Here’s a Shock: Some of Horror Anthology ‘Tales of Halloween’ Is Excellent


In recent years, American horror movie fans have largely found themselves choosing between two generally unappetizing categories: “found footage” (the better to skimp on your budget, my dear) and remakes, which always struck me as particularly worthless because you already know the ending.

Epic Pictures’ Tales of Halloween is a welcome change not only because it consists of short films and not security video/camcorder recordings, but also because we haven’t seen most of what follows before.

The stories themselves, all associated in some way with that one night in October when we don’t constantly fret about Jesus, are all over the map. The tone lurches from pure horror (Axelle Carolyn’s Bradbury-esque “Grim Grinning Ghost”) to comedic horror (the Evil Dead–tinged “Friday the 31st”) to “what the hell did I just watch?” (Neil Marshall’s — yes, that Neil Marshall — murderous-jack-o’-lantern epic “Bad Seed”). All the same, there are quite a few decent jolts, and even some laughs to be had.

And again, as is usually the case with anthologies, the quality mileage varies. Paul Solet’s perfunctory “The Weak and the Wicked” attempts to substitute GoPro shots for suspense, while “This Means War” is an All Hallows’ Eve Deck the Halls. But when Tales of Halloween works, it does so admirably. Darren Lynn Bousman’s “The Night Billy Raised Hell” entertainingly demonstrates the perils of pranking the Devil, while Lucky McKee’s “Ding Dong,” a spin on wicked-witch tales starring McKee mainstay Pollyanna McIntosh, might be the best of the bunch. There’s much to like here, and ample scares for your brains. Your delicious brains.

Tales of Halloween

Directed by various

Epic Pictures

Available on demand