By Dr. Zaius
Wednesday, November 25th, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Tales of Halloween Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet
Written by Axelle Carolyn, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Clint Sears
Starring Booboo Stewart, Lin Shaye, Adrienne Barbeau, Barry Bostwick, Grace Phipps, Caroline Williams, Adrianne Curry, John Landis, Barbara Crampton, James Duval, Clare Kramer, Adam Pascal, Austin Falk, Robert Rusler, Kristina Klebe Epic Pictures Group
Release Date: October 16th, 2015
Horror is a genre that lends itself to anthology probably better than any; whether it be short story compilations from the greats of the genre, from Lovecraft and Poe, to Barker and King, or classic cinematic anthologies like Trilogy of Terror and Tales From the Crypt. These have paved the way for a new generation of short story style scare films. Collections like Trick ‘r Treat (2007), and the more recent V/H/S and ABC’s of Death series have provided fans of blood and gore a wealth of fun times. If you’re a fan of any of those above mentioned films, then Tales of Halloween is definitely worth your time and money.
Tales of Halloween was created by Axelle Carolyn, an actress, writer and director who is married to horror veteran Neil Marshall (The Decent/Dog Soldiers). Together, they make up 2/10 directors of this ten-story collection. The opening credits on an animated town roadmap stirred up memories of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice, and the voiceover by horror goddess Adrienne Barbeau fits perfectly. She would not be the last icon of the genre to put in a guest appearance. Look for Rocky Horror’s own Barry Bostwick, and classic directors Joe Dante (Piranha/Gremlins) and John Landis (American Werewolf in London) amongst others.
As with any compendium, some chapters will stick out more than others, but what was thoroughly unique about Tales, was none dragged or bothered me, and each was either a fresh interesting idea (Trick by Adam Gierasch, and This Means War by John Skipp & Andrew Kasch), a twist on a classic horror story (Sweet Tooth by David Parker and Ding Dong by Lucky McKee), or an homage to the greats of the past (Friday the 31st by Mike Mendez). That last one was my personal favorite, as it details a Jason-esque slasher villain, having the roles reversed as he’s stalked by a demonic alien. There were so many homages strewn throughout, to films like the Friday the 13th series, the Evil Dead films, The Thing, and so on. On almost every television was a horror classic, Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was a constant.
Everyone in the film, in all the stories appears to be having a great time and there are some legitimate creepy moments in many of the short films. Each of the directors has some background in horror, from McKee (May/The Woman), to Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw franchise) and even some of the actors as well. You’ll recognize Sam Witwer from his turn as a vampire on Being Human, Lin Shaye from everything from A Nightmare on Elm Street to Insidious, and Greg Grunberg from TV’s Heroes and campy horror film Big Ass Spider.
Tales of Halloween is never boring, and is a completely worthy addition to the growing list of horror anthology films. 10 shorts is also a good number as none go too long and some leave you wanting more. I liked this much more than the ABC’s of Death films because there was just too much going on in 26 mini-movies each. I’d say this can easily sit next to Trick ‘r Treat which has become the go to choice for the modern horror anthology. I would certainly not oppose the October Society getting together and releasing a second installment next year.