I think it’s important to start by stating that, until recently, the only Halloween movies I’d seen prior to this first-time watch had been the original and the David Gordon Green trilogy. In the past few years with the Shout! Factory releases, I saw Halloween II (1981) and Halloween III: Season of the Witch (1982), but that is as far as I’ve dived into the twisted world of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers. So, this is all to say that I am not a die-hard Halloween fan, I have not seen Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers (1988), Halloween 5: The Revenge of Michael Myers (1989), Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers (1995), or Halloween: Resurrection (2002), so maybe my opinions and thoughts will be skewed as I have not seen the rest of the films or the Rob Zombie take on the series, either. However, I think it goes without saying that Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998) is sort of a slap in the face of what John Carpenter and Debra Hill has created.
Now, I know that statement might enrage some of the fans of this particular entry and timeline, which, after seeing it for the first time, makes me very curious to see Halloween Resurrection, because the franchise decided to pull a Saw and make it impossible to continue, but when there’s a will, there’s a way, I guess. Moreover, my largest issue with H20: 20 Years Later is the fact that Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) is trying to just move on with her life. She left Haddonfield and moved to Northern California to create a new life under a new name and escape the monster that has been chasing her since she was a teenager. Don’t get me wrong, I completely empathize with Laurie and her wanting to leave this behind her and not be tied to Michael Myers any longer than she has to be, but it’s so out of character for her for the timeline it falls upon. This is supposed to be a sequel to Halloween (1978) and II, where Laurie is a certified bad ass. And now she’s chosen to pack up and leave Haddonfield, not protect the town she resided in, and hope Michael cannot find her? It just seems tonally out of character for Laurie Strode, and the fact that only the last 30 minutes or so has the two icons themselves battling it out in a very lame and even tame outing of sheer chaos, is a disappointment in and of itself.
Speaking of disappointments, I know this franchise is divisive, to say the least, and there was an uproar when Shout! decided to release Halloween 1–5 all separately and then release H20, Curse, and Resurrection solely in a box set, forcing people to buy the three movies together. However, now Paramount has decided to singularly release H20: 20 Years Later in a rather gorgeous steelbook with a PET cover to bring home this entry in the franchise in a singular edition. The 4K Ultra HD steelbook also comes with a digital code to help build the collector’s digital library to watch movies on the go or away from their dedicated setup. The steelbook itself is a stunner, but with the box set out there in the hardcase, the question comes down whether the collectors should add this new steelbook to their collection, and the answer is tricky.
First and foremost, the transfer on Halloween H20: 20 Years Later is stunning. It boasts a clean crisp picture and cleans up any grit that may have existed on previous editions, leaving a stunning restoration that is simply unmatched. It is an absolutely gorgeous and stunning transfer that brings to life the 7th installment in the Halloween franchise (despite timelines). Now the issue lays in the added bonus content. The Shout! factory edition has a plethora of features, and my assumption is, because they released it and presumably have the rights to the franchise still, Paramount was allowed to release this as an anniversary steelbook sans features; meaning there is not a singular bonus feature on this 25th anniversary steelbook.
Now, presumably, if you’re sourcing a copy of Halloween 20: 20 Years Later, you either already bought the box set or found a copy on eBay or something, and you were not holding your breath for a singular release. If you were and do not care about the bonus features, this 25th anniversary edition would be perfect for you. Alternatively, if you absolutely love and adore Halloween, own the Shout! releases already, and are a steelbook enthusiast, this steelbook is frankly beautiful and would make a great addition to any horror themed shelf. Ultimately, the question comes down to double dipping or getting an edition without features for the people who are indifferent to the bonus content.
Available on 4K UHD Blu-ray steelbook September 26th, 2023.
For more information, head to the official Miramax Halloween H20: 20 Years Later webpage.
This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.