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'Tales of Halloween' Toronto After Dark Capsule Review

October 16, 2015Ben MK

From Creepshow and Tales from the Darkside to Trick 'r Treat and The ABCs of Death, anthology films have long held a special place in the hearts of horror fans. Well now there's a new horror anthology to add to your annual Halloween marathon viewing lists: the aptly named Tales of Halloween.

Set over the course of one particularly eventful Halloween night, in a small town where Adrienne Barbeau is a DJ for the local radio station (a nod to her role in John Carpenter's 1980 classic, The Fog), the movie brings together eleven directors (among them, The Woman's Lucky McKee, Saw II's Darren Lynn Bousman and The Descent's Neil Marshall) to shepherd viewers through ten loosely-interconnected tales of blood, guts and dismemberment. But unlike movies like V/H/S (and its sequel), the overall tone of the piece is more playful than it is terrifying, with a macabre sense of twisted humor taking precedence over genuine frights.

Of course, that's not to say Tales of Halloween is totally without its share of scares. However, they're largely of the "jump" variety. Still, horror fans are sure to get a kick out of the movie's campy creature effects, not to mention its buckets of gore and the laundry list of cameos from a veritable who's who of the genre. As for the shorts themselves, they run the gamut from stories about urban-legends-come-to-life and tales of just desserts to one about a Leatherface-like serial killer who must do battle with the reanimated corpse of his latest victim, and another about a cop who must hunt down a killer jack o' lantern. Yes, "it has something for everyone" is a phrase that's often overused; but in the case of Tales of Halloween, it really is quite apropos.

Tales of Halloween received its Toronto premiere at Toronto After Dark 2015, and was preceded by director Vivieno Caldinelli's short film, Portal to Hell!!! For these and more titles from this year's festival, visit torontoafterdark.com.

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