September 25, 2023

HALLOWEEN H20 (4K SteelBook): One for the Collectors

HALLOWEEN H20: TWENTY YEARS LATER 25th Anniversary Edition
(4K UHD SteelBook)
1998 / 86 min
Review by Josey, the Sudden Cat🙀

First off, I’m sure some of you are aware that Shout Factory released the first eight films in the Halloween franchise on 4K just last year, available separately or as a boxed set. This includes 1998’s Halloween H20, so for most of those who already have that version, this 25th Anniversary Edition (released by Paramount) will probably be a hard pass, especially since it includes no bonus features (though it does come with a digital copy).

On the other hand, Paramount has been putting out some of the cooler SteelBooks lately, with creative packaging and vivid new artwork. Recent examples include the elaborately designed packaging and artwork for Event Horizon and Cloverfield.

The new packaging for Halloween H20 is similar, with a transparent slipcase featuring the title and a fiery Jack-O-Lantern. The book itself is a creative collage of the film’s two main attractions, Michael Myers and, more significantly at the time, Jamie Lee Curtis. Both inside and out, it’s pretty striking artwork, and since the movie itself isn't upgraded from the previous 4K release, this one is obviously intended for SteelBook collectors.

"Stop backseat driving."
As for the movie itself, I’m of the minority opinion that Halloween should never have been a franchise in the first place. What made the original so scary was its sheer simplicity…an evil killing machine with no real motive, and back in ’78, a killer who refused to stay dead was something of a novelty and pretty goddamn chilling. The scene where Loomis (Donald Pleasence) peers out the second-story window to see Myers has disappeared ranks as one of the most ominous final shots in horror history. With the exception of Halloween III: Season of the Witch, all the sequels managed to do was demystify Michael Myers.

Still, Halloween H20 does feature the welcome return of Jamie Lee Curtis and a story that pretends the previous three sequels don’t exist (a good thing, since they’re dumpster fires). Revisiting the film today is of additional interest for early film appearances by Josh Hartnett, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Michelle Williams. And with Janet Leigh joining her daughter for a few scenes, we get two legendary scream queens sharing the screen and a couple of clever Psycho references tossed in. 

Michael Myers may no longer be quite the boogeyman he once was, but as unnecessary Halloween sequels go, this is arguably the best one. If nothing else, we feel like everyone involved is at least trying this time around. Then again, what do I know? I still think Halloween III is the best movie in the whole franchise.



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