Starring Hanleigh Baker, Chad Bruns, Barry Clifton
Directed by Brett DeJager, Rocky Gray, Zane Hershberger, John William Holt, Hunter Johnson, Justin Seaman
Who says you need all of the glitzy, shiny and overly flashy bells and whistles in order to construct a fun, spooky and damn entertaining horror anthology piece? Gimme a handful of able-bodied directors (6 in all) with enough passion to fill one of those orange plastic pumpkins, and let it explode all over the screen, blazing Jack-O’ Lantern-style! 10/31 is the film I’m talking about, and who cares if Halloween has passed us by, as this little gem should be primed and ready to spin in your player for months, regardless of the season.
Courtesy of Hunter Johnson, the opening segment has us peering in on a couple of youngins’ on Halloween night, their gaze is attentively fixed to the flickering light of the TV set they’re perched in front of, and on the screen is a horror hostess (Jennifer Nagle) who is churning up the creepiest tales to paralyze the weak-hearted. There are 5 tales to speak of, and I’ll give a wee-little take on each one of them, just to give you all a taste – first up was “The Old Hag” directed by Justin Seaman (The Barn), and it follows a couple of young, enterprising commercial directors who’ve just scouted out the perfect mansion for their next shoot – little do they know that this particular home is inhabited by a woman whose mind isn’t on receiving guests on this night – great fun, and an even better way to kick off this film. “Trespassers” was next in the lineup, and this yarn was shot by Zane Hershberger – centering around a failed first date between a young couple, and if the crappy movie they’ve just taken in didn’t cast a black cloud over their night, then how about a visit to a haunted house, supposedly watched over by a homicidal scarecrow? Whatever happened to Netflix and chill?
John William Holt’s “Killing The Dance” was numero tres in this killer lineup, and if you’ve got a boner for roller disco and blood…in copious quantities, then by all means revel in this bloodbath on wheels! That damned snowfall (sorry, I’m an East-Coaster) causes some serious trouble in Brett DeJager’s “The Halloween Blizzard of ’91” – and Santa’s got an axe to grind, especially when there’s a debate about which holiday has more balls: Halloween or Christmas. Believe me when I tell you that the verdict is in, and it’s not pretty. Rocky Gray’s “The Samhain Slasher” wraps up this goodie-bag of gluttonous glory, and it acts as a sort-of tribute piece to the great slashers of the 80’s, all the while we get to witness the handiwork of a killer himself. Each tale moves seamlessly into each other, and the performances while green, are still worthwhile to witness and add a sense of realism to their stories. For me, the best part of this entire presentation was the absence of computer imagery – all practical FX here, folks – seatbelt my ass in the time machine where blood and guts would hit the wall without the assistance of a laptop – good times, indeed!
All in all, I can’t recommend 10/31 enough for those who love their horror in short bursts, and all under one roof – make sure this is on your viewing list, for if these directors are the future of the genre, then we’re in good bloody hands.
All hail the late-night, popcorn-fueled spook-tastic spectacle known as the horror anthology – come inside, we’ve missed you.