It's about that time again. It's almost that oh so wonderful time of year when the summer starts to wind down, the kids go back to school, and the leaves begin to change and fall to the ground as the cool autumn winds blow them from the barren branches. You know what else that means, right? It means that very soon (but not soon enough) it will once again be that time when all the ghosts, witches, ghouls and monsters are out in full force, creeping from the dark hiding places they hibernate in the rest of the year to decorate our stores, lawns, televisions, and (most importantly) the hearts and minds of our children in that all too brief period in which they are celebrated - Halloween. My favorite time of year (and probably the favorite of many of the readers of this website, I'm assuming). It's the time when our passion for all things spooky, monstrous, and evil is actually shared by the general public, and thanks to countless amounts of holiday marketing by video stores and cable networks, often observed by doing something that many of us enjoy all year round, watching horror movies. And what could be a more appropriate movie to watch at that time of year than the one that has become tradition, the one that will be undoubtedly unavoidable due to its various annual televised screenings, the one that truly encompasses the very spirit of the holiday itself, the granddaddy of the holiday slasher film, the very appropriately titled - Halloween.
Now don't go breaking out the candy corn or carve up your jack o' lantern just yet, it's only August. But Michael Myers fans can start setting the mood a little early this year thanks to this in depth documentary on the original classic and its subsequent slew of sequels.
The feature begins with the earliest developmental stages of the first film and the thought processes behind it and runs all the way through to fan reactions of Halloween: Resurrection, the first official Halloween convention, and the speculations behind yet another sequel, making stops at every other film in the series along the way. Composed mostly of film clips, stills from promotional and advertising materials, convention panel footage, and interviews featuring just about every major person ever involved with a Halloween film, including John Carpenter, Debra Hill, Jamie Lee Curtis, Moustapha Akkad, Irwin Yablans, Nancy Loomis, Charles Cyphers, Rick Rosenthal, Pamela Susan Shoop, Tommy Lee Wallace, Tom Atkins, Danielle Harris, and many, many more, and narrated by none other than P.J.Soles, it's no doubt that you'll find out absolutely everything you ever wanted to know about this long running franchise. From behind-the-scenes stories from the set to revelations of some of the problems that have plagued the series over the years (like the negative fan reaction to Halloween III, the infamous alternate cut of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, and the multiple mask debacle on the set of Halloween: H20), it's all covered, along with lots of discussion as to just what it is about these films that has made them so successful, creating such a rabidly devoted fan base in their wake. The Halloween series and the stories that surround it have become an absolute horror institution, and I can't think of a better horror film to have a documentary made about it which examines that phenomenon.
Obviously, this is an absolute must own for any hardcore Halloween fan. In fact, I'm sure most diehards probably didn't even need to read this review to make that kind of decision and have most likely already purchased it. It is, after all, created specifically for people like you. It's not very difficult to see that the casual Halloween fan (is there such a thing?) was not what they had in mind when putting this package together. In addition to the comprehensively detailed documentary film, extras are what a presentation like this is all about. We're talking hours and hours of extras, an entire second disc's worth: extended interviews with many of the celebrities that were cut from the film, Halloween 5 on set footage, Halloween convention footage, a montage of Halloween's biggest fans and their collections of memorabilia, video of convention panels for Halloween, Halloween II, Halloween 6, (takes a deep breath) the producers of Halloween, the men who played Michael Myers, Dean Cundey (director of photography for Halloween 1-3), Ellie Cornell (actress in Halloween 4 & 5), an episode of Horror's Hallowed Grounds (a show on the Horror Channel) dealing with visits to the various locations from the film, a location stills gallery, a convention behind-the-scenes gallery, and a gallery of original artwork (panting heavily, trying to catch breath). If that doesn't convince you of the exhaustive lengths they went to in order to provide the most possible Halloween related supplemental material they could possibly unearth, I don't know what will. I mean, they might as well have called the thing Halloween: The Ultimate Fanboy's Wet Dream.
All of this footage, as well as the film itself, look and sound as well as you would expect a professional yet low budget documentary to be. In other words, this isn't the kind of film that is going to have some super hi-def picture and tons of audio channel release, but it's also not the kind of film that needs that either. All of the interview and convention footage is shot clearly and the questions and answers on the panels are audible, which is what's important for a release such as this. The 2-disc set comes packaged in a case with artwork that stays very true to the series; the orange and black slipcover will fit right at home next to the Halloween films on your shelf. Also included is an exclusive mini comic book called Halloween Autopsis, which features an original story about a photo journalist who gets wrapped up in the Myers case.