“Has a twinkle in its eye and a style that will undoubtedly make Tales of Halloween a firm Halloween favourite for many.”
Aimed squarely at horror fans with a particular love of the likes of Creepshow, Tales From the Crypt and Trick ‘r’ Treat, a group of eleven directors bring us this new portmanteau movie of ten short stories all set in the same suburban area on a Halloween night. Contained within its own distinctive style that captures that 80s practical FX horror era, filled with twisted laughs, a mass of hidden nods to the horror greats, and featuring cameos from the likes of Barbara Crampton, John Landis, Joe Dante and a fantastic The Fog style narration from Adrienne Barbeau, there really isn’t a great deal not to love here.
Let’s run down the list of segments:
Dave Parker directs Sweet Tooth — a fun and bloody tale of a babysitter and her boyfriend who try their best to scare a kid out of eating all of the sweets from his trick or treat hoard by telling him the tale of the titular monster that will get you if you don’t leave any for him, but end up unleashing something horrible instead.
Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II) directs hilarious standout segment The Night Billy Raised Hell. When Billy knocks on the door of the strange neighbourhood recluse Mr Abaddon, he ends up being taken out by him for a night of mayhem and destruction that neither he nor the townsfolk will forget. Director Adam Gierasch (writer of Toolbox Murders) brings us Trick — the pretty nasty story of a bunch of obnoxious grown up slackers who find themselves under attack by a particularly nasty gang of machete wielding trick-or-treaters.
Paul Solet (Grace) directs The Weak and the Wicked — A twisted urban-set spaghetti western where a masked killer attacks a gang who pick on the wrong kid, while Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate) directs Grim Grinning Ghost — another standout segment that finds Lin Shaye trying to terrify the skittish Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) with a ghostly tale to chill the blood.
Director Lucky McKee (The Woman) brings on the laughs as he joins forces with Pollyanna McIntosh again for Ding Dong — the Hansel and Gretel referencing story of an eternally upbeat and utterly demented witch who is on the lookout for a cute trick-or-treater that she can have as her very own child.
This Means War sees directors John Skipp (writer: A Nightmare on Elm Street 5) and Andrew Kasch tell the tale of an escalating war between a pair of very different neighbours who do battle over old-fashioned vs. modern Halloween celebrations, while Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider!) throws the idea of an unstoppable Friday The 13th style killer on its head as a hilariously bad stop-motion clay mini alien schools a hulking masked serial killer in a blood-splattered battle in Friday the 31st.
The Ransom of Rusty Rex from Ryan Schifrin (Abominable) sees the plans of two hapless kidnappers Sam Witwer and Jose Pablo Cantillo go horribly wrong when they snatch a child from a wealthy father (Landis), only to find that not only is the guy not going to pay a ransom, but is in fact glad to be rid of the child — for reasons that become hilariously apparent, while Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers) wraps things up in wonderfully dumb style with Bad Seed in which a killer mutant jack-o’-lantern is pursued by a police officer after it bites the head off of the man who carved it, before going on a rampage across town.
Much as is the case with most omnibus style movies, some segments of Tales of Halloween certainly work better than others; The Night Billy Raised Hell, Ding Dong, Friday the 31st and The Ransom of Rusty Rex in particular shining with their fantastic mix of horror and over-the-top humour, while The Weak and the Wicked doesn’t hit the mark quite so much. The fact is though that none of the segments are actually bad, and indeed every one of them has a twinkle in its eye and a style that will undoubtedly make Tales of Halloween a firm Halloween favourite for many.
Directors: Dave Parker, Darren Lynn Bousman, Adam Gierasch, Paul Solet, Axelle Carolyn, Lucky McKee, John Skipp, Andrew Kasch, Mike Mendez, Ryan Schifrin, Neil Marshall.
Starring: Barbara Crampton, John Landis, Joe Dante, Adrienne Barbeau, Pollyanna McIntosh, Alex Essoe, Lin Shaye.
Certificate: (UK) 15 TBC
Release date: VOD16 October 2015