Saturday, October 31, 2015

Holiday Flix: Tales of Halloween

Put on your suits and your copyright-free George Romero Films, everyone!  Today's Film is Tales of Halloween, a Short Film Compilation for this Season we're in.  What a coincidence!  This Film comes to you from a whole number of Directors- some of whom are pretty notable.  This is an Anthology Film with a super-loose structure too, but it mostly works.  By the end, everything *kind of* connects pretty well, so I guess I can't be too negative.  The basic idea: crazy shit happens on Halloween!  The Segments feature murder, children, more murder, creepy creatures, random Director Cameos and, you guessed it, murder.  These ones are tricky to review when there are more than 4 Segments, but I can make it work.  If you wonder why I haven't done The ABCs of Death Films yet, there is your answer.  Don't worry- their time will come.  In the meantime, enjoy this random collection of spooky stories...
After an intro from Adrienne Barbeau (aping her role in The Fog), we get the first of many Stories.  Let's do this...

In Sweet Tooth, a candy-loving kid is told the story of an evil candy-loving kid.  Is it real though?
In The Night Billy Raised Hell (by Darren Lynn Bousman), a child meets a mysterious man (Barry Bostwick) and chaos ensues!
In Trick, some kids decide to kill some people at home.  What is their motivation?
In The Weak and the Wicked, some kid takes on some bullies with a plan at the back of his mind...
In Grim Grinning Ghost (with a Cameo from Mick Garris), a woman is stalked by a Ghost from her past.
In Ding Dong (by Lucky McKee), we get the tale of a woman who really wants children...but why?
In This Means War (not to be confused with the one where 'Kirk' fights 'Bane'), two rival Haunted House Owners get into conflict.
In Friday the 31st (by Mike Mendez), a prolific Killer runs across something really strange that shakes up his/its routine.
In The Ransom of Rusty Rex (with a Cameo by John Landis), two Criminals kidnap a kid that maybe they shouldn't have...
Finally, in Bad Seed (by Neil Marshall and with a Cameo from Joe Dante), we learn that something at the heart of Halloween can kill you too!

To be fair to the Film, this one does tie it all together pretty well- by making this the least safe Town in the World!  The End.
Fun, but disjointed fare.  There is a tricky nature to Horror Anthology Films.  You need to give each Segment the right amount of time- not too little, not too much.  These kinds of things usually end up with three to four Segments and end up at Feature Length.  Nowadays, we seem to be pushing away from that and squeezing in as much as possible.  While The ABCs of Death have the gimmick of having 26 Segments, this one doesn't.  In spite of that, it has ALOT of Segments!  Are there too many?  Could one or two have been scrapped in favor of evening some of them out?  For me, the answer is 'Yes.'  Grim Grinning Ghost, for example, is just one long (relatively) set-up for a jump scare...and that's it.  Just because you got Lynn Shaye in it means that your Segment is irreplaceable!  The Weak and the Wicked is another example of that- all set-up for one bit.  Neither one of them is necessarily bad, mind you, but they are one note.  Another thing that I could nitpick about is the Film's repetition of certain things that are only creepy/scary once.  In Sweet Tooth, we get a killer kid.  In The Night Billy Raised Hell, we get another one (sort of).  In Trick, we get it again!  It is one thing to have that three times in one Film, but they also happen in order!  Yes, the Stories are different...but they are similar enough to maybe justify mixing up the order.  While I liked This Means War and Friday the 31st, they are both (somewhat) Comedy-Relief Segments...and they follow each other.  I'm just saying, maybe you could make a more perfect Film with a 'less is more' approach and some reshuffling.  While the sum of its parts has issues, the individual Segments do tend to work pretty well and make up for it.  If you need something to watch for your party (or alone), this one is a pretty good choice.  Get in the spirit!
Next up, let me ease you out of your Halloween high with some more Horror.  Why not finally do the one that everyone was so obsessed with earlier this year?  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. We watched this and agree it would be better if some segments were edited out entirely and more development of the stories and characters, or at least be less disjointed by having the police officer investigating the scenes as they happen instead of being another add-in at the end.