Halloween (1978) 4K Blu-ray Disc Review

We journey back to the original John Carpenter’s Halloween with a 40th year release on 4K. Michael Myers has lived on during all this time with a myriad of sequels, reboots and retreads. We look at this film with many, many rewatches under our belt and have a little bit different take this time. Movie reviews and disc quality reviews are color coded for your convenience, BillChete in orange and Lady Phantom in blue respectively.

IMDb Storyline: The year is 1963, the night: Halloween. Police are called to 43 Lampkin Ln. only to discover that 15 year old Judith Myers has been stabbed to death, by her 6 year-old brother, Michael. After being institutionalized for 15 years, Myers breaks out on the night before Halloween. No one knows, nor wants to find out, what will happen on October 31st 1978 besides Myers’ psychiatrist, Dr. Loomis. He knows Michael is coming back to Haddonfield, but by the time the town realizes it, it’ll be too late for many people.

Movie Review:
I have watched this film in its entirety at least a dozen times and a good three times since my audio review on The Weekly Horror Movie Podcast back in March of 2012. You will hear my rants on this film but I ended up rating it a 10. Well that has changed…during all these rewatches it just doesn’t hold up, and I am dropping my final movie review rating. To me it’s a solid 8 for the time, it was downright scary back in the day, but I am adding an extra point to that for the staying power and the pure pop culture phenomenon. Please tune into the discussion by DOWNLOADING the audio and fast forwarding to time stamp 1:53:00 for the beginning and it ends at 2:26:00.

Halloween is a classic horror movie; that’s a fact. I, however, don’t think it’s a fantastic film. The acting in general is serviceable. It does have very good set design, and the story is fine, if not without mistakes. It builds up the tension well throughout the movie, that’s true. But, in the last quarter, the action is actually not that great. Michael Meyers has no trouble killing people, carrying tombstones, driving cars without knowing how, and yet he can’t open a sliding closet door, or manage to actually hurt the final girl when she’s less than a foot from him. But hey, who’s counting, right? There are a few blaring mistakes, like showing a knife next to a couch at the end of the movie when said knife had no business being there, having been dropped somewhere else in a previous scene. But oh well. That’s the thing, this movie has been praised as the greatest thing ever, and while it is effective, it’s far from the masterpiece it has been said to be. You do need to own it, though. It’s an important work in the realm of horror.

4K Disc Quality:
I was a little surprised with this 4K Blu-ray Disc, I wasn’t expecting much but got more than I bargained for. While the Dolby Vision HDR don’t pop as in current releases it does maintain a cool Fall feel with muted tones like browns, soft yellows and pale colors which I actually appreciated. It maintains a filmic look while being clear, detailed and shadows intact. The mild film grain isn’t distracting but there are two scenes that look absolutely horrible. We get some neat specular highlights and bright white hues that have never been seen before this release. On the sound front nothing new is added. It is a TrueHD 7.1 track but doesn’t deliver to much surround effects or better atmosphere. The dialog is actually tinny at times and is basically what has been released on previous Blu-ray releases. On closing, if you are a fan of the Halloween franchise this 4K Disc is worthy of an upgrade.

This disc is surprisingly good. There is grain, but it’s not really noticeable except in a few scenes or if you’re actively looking for it. The coloring emphasizes the feeling of autumn, which is nice because it helps to put you in the Halloween season. Everything does look clearer than you’ve ever seen it throughout, even if things don’t pop out of the screen. There was one scene, though, that looked just like the DVD would look. It was pretty jarring. The sound is okay. The music was very clear and vibrant, but the dialogues not so much; many sound even muffled. In general, I think it’s worth it to upgrade to 4K if this is a movie you enjoy. It looks better than ever, and that’s not always the case with older movies.

Breakdown of “Halloween (1978)

Movie Rating  
BillChete:  9 (Buy) Lady Phantom:  7 (Buy)

4K Blu-ray Disc Grade  
BillChete:  B- (Worthy) Lady Phantom:  C+ (Worthy)

Average 4K Disc Grade