Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition review

A new restoration gives John Carpenter's landmark slasher a new lease of life in hi-def

Just like a fine wine or actress/model Monica Bellucci, John Carpenter's 1978 slasher just keeps getting better with age. Pared back to the absolute essentials, but shot through with Carpenter's widescreen artistry, Halloween eschews the gross-out gore that would become the hallmark of its countless imitators (and sequels) in favour of the far more basic – and rewarding – fun that comes from scaring the bejeezus out of its audience. It's a film that's both brilliant in its simplicity and quite simply brilliant.

Picture: Anchor Bay's original Blu-ray release of Halloween suffered from a much too vivid palette that stripped the film of its original neutral colours in favour of ruddy reds and bold blues. This latest AVC 2.40:1 1080p restoration has been overseen by director of photography Dean Cundey and returns the film to its authentically cool colour scheme (see comparison below). Just as importantly, it also demonstrates considerably improved detail levels.
Picture rating: 4.5/5

2007 Blu-ray:

2013 Blu-ray:

Audio: While the new Dolby TrueHD 7.1 remix kicks into high gear every time Carpenter's iconic score is in play and has a strong L/C/R presence, for much of the time the additional channels are essentially inactive. This is probably to be expected for a surround sound upgrade of a vintage low-budget flick. More bothersome is the accompanying mono soundtrack. Not only is it presented in 'lossy' Dolby Digital, but the track also proves to be an oddly anaemic presentation that has issues with missing and/or altered cues.
Audio rating: 3.5/5

Extras: New to this release are a chatty commentary by John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis, plus an hour-long documentary following the actress as she attends various horror conventions. More familiar extras takes the form of the scenes shot for the TV version, a location tour and a host of trailers, TV spots and radio spots – which, disappointingly, only scratches the surface of the many extras produced for previous DVD and BD releases.
Extras rating: 3/5

We say: The new restoration makes this a must-own for horrors fans – although the altered mono soundtrack will undoubtedly frustrate hardcore fans

Halloween: 35th Anniversary Edition, Anchor Bay, Region B BD, £25 Approx