A holiday-themed anthology film. A live review!
I don’t often review anthology films, as I think they are a pain in the ass to criticize as a whole. One or two great stories in a film with five or six weak ones is hard to quantify. I am not going to separate out each of the ten (yes ten) shorts in this film (I am totally lying here, I will separate out each). Evenly split, each segment has less than 10 minutes of time, which means these are short and sweet.
This is probably nit-picky beyond any purpose, but I would prefer them to show the credits as each film starts, not all at once. Honestly, ten names and directors makes it all a little overwhelming. I honestly can not remember what the first four are called.
Tales of Halloween is among a long string of anthology horror films. Despite my not reviewing them frequently, I do often enjoy these films. Anthology films can at best offer the best of horror, as well as offering potential up and comers a chance to experiment. I love the idea of these movies, and wish more genres did them. By watching this movie, you will be exposed to many different styles and individuals. Now, it is easy to dismiss these as under-budgeted and underdeveloped, which sometimes is true, but to fully enjoy these stories you need to embrace a bit of cheese.
The first segment, Sweet Tooth is more humorous than scary. Yet, it is a good opener for the film. I enjoyed the cheesiness and the simplicity of the classic boogeyman. We have our typical murderous child, and enough gore to make you laugh out loud. I have never found evil children scary. I am telling you, I could win in a fight with an eight-year-old fairly easily!
The production value is surprisingly good. The acting isn’t the best, but whatever. The really awkward opening credits betray some of the talent within the actual stories. These are fun, and I think I made a mistake watching this on my computer. This is the type of film to watch with friends. To laugh and to enjoy these stories fully requires a bit of MST3K styled banter.
Our second segment, The Night Billy Raised Hell, lowers the bar to the ground. Such is a risk with anthology films. The nice part is I only have to suffer through about 12 minutes of this crap before the next one.
Still in part two… ugh. This is stupid. There are funny bits, but they are laying it on a little thick. Fun twist, I suppose.
So the third story, Trick, started, and I kind of zoned out wondering if I should take up fly-fishing. Pretty standard home invasion/suburban nightmare story. I think this one is actually trying to be scary. Once again, scary kids aren’t really scary. I bet I could take on two in a fight if I had to.
I told myself I was not going to talk about each of the ten stories. You might notice I even wrote that above. It appears I am a liar both to myself and you. I apologize.
So three has kind of a dumb twist. I should have seen it coming. Not bad, not great. Into four, The Weak and the Wicked now. I feel like folks in these stories take Halloween a bit too seriously.
Holy crap. I still have an hour to go.
We’ve got three kewl bullies going after people for no reason. This story seems like diet-Purge. It is odd to see a story focused on bullies getting their due in a Halloween film. If anything, the wicked should prevail due to the theme of the holiday.
Grim Grinning Ghost with the psychic lady from Insidious! From these first five stories this anthology is suffering from pretty stark tone shifts. No zombies yet, which kind of surprises me.
I started thinking about zombies and wasn’t really paying attention to our fifth story. Easily scared woman gets scared. Ooooooooh so scary. Whole lot of build up for one jump scare.
Why do people always fall down in horror films? Why do they also seem to always drop their keys? How often do you drop your keys? Seriously.
Onto six, Ding Dong. So, this is just kind of weird. I find this one oddly entertaining. There is a level of pure aberration here that is quite enjoyable. I also suppose I am a sucker for stories dealing with witches. See, people who eat children are intense. Evil children aren’t. Unfortunately, the ending made pretty much no sense.
Now we start seven This Means War, and the soundtrack makes me want to put my head through a wall. This is actually about which neighbor has better decorations. Ugh. This one should have been called old man yells at inconsiderate neighbors.
This story brings the film to a grinding halt.
Moving onto the eighth, Friday the 31st. Serial killer stalks pretty woman. Then aliens. Why? Because why not?
I need to watch the rest of the Oscar noms and instead I am watching this.
At least the eighth brings on the gore.
The Ransom of Rusty Rex starring that guy you might recognize. Two morons kidnap a monster. Hahaha. Seriously though, this one is kind of funny.
I am being fairly hard on these later segments. Part of it is the yo-yoing of quality going on, another part is the natural fatigue of anthology films. Without a grand narrative linking it all together it becomes more of an endurance test. Ten might be too many for a solid viewing experience. However, ten did get it to a standard film length, so I understand their reasoning.
Finally, we have reach the final segment, Bad Seed. A human eating pumpkin monster is on the loose. Yeah it is like a Syfy movie, but at least it is amusing.
Overall, the quality dips a bit lower than most anthology films, but it is entertaining. This might be a better film for people who aren’t usually into horror films. If you want to turn your brain off for a while, this will do. 5/10.