Friday, October 20, 2017

Movie Review: "Tales of Halloween" (2015)

Director: Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, & Paul Solet
Year: 2015
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

An anthology of ten Halloween-related horror stories.

"Tales of Halloween" consists of 10 loosely connected short films that all take place on Halloween night. Here's a recap of the individual shorts.

"Sweet Tooth" is written and directed by Dave Parker. It's about a candy-craving monster who kills those who don't share their candy with him. This entry boasts a strong premise that is a lot of gruesome fun. It's a little slow at first, but the payoff is worth it.

"The Night Billy Raised Hell" is up next, which is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and is written by Clint Sears. When a young trick-or-treater is pressured into egging a house, he finds out the house belongs to the actual devil, who is about to show him what a real Halloween prank looks like. This short film is a raucous good time with a good dose of silly dark comedy.

"Trick" is the third short, which is directed by Adam Gierasch and is written by Greg Commons. A group of adults gets a bad trick from a group of trick-or-treating kids. It's a bit of a different take on the slasher film with a few extra twists thrown in. A worthy entry into this anthology.

"The Weak and the Wicked" is directed by Paul Solet and is written by Molly Millions. A teen attempts to summon a demon to exact revenge on his childhood bullies. Unfortunately, this short is one of the weaker entries. It doesn't quite fit the flow of the rest of the shorts and is also sort of boring.

Next, we have "Grim Grinning Ghost," which is written and is directed by Axelle Carolyn. A woman is tormented by a ghost who steals the eyes of anyone who looks at it. This one is an excellent entry. It is simple but has great tension. It successfully creeped us out.

"Ding Dong" is written and directed by Lucky McKee. It is about a witch who wants a child and a husband who did his best to prevent her from getting one. This is a bizarre entry that's weirder than anything else in this anthology, and we weren't huge fans of this one.

"This Means War" is written and directed by Andrew Kasch and John Skipp. This short pits two neighbors with different ideas on what makes Halloween great against each other. They both have varying ideas on how one should decorate and act during the holiday, so they battle it out in a fight to the death to prove their side is right. This is a basic short film that doesn't have much tension but is full of silly fun.

"Friday the 31st" is directed by Mike Mendez, who also wrote the short along with Dave Parker. A deformed psycho killer meets his match in a small trick-or-treating alien. This is BigJ's favorite entry and it's one of the funniest. It is an over the top, hilarious bloodfest reminiscent of "Evil Dead 2" or "Army of Darkness."

"The Ransom of Rusty Rex" is written and directed by Ryan Schifrin. Two kidnappers snatch who they believe is the son of a wealthy man to be held for ransom. What they get, however, is a nightmarish demon who gets very attached to those he likes. This interesting concept turns the tables on the villains. This is a successful and overall solid entry in the anthology.

"Bad Seed" is the last short in the bunch. This one is written and directed by Neil Marshall. A genetically engineered pumpkin becomes a killer man-eating jack-o-lantern. This is a fun final entry that gives a few nods to some of the earlier ones in the anthology, as well as a few homages to certain horror classics. "Bad Seed" is definitely a good time.

When it comes to anthologies, they can be hit or miss. Often times, there are more bad entries than good ones. "Tales of Halloween," however, has an overwhelming number of good entries compared to bad and mediocre ones. We enjoy the mostly tongue-in-cheek comedic approach it takes with its short films, and we think this is a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday. You may have to sit through a couple of lulls, but the high points more than make up for them. This anthology is a pleasant surprise.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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