Fantasia Fest: Tales of Halloween (2015)

My first ever horror anthology everyone! And I get to start it with a world premiere of Tales of Halloween directed by some awesome directors who happen to be hosting the event also.  Included in this group is definitely one of my favorite directors, Neil Marshall, the guy who directed The Descent which is one of my favorite horror movies.  Before the movie started, a few of directors hadn’t seen the final cut because its has only been completed a few days according to them.  To them, this is a project among good friends who would want to direct a movie together and that resulted in 11 directors for 10 stories in this horror anthology. For this one, I was that crazy person scribbling on my notebook in the dark without looking at the paper while the movie was playing and my eyes were glued to the screen. The hype in the theatre was incredible.  Tales of Halloween might be one of the best theatre experiences I’ve had! It defines why I always love going to Fantasia even if it means lining up 80 minutes in advance outside.

Let’s check it out!

Tales of Halloween (2015)

World Premiere

Tales of Halloween

Sweet ToothDave Parker
The Night Billy Raised HellDarren Lynn Bousman
TrickAdam Gierasch
The Weak and the Wicked – Paul Solet
Grim Grinning GhostAxelle Carolyn
Ding DongLucky McKee
This Means WarJohn Skipp & Andrew Kasch
Friday the 31stMike Mendez
The Ransom of Rusty RexRyan Schifrin
Bad SeedNeil Marshall

I’m going to try to keep this short.  Each segment was maybe about 10-12 minute pieces or so and it was in that order up there, title with the respective director for that piece.  Tales of Halloween is set in a small American town where these 10 stories take place in different areas and at various timelines where you’ll see characters crossing in each other’s stories.   It features all things Halloween from ghosts, witches, killers, monsters and a whole lot more that you should go and discover.

Tales of Halloween

I wasn’t so sure that I’d be into horror anthology and to be honest, the first trailer released for Tales of Halloween really didn’t quite get me so eager to see it.  What sold me was the Comic-con trailer that was a lot more detailed and well, Neil Marshall being there.  The Q&A for this one was really great, just to hear their experiences and working together and how to put it together.  There is one thing that you can’t doubt: the passion and heart put into Tales in Halloween.  There is a ton of it!

Going into an anthology for the first time, I had the expectation that it would be hard to follow and wondering whether there would be correlation between the stories.  As it happens, there was a lot of little details from the directors appearing in each other’s stories to characters crossing through stories as it all takes place in various time lines through this town.  The second expectation is that I’d probably end up liking one more than the other for reasons of different style or whatnot.  In a way, that was true. I didn’t like all the stories equally but they were all entertaining and I didn’t hate any of them but they all definitely had different styles.

Tales of Halloween

Tales of Halloween sets the tone right at the beginning like its taking us into a town on the day/evening/night of Halloween.  The opening sequence was done so well.  It was kind of cartoony and had this really nice score in the background as we had the narrator take us into the town and we got snapshots of each story and their directors.  At least that’s what I remembered it was.  I just loved it a lot and it pulled me right into being the excitement of watching this.  Right off the bat, we step into the first story, Sweet Tooth and it takes us right into the mood as we have teenagers scaring a little kid about legends of this character called Sweet Tooth revolving candy and trick or treat and Halloween traditions.  Honestly, there is no better way to take everyone into Halloween than that.  As the other stories unfold, we have neighbors fighting for who decorates their lawn better, flipping the perspective around to trick or treat, slight turns of faint, facing demons and bullies and haunting ghost stories.  It all comes into the mix with all the symbols we’d associate with Halloween played into this mix and then ending it with something a big finale of action and craziness.

A lot of thought was put into organizing the Tales of Halloween so that they would flow well together and build the Halloween mood.  What’s nice is its not just scares, there’s quite a bit of sarcasm and comedy in it all and it really lifts the movie.  There was some stories that didn’t quite have me into it all the time but there was also the whole idea of knowing how good a director is when it knows when to play the audiences expectations, be it a jump scare or a turn of events.

I really don’t want to dive into this too much.  Overall, Tales of Halloween is an impressive horror anthology with a fantastic opening sequence, catchy score and a nice mix of horror subgenres while giving it a thoughtful flow of events.  Nothing makes a movie better than feeling the talent mixed with heart and passion put into a project.  Tales of Halloween is an entertaining set of stories and if you get a chance, you really need to check this out for yourself! 🙂

Have you heard of Tales of Halloween? What do you think of it: directors, cast, premise, trailer? Do you like horror anthologies? Any recommendations?

The Descent (2005)

I’ve been in this weird horror obsession and picking the worst times to start and/or finish them (aka in the middle of the night).  Next up, we have a fairly more recent movie blogger that I’ve followed from Liam at Liam Does Film. After a recent review of The Hole (find HERE), he recommended to me a few British horror.  The Descent was the one I chose to watch with no prior knowledge at all because Netflix seemed to think it was something I’d like also ;).  Let’s check it out!

the descent coverDirector: Neil Marshall

Cast: Shauna Macdonald, Natalie Mendoza, Alex Reid, Saskia Mulder, MyAnna Buring, Nora-Jane Noone

A year after Sarah’s (Shauna Macdonald) tragic accident where she loses her husband and her daughter, one of her extreme adventurist friends Juno (Natalie Mendoza) invites her and her best friend Beth (Alex Reid) to go on a cave exploration trip with two other friends and sisters, Rebecca (Saskia Mulder) and Sam (MyAnna Buring) along with her new prodigy and risk taker Holly (Nora-Jane Noone).  When a cave tunnel collapses, leaving them with limited supplies and an unknown escape plan, They try to preserve as much as possible to find the way out, however, they encounter living creatures that are also hunting them.  Will they find the escape before they are hunted and killed by these unknown beings?

the descent juno

You know what The Descent reminded me of? Alien vs. Predators or something like that (you know, exploration and creatures).  Of course, we’re not dealing with aliens but man, this movie was INTENSE! The environment and atmosphere mixed with the tone and a good balance of noise and silence made this movie so creepy.  Plus, it wasn’t just a horror survival story, but also a story of friendship and revenge. The human nature is also a scary thing, my friends, and many of us do know that, right?

the descent rebecca sam

I don’t know any of the cast prior to seeing them here.  The cast of the six women were fantastic.  Most horror movies always have irritating characters and especially when in these type of movies, its just yelling and screaming and just retarded actions, but in this one, every single decision made by the characters and everything they did, emoted and reacted to was valid, made sense and they each balanced each other out perfectly.  The characters were so well thought out. In these claustrophobic horrors, they are our actual focus and they help every bit of it.

the descent sarah

Now, we can’t get through this review without talking a bit about the creatures which are crawly things.  I don’t want to talk too much about it because it is the surprise of how they look that might make this horror flick rise above other things.  Its not like sharks, you know. These creatures were not exactly scary-looking but the fact that they were so unpredictable and new.  Just like when we’re learning about a new species, right? We wonder about how they move and why they are attacking them.  Plus, its set in caves, therefore limited light so its always a mystery where they could pop out of, among all the isolated sounds around them here and there.

This pic is way brighter than it was in the movie itself...

This pic is way brighter than it was in the movie itself…

Honestly, all I want to say is that its f’ing awesome and that you should go checking it out! I’m not an expert in horror but I hope to understand it a bit more.  If most creatures/predators horror movies are this good, man, I’d be a very busy bee! This had everything done really well: atmosphere, tone, cast and creatures!

Thanks to Liam for suggesting it! Run on over and check out his blog if you haven’t yet!

Any other creatures horror movies you’d like to recommend (preferably on Netflix or somewhere I can stream). But if not, I’d take it anyways! I’ll just do a shopping spree in bargain bins and hope to find it 😉  I already did my first sweep yesterday and managed to get a good few for a decent price :)More recommendations please!

Oh and do you think I should follow through with The Descent 2 during this month?