There’s something magical about this time of year. The weather isn’t extremely hot or extremely cold. It’s comfortable. It’s awesome. Kids appreciate the sunny days a little more because they know that soon they will be stuck indoors. The leaves on the trees that were once a dark and healthy green now have yellow if you look close enough. But, most importantly, horror changes from slashers at summer camps and creature features at the beaches to ghosts and ghouls in graveyards right about now.
The month of October is a week away, and October has become the month of Halloween. Unfortunately, we don’t have a fancy name to the countdown that leads up to Halloween like Christmas has with Advent. I’m sure it’s coming though. Halloween is the second biggest holiday in this country for retailers. Unfortunately, it seems that people are spending more money on decorations and costumes and are spending less time watching horror movies on television. At least, that’s what my network schedule has told me for the past few years. It seems we only get fed Halloween movies and a splatter of random B-movies on that final weekend. What happened to things like MonsterVision or (my personal favorite) The Son of Ghoul taking over their collective channels and introducing me and my friends to all sorts of scary fun? It’s a shame that Netflix has surpassed network tv just for this reason.
Hopefully, some of you stumble across Tales of Halloween (2015) this October. If you are the person always recommending horror movies to your friends over the next month, please recommend this one. It takes the magic of Halloween we felt as kids and splices it with the spirit of Halloween we celebrate today. Halloween is fun and scary, and that’s exactly what Tales of Halloween is: fun and scary.
Tales of Halloween is an anthology film featuring some very well known horror directors such as Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III, and IV), Neil Marshall (The Descent, Dog Soldiers), Lucky McKee (May), and more. It features quite the list of talent as well: There are just way too many to be named but almost all will be recognized to avid horror fans. Each director has his own tone and ways of telling a story which plays well for this anthology. Usually, we are fed a formula of 3-4 stories with a wraparound. Tales crams 10 different stories into its run time and feels neither rushed or slow in places. Some (like Sweet Tooth) are downright scary while others (like Friday the 31st) are goofy as well. Each director has to get to the point quickly as well with only a few minutes (if at all) spent on set-up.
What all of these directors understand about Halloween movies is that we don’t want to be force fed the same horror formulas over and over again and be told we need to be scared by it (I’m looking at you Ouija.). The Weak and the Wicked explores how big and unstoppable bullies felt like when we were children while honoring older anthologies like Creepshow 2. Sweet Tooth needs to be expanded to a feature. Friday the 31st may be the best idea I’ve ever heard of for a short film (and shot phenomenally as well). This Means War pits two factions of horror fans against each other: those that are into grim and those that are gruesome. It also was my favorite short because of its complete originality. Grimm Grinning Ghost is a great play which seems to be inspired by the creepypasta The Smiling Man. Trick and Ding Dong are just devilish delights.
Everybody involved in this film are horror fans (and it shows by the nods to films of not just Friday the 13th but to films like Halloween 3). Hell, even the poster looks like it could have appeared in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Great lengths were taken to make sure this film stood out from everything else and I (as a horror fan) greatly appreciated it. The opening and closing credits rocked (if you’re into that whole scary Babadook pop-up book thing). Narrating it all is the famous radio voice from The Fog Adrienne Barbeau.
So, we have a movie to watch this fall with the likes of Halloween, Trick R Treat, and Night of the Demons. If you liked the VHS series, Tales of Halloween will blow you away. But don’t take my word for it alone: It comes out October 16th. Check it out for yourselves. It is a definite recommend.