Review: TALES OF HALLOWEEN

talesofhalloweenposterThe anthology genre is not a new concept in horror as many fans my age grew up on classics such as CREEPSHOW and TALES FROM THE CRYPT. As I got older, its popularity leveled down a bit until a mini resurgence in recent years. On television we have AMERICAN HORROR STORY where every year brings back the same actors in different roles for a season long premise. In feature length films, the VHS franchise has developed a following, bringing audiences gut drenched shorts that sees no limits in its depiction of violence. In 2007, writer/director Michael Dougherty introduced the world to Sam, our silent horror icon in TRICK R TREAT, a deliciously fun bag of goodies that’s become a Halloween staple in my house as it’s rare horror film that’s actually set during the holiday.

Actress/director Axelle Carolyn decided to utilize her love of the holiday, gather her filmmaker friends, and together made a collection of segments all set in the same universe, but enough thematic differences for them to each stand on their own. That is what makes TALES OF HALLOWEEN a success.

Each story tells of ghosts, killers, demons, and more ghoulish acts and it would be a shame to spoil the fun for unsuspecting viewers. If you’re reading this, then chances are you’re already in for the fun. One of the biggest strengths of TALES OF HALLOWEEN is the lack of frame story that often feels like filler in other anthology films. It has a fuck you attitude and dives into the next bloody tale without any introduction or preparation, which adds to its delight.

I got to see this with a big crowd during the opening night at Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival in Rosemont, Illinois and it was clear there was joy coming from not knowing what to expect from each story. Each segment ended with an applause and laughter and proved to be a crowd pleaser. There’s plenty of blink and you might miss it cameos from genre favorites like Felissa Rose and James Wan, along with strong influences that’ll make you elbow your buddy when you recognize the references. The blood splatter gags resulted in crazy laughter as many have unsuspecting payoffs. You can’t watch this movie without smiling and it’s nice to see each short is strong. There’s often arguments in anthology projects about too many weak links that cause viewers to lose interest or roll their eyes, but they all miraculously work here. From the blood drenched fun of a Halloween legend to an incredibly scary segment starring Alex Essoe of STARRY EYES fame, there’s something for everyone here. It leaves you with stories that you’ll want to tell children that might be deemed too young to watch and for those who might have to wait to borrow the DVD from a friend to catch a glimpse of what left such an impression. There’s no doubt it will have an immediate following and promise imitators at convention scenes. TALES OF HALLOWEEN is due for release in October and will become an annual viewing for all the freaks who love this shit as much as I do.

Icons' Jovy Skol w/ TALES OF HALLOWEEN directors Mike Mendez and John Skipp

Icons’ Jovy Skol w/ TALES OF HALLOWEEN directors Mike Mendez and John Skipp

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