Video Vault Review: ‘Halloween: 10-31-78’ The Limited EditionBox Set [VHS] (1978)

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Back in the days before DVDs, and long before BluRay, there was the venerable VHS. And on September 1st, 1998, Anchor Bay released
Halloween: 10-31-78 – The Limited Edition VHS Box Set, just in time for for the movie’s 20th anniversary. Niceties like deleted scenes and making-of featurettes were a rarity back then, due to the limitations of the medium, but this set had all that and more. And if you grew up in a time when John Carpenter’s Halloween was launching a horror movie renaissance, chances are you were no stranger to the joys of VHS.

Released on two bright orange tapes in a “bible box,” this limited edition, individually numbered set was limited to 40,000 copies and also includes an anniversary scrapbook featuring various stills from the film, a coupon for a replica Halloween US one sheet poster, and a collectible “20 Years of Terror” Halloween key chain.

Tape 1 features the theatrical release of the movie remastered in non-anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen, with a running time of 91 minutes. Tape 2 includes the Halloween Unmasked feaurette, featuring interviews with Nick Castle, Deborah Hill, and Jamie Lee Curtis – as well as extra scenes, theatrical trailers, TV spots, radio spots, and a video stills gallery – for a total of 30 minutes of extra content. Halloween Unmasked also found its way onto the first limited edition DVD release of Halloween just a year later in 1999.

The restored transfer is pretty good, with no film scratches, and the Dolby Surround Sound audio is crisp and clean. My one complaint is that some scenes are particularly dark – a problem that seemed to be fixed with the subsequent DVD release the following year. With a run of 40,000, Halloween: 10-31-78 isn’t exactly hard to find – there’s usually a few on eBay at any given time. However as a collectors item, it’s held its value fairly well, with sets in good condition typically going for about $20 or more (as of this writing, there’s one on eBay with an asking price of $190.) If you’re a collector of VHS, this is one you’ll want to get your hands on, particularly if you can find a compete set with all the goodies intact.

Be sure to see our complete review of the original Halloween (1978) and every film it spawned, in Nathan’s two-part series: Worst to Best – The Halloween Franchise

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About Dave_P

Dave_P studied fine arts and film history and is a graphic and web designer, and a diehard movie fan. David has been involved with a variety film festivals including the Cinephile Film Festival, the PRIDE Film festival, and the Manhattan Short Film festival, and is currently the director of the Dark Carnival Film Fest in Bloomington, Indiana. (www.darkcarnivalfilmfest.com)

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