Tales of Halloween online movie review - It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Yes I do realize that the line in the subject header is irrevocably linked to the Christmas Holiday period, but to us ? sick and twisted horror movie fanatics ? it is, in fact, Halloween which is the most wonderful time of the year!
Not necessarily because we like to wear silly costumes or go out trick or treating, but because this day provide us with the ideal excuse to watch a whole lot of horror movies during one long 24-hour marathon! This pretty cool anthology cleverly cashes in on the Halloween-hype by knitting together 10 demented little stories that supposedly all take place in the same typically American suburb on the night of the 31st of October. Like we've seen them appear regularly the last couple of years, for example also in "The ABC's of Death" or "Masters of Horror", this is the partnership project of ten prominent directors (some of them obviously more prominent than others?), and the most famous/acclaimed directors don't necessarily deliver the best segments. Most of the stories, however, are vastly entertaining and feature original concepts, crazily eccentric protagonists, loads of morbid humor and satisfying amounts of carnage & bloodshed! Allegedly the whole idea for the film was raised by the Belgian born writer/director Axelle Carolyn. She's married to the multi-talented British prodigy Neil Marshall ("The Descent", "Dog Soldiers"), so I guess it wasn't too difficult for this couple to get several other popular horror directors on board of the project, like Lucky McKee ("May", "The Woman"), Darren Lynn Bousman ("Saw II", "Repo: The Genetic Opera") and Adam Gierasch ("Night of the Demons", "Autopsy"). In the wraparound story, horror buffs will promptly recognize the voice of horror wench Adrienne Barbeau as a local radio DJ preparing us for a night full of monstrous encounters and ghastly situations. There aren't any brilliant or astoundingly innovative stories in "Tales of Halloween", but my favorites include Mike Mendez' story "Friday the 31st", Lucky McKee's "Ding Dong" and Neil Marshall's "Bad Seed". In the first of these, a maniacal killer sees his last female victim resurrected by a curious little alien that challenges him to a vicious duel. I very much liked the idea of this and this segment is definitely the goriest part of the whole film, with absurd over-the-top make up effects! "Ding Dong" is about a woman's unanswered child wish, but perhaps it's better like this, because only her oppressed husband sees what she really is, namely a horrible witch. "Bad Seed" is about a cheesy killer pumpkin-monster, but the added value that Marshall brings is that he single-handedly connects it to all the previous segments. That, and the fact this segment has an awesome and stereotypically '70s finale. Then there's also a number or above-average stories, like "Sweet Tooth" (the myth of candy-craving killer), "The Night Billie Raised Hell" (an elderly Halloween hater punishes the kids that always throw eggs at his house), "Trick" (atmospheric tale with psychopathic children but a lame climax) and "The Ransom of Rusty Rex" ("two amateur kidnappers don't realize they just abducted a little freak). The chapters that I personally found the weakest are Paul Sollet's "The Weak and the Wicked", Axelle Carolyn's "Grim Grinning Ghost" and John Skipp's "This Means War". These three segments are totally unsurprising, predictable and clichéd. "Tales of Halloween" has a long and impressive cast list full of legendary horror names, although it has to be said that most of these names only appear in extremely brief cameos. A couple of cameos are truly cool and significant, like those of John Landis and Joe Dante, but sadly most of them just quickly appear in front of the camera without saying anything, like Stuart Gordon or Mick Garris.