What if you took eleven directors, threw them into a blender, and added just a dash of John Carpenter (and then poured in the rest of the bottle? You’d get Tales of Halloween—an anthology film in the grand tradition of Creepshow or Trick ‘r Treat. You know what else? You should watch those instead.

I won’t bother with the plot but given the ten segments and the 90-minute running time, you can imagine these are fairly brief tales. Normally, that might seem an advantage. No one segment has to bare the workload like in a similar film that might feature just three segments. The problem here is everything seems underdeveloped. Some are more vignettes than actual stories. That wouldn’t seem to matter in a horror film where story is rarely the focus, but here it just means gore without the time to build tension. If gore is what you’re coming to Tales for, then you will not be disappointed.

There’s some heavy homage paid to John Carpenter, as well. Adrienne Barbeau echoes her role as a radio DJ with a velvety voice. A kid leaves a Carpenter bar on his bedroom floor. A trick-or-treater is seen wearing a Snake Plissken. That’s all cute and had the rest of the film featured homages in structure and style it might have worked. Instead, one story features a boy who eggs a house only to discover a demon resides there. The demon then forces him out on a night of terror that includes, get this, firing a handgun at other kids. It’s tasteless, but more the problem is that it isn’t particularly scary nor fun. The twist at the end is also fairly telegraphed, which seems even weirder. Maybe take the three best segments and workshop them a bit next time?

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