SoH Reviews: Tales of Halloween

Another anthology film.

I’ve been finding myself watching more of these now that I can access them easily. Trick r’ Treat, Creepshow, Trilogy of Horror, The Things that Haunt Us, Tales from the Darkside: the movie as well as the Twilight Zone movie are just a handful off the top of my head that I’ve seen. It’s interesting to think that horror is possibly the only genre that does anthologies well or at least take more risks doing so. I’m trying to think of sci-fi or fantasy themed but I’m coming up short. That or my headache is really limiting my thought process.

This was a brand new experience. So let’s talk about 2015’s Tales of Halloween!

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tales-of-halloween-1200-1200-675-675-crop-000000I go into these movies without having much of a clue of what to expect. I knew it’s an anthology and there are multiple stories to be told. The opening credits, which are pretty cool and amazingly illustrated, told everything and I was still surprised by how some segments took a turn and became favorites. There are 10 segments and the film is about 105 minutes which gives us about 10-15 minutes of short films.

I have my favorites, the ones that were okay but not bad and the ones I’m very confused by and didn’t enjoy them much.

FAVORITES:
TalesofHalloween-still-tales-of-halloween-7Sweet Tooth – A “new” urban legend story that I enjoyed. I liked the idea of it, I liked the execution. The demon was really cool, loved the special effects and any time kids in horror are the antagonist, I find fascinating. I also liked the “Night of the Living Dead” being shown on the tv, basically foreshadowing what was going to happen to certain characters. Sweet Tooth was written and directed by Dave Parker. Also, this story does have a follow up in the segment Bad Seed. Sweet Tooth is written and directed by Dave Parker.

Trick – I had to watch Trick twice to fully understand but when I did, again, kids in horror as not really the bad guys but more or less victims who are going after those who wronged them, I like that concept. This is not as grandiose as Sweet Tooth but still effective. I didn’t feel remorse for the adults, I mean, you do wrong, you should get punished. Especially if you’re doing harm to children. I like the special effects here as well. The adults are psychopaths, the kids are getting revenge. The most unique kill: rat poison. Trick was written by Greg Commons, directed by Adam Gierasch.

TalesHalloween-1024x576The Weak and the Wicked – A story with some heavy subject matter. We don’t tolerate bullying around and when bullies get what’s coming to them, it’s a sigh of relief. I felt no remorse for them, especially the lead girl. Like pft, bye girl. A demon revenge type of story, kid using a myth to his advantage and I LOVE the look of the demon. It reminds me of something you’d see on Crypt TV… granted a lot of these do. Molly Millions wrote this segment, and Paul Solet directed this.

Ding Dong – This had some heavy subject matter that went beyond just “this is a horror story” and if you think about it, it is. A woman who desperately wants to have a child. There’s this underlying manner of abuse and protecting children but also, realizing she is the witch from Hansel & Gretel. I think the surprising bit is that her husband secretly had a vasectomy which… yeah. Pretty heavy stuff tied into horror funness like costumes, going door to door and trick or treating. You don’t know where your loyalty lies because both parties are clearly at fault. What an interesting line to try to balance on. This was written and directed by Lucky McKee.

Bad Seed – To me this reads as two things; Halloween 3 aka Season of the Witch aka the one without Michael Myers and RL Stine’s Goosebumps and The Haunting Hour. Maybe it’s the pumpkin thing that made me think of RL Stine’s works but Clover Corp., definitely a nod to Silver Shamrocks. It was comical moments, great gore and special effects, I liked the design of the pumpkins as well. In all, I liked the set up as well. On a side note, this reminds me of The Great Pumpkin parody Robot Chicken did. You know, the great pumpkin eating the Peanuts gang? Neil Marshall of The Descent, Dog Soldiers, the recent Hellboy and countless television credits wrote and directed Bad Seed.

OK:
The Ransom of Rusty Rex – The concept is unique. I think the execution didn’t make it all the way through. It was great to see John Landis (Animal House, Michael Jackson’s Thriller, An American Werewolf in London) in a role and even though it was brief and mostly through the phone, it was believable enough. Again, more comedic which I’m starting to notice I’m not a big fan of unless it truly goes there and not stopping short. Sam Witwer also stars and it’s about two criminals who kidnap a child, demanding money, only to find out that the child wasn’t exactly wanted or human. Rusty Rex was written and directed by Ryan Schifrin.

Grim Grinning Ghost – I liked the movie on the screen that again foreshadowed what was going to happen, especially with the dog leaving the room. It’s a typical ghost story. Car breaks down, girl has no way of leaving or communicating so she walks all the way home, only to attract a ghost. I did like the way the story set up “scares” that never happened because it’s a trope. It’s effective but not original. Axelle Carolyn wrote and directed this segment.

tales-halloween-633x356The Night Billy Raised Hell – This was an easy addition into the film. I liked seeing Billy hang out with the neighbor (Barry Bostwick) who happened to be the devil. It was more jokes than full on scares and horror but it’s ok. It’s not an immediate love but I like the concept and I wish it was a bit longer. I liked the chemistry with Billy and the Devil, there was a hint of innocence between them. I mean, yes, people were being killed but Billy is still a kid. There’s only so much he can do! This is written by Clint Sears, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman who did Repo! The Genetic Opera… I see his style there.

WTF:
This Means War – This wasn’t scary, mostly comical and even then, I wasn’t having a good time because I saw the end coming… either they would both survive and get charged or both die in the process. I think the story was a bit weak. If I could make this story better, I’d give a twist… maybe it’s a cult thing where the neighborhood is in on the entire fight, they need a sacrifice. Or have it be a twist where maybe one of them is a ghost or a demon. It seemed mediocre. Andrew Kasch and John Skipp wrote and directed, respectively.

Friday the 31st – This one I struggled with so much. It was a rip off of Friday the 13th but the comedic switch was so abrupt and out of place. Compared to This Means War which started off very campy, this… I didn’t care at all. I didn’t like the alien thing, it seemed goofy. The possessed victim reminded me a lot of deadites from The Evil Dead. I think I even caught a glimpse of the book of the dead in the background. Friday the 31st took me out of the movie and that’s not cool. Friday was written by Mike Mendez and Dave Parker, directed by Mike Mendez.

tales_halloween_01So out of 10, 8 are given the go ahead to enjoy which means check out Tales of Halloween. It’s a fun addition to the horror anthology genre, there’s something for everyone. It has an impressive and recognizable cast; Adrienne Barbeau, Barbra Crampton, Stuart Gordon, Adam Green, Barry Bostwick, Greg Grunberg, Clare Kramer, Lin Shaye, Sam Witwer, John Landis, and so many more.

Out of 5 stars, I’d give it a good 3.75 out of 5.

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