Tales of Halloween (2015) Review: Anthology Bore
“Tricks, Treats & Terror Come Knocking”
Synopsis: Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.
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I’ll be honest here: anthology films are not really my thing, and Tales of Halloween did nothing to change my mind on that. Although I appreciate shorts as a vehicle for budding talent to get their names out there, I find that I’m too annoyed by the time constraints – when a short is good, I’m always frustrated that it’s not longer; when a short is bad, I dislike that it took time away from other highlighted pieces.
In this case, while there were a few moments and characters I enjoyed, I generally found that even the better shorts were pretty shaky.
- I enjoyed the interconnected nature of the shorts; they all take place in the same town and so involve some of the same characters, the same movie on TV, the same radio DJ (Adrienne Barbeau).
- Barry Bostwick is hilarious.
- There were a lot of references and callbacks to other horror flicks. Some of these worked better than others, but I always appreciate the nod to the past.
- The segments were fairly polished, and even when the gore wasn’t believable, it was interesting-looking.
- Most of the shorts lacked a good ambiance. They were neither scary nor particularly funny, and although most of them endeavored to involve some sort of twist, those were generally not successful at redeeming the otherwise banal stories. The “Grim Grinning Ghost” segment with Lin Shaye barely had a plot at all.
- Special effects were very hit or miss. The gore is generally good, but anything else the movie tries for usually ends up looking laughable. (Pollyanna McIntosh gets saddled with some pretty poor effects.)
Many of the actors fail to earn even a “decent” rating; the majority are downright bad, and seem out of place in a movie with so many big names.
As much as I enjoyed a moment here and there, I doubt I’ll ever go back to Tales of Halloween. If you’re a casual horror fan who likes anthologies and wants something easy on the brain, you may get more out of this flick than I did. But you’re probably better off watching something else.
Calamity Brains’ Rating: C-
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