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This review is from: Halloween III: Season of the Witch [DVD] (DVD)
I like this film a lot. For me, it is the second best of the Halloween series (the original Carpenter version being the best, of course). Because it doesn't feature the zombie Michael Myers of the second and later films, it has by far the lowest rating on IMDb. Instead it has something sadly lacking from all the other sequels: intelligence, thanks to the script originating with Nigel Kneale. He took his name off the credits partly because of the splatter, and we'll come back to that later.
Other plus points include one of Carpenter's best soundtracks done with Alan Howarth, some lovely cinematography from Dean Cundey, and a fine performance from Dan O'Herlihy. Sadly, it also has Tom Atkins trying to be a leading man and a leading lady who is more convincing in her final scenes than in any of her other attempts at acting. OK, I can live with those, because it is smarter than the vast majority of horror films.
But which one to get? There are four options:
R2 Sanctuary release: cover has no face on it, with the tagline 'The night nobody came home...' and the word 'Widescreen' at the bottom. This has an OK 16:9 picture and a good 5.1 soundtrack, plus a commentary by Newman and Jones who had no connection to it, but like horror films. There is however a fundamental problem with it. There is no way that those two do not know that they're watching a censored version, but when they talk about the censorship of the initial video releases, they talk about a sequence - the decapitation and subsequent blood spray of someone - that is in this. The impression they want to leave is clear: this one is uncensored. It's not. Incredibly, the box claims a running time of 96 minutes, but it's actually about 92.
R2 MIA release: cover has the face as well as the trick or treaters, and 'A John Carpenter & Debra Hill production' above the title. The tagline is in UPPER CASE, and a long list of names is at the bottom. This has a grainy 4:3 picture and - I think - mono soundtrack, but is complete and runs for almost a minute longer than the Sanctuary version.
R2 High Fliers release: I am not sure this one is on Amazon yet - if I scan its bar code, the Amazon app can't find it here. This one has the face, and the upper case tagline, but just 'Produced & Music by John Carpenter' at the bottom. It also claims to be an 18 certificate and has a 16:9 picture. I bought it on the basis that, given the certificate, it would be uncut. It's not - it's a slightly better version of the print used for the Sanctuary release, with no 5.1 soundtrack or commentary, just a somewhat distorted mono sound. It's also not an 18 - there's no record of it being given that on the BBFC website and the High Fliers site now also says it's a 15.
R1 Shout Factory release: having given up on UK releases, I am going for this one. It's the one with a not very good drawing of the lead actors and the sidekicks in front of the trick or treaters image. Another review reckons that it has a commentary by the director, Tommy Wallace, as well as being uncut. I'll let you know...