Horror Movie Blog: Tales Of Halloween

When it comes to horror anthology movies, the filmmakers usually shoot for four or five. In this movie, there's ten. I mean it could be worse, there could be 26 and be over two hours long. 

But overall, while the film isn't scary at all, it is a lot of fun too watch. If the goal was to capture a Halloween vibe, then that's what they did. Most of the shorts are comedies, with only two that try to take it seriously. My only overall critique of the film is that there wasn't really much diversity in the direction. You could have told me that all 10 shorts were directed by the same person and I would have believed you. But let's analysis each short on its own.

1. Sweet Tooth: A kid is told a story by his sister and her boyfriend about a kid named Sweet Tooth, a kid who loved trick or treating, but his parents confiscated his candy. Sweet Tooth later learned that his parents were eating the candy behind his back, erotically by the way. So he killed them and ate their organs. The jest of the sister's story is that if you don't share your candy with Sweet Tooth, he'll kill you and eat your organs. And the rest is what you'd might expect, Sweet Tooth turns out to be real and he kills the sister and boyfriend cause they didn't share their candy with him. Yeah, it's dumb, but they all are. But is it fun? Yeah, in a "urban legend turned real" kind of way. My only complaint is that its sort of weird to have the first short presented in the film be one of the more serious ones (serious as in it buts more effort into the horror elements than the others, either though the others are clearly trying to be comedies). But then again, I don't which of the the 10 shorts would be the best one to start with, so maybe it is for the best to start with the more serious one. 

2. The Night Billy Raised Hell: A sister and her boyfriend peer pressured a little boy to egg a man's house. The man came out and was like "you call that a prank? THIS is a prank!". And then what appears to be the man and the boy going around town causing mayhem and destruction. The short ends with a twist that's really cruel, but at the same time delivers on that cheesy story telling this film seems to be going for. But what ruins the short for me is the sound effects. Some asshole thought the performance and the writing wasn't funny enough, so they put obnoxious, cliched cartoon sound effects over all the character's movements. And it's not just this short either, some of the other shorts have stupid SoundBible sound effects too. This is suppose to be a professional movie, use foley you lazy fucks! But Adrianne Curry in a sexy outfit saved it. Damn... 

3. Trick: A bunch of trick or treaters invade a home and kill the residents, only for us to discover that it was a rescue mission. Yeah, at this point you start to get the jest of what type of shorts your in for. They are very mindless and usually end with a twist in order to give the short some pay off in terms of story telling. I will say that this is one of the only ones that kind of scares you. But you'll quickly forget about it. 

4. The Weak and The Wicked: This one doesn't really have anything to do with Halloween. It's about three bullies who get their comeuppance after one of their victims lures them to where they lite his house on fire. The majority of the short is the bullies chasing the victim, only to build up to a "twist". Again, this one pretty forgettable. 

5. Grim Grinning Ghost: GOD DAMN IT! This is like the third time Lin Shaye popped up in one of my reviews. Ah well, in this she tells a ghost story, and guess what, turns out the ghost is real, and haunts one of Lin's friends. Uneventful and kind of dull, but of all the shorts, this one was the closest in actually scaring me. So I'll give it props for that. 

6. Ding Dong: I award this the turd in the punchbowl award, and that this is the movie's worst short, mainly because of how confusing it was. It's about a witch-monster woman who wants a child, but her husband can't give her a child, but it turns out he can't on purpose cause he got a vasectomy, and his reasoning is because the woman is abusive towards him, so he thinks she'll be abusive towards the baby. But the entire short is about the witch giving out candy to trick or treaters. But before she did, she'd always buff up her breasts as if to show off her cleavage. So... Was she trying to seduce the children? Was that it? Or was she trying to lure them in to eat them? How does buffing up her breasts lure children into their home? The only thing I liked about this one was that some of the trick or treaters were the kids we saw in the other shorts, including one that wasn't introduced until later in the film. I like it when anthologies put in a little continuity. 

7. This Means War: I might be reading too deeply into this, but this short almost feels like it's being allegorical. Two houses rival each other over which one has the best haunted house decoration. One is cheesy in that old fashion kind of way, while the other in bloody and goth. The older gentlemen sees his decorations as art while seeing his rival's as trash. Meanwhile the rival thinks they are on the same page and that the old timer should lighten up. This eventually leads the two into a brawl that results in both their decorations getting destroyed and both of them impaled on a stake. If the allegories were intentional, then I will call this the best one of the film. If not, it's still charming. 

8. Friday the 31st: It starts off with a girl in a Dorthy from Wizard of Oz costume fleeing a disfigured man resembling Jason (but not Jason, cause copyright and shit). So not Jason kills her, only for a stop motion alien to beam down from the UFO in front of him, asking for trick or treat candy. Not Jason tries to kill it, but fails, resulting in the alien possessing the body of the dead girl and going after not Jason. So the point of this short was role reversal, with not Jason becoming the victim and the girl becoming the chaser. Clever, but nothing to write home about. 

9. The Ransom of Rusty Rex: The child of a millionaire is kidnapped by two goons, only for the goons to discover the child is really a goblin. The lead kidnapper did a great job, his performance reminded me of Dennis from It's Always Sunny for some reason. When I was watching this, I might have counted the number of the shorts wrong, because up until that point I thought there was nine, and this was the last one. What I thought would happen was that the goons would drop off the goblin at the old man's house from the second house, since he had a goblin creature too, revealing that all these shorts occurred on the same night in the same town, thus giving us a satisfying ending. But no, the short just ends with one of the goons getting killed. 

10. Bad Seed: So this is the real finale of the film. A Jack O Lantern comes alive and kills people. A cop kills it, only to discover it came from a facility that grew thousands of them. They really should have ended on the goblin one, this one was pretty weak. I guess what they were trying to do is what I suggested, revealing that all these shorts happened on the same night. But the problem was they were pretty clumsy with it. We learn about the shared universe from when the cop goes back to the police station, only for us to see it's filled with lunatics and people covered in blood. Then the chief complains about he's was getting calls of strange occurrences. But the thing is, what he listed as examples never happened in the film, they only thing he referenced was the UFO. My theory is that whoever made this short had no idea what the other directors were doing and was only told early ideas of what was going on, which might have been scrapped except for the UFO. It's a damn shame, if they just pulled off the police station scene, this would have been a fine ending. 

But with all that said, here's my final thoughts. This movie is like Halloween candy; it's bad for you, it comes in all different flavors and shapes, but boy is it sweet. If you are looking for a dumb collections of fun shorts, this is just for you.