“Never Too Old For Sugar, Mama” – Tales of Halloween (Blu-Ray Review)


Need the perfect Halloween DVD to get you in the mood for the holidays? You could go for your well known classics, or try something different with this collection of connected Halloween themed short films. How does it hold up? We’ll look at each shorts and review them accordingly.

First of all opening credits are very good at setting the tone of the film, accompanied with atmospheric visuals and music show how interesting and creative the film can be. Goosebumps is a similar comparison however they show all the title cards of the films included at the very start instead of at the beginning of every short, I can understand that they wanted the film to flow and feel connected but a opening card would’ve set the tone for each film in my opinion.

Sweet Tooth: 
A Charming opening. The short focuses on boy being told a scary story by his babysitter and boyfriend about a child that kills his parents to get candy. The tone is quite silly as we see a fully grown adult unable to overpower the kid so we’re not expected to take it too seriously, but the dark edge keeps us invested. The special effects are done well, especially with a butcher’s knife to the face. Ends weirdly with the kid maybe implying himself in the murders but was a fun opening to the film.

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The Night Billy Raised Hell:
Contender for best short of the bunch. Billy meets the devil after being dared to egg his house by his sister. I will happily watch this one again as its humor is on point with its crazy tone, use of  cartoon sound effects and situations being played up for laughs. the best part about this short of that it keeps getting crazier as it progresses Turns it up to 11 and just keeps getting more extreme. Ends perfectly matching the theme of the short darkly but still funny as hell.

Trick:
Left me with more questions than answers and not in a good way. Seemingly for no reason trick or treaters start brutally killing adults as it’s revealed to be a revenge plot. They tortured a kid… for some reason, They took out her eye on a surgery table in the shed… for some reason, and then proceeded to take selfies with the eye… for some reason. It’s not really made clear why, however The cinematography was well done and tried to be more elaborate on a certain shots which i can appreciate, it worked well so well done for that.

The Weak and the Wicked:
A Revenge story about defending the weak, A guy uses a demon to get revenge on the bullies that killed his parents. The cinematography was interesting and fun, the chase scene ho leads to more quick cuts and various shots but sadly short suffers overall with a weak ending. We don’t even technically see the karma inflicted on the villains, the murder is done off screen and weakens the effect the impact of the moment. Well shot but pacing could’ve been better, even with the interesting design for the monster but there sadly wasn’t anymore of it to see.

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The Grim Grinning Ghost:
The creepy atmosphere in this short keeps the tension well but sadly feels a little lacking. The short focuses on a woman trying to get home while being stalked by some unknown assailant. When the story told of a woman with a disfigured face, all I could see was that she had no hair? The bald grinning ghost doesn’t have the same ring to it but what can you do. There is one shot that was absolutely perfect with the actress running to her door while the shadow of the ghosts hands silhouetted on the fence either side of her giving well-presented feeling of being stalked and being trapped. Ending was okay if a bit abrupt .

Ding Dong:
A cross between intense anger and dark humor tossed in. A demon wife loses her mind around Halloween and wants to have a child of her own with her servant husband. Firstly You do NOT want to piss off this woman, imagery of her in a monster form is genuinely cool and intimidating. The sound design for this one really works as the spike in audio emphasizes the impact that the monster makes on other characters and blends perfectly, Definitely one i’ll revisit.

This Means War:
Two neighbors compete over best Halloween decorations. This one is another overacted and exaggerated short and doesn’t take itself too seriously as we have two different ways of celebrating Halloween collide. One being similar to older universal horror films and Gothic tone, the other neighbour uses more modern horror for its decorations for example Rob Zombie’s Halloween films. Interesting idea but wish there was a little bit more conflict between the two neighbours.

Friday the 31st:
THE perfect Friday the 13th parody, it starts as a standard situation in a slasher film until an alien shows up and tables possess a dead victim. The short doesn’t slow down and just keeps getting more absurd which is so much fun. They just use each other punching bags until there is basically nothing left of either of them. The setup is so crazy and surreal it was a pleasure to watch.

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The Ransom Of Rusty Rex:
Forever leaving the quote ingrained in my mind “never too old for sugar mama”. A very funny short film featuring legendary John Landis, it focuses on a kidnapping where the kidnappers are now the victim as they have to deal with this spawn of Satan. Contains snappy and funny dialogue and natural character interactions which makes it a contender for the best short in this collection, it may not be scary but a creative idea that’s done really well.

Bad Seed:
Culminates all the shorts into one giant finale with the arrival of a pumpkin that eats people. The imagery of a pumpkin eating someone is both extremely surreal but also in the realm of dark humor feels very much like an action film rather than a horror film and ends on note of helplessness in the given situation, suiting the tone of the film perfectly.

Conclusion:

Some of the shorts aren’t that great, however the ones that are good are worth your time if you are looking for short that encapsulate what Halloween is. Dark, silly good amount of gore and scares to entertain any horror fan. If i had to pick a favourite, it would be The Ransom of Rusty Rex which won me over with its dialogue and premise.

4/5

Dir: Darren Lynn Bousman, Axelle Carolyn, Adam Gierasch, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, John Skipp, Paul Solet

Scr: Axelle Carolyn, Billy Jackson, Andrew Kasch, Neil Marshall, Lucky McKee, Mike Mendez, Dave Parker, Ryan Schifrin, Clint Sears, John Skipp

Cast: Adrienne Barbeau, Greg Grunberg, Daniel DiMaggio, Christophe Zajac-Denek, Ben Woolf,
Prd: Shaked Berenson, Axelle Carolyn, Patrick Ewald, Mike Mendez

DOP: Jan-Michael Losada, Zoran Popovic, David Tayar, Alex Vendler, Richard J. Vialet, Joseph White, Scott Winig  

Music: Joseph Bishara, Michael Sean Colin, Christopher Drake, Christian Henson, Bobby Johnston Lalo Schifrin, Sean Spillane, Edwin Wendler, Austin Wintory

Country: USA

Runtime: 92 mins

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