TALES OF HALLOWEEN (2015)
The horror genre has that one subgenre that tends to be good at any cost. The Anthology film. In the vains of Tales from the Vault, Tales from the Crypt and Creepshow the anthology has been deemed the place to go if you want to test the waters of being a director. A stepping stone of sorts to see if you can make a feature film. Over the years this subgenre has been overlooked for countless PG-13 horror flicks or big budget flops. But from this year to next the anthology seems to be set on making a comeback with this film, A Christmas Horror Story and XX looking to make their marks along with a few others. The anthology film is going to break down the wall that's set before them and show the horror industry that they're back!
Tales of Halloween follows 10 tales of horror, comedy, blood chilling screams and down right blood soaked scares. The film is packed with cameos through out each short with the likes of John Landis, Stuart Gordon, Mick Garris, Joe Dante, Lin Shaye and Adam Green. The film starts off like a familiar tale of old as Adrienne Barbeau plays the role of a DJ whose through out the film telling us that we are in for a real treat on this night only thing that I felt was missing was that eerie fog rolling in and bringing those ghost pirates back for revenge. I kid but hey it was worth a shot.
We start the film off with Dave Parker's "Sweet Tooth" his version of bring to life a new urban legend of sorts as the short follows a young boy being told the story of Sweet Tooth a figure that would appear before him looking for candy and if none is left for him terrible things will happen. Let's say this short was a nice start as I found it to be decent even though I had to remind myself that the character from the Twisted Metal video game series had nothing to do with this short.
The second short took us into the night's mischief as Brian Bostwick playing a evil old man who well is easily a demon and preys on the peer pressure of young Billy. As the night progresses Billy is seen doing one worst thing after another until he finally meets his end at the hands of the law. This short to me came off comedic and messed up at the same time because lets face it a seven year old doing these things is down right funny to say the least. Darren Lynn Bousman directed this short titled "The Night Billy Raised Hell".
Our third short is Adam Gierasch's "Trick" this was the darkest of the shorts I watched as it involves a group of friends who come off rather cool as they hand out candy to trick or treater's but meet a grisly demise in the process as a darker secret is revealed as to what was really going on during the short. There was no comedic touch or happy ending with this one. I enjoyed this the most because to me it felt like this is what horror should be that edge of your seat fear and not knowing what was going on til the very end of it all.
The fourth short is a teenager revenge on bullies short. Following a trio of bullies who make life hell for those they pick on until the one kid they tormented in the past comes back for his revenge but this time he bring's a back-up plan that packs a hell of a punch only in the costume form as this short to me is the weakest of them all. Paul Solet's "The Weak and The Wicked" comes off more like an after school special from hell than a horror piece. BooBoo Stewart of Twilight fame pops up as one of the bullies in this short.
Axelle Carolyn's short "Grimm Grinning Ghost" falls fifth in the film and plays on the urban legend of the styles of Bloody Mary as a young woman is followed by the creature until the end. This short is shot beautifully and plays on the fear factor until the very end when the shocker at the end happens. Axelle is responsible for this entire film happening and it shows why in this short as it comes off cool and deserves to be seen.
When you hear Lucky McKee's name you can't help but think of May or The Woman, his pushing of the envelope is no shock as he's crossed more bridges than some directors. With his short in this film titled "Ding Dong" plays off like an ode to the Grimm fairy tale of Hansel & Gretel. But the only missing factor is Gretel. Hiding the real horror story inside this classic fairy tale makes it all the more creepier as dark secrets come flowing out and at the end the shock of what one would do to the other proves that love is not as strong for some people as we all believe.
Andrew Kasch and John Skipp's "This Mean's War" is a horror take on what a crummy Christmas movie named "Deck the Halls" would look like. As two neighbors go head to head with their front yard Halloween themed displays. One side the more traditional take on what Halloween is and the other side the horror movie take on what Halloween has become. The two sides clash over different things and in the end tragedy strikes as ego's become bigger and escalate to demises on both sides.
Now this short I am about to explain to came off hilarious as I always wondered what would happen if this ever did happen. Mike Mendez's "Friday the 31st" takes a Friday the 13th style killer and throws in the mix of an alien encounter. Our killer comes face to face with an alien and can't help but do the only thing it knows to do and kills it only for it to come back to life and in the midst of it all the most hilarious encounter happens as it goes from comedic to blood soaked gore. I applaud Mendez for this short because he showed me what this encounter would look like.
What happens when a kidnapping goes from a job to your worst nightmare? Well this short entitled "The Ransom of Rusty Rex" by Ryan Schifrin tells that story! Sam Witwer and Jose Pablo Cantillo escalate from robbing banks to kidnapping a wealthy man's son but in the turns of events it turns out the son is not really a kid at all but a creature that was tormenting the man and his family for 5 years until this Halloween night when the bumbling fools kidnapped the creature and are stuck with it. As they try to figure out what to do with it they find out this thing will not leave them alone at all and is stuck with it til the very end when a grisly end comes to one of our bumbling fools.
The film closes out with Neil Marshall's "Bad Seed" a tale to jack-o-lantern becoming a killing machine! Joe Dante pops up in this short as the pumpkin's creator and this short steals the film at the end as it leaves you wanting more as the pan out shows that this one pumpkin is not the only one that exists!!! The pumpkin design is geniusly created and is actually a dose of fun as it reigns terror on the town that its in.
Tales Of Halloween comes to me as good film but some of the stories could've been more darker or morbid but there were those that needed the comedic effect to help push the story along with the film. I would recommend this film for anyone whose a fan of the anthology genre because its been a long time since one has come along my way to have me saying this film is a must see. I don't know what else to say other than its a must see and I am truly grateful that Epic Pictures allowed me the opportunity to review this film for them. So write this film down people because its going to be word of mouth that gets this film seen and you read it here first. Have fun and remember when you knock on the devil's door you may not like what answers!
reviewed by Bucky