Home » Frightfest 2017 Review: The Terror Of Hallow’s Eve

Frightfest 2017 Review: The Terror Of Hallow’s Eve

The Terror Of Hallow’s Eve begins with the somewhat cheeky claim that the film was based on true events. As director/co-writer Todd Tucker would explain it, much of what happens in the movie did actually happen to him as a kid. The bullying, the creating of monsters in his garage, etc. The stuff with Doug Jones’s creepy Trickster, and his subsequent misdeeds, not so much.

Our hero is Caleb Thomas’s Tim, an outsider kid who terrorises the locals (including neighbour Eric Roberts) with makeshift horror toys. We watch as he purchases a Fangoria-esque horror mag, flirts nervously with a local girl and gets beaten up by a group of stylishly on-point eighties bullies (one of them is wearing a Rush tee). “What a nerd” quips one guy. Indeed.

After following a Halloween pumpkin into the woods, as you do
(well, I would), Tim happens upon The Trickster, a cute yet creepy little fellow who speaks in rhymes and promises to make all of his Halloween wishes come true. The bullies who have followed Tim home soon find themselves at his mercy as the house becomes a funhouse-like playground for revenge on those who’ve wronged him.

The Terror Of Hallow's Eve bullies

The Terror Of Hallow’s Eve has the plucky, festive spirit of a lesser Hocus Pocus. Maybe a Halloweentown if we’re being a bit mean (because that series is dross, in spite of the terrifying mayor/villain in the first one). The SFX, Tucker’s specialty since childhood, are wicked. The production design across the board, in fact, is strong, from a room turning into a forest to the tree monster inhabiting it (also played by Jones).

Everything is very three-dimensional, tactile and designed with impeccable attention to detail. The colour pallette encompasses lots of oranges and blacks (of course) while the amount of knick-knacks on show in Tim’s garage is hugely impressive. Likewise, the legendary John Carpenter blesses the movie with some of his coolest synth strains to date.

The thing is cool overall. Humour comes from puppets killing someone with lots of tiny knives, a monster chomping on another unfortunate fellow’s guts, or some trick-or-treaters thinking Tim’s beat-up face is a costume. It feels natural and effortless, the film never betraying the fact it was shot over eighteen(!) days for practically nothing.

The Terror Of Hallow's Eve tree monsterTucker’s horror bonafides (a reference to Haddonfield Mental Hospital is well-judged), crazy creature FX and enthusiasm carry the flick through its slower moments. Once The Trickster shows up and the kids are ensconced in Tim’s house, there isn’t a whole lot more to the story. And the kills are a bit stab-happy, which is a shame coming from such a demonstrably visual artist.

Still, The Terror Of Hallow’s Eve is an impressive sophomore feature from the dude behind Monster Mutt (check for it next time you’re in Tesco, UK readers) who, by all accounts, clearly knows his shit. It’s easy to imagine this becoming part of the Halloween rotation, if only for the fact its festive spirit makes it kind of impossible to resist.

Director(s): Todd Tucker
Writer(s): Todd Tucker, Ronald L. Halvas
Stars: Caleb Thomas, Sarah Lancaster, Doug Jones, Eric Roberts
Release: TBC
Studio/ Production Co: Illusion Industries
Language: English
Length: 80 minutes
Sub-Genre: Fantasy

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Written by Joey Keogh
Slasher fanatic Joey Keogh has been writing since she could hold a pen, and watching horror movies even longer. Aside from making a little home for herself at Wicked Horror, Joey also writes for Birth.Movies.Death, The List, and Vague Visages among others. Her actual home boasts Halloween decorations all year round. Hello to Jason Isaacs.
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