Written by J. Weagle
No animals were harmed in the making of this film, but we sure did kill a lot of pumpkins.
I must admit I’m a sucker for any piece of entertainment set around my favourite time of the year, Halloween. With that being said it is safe to say upon initially hearing about the premise of the new anthology horror film from some of the most interesting names in horror right now I was more than little excited.
Yes, Tales of Halloween is an anthology of short stories all overlapping and all centred around Halloween itself (not unlike 2007’s Trick R Treat) all tied together by a radio station and taking place in the same town. Unlike that film however Tales of Halloween offers unique takes on the night by having each short directed by a different person which in this case is both a positive as well as a negative.
There are ten shorts in total, and of them varying degrees of quality and overall lasting appeal. Some feel unfinished, as if they should be part of longer story while a others felt unnecessarily lengthier than they should have been. For the most part however most of them worked and were exactly what they needed to be, brief, funny, sometimes terrifying love tales about the wickedest day of them all.
Amongst the tales there are a few urban legends, a Friday the 13th homage which turned out to be, in my opinion the best of the bunch. It offered perhaps the most laughs and without a doubt the most amount of gore per time limit and a pretty hilarious take on the slasher genre, and did so in under ten minutes.
There’s a story of murderous pumpkins created by a very secretive corporation that starts off strong but ends just when things were starting to get interesting. There was a very disturbing and funny retelling of the classic Hansel and Gretel. One story that dragged on a bit too long had the Devil himself wreaking havoc on the small town along with his crazed sidekick, which may have been the most bizarre of them all. One of the shorter stories introduced us to two neighbours waring over Halloween decretive lawn displays,while another had us witnessing a kidnapping gone wrong.
It’s safe to say that this film had just about everything one could think of relating to Halloween in it, though like I said some were stronger than others. I hate comparing one film to another when reviewing but it’s hard not to bring up Trick R Treat when talking about a seasonal anthology. What that movie has over Tales of Halloween is that it felt cohesive and the consistent visual language helped it feel more complete where as the often times complete shift in tone here gives it some pacing issues.
With that being said Tales of Halloween is the second best Halloween themed anthology out there, and a real treat for fans of these types of movies. It’s a must watch this October 31st for any fan of horror, because you will probably end up getting something out of it. There’s plenty of gore, great tension and a few solid jump scares, humour as dark as it gets and enough interesting ideas to keep one satisfied. This is a film that I hope becomes an annualized franchise, so long as they continue to add fresh and unique filmmakers and storytellers.