While Halloween has officially come and gone, that doesn’t mean audiences can’t still see October’s new releases. Tales of Halloween, released through video on demand on October 16th, was named by Fangoria as “the best horror anthology since Trick ‘r Treat”, but what does that actually mean? Horror anthologies aren’t something that cinema fans are treated to regularly, so to say Tales of Halloween is the “best” is not quite the boast a reader might imagine.
For horror buffs, there is a moment of instant gratification as the movie starts. Adrienne Barbeau appears on screen, speaking huskily into a microphone. The moment is so familiar, someone might wonder if they haven’t accidentally started watching The Fog. Colorful and animated credits follow, setting a tone for a film that is more camp than terror.
The movie features a total of 10 shorts which progress quickly and are loosely connected. Perhaps because of their time limitations, some of the tales tend to be rather predictable. The opener, “Sweet Tooth” exemplifies this with a teenager telling a story about eating all of the candy and not leaving anything for the sinister ghoul called Sweet Tooth. It’s logical to guess what might happen next.
“The Night Billy Raised Hell” features Barry Bostwick as the Devil, and in “Grim Grinning Ghost,” veteran Lin Shaye appears as a mother enthusiastically trying to scare her daughter with a ghost story. Some smaller cameos are peppered throughout the rest of the film.
As the stories progress the film begins to embrace, more and more, the campy feeling it’s going for. The shorts start out predictably but the sum of the movie is finalized with “Bad Seed,” in which a genetically altered man eating pumpkin terrorizes the town.
Tales of Halloween isn’t the instant cult classic that it might like to be, but it still makes a great movie night with a significant other or friends. There are no real surprises or terrors to be found within, but there are a few genuine laughs.