Synopsis: Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.
Release Date: October 16, 2015 MPAA Rating: PG-13
There is nothing quite like a good horror anthology movie. Whether it’s a classic like Asylum, a game-changer like Creepshow, or a modern gem like V/H/S, the chapter formula works like magic. And when the entire horror community seemingly rallies behind a project, the results are unforgettable. Tales of Halloween is one of these unforgettable masterpieces.
Tales of Halloween consists of ten stories from eleven different directors, all taking place in the same town on the same night – Halloween. First up is “Sweet Tooth” from director Dave Parker (The Dead Hate the Living!), a slasherific story about the ghost of a kid who became addicted to candy before he died and steals the Halloween haul from trick-or-treaters, whether the candy has been eaten or not.
The next segment, hilariously directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III, and IV) and called “The Night Billy Raised Hell,” is about a kid who meets the devil and is taken out trick-or-treating and hell-raising by the dark lord.
Adam Gierasch (the Night of the Demons remake) is next up with “Trick,” a revenge tale about crazy kids running amok on Halloween night holdouts.
“The Weak and the Wicked” is next, another little revenge ditty from Paul Solet (Grace) about bullies and demons.
Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate) steps up next with “Grimm Grinning Ghost,” a tense story about a ghost (who is both grimm and grinning) that stalks a young woman whose car has broken down on the side of the road.
Then there’s “Ding Dong,” a short by Lucky Mckee (All Cheerleaders Die) about a childless couple who play Hansel & Gretel with the trick-or-treaters who come to their door.
Next, Andrew Kasch and John Skipp (who, working together, have made the shorts Stay at Home Dad and Clowntown) bring “This Means War” to the table, a tale of neighbors competing for Halloween party supremacy in a heavy metal vs. classical steel-cage match to the death.
Mike Mendez (Big Ass Spider!) joins the party with his hysterical “Friday the 31st,” a zombie-slasher-alien invasion-possession horror-comedy-partially animated short.
Next up is “The Ransom of Rusty Rex” from Ryan Schifrin (Abominable) about a couple of kidnappers who try to extort ransom from the father of their victim, but soon find out why the dad doesn’t want the kid back.
Finally, Neil Marshall (The Descent) brings the movie home with “Bad Seed,” a tale about monster pumpkins going crazy and attacking the people who have carved them up.
If it seems like there’s a lot to Tales of Halloween, there is. But the stories are quick jabs, over before they get a chance to start feeling long. Of course some are better than others, but there’s not a dud in the bunch. As a whole, the film is very cohesive; while none of the storylines intersect narratively, there are recurring characters throughout the different segments that tie the movie together so it comes off with a continuity that is similar to that of Mike Dougherty’s Trick ‘r Treat. It’s a surprisingly uniform production, considering that there are eleven directors contributing to the stew.
At its basest level, Tales of Halloween looks like the product of a bunch of friends getting together and making an anthology movie. It just so happens that all of the friends who got together for it are extremely talented visionaries, so Tales of Halloween turned out awesome.
In addition to the impressive roster of directors, a freaking dream team of actors has been assembled for Tales of Halloween. In front of the camera there are literally dozens of familiar faces; everyone from legends like Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog), Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Barbara Crampton (You’re Next), and Caroline Williams (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2) to modern heroes such as Lin Shaye (the Insidious movies), Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), Alex Essoe (Starry Eyes) and Pat Healy (Compliance) make appearances in the different segments. There are tons of fun cameos, too, with Masters of Horror Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers), Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Jon Landis (An American Werewolf in London), Adam Green (Hatchet), and Joe Dante (Gremlins) hamming it up in small roles. Every segment has at least one name actor in it, and that’s part of what makes Tales of Halloween so much fun; you never know who’s going to show up next.
There aren’t a lot of genuine scares in Tales of Halloween, but that’s fine. It’s more of a throwback to a classic eighties anthology than a scare-the-pants-off-of-you kind of movie. There are some frightening moments in the film: a few gross-outs here, a couple of jump scares there, maybe a handful of really creepy situations over yonder. But the film’s intention is not to horrify, it’s to entertain. And that it does that, even without a bunch of cheap scares. Viewers who are expecting to be terrified out of their minds by Tales of Halloween will be disappointed, but those who just want to watch a fun and exciting Halloween movie will be fine with the lack of scares.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Darren Lynn BousmanDave ParkerPaul Solet
- Producer(s): Shaked BerensonAxelle CarolynTada ChaePatrick EwaldMike Mendez
- Screenwriter(s): Axelle CarolynAndrew KaschRyan Schifrin
- Cast: Ben WoolfBarry BostwickGrace Phipps Lin ShayeAdrienne BarbeauKeir GilchristBarbara CramptonBooboo StewartCerina VincentLisa MarieGreg GrunbergSam Witwer
- Editor(s): Josh Ethier
- Cinematographer: Zoran PopovicJan-Michael LosadaAlex VendlerDavid Tayar
- Production Designer(s): Anthony Pearce
- Costume Designer: Rachel Apatoff
- Casting Director(s): Mark Sikes
- Music Score: Joseph Bishara
- Music Performed By:
- Country Of Origin: USA