It’s October. Time to talk horror. This year I’m reviewing a different horror movie each day of the month.
With Adrienne Barbeau, Lisa Marie, Stuart Gordon, Lin Shaye, Barbara Crampton, John Landis, Joe Dante, and a couple of Troma regulars, the cast of Tales of Halloween reads like the guest list at a mega-sized horror convention. Hell, that’s not even everybody you’ll recognize. My only complaint about the casting? Nobody gets any more screen-time than a handful of minutes.
Barbeau, riffing on her role in The Fog, probably gets the most time in this anthology. Her narration serves as the glue for the ten stories, the subject matter of which ranges from aliens to demons and psychopathic children. At worst, the stories in Tales of Halloween are pointless, but more often than not they’re gleefully entertaining, not to mention funny. Even when the stories are pointless, they’re never boring.
In the first segment, a child wonders why his joyless parents confiscate his candy haul every year. When he’s supposed to be in bed, he sneaks out of his bedroom and discovers his parents perversely pigging out on the treats while he sleeps. That’s when he decides to carve them up with a meat cleaver. In another segment, a couple of idiotic criminals kidnap the son of a wealthy man. When they call to make their demands, the father says, “Not interested,” and hangs up on them.
What’s admirable about Tales of Halloween is how seamless it all is. While I liked The ABC’s of Death just a little bit more, that series was a quilted showcase for twenty-six different filmmakers whose wildly varying styles sometimes clashed with one another. Tales of Halloween, on the other hand, is a true collaboration, having actors from one segment walking through the background of the next.
If it’s cartoonish black comedy you’re looking for, Tales of Halloween brings it. It’s already one of my favorite anthology films of all time. You could do a lot worse on a Friday night.
Come back at midnight Central Time for the next (and last!) movie.