Tales of Halloween (2015)

talesofhalloweenposterHey guys, happy day 28 of  my #31DaysOfHorror! Getting down to the wire, I hope you have all kinds of plans to scare the heck out of yourselves in a couple of days! Maybe this one will help you plan your movie nights, it’s Tales of Halloween.

Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.

My second anthology flick this month, and one that stays on the theme of Halloween too which works in it’s favour. Created by Axelle Carolyn (Soulmate) who also wrote and directed one of the ten segments Grim Grinning Ghost, has brought together a pretty massive project, each segment taking place on the same night in the same town, and all taking place on Halloween. As I’ve said before, and will say at all of this type of movie, some segments are better than others, that said, in this particular instance, even the weaker segments are genuinely fun. One of my particular favourites comes at the end, and involves an evil pumpkin that grows little vines and runs around, eating children. Something about pumpkins coming to life is so hilarious and endearing to me, even when it’s terrible.

So, among the 10 directors, you have Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II), Andrew Kasch (Never Sleep Again), Paul Solet (Grace) and most notable (in my opinion), Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) and Lucky Mckee (All Cheerleaders Die). All in all there is a lot of talent in there, and the names that I wasn’t especially familiar with put together some pretty clever and fun segments as well. You really get the sense that a lot of love for both the holiday, and the genre, with a lot of inside jokes and nudges at other movies. A chocolate bar called Carpenter, and the corporation that the evil pumpkin comes from makes a slight nod to Halloween III: Season of the Witch. It’s clear that Carolyn has a lot of love for horror, and has really put something together here in the same vein of movies like Trick R Treat, and Creepshow.

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As you can imagine, a movie telling this many stories has a pretty massive cast. Most delightful, to me, was the appearance of Lin Shaye (Insidious: Chapter 3) in one of the more genuinely creepy segments. Shaye has been around a long time, and I’m so glad to see her embracing horror and making more appearances. She’s such a fantastic presence, even in a small part like this one. As well as Shaye, you have some pretty massive appearances from people who played big parts in horror history, including some great horror directors, John Landis (An American Werewolf In London, director), Joe Dante (Gremlins, director), Adam Green (Hatchet, director). On top of directors-turned-actors, you have some other familiar faces in Pollyanna McIntosh (The Woman), Adrienne Barbeau (Creepshow), Barry Bostwick (The Rocky Horror Picture Show), Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator) and of course some familiar faces in Keir Gilchrist (It Follows), and the sadly deceased Ben Woolf (An American Horror Story : Freak Show). Obviously there are a lot more people in the movie, and you’ll probably notice people that I missed. The point is, this is an easy one for horror fans to get into, I think this review has more links in it than I’ve ever had, so have fun with those.

It’s pretty clear that the movie was made on a smaller budget, but the monster and gore effects that fill this movie give it a really campy, 80s charm. Something about the cheap and hilarious monster pumpkin is just so charming, and hard not to love. I can also appreciate any movie that features small children being eaten and killed in one bizarre way or another, including being eaten whole by a pumpkin. There’s also a brief appearance from some kind of devil monster that was pretty effectively creepy, but seemed like an awful lot of work for not a lot of screen time.

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The movie has a pretty good sense of humour, and there is a real sense of fun buried in some pretty frightening segments. Definitely one for fans of Trick R Treat, and a fun showcase of some contemporary horror film makers, out to show that there is some value in modern horror. Definitely not the most frightening movie that you’ll watch this year, but a really good festive one for you to check out this Halloween.

RATING: ****

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