Tuesday 13 October 2015

"Tales of Halloween" - A review

The extremely tongue-in-cheek anthology horror “Tales of Halloween” hits UK Digital Download and VOD outlets this month from Epic Pictures. Featuring 10 brief tales of terror from different directors, which are all set in and around the same small American town on Halloween night.
Starting off with an animated intro credits sequence, which appeared to be a nod to the cult classic “Night of the Demons”, the film wastes no time in kicking off the fun with the first tale…
Sweet Tooth (Dir Dave Parker – The Dead Hate the Living)
A young child is told a story about a ghostly urban legend by the boyfriend of his babysitter in an attempt to scare him off to bed. Only for them to find that this particular ghostly tale may actually be true and eating too many sweets can be EXTREMELY bad for your health.
The Night Billy Raised Hell (Dir Darren Lynn Bouseman – Saw 2-4)
Arguably one of the funniest segments in the film, a young lad goes to pelt eggs at an old mans house, only for the occupant to play a fiendishly funny revenge prank on him.
Trick (Dir Adam Gierasch – Night of the Demons remake)
Darker in tone and almost out of place with the other humorous tales, a group of young adults are attacked in their home by trick-or-treaters wielding sharp implements. But there’s a twist in the tale as to why these people have been singled out.
The Weak and the Wicked (Dir Paul Solet - Grace)
Another of the darker toned tales, in which a gang of thugs get their just deserts for an incident they were responsible for many years ago.
Grimm Grinning Ghost (Dir Axelle Carolyn - Soulmate)
A young girl is forced to walk home after her car breaks down on the way back from a Halloween party. Only to discover that its never wise to ignore the local ghostly legends.
Ding Dong (Dir Lucky McKee – The Woman)
What if The Witch from Hansel and Gretal had married Hansel and they’d settled down in a small American town? That’s the basis for this segment, in which the childless couple decide to have a little fun with the trick or treaters one year.
This Means War (Dir Andrew Kasch and John Skipp - Clowntown)
Another one of my favourite segments takes neighbourly disputes to a whole new level, when a man doing his traditional yard haunt gets into an argument with the heavy-metal headbangers partying across the road from him and a punch-up quickly ensues.
Friday the 31st (Dir Mike Mendez - Big Ass Spider),
A bizarre mash up of Friday the 13th, Evil Dead and those 50s Alien Invasion films, when the victim of a masked serial killer is resurrected by an alien life force, who then turns the tables on her erstwhile attacker in a suitably gory fashion, which also proved one of my favourite segments.
The Ransom of Rusty Rex (Dir Ryan Shifrin - Abominable)
A couple of would-be kidnappers are puzzled when the wealthy father of the young boy they’ve abducted couldn’t be happier to see the back of him. However, all is revealed when the young lad’s Halloween mask is removed and they find they’ve bitten off more than they can chew with this little “devil”.
Bad Seed (Dir Neil Marshall – Dog Soldiers),
The anthology concludes with this highly amusing tale of a mutant killer pumpkin on the rampage, which is going around biting people heads off and devouring them whole. Much to the chagrin of the local police, who have found themselves stretched to the limit on this particular All Hallows Eve.
Continuity between the otherwise unrelated tales is provided by scream queen Adrienne Barbeau, who plays the town’s radio DJ (in an obvious homage to her role in “The Fog”) and sharper eyed viewers will also spot some of the same supporting characters appearing in several segments.
Boasting a well rounded cast of horror veterans, including Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), Lin Shaye (Insidious, Nightmare on Elm Street franchise), Pollyanna McIntosh (Let us Prey), Caroline Williams (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), Sam Witwer (TV’s Being Human USA), Barry Bostwick (Rocky Horror Picture Show) along with horror directors John Landis (American Werewolf in London) and Joe Dante (Gremlins, Piranha), the film is bloody good fun and had me laughing from start to finish and features an effective soundtrack from noted composer Lalo Schifrin (Amityville Horror).
As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed it. So, if you’re a fan of “Tales from the Crypt” or the similarly themed anthology film “Trick r Treat” (which this film seems to take inspiration from), you’re bound to love this.
Indeed, if you only watch one horror film this Halloween, make sure it’s this one. “Tales of Halloween” is available in the UK on Digital Download and from VOD outlets from October 16th

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