Sunday, January 31

The "Lost" Halloween Tapes

Out of the three teen gullet opener megapowers of the '80s (Macho and Hogan being the unofficial fourth), Freddy and Jason seem to have dominated everyone's favorite analog home video format in the era of Reaganomics. It's not hard to walk down a swap met aisle without one of their films on VHS resting in a box somewhere within a constant six-foot radius of your person. Just look down in that one stained cardboard box by your left foot. Or you could bebop right now over to Amazon or eBay and drop $3 on any number of vintage Freddy's Revenges. Jason has especially captured (ripped out?) the hearts of our VCRs as it's a cakewalk to assemble the original eight cassette run of Paramount's series output--in great condition no less. And yes, I'm not referring those crappy EP-speed Paramount/Gateway tapes.

But what about Michael? Haddonfield's preeminent son that continually proves you can go home so long as you kill a fuckton of citizenry manages to be the most elusive on the ol' Video Home System. Excluding Curse through Resurrection, it's quite a task to dig up first run copies of Carpenter's Halloween to Revenge of Michael Myers. I'm talking about the real deals here, not the multitude of cheap tapes that flooded the market from Blockbuster Video, Goodtimes, Video Treasures, and finally Anchor Bay. Once Universal and 20th Century loosened their hold on these first five Halloween flicks; small VHS studios snapped up the licenses and rode the '90s wave of cheap tapes selling to sky high VCR ownership saturation before DVD exclaimed STFU at the dawning of the new millennium.

With Halloween, we're talking about three '80s VHS releases from Media Home Entertainment. The very first edition was a debut title for the studio in 1980, then known as MEDA, and is exceedingly rare and valuable when copies float on eBay. With Halloween II and Season of the Witch, MCA/Universal issued both in the '80s before Goodtimes Entertainment dumped them into EP-speed hell. Return and Revenge of Mickey Shatner Myers were both dropped by CBS/FOX Video before Anchor Bay went apeshit with releasing these two and Carpenter's original three dozen times. Actually, I'm fairly certain Anchor Bay have gained absolute control over the licenses of these three.

It may not seem too difficult to find these tapes, but trust me, it is surprisingly so. I have two copies of Media's second issue 1982 Halloween and a copy of CBS/FOX's Halloween 4 (the only other copy I've seen was mangled). I've never seen the "MEDA" Halloween or CBS/FOX's Halloween 5 and the few copies of MCA/Universal's Halloween II and Season of the Witch I've spotted have been heavily damaged. So be on the outlook, all of these are so oddly difficult to locate, it's almost as if you're saving a little something from the scrapheap of horror history if you hold on to them.

Unfortunately, my two copies of Media's Halloween are sealed away, but here's the CBS/FOX Halloween 4 which I found just yesterday.


The Mike said...

I had the CBS/FOX Halloween 5 VHS back in the late '90s, when I was still primarily VHS. Sold it with most of my VHS tapes a few years back, though.

But yeah, I've never seen any of the pre AB/Goodtimes videos of the first three.

Jayson Kennedy said...

Yeah, I had absolutely no idea CBS/FOX released those two until I ran across the first copy of Part 4. you dare tread upon the staircase?

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