Every October, more and more filmmakers try to take advantage of the Halloween holiday and use it as the backdrop for their movie. And I eat them all up. Unfortunately, many of them have to be spit back out because they’re just not good movies. But not these two!
TALES OF HALLOWEEN
Following in the footsteps of Trick ‘r Treat and All Hallows’ Eve, this one wraps the holiday in a neat little anthology bow, tied together by Adrienne Barbeau as a DJ (wink wink). The movie packs 10 Halloween themed shorts together, and they’re loaded with gore, humor, Halloween atmosphere, and familiar horror faces, including the likes of Lin Shaye, Tiffany Shepis, Barry Bostwick, Robert Rusler, John Landis, Barbara Crampton, Adam Green…. (the list goes on and on).
Tales of Halloween makes our favorite horror season fun from beginning to end and will undoubtedly become a yearly tradition for many. Here’s a quick breakdown of the stories:
1st story – Keeping candy from a kid on Halloween proves to be a big mistake for one set of parents. Chocolate bars have never been so unappetizing.
2nd story – A crotchety old man teaches a prankster how to be really bad on Halloween. This scrumptious revenge tale is all in bloody fun.
3rd story – Two couples might want to think twice before answering the door when trick or treaters come knocking. Nothing is as it seems in this twisted tale!
4th story – Punks that think they own the streets on Halloween night soon learn the true meaning of the holiday.
5th story – A scary story told at a Halloween party becomes way too real for a chick on her way home. She would have been better off staying at the party.
6th story – A mother struggling to have a child must contend with her inner demons when the kiddies come calling on Halloween. This is pure campy wackiness.
7th story – The horror gets real when neighbors battle it out to have the most gruesome house on the block.
8th story – Imagine Jason Voorhees vs. a Deadite…thanks to a cute little alien. So fricking bizarre, this is pretty much my favorite tale in the bunch. I think. It’s hard to say because so many of them are so good.
9th story – Two kidnappers learn that Halloween is the worst night to abduct a kid in a costume. This one is devilishly good.
10th story – All the tales are tied together in this final story. A killer Jack ‘O lantern is on the loose, and people are like sweet Halloween candy to its taste buds!
And now for something completely different. Sloppy low-budget mess Halloween Hell is just way too much fun to hate.
It opens with a bunch of kids sneaking into a movie studio and being torn apart by a big muscular red demon. I was immediately sold. If only the meat of the film had been this good and gory.
We meet Eric Roberts, who either is Dracula or just thinks he’s Dracula (it’s never clarified). He is flocked by buxom babes as he hosts a pay-per-view reality show on Halloween.
If six young people can stay locked in a building with a possessed statue for the 24 hours of Halloween—and stay alive—they’ll win big bucks. There’s an asshole redneck, a hot nerd, the token black guy aspiring to be a rapper, a Russian blonde babe, and two forgettable dark-haired chicks who sit in the corner griping about how much attention the blonde is getting.
The odd thing about Halloween Hell is that the group spends most of the time just sitting in one room, and the demon comes to them! The opening scene was actually much more thrilling—the main story needed the kids running around the building being chased by the damn demon!
Keeping us entertained in this single room filled with cool horror movie props (but sadly, no pumpkins) is the redneck. Being a big non-believer, he messes with the statue, taunts the geek and the black dude, sexually harasses the chicks, and finally calls for a game of strip poker. When he loses a hand, his striptease rules.
He also gets the best line when he comes face-to-face with the scary sexy demon. In fact, the redneck and the red demon totally make the movie.
We also get a pair of infrared glasses that apparently reveal the demon, but they’re quickly forgotten. Everyone has visions of the demon surrounded by CGI flames. Once in a while, he’s actually there, visible only to the victim, who he simply kills right in front of everyone else. And apparently he can kill viewers through their TV screens—which is demonstrated for us in one random scene. The Russian blonde does a striptease to an awesome 80s-sounding arena rock song, and the nerd has visions of a Caribbean voodoo lady who tells him how to vanquish the demon—just use magnets and catch him in a bottle. The ending is as cheesy as it sounds like it would be.