10 Horror Anthologies You May Want to Watch For Halloween
Recently on the site, we posted ‘Streaming Halloween And Horror Favorites From We Live Entertainment’ for our ‘Film Opinion’ column. That post gave a chance for We Live Entertainment writers and fans to give their opinion on some of their favorite streaming Halloween and horror films. The movie I chose to write about was ‘Tales of Halloween.’ I enjoy that flick, and I was surprised to hear that not many people know about it. I recently decided to go back and watch the film, and it made me think about other horror anthologies.
When it comes to horror anthologies, I have a soft spot for them. The genre is nothing new. In the ‘80s, horror anthology hits like ‘Creepshow’ peaked, so they’ve been around for some time. That is why I decided to focus on horror anthologies you may want to watch for Halloween. I decided to focus on some that certain individuals may not know, fell under the radar, but are all worth checking out.
It is interesting how I found out about this movie. I went to a flea market, and a vendor sold me an original 27×41 one-sheet movie poster, and some old raggedy ‘Fangoria’ magazines about this feature. It was originally made for television as a pilot for the NBC network. However, it became a theatrically released film under ‘Universal.’ This film didn’t rely too much on gore to scare its viewers. After all, it was intended to be for television. But the stories are interesting. I dig Emilio Estevez as a gamer fighting for his life within the game, and the story about the priest fighting a demonic Chevy in the desert. The special effects do look cheap and cheesy, and I know that may be a problem for some viewers. On the other hand, I respect that this project tried to bring originality to the table.
This is not only one of my all-time favorite horror anthologies, but one of my all-time favorite films. You have the directors of ‘The Raid: Redemption,’ ‘You’re Next,’ ‘Hobo With a Shotgun,’ and ‘The Blair Witch Project.’ When it comes to the V/H/S/ trilogy, I believe this was the best one, because it’s meaner, louder, more stylish with visuals, and crazier than the others. Zombies attack a little girls birthday party; a cult leads to bloody chaos, a demon rises, paranormal activity, aliens abducting children at a slumber party. If you’re still not excited to see this, you might want to check your pulse.
Tale of Tales
‘Tale of Tales’ is based on 17th Century Italian fairy tales. The movie takes these fairytales and adds a dark, sinister sense to the segments. My favorite segment is about a woman, (Salma Hayek) who is so desperate to have a child, that she eats a dragon’s heart. She devours the dragon’s heart believing it holds powers, will reward her, among other abnormal things. This is filled with some horrifying imagery, but the stories themselves are more filled with sorrow and tragedies. Most fairytales are sweet and happy. But this is a fairytale thrown in with buckets of blood to make it sweeter and happier for horror fans.
Tales from the Hood
You know, I have a cousin who looks just like Mr. Simms (the man in the middle), and he’s just as creepy. With executive-producer Spike Lee, ‘Tales from the Hood’ focuses on a strange mortician, Mr. Simms who attempts to terrify teenage drug dealer Stack and his friends straight by telling them four horrifying stories. This is more than just a horror anthology film; it’s a film with a social statement. Yes, at times this movie is spooky, weird, and at times funny. On the other hand, some of the themes throughout touch upon drug use, violence, racism, gangs, and police brutality. It may look like a silly Halloween pass time flick. But if you dig a little deeper, the social issues the film presents have a voice. Mr. Simms, played by Clarence Williams III, is a definite show stealer. He was bonkers, cruel, evil, and funny in a twisted way. Although the young thugs want to take their drugs and escape Mr. Simms, he still has more tales of terror to tell.
Deadtime Stories (1986)
I’m going to be honest with all of you; this movie is not that good. This is the type of B-movie you find yourself laughing at but having fun. This film has some damn fine practical makeup effects, and I think that is where the movie shines. It makes me wish I grew up in the ‘80s going to video stores to rent sleaze and other B-movies. Much like ‘Tale of Tales,’ this takes an interesting look at fairy tales, such as disturbing looks at Little Red Riding Hood and werewolves, and a killer Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Fans looking for some old school B-movie fun on Halloween might enjoy this. Nevertheless, I think you’ll enjoy your trick or treat candy more than this film.
The ‘Phobia’ films are very hit or miss with me. I saw these on DVD back when the store ‘f.y.e.’ was a regular hangout joint for me. ‘Phobia 2’ became a blockbuster hit in Thailand and is the third highest grossing horror film in Thailand. Much like ‘Nightmares’ and ‘Tales from the Hood,’ ‘Phobia 2’ doesn’t rely on heavy gore for scares, and it does have a message for the viewers. Karma has a recurring theme, and the movie builds tension to scare the bejesus out of you. No cheap jump scares that turn out to be a bird flying by; there is hardly any gore, just good pacing, direction, and tension. This is a rare example of a sequel being better than the original, especially in the horror genre.
‘Campfire Tales’ is a 1997 straight-to-video film starring Christine Taylor (‘DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story’), Amy Smart (‘Just Friends’), Christopher Masterson (‘Malcolm in the Middle’), and James Marsden (‘X2: X-Men United’). I saw this film years ago on the ‘Chiller’ channel, and the plot is simple, “on a desolate highway, several stranded teenagers pass the time by telling scary stories around a makeshift fire.” The movie only has three segments, but the campfire horror stories are perfect to get you in the Halloween and horror spirit.
A Christmas Horror Story
One of the cool things about Halloween is that right around the corner Christmas will be here. If you are in the Halloween spirit, and in the early Christmas spirit, ‘A Christmas Horror Story’ is a must. The film deals with Santa Clause vs. Krampus, Santa Clause vs. zombie elves, and more. The segments don’t intertwine with one another, yet if you look at the segments as separate stories, they are bizarre and make for a good time. All of these stories are being told by William Shatner as radio DJ Dangerous Dan, who boozes it up in a booth talking to us, the viewers, as though we’re tuning into his broadcast. Santa vs. Krampus and the zombie elves feels more cartoonish, while the other segments are trying to give legitimate scares. This movie is a great movie to watch for Halloween or even Christmas. I especially love the surprise twist of an ending.
Body Bags (1993)
It wouldn’t be Halloween without your boy Mr. John Carpentar. John Carpenter (1978s ‘Halloween’ and ‘The Thing’) teams up with the legendary Tobe Hooper (1974s ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘The Funhouse’) to bring us 1993s ‘Body Bags’. Much like ‘Nightmares,’ ‘Body Bags’ was originally planned to be on television. While this was filming for a pilot episode, the channel ‘Showtime’ dropped it. John Carpenter plays a sinister coroner who introduces the three spooky segments. Each segment has neat cameos that horror fans will recognize instantly. Wes Craven and Sam Raimi make an appearance at a spooky gas station. Some of the other cameos include Tom Arnold, Mark Hamill, Roger Corman and the ‘American Werewolf in London’ actor David Naughton.
Trick ‘r Treat
Michael Dougherty’s ‘Trick’ r Treat’ is an anthology film that is more than a cult classic but an all-time Halloween classic. This is one of my all-time favorites, and for those who’ve seen it, I’m sure it’s an all-time favorite for you as well. ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ establishes the rules of Halloween, and illustrates the danger of breaking them. Always check your candy. Always wear a costume. Never blow out of a jack o’ lantern. Always give out treats. Each of the film’s interlocking, interweaving tales shows us those who break these rules, and the terrible prices they must pay.
Dougherty’s original story comes from the animated short he wrote back in 1996, titled ‘Season’s Greetings.’ The short features Sam, a boy in orange pajamas and a sack over his head, walking around in the dark being stalked by a stranger. Sam is the representation of Halloween itself. He is childlike yet containing a mysterious dark atmosphere and even slightly representing a pumpkin.
Michael Dougherty (‘Krampus’) creates an amazing atmosphere that truly does look and most importantly feels like Halloween. Even if you do not go out for Halloween, you can watch this movie and feel as if you went trick or treating and celebrated the spirit of Halloween. No other movie in the last decade comes as close to being soaked in the spirit of Halloween as ‘Trick ‘r Treat.’ With most anthology films, fans can pick and choose which segments they enjoyed the most. On the other hand, I love every single segment, and they are all a blast. It’s a shame that this wasn’t originally sent to the theater. I can’t get over how wonderful ‘Trick ‘r Treat’ is. Like most of these films, it keeps the spirit of Halloween alive.