Sunday, October 20, 2013

ALL HALLOW'S EVE: Some Creepy Shit with a Creepy Clown

I hadn't heard much about Damien Leone's All Hallow's Eve, but after watching it, I would be surprised if we don't hear more from him very soon. While it's not a perfect film, it has some exceptionally creepy moments that have stuck with me all throughout the day after watching it. It watches like an anthology horror film of sorts though it doesn't feel like a clearly delineated compendium of stories like say a Creepshow or Amicus tale. There's a wrap story that sort of, kind of, maybe feels like V/H/S, but I don't think you'll have any trouble separating the two movies and experiencing All Hallow's Eve as a rather unique compilation.

Synopsis (from Ruthless Pictures):

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.


All Hallow's Eve is a pretty fun Halloween movie. Kids bringing home a VHS tape in their Halloween bag? That's something I think I may have to hand out this year. Each of the tales works in its own right though, and there's even a feeling of cohesive narrative throughout. Each tale escalates the violence and creepiness, climaxing in one perfect grindy, grimy tale with ample gore and grit. The aging on the final tale is brilliant and the gore follows suit though I dislike seeing a modern day automobile in an aged print movie. The budget may be low, and Leone may be learning on the job a bit, but that doesn't stop this movie from packing a punch right in the kidneys. Some of these stories are just... fucking... strange. At least their original, watchable and clever. I've been scratching my head about the damn alien thing for a day now.

You will not be overpowered by most acting performances in this film though the performances actually fit the shooting style quite well. Katie Maguire holds up her end of the suspension of disbelief and gets you moving through each of the stories (she's no Cryptkeeper).  Mike Giannelli plays one of the freakiest clowns I've seen in a movie, hands down. He's like an oversized Punch doll with a crazy toothy grin and cold eyes. Almost simple makeup; his paint job is demonic and yet not overly fantastical and his movement is edgy. I've seen people comparing him to Captain Spalding from the Devil's Rejects and House of the 1000 Corpses, and while the general design may resemble Spalding somewhat, Art the Clown is one terrifying slice of grease paint (as opposed to Spalding's humor and camp).

Leone's previous work involves a couple of short films,Terrifier and The 9th Circle, both of which seem to be used in All Hallow's Eve. The full length anthology seems to be his break into the full length biz by adding a few extra shorts. The next step is to follow him through a full length feature that contains a single narrative. He's got an eye for creepy and conveys concise tales economically and with a vision all his own. He's definitely an effects guy and that puts him at a distinct advantage in the low budget arena. If he knows what he wants to show you on screen, he'll get it. He'll hire the right person for the job.

All Hallow's Eve comes out October 29th, but pre-ordered now HERE. It's cheap. Totally worth the price, and could even make it into your regular Halloween rotation. Check 'em out on Facebook as well.


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