It’s a great and genuinely creepy story that would work well as a full-length film, but as a short it leaves you wanting more. This is exactly what all short films should strive for, and it puts Grim Grinning Ghost up at the top of this collection.
One of the other stand-out films in Tales of Halloween is ‘Ding Dong’, which features a depressed mother who yearns for a child. Deciding to seize Halloween as a chance to reach out to children, she reveals a much more sinister nature. It manages to be comical, creepy and a little bit tragic at the same time, fitting quite a lot into a very short film. Pollyanna McIntosh (White Settlers, Exam, Let Us Prey) plays her part beautifully, making you both intimidated but also sympathetic.
Unfortunately, not all of the shorts in Tales of Halloween are great, and next to the aforementioned films, ‘This Means War’ is a little dull by comparison. The story revolves around two neighbours locking horns over who has the superior Halloween decorations. It’s not particularly enthralling, lacks any real punch, and sticks out as one of the less interesting shorts on offer.
‘Friday the 31st’ obviously draws heavy inspiration from the infamous Jason Voorhees slasher franchise, immediately evident by the machete-wielding deformed murderer. However, while at first you might jump to accusations of plagiarism, this story soon takes a very bizarre twist and becomes one of the goriest and most ridiculous films on this list.
Beyond the individual stories, it was a great idea to actually tie these films together in the same setting. Some of the characters make appearances in multiple shorts, even just for a split second, and the result is that you start building up an image of a really bizarre town, across which insane stories unfold alongside one another. It elevates Tales of Halloween somewhat beyond simply being an assortment of films, to a richer, more connected collection of stories.
Tales of Halloween has some weaker contributions that it could have done without perhaps, but overall it embodies everything about Halloween, from the scary to the hilarious. It’s a lot like sitting around a campfire listening to ghost stories by friends. There’s a much more personal touch here due to the number of people working with one another, connecting their stories, and it comes across to make a very enjoyable experience.
Review: Tales of Halloween
By Ross Wildish - 31st October 2015
If you’re a bit stuck as to what sort of horror film to watch this Halloween, why settle? Tales of Halloween tells 10 tales of horror and gore set in an American suburb one All Hallow’s Eve. Featuring acclaimed directors such as Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent) and Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, III and IV, Repo! The Genetic Opera), Tales of Halloween draws from the entirety of the horror genre to deliver an eclectic assortment of shorts.
Neil Marshall’s contribution - Bad Seed - features a mutated killer pumpkin rampaging across the neighbourhood and chewing on anyone it comes across. It’s a pretty simple, but for a short this is what you would expect. It’s quick, ridiculous and fun, like many of the films in this collection.
The shorts in Tales of Halloween do tend to fall into the comical horror category, and aren’t that serious at all. One of the exceptions is ‘Grim Grinning Ghost’, which features Lin Shaye (Insidious, Ouija, Grace) telling a ghost story about a bullied disfigured girl with a hatred for Halloween.