The penultimate film screened at Frightfest on both the Horror Channel Screen and the Arrow Video Screen on Monday the 28th August was a seasonal spookfest from Todd Tucker (Monster’s Mutt). Who says you can’t get psyched for Halloween in Summer and this wonderfully imaginative World Premiere from the USA has already got us thinking about carving pumpkins and planning our ghoulish garments.
In the vein of Stephen King and John Carpenter; The Terror of All Hallow’s Eve is a nostalgic throwback to childhood horror of the 1980’s. Our tale begins on October the 30th 1981 in idyllic suburbia, where a reclusive teenager named Tim “don’t call him Timmy” (Caleb Thomas) plays uncannily convincing pranks on the neighbours, supplying them with an unwelcome holiday scare! It transpires that the troubled teen has an unhappy home life due to his fractured relationship with his mother and the void left by his absentee father.
Despite retaining an overactive imagination and a talent for art, Tim is victimized by a trio of mean spirited bullies. It’s not until the fateful night of ‘All Hallow’s Eve’ that Tim unwittingly summons an unusual mythological creature known as ‘The Trickster’ leading to a night of unbridled terror.
The Terror of All Hallow’s Eve is a delightfully macabre movie that sincerely deserves its place as a future staple of Halloween season film viewing. It combines fantastical horror with a strong narrative centring on family relationships. The film is built on the dynamics of the mother-son relationship as monster movie mad Tim deals with his own inner conflict during the transitional period from childhood to adolescence.
Sarah Lancaster plays his long-suffering mother Linda who has accumulated her own guilt for the lack of stability in Tim’s life. The power struggle between the two is captured exceedingly well, laying the narrative groundwork before the fantasy element of the film takes centre stage.
There are strong references to John Carpenter’s 1978 masterpiece as well as echoes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997-2003) and that’s not just because Juliet Landau features in a small role. The Terror of All Hallow’s Eve is packed with innovative set pieces and lavish visuals that will have its audience hankering for the upcoming Autumn season. It’s a visually beautiful movie from beginning to end and encompasses a coming of age story that capitalises on the themes of ‘paranoid horror’ that were prevalent in a bulk of 80’s classics from the A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) franchise to Child’s Play (1988).
The special effects in this film are phenomenal. So much creativity and detail has gone into bringing the engaging, fantasy horror to life. The Trickster himself is a menacing entity, like a twisted version of Dobby the House Elf from the Harry Potter flicks. There’s a sequence involving puppets that is exquisitely crafted with the mischievous tone the scene has in place.
When approaching this film do not go into it expecting anything that hasn’t been done before. It’s very much a homage to the old school in every way possible. That said, it is still a charming yet whimsical film with so much to appreciate about it. Some of the dialogue comes off as eye-rollingly formulaic especially the delivery from the bully characters however that just adds to the fact that the film has no pretence about it and isn’t trying to be something it isn’t.
The Terror of All Hallow’s Eve proved to be more treat than trick and guarantees to put a smile on the faces of even the most hardened of horror fans.