As a devoted lover of the current indie horror scene, there is no horror movie I was anticipating more this year than Tales of Halloween, an anthology film with contributions from 11 of the strongest voices working in the genre today. This is my event film. This is my Avengers. And it does not disappoint.
Tales of Halloween isn’t just one of the best anthologies of the last 30 years, but also among the best Halloween-themed horror movies ever made. It’s funny and bloody and wicked and affectionate towards the genre in a way that few other films are. It’s the most fun I’ve had at a horror movie in a long, long time.
Starry Eyes’ Alex Essoe, Barbara Crampton, Lin Shaye, Mick Garris, John Landis, Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon, John Savage, Cerina Vincent, Pat Healy, Kristina Klebe, Mark Senter, Graham Skipper, Adam Green, Grace Phipps (Some Kind of Hate), Keir Gilchrist (It Follows)… the list just keeps going. It’s an embarrassment of riches of genre talent, and the film requires multiple viewings just to catch all of the cameos and familiar faces popping up in the background (several of which I have chosen not to name here). It’s also what makes Tales of Halloween more than just another anthology film -- it’s a gleefully joyous celebration of the horror genre and so many of the people who have made an impact within it.
The shorts run the gamut, from the over-the-top splatstick of Mike Mendez’s “Friday the 31st” to Lucky McKee’s twisted fairy tale “Ding Dong” to Axelle Carolyn’s genuinely scary ghost story “Grimm Grinning Ghost” to the Sergio Leone-inspired horror western that is Paul Solet’s “The Weak and the Wicked.” There’s something for everyone, provided that the “everyone” in question is a lover of the genre. Casual fans can still enjoy Tales of Halloween because it’s fun, funny, and wildly entertaining, but it really is a horror movie made for horror nerds. This horror nerd appreciates that fact.
Unlike many horror anthologies, there’s no wraparound story here; after an opening credits sequence wonderfully scored by Lalo Schifrin, things get going right away. The segments do bleed into one another (pun intended), though, and exist in the same universe; trick-or-treaters from one story show up in others, events from the first short are referenced in the last. Whether intentionally or by accident, this group of filmmakers -- all real-life friends who set out to make this movie as a celebration of the community they’ve found together -- cover every possible aspect of the holiday they’re honoring.
If it’s not yet clear (and if it’s not, you clearly haven’t been paying attention), I’m a big, big fan of Tales of Halloween. The passion and joy of everyone involved shoots like a laser out of the screen, beaming directly into the parts of my brain that make me grin like a blissfully happy dork for 90 minutes. I would say it’s a movie that’s soon to become an annual tradition for me, but that would mean I’m only watching it in October and there’s little chance I can limit myself to just one viewing a year. I can’t wait to revisit it again and again, celebrating the best night of the year and my favorite genre with a group of filmmakers clearly having the time of their lives. I love this movie.
Tales of Halloween is in limited release and on VOD and iTunes beginning today, October 16th.
This review was originally published on DailyDead.com.