As one of the most influential and popular horror films, Halloween has seen its fair share of home video releases, both domestically and across the globe. While listing every single home video release is potentially an impossible task, this page will try to discuss as many of them as possible. If there any notable releases that are missing from this page, let me know and I’ll add it in.
The now-defunct format saw only two domestic releases of Halloween by then-distributor Media Home Entertainment. The first was in 1979, and was released with the well-known MEDA label and orange box-set. The second was released in 1985. As to be expected for that time, all releases were in pan & scan format. Most notably, Myers was spelled as Meyers for all of these releases.
A popular home video format in the 80s and 90s, LaserDisc provided several iterations of Halloween, as well as the first “special edition” with its Criterion Collection™ release. In this format, the film was released in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Japan.
The first release in the United States was in 1985 courtesy of Image Entertainment. This release retailed for $39.95 (the equivalent of $95.83 in 2020), and again presented the film in pan & scan.
Tohokushinsha Home Video released the first Japanese laserdisc of the film on June 21, 1986; it retailed for ¥8800. Most notably, this release of the film was its broadcast television version, complete with the muted language and censored nudity. The front cover was the classic pumpkin hand logo, while the back cover features a photo of Michael Myers holding a twig – likely a behind-the-scenes capture taken in between filming.
On October 26, 1994, the Criterion Collection released Halloween as its 247th title. This release featured the film’s soundtrack in both digital and analog formats, and was the first home video release to be in the widescreen format.
1996 saw updated releases of Halloween that were sourced from a new 35mm Panavision print minted from the original negative, the 35mm magnetic master mono soundtrack, and the 35mm magnetic mono music and effects track.
The first country to release the new transfer on laserdisc was the United Kingdom. Odyssey released their laserdisc on September 7, 1996. Criterion released their special edition a few days later on September 11, and additional releases in France and Japan followed.
The new Criterion release added an illustrated making of entitled “The Night He Came Home;” a review by Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert; illustrated filmographies for John Carpenter, Donald Pleasance and Jamie Lee Curtis; the additional scenes from the television version; and a commentary track featuring John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis. Unfortunately, the commentary track was sourced from different tracks – none of three of them were together, and it has an announcer who says who’s speaking before it changes each time.
Halloween had quite the life on VHS home video releases. Its original distributor in the United States was Media Home Entertainment. Akin to their releases on the Betamax format, the first VHS release was in 1979 with the well-known MEDA label and orange box-set. The second release occurred in 1981 to coincide with the release of Halloween II, though once more, the box art was incorrectly dated as 1982. An additional release happened in 1984, but featured pretty similar artwork to the prior 1981 release, and then an additional release in 1987.
Shortly after going out of business in 1989, they hoped to make some money tying the film in with Revenge‘s release before they were closed for good, and did their final pressing of the film. There was an accidental pressing of the television version, before it was corrected for a regular release. As to be expected, all of these releases were in the pan & scan format. As with the Betamax counterparts, Myers was spelled as Meyers for all of these releases.
In 1995, Blockbuster Home Video purchased the distribution rights for two years and put it out as part of their “Blockbuster Presents…” line. As the first VHS release of Halloween in six years, this release proved to be successful for the film and the company. Once more, the film only saw release through Blockbuster in the pan & scan format.
In 1997, Anchor Bay acquired distribution for Halloween, and the film has remained with them since. Their first release on December 10 saw both a “full screen” (pan & scan) and widescreen presentation of the film, as well as the film’s theatrical trailer following its end credits. Continuing the trend from beforehand, Myers was spelled as Meyers for all of these releases.
In 1998, to mark the film’s twentieth anniversary and the release of Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, Anchor Bay released the first VHS collector’s edition of Halloween on August 5. Two VHS tapes, dyed orange, were packaged inside a clamshell case. The 10.31.78 Edition, as it was called, was limited to only 40,000 copies. The first tape was the widescreen presentation of the film, and the second tape was dedicated solely to its special features. Though running just over a half hour, the tape notably featured the television scenes (as well as the slightly censored opening kill of Judith), Halloween Unmasked 1998, the film’s theatrical trailer, as well fas TV spots, radio spots and a still gallery. Included alongside the cassette tapes were postcards of production stills and a keychain.
Following the success of this release, a trimmed down version soon followed. Solely released as a widescreen offering, it was packaged inside a lenticular cover and featured the film’s theatrical trailer and the Halloween Unmasked 1998 featurette after the movie was finished.
August 7, 2001 saw the release of the extended edition of Halloween from Anchor Bay. This release was merely the film’s theatrical cut with the television scenes spliced in, but it soon became a fan favourite release. This would ultimately prove to be the final release of Halloween in this format, as DVD had quickly taken over as the preferred format for home video.
DVD picked up steam in the late 90s, and the film’s first release occurred on December 10, 1997 from Anchor Bay alongside its VHS counterpart. Anchor Bay took advantage of the DVD format, though, and it was released as a dual sided disc. The first side had the film in its widescreen presentation, while the second side featured the film in pan & scan full frame. Both sides included the theatrical trailer, but there were no special features otherwise. Once more, like its VHS counterpart, Myers was spelled as Meyers for this release.
Anchor Bay released a more in-depth collector’s edition of Halloween on September 14, 1999, featuring everything it had put out for the film to date, as well as giving it a THX certification. The two-disc set was housed inside a lenticular cover that alternated between Michael’s mask and the pumpkin hand logo used on the poster. The first disc presented the film in both widescreen and full frame, but included all of the special features from the 10.31.78 VHS set outside of the television version footage. Halloween Unmasked 1998 was titled here as Halloween Unmasked 2000, remained the same otherwise. The second disc was the extended edition.
The first disc was released as a stand-alone release two weeks later on September 28. The second-disc was later released on its own (alongside a VHS counterpart) on August 7, 2001 as the extended edition. Though the artwork and disc label were changed, this disc was otherwise exactly the same as the one found inside the two-disc THX edition from earlier.
The 25th anniversary of Halloween arrived in 2003 and, with fan interest at an all-time high due to the 25 Years of Terror Convention, Halloween saw a 25th anniversary release full of all-new special features and a booklet. The first disc contained a new transfer of the film, and featured the archival Criterion Collection commentary track with John Carpenter, Debra Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis. The second disc contained an all-new 87-minute documentary entitled Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest. Additional features were On Location: 25 Years Later, a featurette involving P.J. Soles and Debra Hill visiting the filming locations in South Pasadena. The film’s theatrical trailer, TV spots and radio spots were also included alongside a poster and stills gallery.
The film’s final DVD release occurred on August 14, 2007, and was merely the film disc previously used in the 1999 releases. Some minor artwork adjustments were made to the back (the image of Lynda’s strangulation was inverted), and it was packaged inside a slipcover that featured Glow-in-the-Dark elements.
Halloween saw its first release on the format on October 2, 2007. It merely ported over all the features from the 2003 DVD release outside of the On Location featurette.
Germany saw a digibook release by Concorde Entertainment on March 31, 2010. The release featured a different transfer from its American release.
Halloween received a French Blu-Ray release on October 26, 2011. While none of the special features from the prior releases were included, this release contained the entire 25 Years of Terror documentary, as well as a selection of panels features from that documentary’s DVD release.
In Australia, Halloween received a Blu-Ray release courtesy of Umbrella Entertainment on December 1, 2011. This release featured a different transfer compared to the American and German releases.
Anchor Bay (now owned by Starz) celebrated the film’s 35th anniversary with a new release on September 24, 2013. Packaged inside a digibook, the film received a new transfer scanned at 4K and supervised by Dean Cundey. As well as including the On Location featurette and promotional material on the prior releases, two new special features were produced for this release. The first is a newly recorded commentary track with John Carpenter and Jamie Lee Curtis; the second was an hour-long retrospective on Jamie Lee Curtis’s only horror convention appearance.
October 21, 2013 saw the UK release of this transfer, this time packaged inside a steelbook rather than the digibook.
Unfortunately, the film’s release was marred in controversy once it was discovered that it didn’t contain the original mono track. This was fixed the following year, when Scream Factory and Anchor Bay teamed up fro release the complete collection Blu-Ray set. The second disc in the set was the 2007 release; the first disc was an updated pressing of the 2013 release. A new commentary track was featured, as well as the film’s correct mono track.
After Lionsgate’s purchase of Anchor Bay and Starz, they became the primary distributors for Halloween. In the UK, September 24, 2018 saw the release of a “40th Anniversary” release, though it was just the prior 35th Anniversary release. Unlike the two releases in 2013, which were Region A and Region B locked respectively, this Blu-Ray release is region free.
As part of the film’s fortieth anniversary, the film received a new collector’s edition in France on October 22, 2019. The three disc set, consisting of two Blu-Rays and one DVD, was released by ESC Editions and was packaged inside a digibook. The digibook was packaged alongside a print of the new artwork and a booklet inside a box. The first disc contained the film’s theatrical release, as well as the John Carpenter & Jamie Lee Curtis commentary track, a new twenty-minute documentary by Pascal Laugier, a 15-minute featurette on the Halloween music by Julien Sévéon, and a new 18-minute featurette on the Halloween mask by Mathieu Turi. Halloween: A Cut Above the Rest was also included on this disc.
The second disc featured the extended edition of the film, with the television scenes spliced in from a standard definition transfer rather than being upscaled. In addition to bringing over the featurette about Jamie Lee Curtis’s horror convention appearance, this disc features a new 36-minute featurette entitled The Genius of Evil According to Carpenter by Jean-Baptiste Thoret, a 27-minute long featurette entitled Origin and Heritage of Halloween by Julien Sévéon and clips from the original NBC broadcast.
A budget-friendly release by ESC Editions followed on April 7, 2020. Though the disc content was the same, the digibook packaging and the additional packaging was removed in favour of a standard case.
4K Ultra HD
September 25, 2018 saw Halloween receive a 4K UHD release to tie in with the upcoming release of 2018’s Halloween. The 4K disc contained the same special features as the film’s stand-alone 2013 Blu-Ray disc; the accompanying Blu-Ray disc was the 2007 Blu-Ray release.
Halloween was also released on UMD format for the PlayStation Portable. The release contained the film’s THX transfer from its 1999 DVD releases, and no special features were included.
The information provided on this page would not have been nearly as detailed without articles written at both AVClub and WhySoBlu, as well as dates and releases listed at both the Laserdisc database and Blu-Ray.com.