As one of the longest-running horror franchises in cinema history, the Halloween films have run the map of sequels, remakes, and reboots. Scream Factory brings together The Halloween 4K Collection -1995-2002 combining the end of a franchise era with Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers and the relaunch with Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later and its unfortunate follow-up Halloween: Resurrection. Now in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, each of the films has been given new 4K scans and Dolby Vision HDR - with varying results, the same solid audio tracks, and plenty of new and archival bonus features to slice through. Die Hard Myers fans will want to pick this set up but for the casual franchise fan, it may be a tough sell. Ultimately this set is Recommended
After the explosive finale to Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers, Jamie Lloyd and Michael Myers went missing for ten years. Haddonfield has banned Halloween, and Dr. Loomis is enjoying his retirement burying the ghosts within a manuscript. But evil never stays dead. Now a new family is living in Michael’s old family home, and the killing begins again. Survivor Tommy Doyle believes he’s uncovered the key to stopping Michael’s madness. With Loomis’ help, Tommy hopes to stop Michael’s reign of terror and destroy the cult that worships him. 3.5/5
After surviving the brutal rampage of one of the deadliest mass murderers in history, Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) is haunted by the encounter with her brother Michael Myers. Living under an assumed name in seclusion as the headmaster for a posh boarding school, she struggles to get by as her son John (Josh Hartnet) tries to live a normal life as a teenager. When most of the school leaves for a field trip, Michael Myers turns the school into his own personal bloody killing ground until Laurie is forced to face her worst nightmare. 4/5
The evil of Michael Myers didn’t die that night. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) has been committed to an asylum patiently waiting for the last few years for her brother’s return. After ending their family feud once and for all, Michael retires to the solitude of the dilapidated rotting husk of his birth home to live peacefully eating rats in the basement. But Dangertainment founder Freddie Harris (Busta Rhymes) has other ideas. Combining the reality TV craze with cyberspace, he’s bringing the ultimate thrill to live entertainment with a group of cash-strapped college coeds “investigating” the home of Michael Myers. Little do they know the most prolific mass murderer in history lurks in the shadows…2.5/5
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Scream Factory continues their work started a year ago with The Halloween Collection (1995-2002) combining Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later, and Halloween: Resurrection. This is an eight-disc set, two 4K discs and 2 Blu-ray discs covering both cuts of Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers, A 4K and Blu-ray disc for Halloween: H20, and a 4K and Blu-ray for Halloween: Resurrection. All of the individual slipcases are held together with a thin paper-stock box.
The discs for Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers are housed in a 4-disc case with individual trays without being stacked. The keepcase has reversible insert artwork depicting the original poster and video artwork with a hardstock slipcase featuring new artwork similar to the previously released Halloween 4K editions. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
Likewise Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later discs are housed in a two-disc case with reversible insert artwork depicting the original poster art and video art with a hardstock slipcase offering new artwork. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
And Halloween: Resurrection discs are also housed in a two-disc case with reversible insert artwork depicting the original poster and video art with a hardstock case offering new artwork. Each disc loads to an animated main menu with traditional navigation options.
First I’ll dive into the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray. This new scan is certainly cleaner, and clearer, with incredible details and a more naturally cinematic grain structure than past releases. Especially for the Theatrical Cut which wasn’t given the same care and attention as the Producer’s Cut for Scream’s big 2014 box set. Instances of speckling are no longer present and old signs of edge enhancement are no longer an issue. Facial features and details in Michael’s mask and some of the gore bits and pieces are clearer and easier to fully appreciate.
Now the elephant in the room, there has been a notable shift in the color timing for both cuts and it can be a tad dramatic. The first thing folks will likely notice is that shadows are much deeper. They get very close to crush but thankfully with Dolby Vision HDR (and HDR10) they pull back from the brink so there’s still a terrific amount of image depth to enjoy. Whites are crisper and more natural pure white than before - in past discs whites had more of a pinkish tone and that’s no longer an issue. Skin shades are also less pinkish but still look like folks who live in the midwest in the fall and can’t get a tan. Colors also take on a darker greyer shade so greens aren’t quite as bright and are now more rotten olive colored. Reds come in beautifully and blood isn’t as pink and more appropriately crimson. In the theatrical cut when Michael is chasing Tommy and Kara through the tunnels, that spinning red light is a beautiful effect. Where issues crop up for both cuts is with pushed oranges and yellows for some scenes. When Tommy is telling Kara about his Thorn theory, the orange/yellow candle light is a lot stronger with deeper darker shadows and you lose a little of those production design details to the already dark background. Dolby Vision greatly helps throughout these areas so they’re not so severe or overplayed, which sadly is an issue for the Blu-ray copies.
4/5 - 4K Ultra HD
3.5/5 - Blu-ray
Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later celebrates nearly 25 years of terror with a slick new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR release. Like Curse of Michael Myers, there has been a slight change to the color timing of this film, but it’s no way near as dramatic. It actually complements the film giving a more fall-like appearance and helps skin tones, whites, and primaries come to life. Past disc releases had far too much of a red push so blood would be too pink and skin tones always looked too flush as if the entire cast ran a 10-K before each take. Sourced from a new 4K scan, the image is significantly cleaner without the speckling issues of past releases and the image doesn’t show any signs of past edge enhancement or smoothing sins and the film grain is appealingly cinematic.
Dolby Vision (and HDR10) has been smartly applied to allow the deep shadows and black levels to become more stable and inky without crush issues or detail loss. For the film's final act with the variable light sources, shadows offer more light gradience so when Michael creeps out of the shadows it's much more effective. Colors are handled well with reds again appearing more natural, blue skies or Janet Leigh’s car from Psycho looking the correct shade of baby blue. Whites are also clean and crisp without that pinkish hue of past discs. Likewise, the included 1080p Blu-ray showcases these changes for an overall very pleasing release. 4.5/5
Celebrating its own 20th Anniversary this year, Halloween: Resurrection scores a solid 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision HDR release. Part of the problem for this film that’s plagued all past releases is the film style itself. Intercutting 35mm and SD digital elements is a bit jarring so the appearance of the image can fluctuate rapidly within any given scene. The beginning and the film’s climax where the digital camera foolishness isn’t in play genuinely looks terrific and the most stable. With this new scan, details are much stronger than past releases that suffered from edge enhancement and some form of smoothing - especially that terrible Eco Bridge release. Those troubles thankfully aren’t an issue here and film grain has a more natural quality than before. Those previously mentioned digital camera shots come with their own issues, but they’re baked in and can’t really be helped. The film as a whole – 4K and Blu-ray both – takes a slightly darker appearance compared to Scream’s previous 2014 release, but nothing too dramatic.
With Dolby Vision HDR (and HDR10), the film picks up quite a few welcome enhancements. Once the film moves to the Myers house, the lighting is minimal and there are a lot of shadows. This compounds once things move towards night and light coming in through the windows is more blue-hued. Shadows and blacks are stronger without crush issues with lighting getting better accents. Blues that looked more purplish in past releases are a stronger more natural twilight shade. Blood reds are a healthier crimson and skin tones look more normal and healthy. All around a welcome improvement. 4/5
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
Flipping around the multitude of discs replaying a variety of sequences again and again for both cuts, it sounds like the same decent DTS-HD MA 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 tracks were brought over again for this new 4K and Blu-ray release. These aren’t terrible tracks by any stretch and depending on your setup they work well. The 5.1 track is the stronger option of the two, but it’s still not the most immersive experience. Front/Side channels are active enough but there’s a thinness to the mix. Kicking up my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function greatly improves the experience and makes the track feel more full and lively. 3.5/5
Halloween: H20 Twenty Years Later
Flipping between discs, it sounds like the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 AND 2.0 tracks were brought over for this release. Which isn’t bad at all. Dialog is clean and clear throughout without issue. Sound effects are lively enough to keep the channels engaged and moving. I have my qualms with the overworked score for this film, but it accents the mix nicely and keeps things engaging. Activating my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function really kicked things up a notch giving the mix a bit more imaging and presence throughout the channels. The 2.0 track is strong on its own terms, but if you’re equipped for 5.1, that’s the way to rumble. 4/5
And like it’s kinfolk within this set, Halloween: Resurrection returns with the same DTS-HD MA 5.1 and 2.0 tracks. While the movie may not be the best, I was always impressed with this film’s sound design using the vacant space of the Myers house to add some nice creeks and groans to the soundscape. Dialog is clean throughout without issue there. Scoring is well handled adding suitable tension to the scenes. Again depending on how you’re set up at home, the 5.1 track is the best way to go and if you can, definitely kick on that DTS Neural:X function. 4/5
Halloween 6: The Curse of Michael Myers
Theatrical Cut - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Producers Cut - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Theatrical Cut - Blu-ray
Producers Cut - Blu-ray
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The Halloween franchise has never exactly had it easy. After the excellent sequel Halloween II, the series has been all over the map with varying results from one installment to the next. As we approach yet another entry in the long-running franchise with Halloween Ends on October 15th, Scream Factory gives the sixth, seventh, and eighth films another run with The Halloween 4K Collection (1995 - 2002). This set is a bit of a mishmash of films, each with its stalwart fans and detractors. And unlike Scream’s last run of franchise releases, the only way you can get these three films on 4K is in this set, and that may well be a sticking point come purchase time for many out there.
Each film in the set was given new 4K scans with Dolby Vision HDR for the 4K discs. Generally, the improvements are appreciable but the color timing changes for Curse of Michael Myers will no doubt be a conversation piece within the fan and collector communities. I personally don’t mind it, but it takes a little getting used to. As for H20 and Resurrection, the color changes are far less dramatic working better to accent the films visuals. And since those films had such shoddy releases previously, it’s easier to see and appreciate the numerous improvements. Bonus features junkies also pick up an excellent new audio commentary for the Theatrical Cut of Curse of Michael Myers with Resurrection scoring several new very good and informative cast and crew interviews. Even with the improvements mentioned, this set isn’t really for the casual Halloween fans but instead for the die-hard junkies like myself. Ultimately this one is Recommended... at least until the next set for Rob Zombie's remakes and/or a massive mega franchise set with all of the films together - even if that seems unlikely.