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Jeremy Charles Singer,
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A Low Budget Anthology With Love and Passion That's Worth Your Time
10/31 is an indie horror anthology partially funded by Indiegogo from the director of The Barn, the composer of the same film, and a few others with stories that are based around Halloween. The film begins with two children watching "Malvolia's Halloween Monster Marathon" where an Elvira type character introduces the audience to four shorts. First up is "The Old Hag" from Justin Seaman. Two guys arrive at an old home to shoot a promo video to help it rent out a few rooms. One guy keeps seeing a creepy looking old woman and learns about how the locals call it the Gingerbread House where apparently an old hag chokes out victims. Is he seeing things or is it all in his head?? Overall it's a fun segment with appealing leads and a decent story (3.5/5)
Up next is "Trespassers" directed by Zane Hershberger. After a disappointing movie a cute purple-haired chick takes her lame first date boyfriend to an abandoned murder house where legend has it a scarecrow appeared and possibly cursed those living there. She wants to find out the truth about what happened. This is another fun entry and features a decent synth score while the story and it's conclusion are great (3.5/5). Director John William Holt takes over for the third story called "Killing the Dance." A teen girl has to babysit her younger brother while she works Halloween night at the roller rink where things turn out horrifically wrong. This segment is a bit too long and repetitive with too many scenes of skating, but is still fun with it's retro feel, another good synth score, and ridiculous ending (3.5/5)
The last entry is easily the weakest and is the directorial debut of Rocky Gray and it's called "The Samhain Slasher". It's a bit of a jumbled mess that is probably a bit overambitious in trying to jam too much into its short run time. It's basically a cult film and slasher jammed into 20 minutes that suffers a bit from some weak CGI as well (2.5/5). Things finish up with the wraparound and while it doesn't do anything particularly memorable it's decent overall (3/5).
The budget limitations of this film definitely show sometimes, but it's all a part of the charm and it's easy to look past most of the wrinkles because of the obvious love and passion put into it all. There are so many bigger budgeted anthology films that may look cleaner and shinier, but tell the same old stale tales that we've all seen too many times. The stories here do a good job with some good old Halloween look and feel and each story feels like it's trying to do something familiar yet original. If you love horror anthologies then 10/31 is definitely worth seeking out. It doesn't and shouldn't look like Trick r Treat, but it's a small budget indie horror that both needs and deserves our support.
Additional notes: I viewed a festival version of this film for this review that is missing one segment directed by Brett DeJager (Bonejangles) titled "The Halloween Blizzard of '91" which is still going through some post-production work, but will appear in the DVD release of the film. There are still some fixes coming to the film itself too with some of the audio. I put some money towards the film during its campaign, but I am in no way associated with the film other than that.
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