Tales of Halloween

Normally I’m dubious about anthology horror films with the exceptions of Chillerama and Waxwork which are fairly good. Creepshow on the other hand was more of an endurance test, particularly when Ted Danson dukes it out with Leslie Nielson for what seemed like an eternity (the argument they have with Danson buried up to his head in the sand is unforgettable but perhaps not for the right reasons!). However Tales of Halloween was pleasantly entertaining for its runtime. Introduced by a radio DJ played by Adrienne Barbeau, the film is comprised of ten short stories linked by the theme of you guessed it…Halloween. Tales of Halloween was also enjoyable as a harking back to American suburban horror films from the 80s replete with cheerleaders, stereotypical cops, geeks, jocks and so forth.

Ted Danson and Leslie Nielson arguing fighting each other until the end of time in Creepshow.
Ted Danson and Leslie Nielson locked in mortal combat until the end of time in Creepshow.

The best shorts were Friday the 31st about a Leather face-esque killer who has the tables turned on him by an incredibly cute little grey alien. I thought the choice of stop motion for the alien was a genius idea. The short had a good amount of consistency, the girl who gets killed at the start is possessed by the alien and the effects used when she flies through the forest in pursuit rendered her both creepy and cool. I also quite liked The Night Billy Raised Hell, the actor was quite funny in playing the demonic neighbour who replaces Billy with his own minion as they commit various crimes and acts of hooliganism across town. The Ransom of Rusty Rex was predictable though mildly amusing while Trick had a disturbing concept and twist where trick of treating kids end up viciously killing a bunch of adults who have a rather evil and sordid hobby. Ding Dong was an amusing short which featured a very good performance from Pollyanna McIntosh playing a witch who desperately wants kids with her virtually emasculated husband, who is forced by her to dress up as Hansel for Halloween.

The witch in Tales of Halloween
The witch in Tales of Halloween

The ones I was a bit indifferent to were Sweet Tooth which I found formulaic (excellent excessive gore though), Grimm Grinning Ghost (visually frightening ending but the story felt flat), This Means War (metal neighbours move in next door and irritate off the local dude, the short just seemed to play on stereotypical metal tropes and the ending wasn’t particularly scary or horrific) and The Weak and The Wicked which had a good revenge premise but failed to deliver. The final film, Bad Seed about Killer Pumpkins has a good pictorial joke and an excellent parody on 70s/80s cop show dramas but overall it ended on a whimper. I was expecting some link to be revealed that would tie all the events in the film together like in Chillerama or Waxwork. Regardless of these criticisms, Tales of Halloween is still pretty good, with plenty of gore, jokes and a sense of the absurd to keep things entertaining over the duration of the ten shorts.

 

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