Monday, 12 October 2015

All Hallow's Eve

"All Hallow's Eve" (2013, Damien Leone, Ruthless Pictures) is a supernatural slasher about a killer clown and a VHS tape. With Halloween just around the corner, I thought I'd start looking at some films I haven't seen before.

Sarah (Katie Maquire) is babysitting Tia (Sydney Freihofer) and her brother Timmy (Cole Mathewson) on Halloween night. We all know that's a bad idea for a start. Timmy opens his trick or treat loot to find that some strange neighbour has put a VHS tape in instead of sweets. Sarah is obviously keen to check the tape's contents before letting the kids watch it. Personally, I would have just put that creepy shit in the bin, but whatever.

The tape turns out to be an anthology of murders which all feature Art the Creepy Clown (Mike Giannelli) in some way or other. Thinking it's just a somewhat disturbing movie, Sarah gives in and lets the kids watch some of it before putting them to bed. But Art the clown makes a special guest appearance later that night, with some unhappy results...

Art the clown was first invented for a short film called "The 9th Circle" in 2008 and was again seen in another short called "Terrifier" in 2011. He's a pretty creepy character, but the film doesn't do him justice as it's just not scary enough to make the most of him.

The film itself isn't awful by any means, but there are long boring stretches and the lack of dialogue in large segments of film, while mostly effective, result in a loss of interest from the viewer after a while. The subject matter is violent and gory with most of the action centering on the depraved clown who just seems to hate lone women and want to hurt them.

There are some really disturbing scenes and some good practical effects, considering the film's low budget. I particularly appreciated the beginning to the end of the wraparound plot, which is by far the best part of the film. Unfortunately, some other effects and costumes are much less effective (I'm sure I could get a more convincing alien costume in 'Poundland') and lose some of the viewer's engagement.

The whole VHS tape thing is becoming a trope of its own and I couldn't review this film without obviously comparing it to "The Ring" series and "V/H/S", which both enjoy much more scares than this one does, but also bigger budgets. One thing that "All Hallow's Eve" did do quite well was slowly make the babysitter's environment more menacing as the film went on.

They've tried to give the film a gritty, video tape vibe with some muting of colours etc. Each segment has a different post-production hue, which I liked.

So, it's not a masterpiece. I'm not a huge fan of torture-porn films and the low budget hindered some of the film's effectiveness. The overall linkage of the shorts is pretty sketchy, the actual shorts themselves are not great and some of the action is more funny or just gross than scary. But it shows a lot of potential from Damien Leone as his full length debut and Art the clown is truly very creepy.

[Image: Ruthless Pictures]

Hani