloween Convention Montage
Halloween panel discussion
Halloween II panel discussion
Halloween 6 panel discussion
Ellie Cornell panel discussion
Dean Cundey panel discussion
Halloween producers panel discussion
Halloween location still gallery
Halloween Convention Behind-The-Scenes gallery
Original artwork gallery
Exclusive comic book inspired by the series