H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze


Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 5600 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:
Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)
Harmon Cardon DD/DTS receiver
Ascent (main) + Boston Acoustics (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze








Halloween [Blu-ray]  


(John Carpenter, 1987)

Studio: Starz/Anchor Bay
Region: All
Video: MPEG-4/AVC - 1080p - 2.35:1 - (29Mbps)

Audio: English LPCM 5.1 (4.6Mbps - 16-Bit/48kHz), English Dolby Digital 5.1 (640 Kbps), English Dolby 2.0 (Original Mono) (192 Kbps)

Subtitles: English, English SDH
Special Features Subtitles: English

Disc: Dual-Layered Blu-Ray (50 GBs)
Runtime: 91 min.

Making Of
Fast Facts (Shown during movie playback) Trailers TV Spots Radio Spots Audio Commentary

Release Date: October 2nd, 2007
Package: Blu-Ray Standard case

On a block and unholy Halloween night years ago, little Michael Myers brutally slaughtered his sister in cold blood. But for the last fifteen years, town residents have rested easy, knowing that he was safely locked away in a mental hospital... until tonight. Tonight, Michael returns to the same quiet neighborhood to relive his grisly murder again... and again... and again. For this is a night of evil. Tonight is Halloween!


The Film:
“Halloween” is an absolutely merciless thriller, a movie so violent and scary that, yes, I would compare it to “Psycho.” It's a terrifying and creepy film about what one of the characters calls Evil Personified. Right. And that leads us to the one small piece of plot I'm going to describe. There's this six-year-old kid who commits a murder right at the beginning of the movie, and is sent away, and is described by his psychiatrist as someone he spent eight years trying to help, and then the next seven years trying to keep locked up. But the guy escapes. And he returns on Halloween to the same town and the same street where he committed his first murder. And while the local babysitters telephone their boyfriends and watch “The Thing” on television, he goes back into action.

Period: That's all I'm going to describe, because “Halloween” is a visceral experience -- we aren't seeing the movie, we're having it happen to us. It's frightening. Maybe you don't like movies that are really scary: Then don't see this one. Seeing it, I was reminded of the favorable review I gave a few years ago to “Last House of the Left,” another really terrifying thriller. Readers wrote to ask how I could possibly support such a movie. But it wasn't that I was supporting it so much as that I was describing it: You don't want to be scared? Don't see it. Credit must be paid to filmmakers who make the effort to really frighten us, to make a good thriller when quite possibly a bad one might have made as much money. Hitchcock is acknowledged as a master of suspense; it's hypocrisy to disapprove of other directors in the same genre who want to scare us too.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

The Video:
This is a very personal view (obviously), but I am very pleased with this particular edition - more than any other I saw, including the strong 25th Anniversary SD-DVD. Noise is very limited to just a few rare instances where shadows get a bit agitated, but it is far from being distractive. The image does look a bit blurred, IMHO it contributes giving the movie a very smooth texture. I don't see how a horror movie like this would take advantage of over-sharpening and an exaggerated level of detail. It would end up appearing far too busy and distracting. Here it is simple film - focused on the climax, the mood per se, as it should be. I also found the colors beautifully caste, the bluish low-temp tone is truly grabbing.

Shadows are strong, as intended, and very well utilized, often valuing the foreground when needed. In general the black levels behave quite well and I think the work done in this transfer captures the original chilling aura from the original film while presenting an enhanced HD transfer. The purists may get annoyed b this transfer, but I think the whole thing is sharp and saturated enough and I felt like everything was well balanced. The only thing that could offer some improvement is a higher Bit Rate, but I was extremely satisfied with the end result!

Luiz R.

Blu-ray Screen Captures












I also enjoyed the LPCM 5.1 a lot, which is probably the best Halloween mix I have heard and goes many steps further in quality and range than the DD 5.1 option. The soundtrack also sounds excellent and it is played quite a few times during the movie so it should get a special attention as it does here, but every detail is crystal clear. This is not a busy movie, is quiet but it smartly takes use of the many channels. The LPCM mix distributes everything precisely and with an enriching range. The DD 5.1 is also good, but I don't see any reason why one should use it instead of the LPCM which is clearly better.

The only sad part of this Blu-Ray is the Mono option coming as a Stereo mix. They should have just left it as a single high quality uncompressed mono channel instead of duplicating it into a
low-192Kbps-bit-rate 2-channel mix. I think this is my only and big disappointment with this edition.

Not many supplements, but still a few are good enough to consider the pack of extras satisfying. The Making Of... is long, about 70 minutes, and explores extensively many movie facts. Unfortunately there isn't much new footage, most of it is a narrator describing the events while the movie footage is being played. But the info present is good.

The Audio Commentary - by the director, actress, and producer - is also nice and should be worth listening to most fans.

There is also an "Fast Facts" option that presents some data about the movie during its normal playback, sort of an extra "subtitle". It is nice and it doesn't come up too often, so it doesn't get disturbing.

Other than that, there are some trailers and spots.



BOTTOM LINE: I am definitely pleased by the quality, content, and price and thus I consider this edition highly recommend to fans. If you never watched this movie this is also the perfect opportunity to do so, and will continue to be for a long time.

Luiz R.



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