It’s October and Oh Brother is getting ready for a tribute to horror films. Since October is synonymous with Halloween, we intend to make the classic thriller the focus of an entire episode and include it in another comparing some of the most popular and well-known horror films.
In 1978 a little known filmmaker named John Carpenter made a horror movie called Halloween. The low budget film ($300,000, of which $150,000 was used to purchase cameras) was made with a virtually unknown cast with the exception of veteran actor Donald Pleasence. Pleasence reportedly told John Carpenter he took the film to pay alimony and also because his daughter liked Carpenter’s music from the film “Assault on Precinct 13”. Pleasence, who plays psychiatrist Dr. Samuel “Sam” Loomis was paid $20,000 for 5 days work. Two other actors turned down the role which became the most iconic of Mr. Pleasence’s storied career. Loomis treats a young boy named Michael Myers who kills his own sister at the age of six. Halloween is still considered by many to be the number one horror movie of all time.
Although, many could argue Alfred Hitchcock holds that title with his classic film “Psycho”. Psycho’s infamous shower scene literally made people afraid to shower turning only to baths. Ironically, there are similarities with the two films. Breakout star, Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode, becomes the obsession of a grown up Michael Myers after he breaks out of a sanatorium to make his way “home” to Haddonfield. Curtis was cast by Carpenter as the ultimate tribute to Hitchcock because Jamie Lee Curtis’ mother Janet Leigh played the shower victim in the aforementioned scene from Hitchcock’s Psycho. The two appeared together in 1998’s Halloween H20, one of the many sequels. As another nod to Psycho, Janet Leigh’s character drives the same make and model car in H20 as she did in Psycho.
After Carpenter made Halloween on essentially a shoe string budget, it went on to make $47 million and for the longest time was the most successful independent film. Carpenter did a mic drop and was never tempted to return to direct any of the sequels. He made what many consider a perfect horror film, so to walk away without being tempted by money is quite astounding. Carpenter and his long-time filmmaking partner Debra Hill wrote the original sequel and he did return in 2018 to executive produce arguably the best sequel in the franchise. Of note, during the making of Halloween 2, Carpenter did direct some scenes so the studio could release “a made for tv version” of the original and even that left a bad taste in his mouth. When you make an iconic film it comes with offers that must be hard to refuse, but Carpenter did just that.
The latest steelbook release of the classic 1978 Halloween film becomes just the latest dip into the Halloween pool. It’s not only a double dip, but Halloween has so many iterations I’ve lost count. In my vast collection of over 3,000 blu ray movies and TV shows, Halloween is the one blu-ray I’ve bought over and over again for every last extra and deleted scene.
If you’re a Halloween completist, you’ll likely want to get your hands on this one too. But should you? Halloween ’78, which had a great 4K disc release when the 2018 film came out, failed to deliver a digital version. As any returning listener to “Oh Brother“ knows, one of us consumes physical media while the other prefers digital. It often works out well because we split the cost with one taking the physical disc and the other getting the digital code. To date, of all the iterations of the 1978 Halloween, not a single one included a digital copy…until now!
The new Best Buy exclusive steelbook is well done. It has some of the best artwork of any of the previous releases. What is more important, the steelbook finally delivers a digital version! BUT low and behold it’s HDX and not UHD! Say it isn’t so. After all of the double and triple dips, Lionsgate fails to provide the digital in 4K. So, buyer beware if you’re expecting anything more than 1080p digital.
While the steelbook Best Buy exclusive fails to deliver a 4K digital version, John Carpenter’s horror classic Halloween always brings the goods when it comes to suspense! Not many films can keep company alongside the likes of Hitchcock. But if you find one that does and you’re looking to add it to your collection, be sure to decide what extras and quality are important to you before shelling out your hard earned money.
We’re excited to kick off October and a month of horror with this blog tribute to Halloween ’78. Tune in as we discuss our memories of arguably the best horror movie ever made!