Directed by: Darren Lyn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierash, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet
Starring: Boo Boo Stewart, Barry Bostwick, Grace Phipps, Lin Shaye, Pollyana Macintosh, John Landis, Greg Grundberg
Tales of Halloween is an anthology of ten stories all set on the same night in the same town...While one young boy is terrorised by a psychopath after his candy, a group of friends are besieged by murderous trick-or-treaters. A duo of kidnappers bite off more than they can chew when they abduct the child of a millionaire, a carved pumpkin pumped full of growth chemicals becomes murderously sentient and much more mayhem besides...
Tales of Halloween is the perfect film for that particular holiday. It is a love-letter to the holiday itself and provides a whole host of fun and gory tales to watch while snacking on your spoils of the night.
Even though each segment is directed by a different person, all were filmed on the same set of locations, giving the film a consistent tone throughout. The film utilises practical gore fx too which will please many horror fans. The film is littered with horror alumni, including directors Stuart Gordon and John Landis, as well as actors such as Adrienne Barbeau reprising her radio DJ role from John Carpenter's The Fog. The great composer Lalo Schifrin (Enter The Dragon, Dirty Harry) was coaxed out of retirement to provide the film's soundtrack.
Every story is of a consistent standard and while it's fair to say some stories are stronger than others, there aren't any weak entries at all. Some stories play for laughs, such as the stories about the two neighbours fighting over their respective Halloween garden displays, Rusty and his kidnappers and the one about the pumpkin eating people, while others are genuinely creepy. My favourite two segments fall into the latter camp - in "Trick", a quartet of housemates become victims of some murderous kids. This episode has an excellent twist to it. The other is "Grim Grinning Ghost", in which Lin Shaye (all three Insidious films) tells a spooky halloween tale to her party guests. It's a brilliant text-book example of how to ratchet tension, as the story's protagonist is hounded by a ghostly figure all the way to her front door - and perhaps beyond...
It's difficult to talk about the segments without giving away too much, but these are perfectly encapsulated tales for Halloween. With a total of ten tales to tell, there is definitely something here for everyone, and their short running time means that if you're not convinced by one episode, you don't have long before a totally different take is starting to unfurl. Recommended.
8 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)