One night. One town. Ten chilling stories.
Tales Of Halloween is a portmanteau collection of ten short horror stories all set on the night of Halloween. My initial reaction to any anthology movie with ten sections is ‘too many’, but at least this one is only 92 minutes long so they don’t overstay their welcome.
Before watching this film you need to know that it’s a comedy horror. Yes, there are some nasty moments but for the most part it has its tongue firmly in its cheek. That’s obvious from the opening credits which reminded me of Beetlejuice (1988) and sets the tone nicely.
As usual with portmanteau movies there are ups and downs, but unusually there are no outright stinkers in Tales of Halloween. A couple of segments such as Grim Grinning Ghost and This Means War don’t really go anywhere, but even they’re watchable.
My favourite was the rather bizarre Ding Dong which centres on a couple unable to have children. This pulls together various ideas from fairy tales and movies in a way that might or might not be allegorical.
Another strange but fun segment was Friday the 31st. As the name might suggest, this starts off as with a slasher with a young woman running from a disfigured killer. However it quickly takes an unexpected and very funny turn. It also has insane amounts of blood so gratuitous as to be laughable in a good way.
And it all ends with a segment about – what else? – a killer pumpkin.
There’s no framing story to this movie, just a few comments from a radio announcer. Despite all the segments having different writers and directors they have quite a lot in common; they’re all filmed in deep colours, few take themselves too seriously and many have children as victims or perpetrators. The stories themselves are also generally better than usual and a couple had twists that caught me by surprise.
So Tales of Halloween is a superior comedy horror anthology. Yes, there are too many stories – dumping a couple and using the time to flesh out a couple of the others would have been a good idea. But overall it’s a lot of fun; not many scares but a good few chuckles.