All Hallows' Eve DVD Review
Written and directed by Damien Leone
2013, NTSC, 85 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on October 29th, 2013
Katie Maguire as Sarah
Mike Giannelli as Art the clown
Catherine A. Callahan as Caroline
Marie Maser as Woman
Kayla Lian as Casey
Cole Mathewson as Timmy
Sydney Freihofer as Tia
It’s nice to see a modern day resurgence of the woefully underrepresented practice known as the horror anthology. Growing up on a steady diet of Creepshow, Body Bags, Black Sabbath, Tales From the Crypt, Trilogy of Terror, The House That Dripped Blood, and Deadtime Stories, I’ve always been drawn to the idea of anthologies, and given the ADD world we live in, quite frankly I’m surprised there aren’t more of them being produced. For every Trick ‘r Treat or V/H/S, we get what seems to be a dozen PG-13 “horror” movies about mopey emo vampires, a practice we’d all like to see reversed I’m sure. The beauty of the anthology of course, being that if one segment sucks, you only have to patiently wait a few minutes before a new one begins, hopefully bringing improvement while cultivating a satisfyingly cohesive tale that successfully bookends the whole affair.
Enter All Hallows’ Eve, which starts off with the tried and true concept of the young babysitter watching two young pre-teens on Halloween night. Knowing the likelihood of your children being hacked into pieces by a psychopath given that precise scenario, who are these parents that still choose that swinging with the neighbors or the all-you-can-eat at the Olive Garden on Halloween night is more important than the safety of your kids? But I digress. Evidently some creep-o is passing out snuff films instead of Kit-Kats to young impressionable trick-or-treaters. Meet Pam from The Office, I mean Sarah, the world’s most irresponsible babysitter who allows the kids to watch whatever might pop up on the tape. Could it be porn? Vacation movies? Snuff? Ishtar? Well, then, gather around the television kids and let’s all find out together!
It turns out the tape contains three tales of malevolence and mayhem. All of the stories share a common general premise, that being of a lone woman who is chased and tormented by forces unknown. The first, and weakest, vignette revolves around a girl abducted at a train station, shackled in the bowels of the subway system, and subsequently tormented and raped by a coven of mutants, witches, and demons. The concept is interesting to say the least, but save for the mutant effects, the execution is disjointed, amateurish, and lacking.
The second vignette starts off well enough with a young woman alone in her new house deep in the countryside. As she begins to unpack, irrational fears soon become legitimate ones. Tension steadily mounts until the absurd reveal during the finale that obliterates any frights this tale might have once offered.
Despite the unnecessary pseudo post-production grindhouse aesthetic, the third story is where the true chills lie. Again, another young woman driving alone at night stops at an isolated gas station. She soon finds herself witnessing an argument between the gas station attendant and a man dressed like a clown. The fight escalates to a nightmarish level and the woman flees the scene. She quickly realizes that she is now the one being followed. This particular segment is dirty, relentless, and brutal. Again, all three vignettes are fairly derivative of one another; however this one stands out because the clown protagonist is truly fucking creepy. Sporting a stark monochromatic look with a huge grin of yellowed decaying teeth, he has a silent laugh that will send shivers up your spine.
Having finally come to her senses, and having put the kids to bed, Pam Beasley now sits alone watching the remainder of the VHS tape while soon finding herself in the middle of her own horrific nightmare.
Pennywise, Killjoy, and Shivers beware, there’s a new, badass, evil clown in town. It’s just a damned shame that there wasn’t more of him in All Hallows’ Eve because he’s truly the star of the show, and the film sputters when he’s absent from the screen. Perhaps in the inevitable sequel, Next Hallows’ Eve?
Video and Audio:
The audio and video on this release are neither spectacular or offensive.
The only special feature is a feature length commentary which offers some valuable behind-the-scenes insight. A featurette on the special effects used in All Hallows' Eve would have been a welcomed addition.
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