Horror anthologies are a bit of a mixed bag and toyed with extinction when the popularity of genre films dissipated after the boom of the ’80s. In recent years they’ve made somewhat of a comeback with the success of V/H/S and the ABCs of Death, but it’s Trick ‘r Treat which really set the standard. Axelle Carolyn’s Tales of Halloween looks to Trick ‘r Treat thematically but it fails to have the self-belief, commitment or quality of writing to rival it in terms of quality.
In Tales of Halloween ten short films are collected together around the theme of Halloween. Adrienne Barbeau ties the stories together as a late night radio DJ channelling The Warriors. Several of the segments revolve around folk tales and feature a plethora or familiar faces from both infront and behind the camera. Neil Marshall, Lucky Mckee and Darren Lynn Bousman are amongst those helming the snippets but nothing ever really clicks.
There are some interesting ideas and plays on a theme but all too often the obsession with in-jokes and tired horror tropes stall those good intentions. The best moments are undoubtedly Marshall’s Ding Dong, a clever take on Hansel and Gretel starring Pollyanna McIntosh, and McKee’s Bad Seed about a killer pumpkin terrorising a neighbourhood. Tales of Halloween is entertaining enough, and will particularly please genre fans, but it lacks the substance to provide much broader appeal.
Tales of Halloween is available on VoD and as a digital download now.