Tales of Halloween (3 stars)

Tales of Halloween

FrightFest 2015: Entertaining if somewhat inconsistent horror anthology

Ten fun-sized treats make up this Halloween-themed, comedy-infused horror anthology that features some of genre’s biggest names, old and new, including appearances from John Landis, Joe Dante, Barbara Crampton and Lin Shaye. Set over one night in a small American suburb where all hell breaks loose, each director puts their own unique stamp on their vignette, with some paying homage to classics and others working from original ideas, resulting in a pick 'n' mix of horrible humour and bloody mayhem.

It opens in atmospheric and accomplished fashion, with Ashley Thorpe's Tim Burton-esque flipbook credits, which nicely segue into the introduction of our narrator for All Hallows' Eve, Adrienne Barbeau, in a role that lovingly nods to her DJ in John Carpenter’s The Fog. The first segment, 'Sweet Tooth' by Dave Parker, tells of an urban myth about a young kid named Timmy (Cameron Easton) whose parents refuse to let him consume his Halloween candy, and instead send him to bed while they sexily slurp on it. It’s a slyly silly revenge tale told with gleeful abandon.

Paul Solet’s spin on the spaghetti western, 'The Weak and the Wicked', provides another highlight, featuring a gang who would fit perfectly into Walter Hill’s The Warriors. Pollyanna McIntosh steals the show with her outlandish performance in Lucky McKee’s wickedly funny take on Hansel and Gretel, 'Ding Dong'. And old-school haunted house hi-jinks wrestle with heavy metal splatter in Andrew Kasch and John Skipp’s hilarious 'This Means War', which pits two neighbours against one another in a fierce fight over lawn decorations.

Darren Lynn Bousman, Ryan Schifrin, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch and Mike Mendez add their own special ingredients to this mix of creepy and bizarre tales, with Britain's Neil Marshall ending it all on a sweet high with a story about a killer pumpkin. Although some of the entries don't quite hold their own, Tales of Halloween flings so much love for practical effects horror in your face in such a short amount of time that it’s difficult not to succumb to its macabre charms.

Screened on Mon 31 Aug as part of FrightFest 2015. General release TBC.

Tales of Halloween

  • 3 stars
  • 2015
  • 1h 32min
  • 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
  • Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Cameron Easton, Pollyanna McIntosh

Halloween-themed, comedy-infused horror anthology, featuring cameos from some of the genre's biggest names (Barbeau, Landis, Dante, Crampton) and a scene-stealing turn from McIntosh in McKee's wickedly funny 'Ding Dong'. Not all the entries quite hold their own, but it's a pick 'n' mix of horrible humour and bloody mayhem.