The first ultra creepy All Hallows’ Eve (2013) directed by Damien Leone, had three tales linked together by the terrorizing Art the Clown, for a very cool film, now returning for a sequel of sorts, part two with no connection the original aside from the title and the delivery of VHS tape. This production has eight short films, from upcoming talented filmmakers all providing solid twisted ride into motion for another horror anthology trip for the horror fans from powerhouse RLJ Entertainment.
Andrea Monier stars in the wrap around story created by Jesse Baget that always needed to bookend these types of movies and showcase the running theme if any exists, she discovers a VHS on her doorstep with a gruesome pumpkin faced killer using it as a ploy to discover his next victim. A little trivia for the fans, Jesse worked as a producer on both All Hallows’ Eve (hence understanding the theme) and Black Water Vampire (2014), which starred Andrea. Straight from the abandonment of the kooky clown for a tamer version of mask wearing lunatic name Trickster (Damien Monier), and soon enough the woman pops the tape into her VCR, while speaking to a friend on the phone, about how awful Blu-ray versus the power of VHS really makes the film so much better. The concept of tapes wearing a tad thin as of late in the horror genre. The movie to start off the ride, is written and directed by Brian Norton (who also directed Penny Dreadful (2005) that starred Betsy Palmer) and Antonio Padovan, called Jack Attack. A movie this reviewer had the opportunity to see at the Terror Film Festival, in Philadelphia, PA in 2013, provides a wonder and gory environmental revenge story, and destroying a babysitter (Helen Rogers) and nuance of the child (Tyler Rossell), even the family pup isn’t safe in this terrific tale of woe. Quickly entering to the fray, comes The Last Halloween from experienced filmmaker Marc Roussel, known for his short films, presents four young children trick or treating who come across a very unsettling neighbor, and the households, filled with suspicions and not happy to see the children. These children take playing tricks very serious with home invasions and creature comforts to a sickening level, that misses the mark slightly, though a nice recovery for a twist ending. Ryan Patch’s The Offering sadly leaves emptiness on the palate of for the horror fans with a very cliché production. Meanwhile, Descent uses a mixture of Hitchcock meets Night Gallery, with a film from Jay Holben, a filmmaker with connections back the infamous Christmas horror film Jack Frost (1997) and most recently The Invoking (2015) and assisting in the writing of this very cool film, Christopher Probst. It involves a woman trapped in a stuck elevator with a man she witnessed murdered her best friend, needless when her phone rings and he’s whistling the entire Descent becomes a stark raving bloodbath, well crafted and positioned for greatness, thanks to the acting of entire cast.
Bill Oberst Jr. stars in the fifth tale, entitled M is for Masochist, automatically signal a referral to The ABCs of Death (2012) film with a tale of getting revenge on those that made your existence a living hell, namely a game of spilling the blood at a carnival. While short, is very short indeed, still very poignant to sadistic standpoint, especially when of the players reveal their tormenters sins. Then comes an unusual turn from the norm of the series of films, with A Boy’s Life, and mother and son cope with loss of father’s death, likely a fallen soldier, a son, Max (Griffin Gluck) clings to his dog tags and thinks monsters stalk him at nights. Director Elias Benavidez brings an effective and surprising tale of shock through a series of boobie-traps and MacGyverisms that Nancy of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) would admire and used effectively. Mr. Tricker’s Treat, from director Mike Kochansky , his first horror film, of a Halloween fanatic (Michael Serrato) who has the best decorating themes, and suggests it is a running ritual with no end in sight, and presents a hint of Twilight Zone, with lifelike creations, as curious girl (Carrie Seim) seems to want to spoil his fun. Lastly, director Andres Borghi using tactics and in fact a bit of homage to Gore Verbinski’s frightful The Ring (2002), with a ghost story and scary tale of dead girlfriend not wanting to leave her lover alone. This film presents spooky visuals, vivid colors similar to Mario Bava’s style, all highlighted in this Argentina movie, with English subtitles that never diverts from the horror on the screen.
The downside comes sadly from the wraparound story, it feels a tad lost, and not the production nor casting that all fits to together but the incorporation of it into the anthology appears misplaced, then again the theme never clearly appears leaving the viewer in a fog. Normally in these features a connection joins everything into a collective powerhouse, nothing remotely like that works, and hence a basis of misalign tales of horror become a random viewing without the ultimate climatic finish. Needless to say, the indie filmmakers deliver the goods on the films for the chilling tales of woe and have a solid recommendation, however, the trickster character falls flat, and leaves one wanting to have Art the Clown.