Tales of Halloween Review (2015)

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Tales of Halloween Review (2015)

Horrorific content by jessicagomez on October 15th, 2018 | Movie Review | Holiday, Anthology, Halloween Anthology

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Tales of Halloween was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (who also directed St. Agatha and Abattoir), Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch (who also directed Autopsy and House By The Lake), Andrew Kasch (who also directed Thirsty (Horror Short) and Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy), Neil Marshall (who also directed The Descent and Dog Soldiers), Lucky Mckee (who also directed The Woman and May), Ryan Schifrin (who also directed The Tiffany Problem (Horror Short) and Abominable), Mike Mendez (who also directed Don't Kill It and Lavalantula), Dave Parker (who also directed The Hills Run Red and The Dead Hate The Living!), John Skipp and Paul Solet (who also directed Dark Summer and Grace), and stars Keir Gilchrist (from It Folllows), Pollyanna Mcintosh (from White Settlers) and Samuel Witwer.

One town. One night. Ten chilling stories.

Tales of Halloween Review

I find horror anthologies to be so much fun, and Tales of Halloween lives up to my soft spot.

Reminiscent of A Christmas Horror Story (a must-see, by the way), the disc jockey narrator, played by Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow) tells horrible tales of something truly sinister that lurks within the town and rears its ugly head on Halloween. The film amounts to ten micro-stories. Spoilers ahead.

The film kicks off with Sweet Tooth, which is by far the goriest of the segments. We all know the urban legend about poisoned candy, but this is a new candy-centric tale. As told to young trick-or-treater Mikey by his sister’s douchey boyfriend, the story goes like this: Timmy was forced to go trick-or-treating each year without ever being allowed to eat candy. When he finds that his parents have secretly been eating all of his candy every year (and having a truly gross psychosexual encounter with it), he snaps. Once he’s taken care of the problem and is able to see just what he’s been missing out on, he takes it a step further and eats the remains of his parents to get to the candy they’ve eaten. It’s grotesque and disturbing, and it drives the point home. The local legend is that you must not eat all of your candy so as to leave some behind for Timmy. Mikey leaves out a “Carpenter Bar”, an homage to the great John Carpenter which even includes the font used for Halloween. Once we get a look at Timmy, it’s a truly frightening scene. The special effects makeup was extraordinary in this particular portion of the film.

Next up is The Night Billy Raised Hell. When a poor, weak thing is forced to attempt to egg his neighbor’s house (once again by a sister’s douchey boyfriend) because he “doesn’t like Halloween”, the boy is caught before he even gets the chance. Though he tries to apologize, Mr. Abaddon decides to show Billy what a real trick is and goes all through the town with a devil in tow, wreaking havoc on the town. There’s a lightheartedness to the pranks with the music and ridiculous sound effects, but they’re actually quite serious in nature, from stabbings to robbings to arson. I only wish that the revenge was taken on the douche and not the kid. Poor Billy.

Next up was Trick, my personal favorite of the film, and by far the best twist. Neighborhood kids take trick-or-treating to the extreme, choosing “trick” and murdering four unsuspecting adults, who are just trying to watch Night of the Living Dead and pass out candy, for God’s sake! But something is behind their wicked game - a story I didn’t see coming that made me feel pretty good about letting the kids take matters into their own hands. The child actors were as creepy as they needed to be, especially with how methodical they stayed in their murderous approach. It really made me think twice about the first trick-or-treater who came to the door with her mom, an adorable two-year old girl who in time would certainly become a victim if not for the bravery of the older kids in the neighborhood. Chilling.

Grim Grinning Ghost was the classic ‘don’t look in the mirror’, ‘don’t look behind you’ type of scare. The suspense was okay but there wasn’t much at all to the story. Jump scares don’t bother me as long as there’s something else to it, but that was all it had. A woman who scares easily is tracked down by a ghost named Mary Bailey taking revenge on people who made fun of her for her disfigured face, except this girl has never met Mary or, to the viewer’s knowledge, made fun of anyone. This one didn’t seem to fit in with the others, but I will definitely give points for a horrifying antagonist.

Ding Dong was a creepy twist on Hansel and Gretel. A couple aren’t able to conceive a child, and the woman has a particularly hard time with it. She’s a weirdo with a bad side, though - a witch, to be exact, when she’s angry. Though the witch portion looked a little B-horror, Pollyanna McIntosh, who has become a horror regular, upped the creep factor in a good way: “I ate her ear last so she could hear herself be eaten.” I’m still unclear if she wanted to have the baby to raise it or to cook it, though I think I know the answer. Look closely for a cameo from Scream Queen Felissa Rose.

Filmed like a Western, The Weak and The Wicked is an interesting story about a young man seeking vengeance for his parents’ death. Gracie Gillam (Fright Night) was completely believable as a psychopath wreaking havoc with her minions on the streets in which she appears to run. The demon summoned to TCB was pretty terrifying, though this story shied away from showing any kill scenes and left the dirty work to the sound effects. The weak finally preys on the wicked, and it’s wholly satisfying.

This Means War was the weakest segment, by far. A man who has been decorating for Halloween the same way for years is appalled by his trashy new neighbors’ gruesome display. They throw a Halloween party and when he asks them to turn the music down and they refuse, a fight ensues that ends tragically. Zero plot.

The most WTF moment goes to Friday the 31st. It starts with a ripoff of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, with a young girl seeking solace from a masked, disfigured psychopath when she stumbles across his room of hooks and dead bodies. I was confused about the straight up rip-job until out of nowhere, a UFO appears and a tiny claymation alien arrives. It’s like a deranged Roger Rabbit, with live action crossing over with cartoon. The alien takes over the body of the girl Fake Leatherface kills, and they take turns chainsawing each other limb from limb in an utterly ridiculous bloodbath until there’s nothing left. The entire thing was like a bad acid trip; in fact, don’t smoke weed before watching this one.

The Ransom of Rusty Rex had a comedic aspect to it, which kept it fun. A couple of bumbling criminals can’t believe how easy it is to kidnap a rich man’s son for ransom - except they’ve made a grave error assuming it was his son at all. When they make the ransom call, the man simply says “he’s your problem now!” No matter where they go or what they do, they can’t get rid of Rusty, the demonic being that they’ve mistaken for a child. To be fair, Rusty does act like a kid - except when he eats one of the kidnappers. Hey, his “dad” told them to feed him! Their fault!

Bad Seed begins with a homicidal pumpkin that moves like a spider, scampering around town looking for heads to feast on. The detective called to the scene takes a look at the picture from the sketch artist - and I literally laughed out loud. I wholeheartedly believe that this was a joke with a nod to the Leprechaun sketch in Mobile Alabama. Pat Healy (The Innkeepers) saves the day for his partner, but the story doesn’t end there. The sticker on the now-deceased pumpkin leads them to a laboratory full of thousands of pumpkins that have been genetically modified, which I took as an anti-GMO stance. It leaves the door open for a sequel, of course.

There’s not much of a wraparound story that connects the segments, except for the trick-or-treaters throughout the film are the same kids, and that revenge is a dish best served cold. The movie is fun and festive, and it’s available on Netflix. Worthy of a watch.

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