HALLOWEEN HELL NIGHT * UK 2018 Dir: David Black, Nick Charles, Jason Figgis, Ross Heath, John H Shelton, Wesley Skelly, Tony Newton, Sam Mason-Bell, Chris John Livermore. 64 mins
Here’s a collection of eight amateurish short horror films – some with a Halloween theme – linked by the cringe-inducingly naff stylings of Tone the Clown, a kind of end-of-the-pier Crypt Keeper accompanied by a Poundland Halloween rat and witch and doling out dead-end Knock Knock jokes.
After a jam-laced, dialogue-free puppet massacre short, “Knock Knock Knock” follows a psycho in a priest outfit on a trick or treat rampage and “Bullied” documents the vengeance trail of a persecuted school girl, climaxing with tame baseball bat bludgeoning. “Trick or Treat 1999” unfolds via blurry subjective camerawork, “Molly…and her Dolly” is a low point and the longest, dullest tale (involving an internet deviant getting his comeuppance) is saved for last. By comparison, “Halloween 1987” is an eerily told, if over-extended first-person straight-to-camera ghost story set around a Devon lighthouse. The nearest the anthology gets to a truly compelling episode is “Malevolent Pursuit”, an unsubtle satire of 21st century media sensationalism and the enduring popularity of violent news stories. A lip-smacking voiceover accompanies the exploits of a maniac stalking his female prey, observing “Every serial killer just needs his own theme song” and trying to convey the “adrenaline of fight, flight and fuck”. It has a fun twist.
Review by Steven West