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Tales of Halloween: Jack-O-Lanterns Eat People & Aliens Battle Mutant Slashers in Fun Anthology [Review]

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The new anthology horror film Tales of Halloween is available now on iTunes to check out this month! 10 Short films neatly woven together when it matters and directed by film-makers like Darren Lynn Bousman and Neil Marshall. It stars Sam Witwer, Ben Woolf, Barry Bostwick, Adrienne Barbeau, Grace Phipps and MANY more.

Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.

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Since there were times when I just sat there shaking my head not impressed and other moments when I was laughing like a maniac or legitimately disturbed at the horror on my television – I thought I’d break each short film down on it’s own in very brief mini-reviews. Tales of Halloween is an anthology in the loosest of terms because characters that bounce in and out of other segments, didn’t really impact the movie in the grand scheme of things. This feature was more a collection of shorts in the style of ABC’s of Horror.

Sweet Tooth – Directed by Dave Parker

This was one heck of a way to kick Tales of Halloween into gear. Lovely Halloween imagery all over the place and we ignite this bitch with a story told by some douchebag to this little kid in order to scare the shit out of him. The flashback origin of ‘Sweet Tooth’ was jarring but well done and truly set up the goriest finish of the entire anthology but also one of the most fitting as it followed the rules of Halloween.

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The Night Billy Raised Hell – Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman

I was shocked that Bousman’s contribution to this set wound up being one of two that I was least impressed by. There’s a twist ending however that makes up for the inherent goofiness that didn’t vibe well for me. The sound effects and cartoonish nature of this segment came off as lame and jarring considering we just witnessed people getting their guts pulled out in the previous film.

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Trick – Directed by Adam Gierasch

What starts off like a mindless breaking and entering slasher flick with very little substance turns into something supremely twisted. Little kids wreak havoc on some stoners and the shocking acts of violence they inflict upon them are truly awful. This was one of — if not the best twist endings to any segment in the set.

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The Weak and The Wicked – Directed by Paul Solet

This short may have been the most well thought out and crafted “story” of the bunch. There’s a nice revenge plot and that sorta thing seems to work well in this anthology, plus the great use of music and acting all amplified this segment to the highest possible degree. My one gripe is the abrupt ending which left me unsatisfied when I was feeling violent for some reason and wanted to see more payback.

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Grim Grinning Ghost – Directed by Axelle Carolyn

I may have been most angry at this one… There is one great use of “creeping” when the ghost is closing in on this poor woman and we see some shadowy hands, but the payoff is laughable and executed so abrupt it’s about on par with those YouTube clips where something ugly pops up on the screen quickly and that’s it.

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Ding Dong – Directed by Lucky McKee

I don’t know what the fuck this was. It had some interesting moments but the Hansel and Gretal theme came across as overly bizarre, rather than frightening. Great effects with the red rage witch deal, but aside from that — nothing special.

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Friday The 31st – Directed by Mike Mendez

Cheese. This was the funniest and most outrageous short film of the set and because of the nature and tone – it also becomes one of the most successful. What starts as a Friday the 13th knock-off, results in a slapstick battle between monsters in an action sequence that would make Evil Dead fans proud.

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The Ransom of Rusty Rex – Directed by Ryan Schifrin

Having Sam Witwer and Jose Pablo Cantillo play kidnappers who accidentally take hostage a little monster could have been the premise of an entire film. The comedy, the chemistry between our two leads; everything was money. Watching Witwer’s facial reactions as he eats that burger in the car was a riot. One of the funniest moments of the anthology by far.

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This Means War – Directed by Andrew Kasch

There’s a weird vibe on this short, because it’s semi-serious, semi-slapstick but all Halloween. There’s the oldschool fans vs. the newschool and quite literally everything comes to a violent clash of ideals in a segment that’s fun to watch but not too memorable.

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Bad Seed – Directed by Neil Marshall

I could watch an entire movie revolving around this concept. It’s simple and hearkens back to something along the lines of Treevenge from Hobo With a Shotgun Director Jason Eisener but it’s a blast regardless of the similarities. It plays out like a cheesy 80’s B-Movie but the violence is so jarring and twisted that I really craved more on a larger scale. It only stung me more when that very idea is promised by the end of Marshall’s short only for Tales of Halloween to wrap up completely. Bring me an army of Jack-O-Lanterns!

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