Comedy DVD Review

'Tales of Halloween' DVD Review: Tales from the darkly funny side

October 31, 2016Ben 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 creeps onto DVD just in time to celebrate its namesake holiday, and the technical results are sure to please even the most discerning ghoul and goblin. Picture quality is excellent for standard definition, and it's consistent among all the shorts; color saturation is great, especially when it comes to the punchy hues of deep red, orange, blue, green and purple; and contrast is excellent, which is good news, since the majority of the feature takes place at night. As for the disc's Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix, it may not be demo material, but it certainly gets the job done when it comes to the movie's array of horrified shrieks and demonic screams, not to mention the sounds of roaring flames, squirting blood and the rare gunshot.

Anchor Bay's single-disc DVD release includes the following extra:

  • Tales of Halloween Official Trailer (1:12)

Tales of Halloween is available from Anchor Bay Entertainment as of September 27th, 2016. The DVD features English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The total runtime is 1 Hr.32 Mins.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this DVD review were adapted from my Toronto After Dark film festival review, published on October 16th, 2015.

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