India has been an avid fan of all things spooky and scary ever since she can remember.
"F*** kidnapping, bro."
— Tales of Halloween, 2015
If you’re anything like me, you probably wish every day was Halloween (it sounds good in theory, anyway). Luckily, you can satisfy your urge for scares by watching 2015’s Tales of Halloween, which features ten spooky shorts from various directors.
I'll admit that horror anthologies have a (mostly deserved) reputation for mediocrity. While Tales of Halloween isn’t Oscar material, it’s still a fun ride—in part because the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously. Instead, it embraces its campy, nostalgic feel to deliver stories that, while not exactly terrifying, are sinister enough to make for an enjoyable experience. As a child of the 2000's, Tales of Halloween reminds me of R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. (I really liked Say Cheese and Die.)
Of course, not all the stories are created equal. Some are cliché and predictable, but others manage to stand out. One of my favorites was Friday the 31st, directed by Mike Mendez. It gets off to a typical start, as a terrified teenager is chased through the woods by a serial killer. However, it isn’t long before the situation takes an unexpected turn. Yes, the special effects are bad—the CGI especially—but how often do we get to see Jason Vorhees fighting a majorly pissed off Dorothy?
Trick, directed by Adam Gierasch, also subverts popular horror tropes. The story starts with four friends enjoying some candy and beer on Halloween night. However, the fun ends when they are attacked by a group of angry trick or treaters. Yet the audience soon realizes that things aren’t what they seem; with the victims exposed as the perpetrators, the roles of hero and villain are reversed, and viewers find themselves rooting for the killers.
Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Night Billy Raised Hell is another impressive entry. The story follows a young boy who eggs the wrong house as part of a Halloween prank—causing him to contend with some unexpected consequences. It's a smart story with a devilish twist.
© 2022 India LaPalme