Ten stories are woven together by their shared theme of Halloween night in an American suburb, where ghouls, imps, aliens and axe murderers appear for one night only to terrorize unsuspecting residents.
A schizophrenic filmmaker, traumatized since childhood by the murder of his mother, writes and plots a retelling of his past staring a naive teenage girl and her friends while a creepy old man haunts them in the woods.
Rodney JR Wilcox
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Interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host: A family brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit terrorizes, Santa slays evil.
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While watching two children on Halloween night, a babysitter finds an old VHS tape in the kids' trick or treat bag. The tape features three tales of terror, all linked together by a murderous clown. As the night goes on strange things begin to occur in the house. It isn't long before the babysitter learns the horrifying truth... the maniacal clown is slowly working his way into her reality. Written by
Given the overwhelming popularity of shockfests like Martyrs and the Saw series, the nearly universal disapproval of this film is itself shocking. It's strange how some films can make their mark for the very things that cause others to be rebuked. All Hallows' Eve is low budget and has its mistakes, but overall is a wonderful, very scary exploitation horror film with a memorable villain and surprisingly good production values.
All Hallows' Eve is an anthology film. Like most horror anthologies such as Tales From the Darkside: The Movie, The Twilight Zone: The Movie, and Trick R' Treat, All Hallows' Eve has three main stories plus a wraparound story that ties them together. Director Damien Leone chose this format to showcase his pre-existing short films ("The 9th Circle" and "Terrifier"), so only the second story and the wraparound are totally new. The film opens with a woman babysitting two children on Halloween night and the discovery that someone has sneaked a VHS tape into one of the children's trick-or-treat bags. Reluctantly the babysitter plays the tape and the first of three stories begins.
With regard to reputation, there seem to be three primary complaints about the movie: 1) The director used previously created material, 2) The film is excessively gory, and 3) The acting is bad. Each of these is easily negated. First, most people have not seen the two short films, so the director seized his chance to have them viewed by a large audience. Completely understandable. Second, yes the film is graphic, but certainly no more than a hundred others released in the past decade, many of which were very popular. Third, the acting is actually pretty good. It's definitely strong enough to let the audience suspend their disbelief, which is after all the name of the game.
If there's one thing I've learned from reading reviews and posts on IMDb and elsewhere, it's that people will complain about anything. The truth is that All Hallows' Eve is a tense, entertaining horror film alive with creativity, realistic effects, and inspired direction. Its rating on IMDb (as of this writing) is unfortunate and unfair. If you want a polished horror film that's long on plot and every shot perfectly framed, see something else. If you want to have a good time and be scared, see this.
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