A film, food, travel & lifestyle blog by Sophie Elizabeth

29 October 2016

Film Review: Tales of Halloween (Darren Lynn Bousman Et Al, 2015) ★★★

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Made up of ten short stories, Tales of Halloween follows the shared experience of Halloween night in an American suburb. As told by ten different directors, ghosts, aliens and axe murders return for one night only to terrorise the otherwise quiet town. 

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Sweet Tooth, directed by David Parker - Kicking off the first of the ten short stories and presented in the style of a Slasher, a babysitter and her boyfriend try to scare a young boy by telling him that if he eats all of his Halloween candy, Sweet Tooth will come for him. Of course, they get more than they bargain for when Sweet Tooth turns out to be real. Being a short story, the narrative unfolds rather quickly and makes for quite an amusing tale. One thing I liked about it is that it clearly pays homage to some old classics including Escape from New York (John Carpenter, 1981) and of course, Night of the Living Dead (George A. Romero, 1968).

The Night Billy Raised Hell, directed by Darren Lynn Bousman - Having been bullied in to egging next door's house, Billy ends up being confronted by his unhappy neighbour turns out to be the Devil played by Rocky Horror Picture Show's Barry Bostwick (1975). With the Devil by his side, Billy gets a real lesson in Halloween pranking in this comic narrative. Complete with cartoon sound effects and a very camp devil, this made for a very amusing, Halloween short tale with some references to Halloween (John Carpenter, 1978). 

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Trick, directed by Adam Gierasch - Another Slasher narrative, a group of young trick-or-treaters visit and butcher a house full of young adults who are hiding a dark secret. Personally, I felt this one lacked in substance by comparison of the other tales. Perfectly formed and quite nicely shot, this one just didn't really appeal me. 

The Weak and the Wicked, directed by Paul Solet - This is possibly my least favourite of the short stories. The Weak and the Wicked follows the tale of three bullies and a masked victim looking for revenge. Whilst the roles felt very overplayed and unrealistic, I will admit that this one had rather well executed cinematography. I can't tell whether the monster was meant to have B-Movie elements but it definitely does and makes for a rather anti-climatic conclusion. 

Grimm Grinning Ghost, directed by Axelle Carolyn- Making her way home from a Halloween party, a young women's car breaks down. With all the usual genre conventions, her phone has died and she must walk home alone in the dark but feels as though she is being followed. Shot well and with an attempt at some kind of depth, this particular film was enjoyable but ultimately lacks some of the substance the others have. However, it does have some rather enjoyable cameo appearances from the likes of horror legend, Barbara Crampton, filmmaker Mick Garris and Re-Animator (1985) director, Stuart Gordon. 

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Ding Dong, directed by Lucky McKee - We all know the grim tale of Hansel and Gretel and in this little narrative, the witch is living in a quiet street with her abused husband. Played by Pollyanna McIntosh, she is desperate for a child but Halloween brings out her inner demons. Some parts of this are genuinely very amusing and, whilst the special effects are terrible, I do believe that it's all purposeful in the styling of the film. Though certainly not without it's faults, I rather liked this one and it emerges as one of the more memorable shorts. 

This Means War, directed by Andrew Kasch and John Skipp - Both obsessed with celebrating Halloween, Dana Gould and James Duval play neighbours who take their haunted house decorating rivalry to a deadly extreme. Again, this was another very well shot and funny short.

Friday the 31st, directed by Mike Mendez - What happens when the tables get turned on Jason Voorhees? Opening to the infamous killer chasing a young women through the woods, things take a strange turn for the hockey-masked psychopath when aliens arrive for an evening of trick-or-treating. Of course, being unable to speak and without candy to offer his guests - things turn deadly. Personally, whilst I found this just utterly silly - it was also quite amusing. The effects are awful but all part of the charm. 

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The Ransom of Rusty Rex, directed by Ryan Schifrin - Two men decide to kidnap a famous horror director's son, but are in for a shock when they make the ransom call and his parents aren't interested in getting him back. With a cameo from living legend John Landis, this film is very clever and very, very funny. All the performances in this short are just great and it is possibly one of my favourites from the selection. 

Bad Seed, directed by Neil Marshall - On Halloween night, a husband is carving Jack-O-Lanterns when, rather unexpectedly, his head is bitten clean off by an evil pumpkin. In a race to save the town from this blood-thirsty fruit, a police officer (played by Kristina Klebe) and her partner must find and destroy it. This one is a bit all over the place and appears to be a satire based on the likes of Critters (Stephen Herek, 1986) and Gremlins (Joe Dante, 1984). Possibly the only enjoyable thing about this is the cameos - Joe Dante himself plays a mad scientist whilst horror director, Neil Marshall also makes a surprising appearance. The story of this one was quite basic but something tells me it would be well received by FrightFest fans. 

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Overall, I felt that Tales of Halloween is the perfect film for Fright Fest lovers. Whilst it is made up of both comedy and actual scares, it's very clearly made by horror fans for horror fans. I must say that I enjoyed some of the short stories more than others but I really liked how they cross over subtly. Some scenes were genuinely very funny where as some were just plain strange but all equally enjoyable. I have to say, I was not expecting anything special but was very pleasantly surprised. To be taken at face value and perhaps sometimes with a pinch of salt, Tales of Halloween gets a Sophie star rating of 3 out of 5 stars. 

Well, that's it for another film review. Have you seen Tales of Halloween? What was your favourite short film? As always, I love reading your comments so please do leave me lots of lovely ones down below. Thanks so much to Arrow Films for allowing me the chance to give this little Halloween treat a review. 

Until next time, have a fantastic Halloween weekend ghouls and gals, 



  1. This sounds very cool Sophie, I'd not heard of it until now. I'm a big fan of Darren Lynn Bousman as he makes some excellent horror films. I'd love to see this so thanks for your review. Happy Halloween! xx


    1. Happy Halloween! Aw yeah didn't he do some of the Saw films? Let me know what you think if you get a chance to watch it :) xx

  2. I haven't seen this one yet so I'll look around for it. As far as horror anthologies go, I like Tales from the Darkside (1990), particularly the segment with James Remar and Rae Dawn Chong. The TV show upon it was based had some scary episodes, too.

    1. Oh cool I haven't seen that - I'll see if I can track it down :) I think you'd like this as some of them are funny and some of them are just fun twisted tales. I'd love to know what you think -amazing horror cameos as well! Have a great Halloween!


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