Features and Columns · Movies

Tales of Halloween Gets a Scary Good Blu-ray Release

By  · Published on October 27th, 2016

Epic Pictures brings one of last year’s best horror anthologies to home video.

Horror anthology films are making something of a comeback, and that’s great news even assuming that they’ll be a mixed bag when it comes to quality. Tales of Halloween features ten tales from eleven writers/directors who’ve come together as an ensemble known as The October Society. There are highs and lows to be found, but happily there are far more of the former than the latter thanks to no shortage of gory delights, fun twists, and cameos by the likes of John Landis, Joe Dante, and Adrienne Barbeau (as a radio DJ who neglects to mention the strange fog bank rolling into town).

One of the best is also the film’s darkest. Adam Gierasch’s “Trick” sees two couples sharing drinks and door duty as cute little kids come knocking for candy, but the night takes a turn when some of the children come looking for more than sugary treats. It goes to some mean and grisly places before revealing the even more sinister motivation behind it all. There are still a few laughs along the way, but don’t expect a funny punch of an ending. Axelle Carolyn, who also spear-headed the anthology, delivers the cautionary tale of the “Grimm Grinning Ghost,” about a young woman (Alexandra Essoe) targeted by Bloody Mary-like urban legend. There are a couple of truly creepy moments here aided by attractive camera work and a knowing visual style, and while it plays with expectations a bit it manages to end with a well-timed shock.

Two others bring big laughs with creative spins on familiar horror yarns. Mike Mendez’s “Friday the 31st” finds a young woman on the run from a masked, backwoods killer who’s already slain all of her friends. The setup is familiar to slasher fans, but it quickly shifts gears in a fun and unpredictable direction. Neil Marshall closes out the film with “Bad Seed,” a tale of a Jack-o-lantern gone bad, and while Joe Dante cameos it’s Kristina Klebe and her seed-filled nemesis who steal the show. The monster here is fun and creatively-designed, the ending leaves you wanting more and Klebe’s hard-ass cop is one you’ll want to see in action again.

Tales of Halloween is good fun, and while part of me wishes that more of the stories had aimed for darker and scarier goals the end result is still a love letter to genre fans. The EC Comics attitude finds a new home with Carolyn and her crew, and with any luck the film will spawn a new Halloween tradition of fun, gory, spooky anthology films highlighted by short, messy bursts of genre talent. (Read my full review.)

The Blu-ray from Epic Pictures is a fantastic four-disc set featuring the film on Blu-ray and DVD, a special features DVD, and a soundtrack CD. The extras include a full-length commentary featuring several of the directors (and well worth a listen for some fun anecdotes, Easter Egg reveals, and names of filmmakers who said no to the film), the film’s trailer, a still gallery, and lots more.

The bonus disc also features additional short films made previously by some of the filmmakers.

Just as they did with their release of the terrifically fun Turbo Kid, Epic Pictures has put together a wonderfully extensive Blu-ray showing the love that went into the film itself with its packaging, extras, and a terrific commentary. The movie’s a fun new addition to your Halloween roster, and the disc is worth adding to your collection.

Tales Of Halloween Collector's Edition, Box Set with Soundtrack

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since before you were born, which is weird seeing as he's so damn young. He's our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists 'Broadcast News' as his favorite film of all time. Feel free to say hi if you see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.