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View Full Version : Halloween Blu Ray release gets poor rating


othervoice1
09-25-2007, 11:52 PM
http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/966/halloween1978.html

Workshed
09-25-2007, 11:57 PM
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture

Over the years, the major studios have taken a lot of heat for "double dipping" their top titles ad nauseam on disc, but indie distributors are not immune to the disease, either. Case in point is Anchor Bay (newly christened Starz Home Entertainment), which has released, re-issued, and re-packaged 'Halloween,' oh, about 5,237 times now. There was the original (and utterly dreadful) 1997 DVD version, followed by various single- and double-disc special editions, culminating in the 2003 "DiviMax" version, which boasted a newly-remastered transfer minted from a new high-definition master.

Unfortunately, that DiviMax version caused quite an uproar with fans when word quickly leaked out on the eve of its release that neither John Carpenter nor cinematographer Dean Cundey had approved the new master, and without their input, great liberties were taken with the film's color timing. Originally, to compensate for the film's low budget (and the fact that the movie was shot in the summer in California, not in Illinois in the fall), Cundey and Carpenter used filters and other tricks to create an appropriately spooky feel. Sadly, that's long gone on the DiviMax edition -- the deep midnight blues of the night scenes were turned star white, and the intentionally stylized orange cast of the daylight exteriors were "corrected" to blandness. Sure, image detail and clarity were improved, but it came at the expense of the mood originally intended by the filmmakers.

Sadly, this 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 sports most of the same color timing problems as the DiviMax DVD edition. Although earlier reports had indicated that Starz/Anchor Bay had planned on using the old, Cundey-approved master for this Blu-ray edition, judging from the results here, I have to assume that they just used the DiviMax master and tweaked it a little. Though the daylight exteriors are much closer to previous Cundey-approved masters (including a 1995 Criterion Collection laserdisc, as well as earlier Anchor Bay THX-certified DVD editions), the nighttime scenes -- about 3/4 of the movie -- still just aren't right. The effective blue-orange complimentary color palette is white-washed away, and though fleshtones may be more "accurate," this is just not the 'Halloween' it should be. (For a look at some comparison pics between the Blu-ray and the THX-certified, Cundy-approved transfer, our reader Dave Mack has kindly posted an extensive series of 'em in our forums area.)

Other aspects of the transfer are much better. The print is not perfect -- there are still quite a few white speckles and dirt granules -- but it's pretty clean for a thirty year-old low-budget flick. Detail is also noticeably sharper than any previous standard-def release, including the DiviMax DVD. During Carpenter's many tracking shots of the Haddonfield neighborhoods, textures on houses, cars, and trees are now distinct (before, everything was a little mushy). I was not as fond of the shadow delineation and still feel the DiviMax master is too bright -- there is more detail visible in the dark portions of the image than ever before, but it just looks too bright compared to the old Cundey-approved versions. Finally, regardless of which disc version you choose, 'Halloween' looks a little soft by modern standards. Although this Blu-ray edition is without a doubt the most three-dimensional ‘Halloween’ has ever looked on video, I’m sorry to say that I just can't recommend it. I've always been a big fan of both 'Halloween' and Anchor Bay/Starz (I've certainly bought enough of their DVDs over the years), so I was really hoping they’d spent the money to re-transfer the movie under the guidance of Cundey and Carpenter, but unfortunately, despite this golden opportunity, it seems we'll have to wait for another Blu-ray double dip to see if a proper high-def version of 'Halloween' is at last a possibility.

(UPDATE: Since I originally posted this review, many readers have asked how I could possibly have rated the video on this disc so poorly when others have reported strong results for this disc's video. To be clear, setting aside the color timing issues mentioned above, this is a generally strong transfer, and if you're not sensitive to the issues inherent in preserving a director's intentions, you're not likely to take issue with the video on this disc. As a longtime fan of 'Halloween,' however -- and as someone who feels strongly that the filmmaker's intentions should always be sacrosanct -- I take particular issue with the decision to yet again utilize a compromised master that's been disowned by John Carpenter himself for this release. If you don't happen to share this same sensitivity, you're likely to find the picture quality on this disc perfectly acceptable and even quite superior for an almost thirty year-old indie film.)

There's more in the link but here are the video details.

X-human
09-26-2007, 12:26 AM
http://www.horrordvds.com/vb3forum/showthread.php?t=34165

^ Includes thoughts from Don May Jr.

JW77
09-26-2007, 03:31 AM
If you read HTF or DVDTalk, the SE of Bram Stoker's Dracula is getting a lot of shit because the BR transfer is much darker than the standard and Superbit DVDs, and the bright colors have been toned down considerably.

Pretty disappointing for both titles.

dwatts
09-26-2007, 07:21 AM
Jesus, they're still whinging about the blues in Halloween. Didn't we have that over a year ago? I like the Divimax version and it's certainly the version I reach over to watch - and the newer one adds quite a bit of detail. So I'm pro-it. There's nothing new in that review sadly - it alomst reads lik a cut and paste from the Divimax comments.

MrKateB
09-26-2007, 07:54 AM
So maybe there's a better thread to ask this question, but in folks' opinion, what IS the best DVD version of Halloween? I bought the one that had Michael Meyers' face sort of holographed on the cover, it's been out quite awhile, and was one of the first DVDs I bought...

dwatts
09-26-2007, 08:04 AM
I have that one too. But I prefer the Divimax for A/V.

Shinya
09-26-2007, 11:51 AM
I personally feel the Divimax edition of Halloween is the best DVD. I feel it has the best picture and extras, including the Carpenter commentary.

That Blu-ray Halloween looks great though. If I was into the HD formats, I'd get it. I'm pleased to see it doesn't have the blue tints from the Cundey-approved transfer. I hate the way it looks compared to the Divimax and Blu-ray versions. I like what this guy said. Kind funny

I don't understand that MOON thing, last night i was outside Full Moon and it wasn't Blue anywhere.

dwatts
09-26-2007, 11:55 AM
Does he say the same thing about Suspiria? :D

Fistfuck
09-26-2007, 02:47 PM
So maybe there's a better thread to ask this question, but in folks' opinion, what IS the best DVD version of Halloween? I bought the one that had Michael Meyers' face sort of holographed on the cover, it's been out quite awhile, and was one of the first DVDs I bought...

My vote goes for the '99 Limited Edition. There's nothing wrong with owning both that and the DiviMax for the features. But if you want to see the film as intended, reach for the LE.

Chunkblower
09-26-2007, 07:18 PM
No Cundey approved transfer = no sale

Grim
09-26-2007, 11:40 PM
The four AB Blu-rays shipped from Deep Discount today, so I guess I'll see how they all look.

bigdaddyhorse
09-26-2007, 11:46 PM
My vote goes for the '99 Limited Edition. There's nothing wrong with owning both that and the DiviMax for the features. But if you want to see the film as intended, reach for the LE.

I prefer the correct color scheme to a bit more sharpness as well.
For the commentary I have the Criterion laserdisc.
For the extra features on disc 2 of the Divimax set, I have a dub of disc 2 which I might've watched once. I also have 3 different postcards in my LE. The thing wil need it's own box when I move.:D

othervoice1
09-27-2007, 12:06 AM
I have the 99 limited edition with both the regular and television versions of the movie and i love it- but they are out of print and used usually go for around 60.00 on ebay

horrorlover
09-27-2007, 06:12 AM
I'm not into HD yet, but I'm sure Anchor Bay will release Halloween with a "new" transfer in oh about 6 months. Did anyone actually expect Anchor Bay to release a perfect transfer of Halloween? That's how they get their money release and then rerelease the same movies over and over.

Fistfuck
09-27-2007, 01:44 PM
I'm not into HD yet, but I'm sure Anchor Bay will release Halloween with a "new" transfer in oh about 6 months. Did anyone actually expect Anchor Bay to release a perfect transfer of Halloween? That's how they get their money release and then rerelease the same movies over and over.

Actually, they get their money from the people who bitch about "ugh, AB is double-dipping AGAIN," yet still go out and buy whatever recently released version is available.

Vlachio
10-04-2007, 06:42 AM
I'm not into HD yet, but I'm sure Anchor Bay will release Halloween with a "new" transfer in oh about 6 months. Did anyone actually expect Anchor Bay to release a perfect transfer of Halloween? That's how they get their money release and then rerelease the same movies over and over.


Well to me anchor bay is long gone dead. The people who owned it aren't even running the show anymore. So if we decide to blame anybody we can all point the finger now at STARS. :fuck:

Chunkblower
10-18-2007, 05:49 AM
No Cundey approved transfer = no sale

Turns out I'm a liar.

X-human
10-18-2007, 06:36 AM
^Well don't feel too bad, I ordered Dracula on Blu-ray and I said that was a no sale originally too. But damn it, Frys.com had a $9.99 sale. I'm holding steady on Halloween though.

Ash28M
11-11-2007, 06:30 AM
I rented the Halloween Blu-Ray and all I have to say is that it looked pretty amazing. I've never seen the film look so sharp and perfect. I was looking for the colour variations from the Anchor bay version, I did see it but it was far from distracting.

As for the the poor review from high def digest I notices the reviewer has added the following.

http://bluray.highdefdigest.com/966/halloween1978.html

(UPDATE: Since I originally posted this review, many readers have asked how I could possibly have rated the video on this disc so poorly when others have reported strong results for this disc's video. To be clear, setting aside the color timing issues mentioned above, this is a generally strong transfer, and if you're not sensitive to the issues inherent in preserving a director's intentions, you're not likely to take issue with the video on this disc. As a longtime fan of 'Halloween,' however -- and as someone who feels strongly that the filmmaker's intentions should always be sacrosanct -- I take particular issue with the decision to yet again utilize a compromised master that's been disowned by John Carpenter himself for this release. If you don't happen to share this same sensitivity, you're likely to find the picture quality on this disc perfectly acceptable and even quite superior for an almost thirty year-old indie film.)

wago70
11-11-2007, 09:54 AM
My vote goes for the '99 Limited Edition. There's nothing wrong with owning both that and the DiviMax for the features. But if you want to see the film as intended, reach for the LE.

:) Same here. I find the '99 L.E. to be nice and smooth. They're right about the colors, though. Divimax looks way too much like Spring in Cal.
I make sure I watch both, however. Me loves HALLOWEEN!

X-human
11-11-2007, 03:51 PM
Has Carpenter actually disowned the Divimax release? I didn't think he'd ever address it. Also it looks like they did try to fix the Divimax master, they just didn't do a good job of it.