A typical B list horror movie, I wasn’t expecting much from Damien Leone’s ‘All Hallows’ Eve’ but I was pleasantly surprised by the stylistic direction and one of the most terrifying clowns I have ever seen. Seriously, if you’re afraid of clowns, don’t watch this. I’m not normally afraid of them, but I am now.
The film begins with a babysitter looking after two kids on Halloween, and upon looking through the bags of sweets with them they discover a mysterious looking VHS and after a lot of asking she lets them watch it to see what is on it, and behold, the juicy part begins.
Now the acting in this film isn’t amazing, it’s what you would expect from a B lister, but it’s nothing to complain about either. What really makes this film impressive is the craftsmanship; the sets, the makeup, the costumes These things have been created by a team of real people, and for me this is massively favoured over CGI. Albeit, the prosthetics do look very fake; overly fake mannequin-esque body parts and bright red blood. But in a way, I think this works. It reminded me of some early horror films from the 1970’s, where a lot of the gore was over dramatized and we see the iconic cherry red blood.
Whilst this film could have rivalled similar anthology films such as ‘V/H/S’, it didn’t quite fit the bill. However, what makes this film stand out for me is the recycling of Damien Leone’s short films ‘The 9th Circle’ and ‘Terrifier’, taking place in two of the three anthological films.
The first short wasn’t particularly scary for me. Reminding me of a lot of low budget horrors from the 2000’s, it’s possible this was shot through a potato. But this is where this film excels; with each film, Leone has a chance to showcase his direction styles and if you find yourself not enjoying one segment, the next might just surprise you. And for me this was just the case. I was ready to give up after the first short, deeming it as trashy and unlikely to scare me. Unimpressed, I felt like I had seen this so many times before. Despite my doubts, I pursued. And I’m glad I did because the following films proved to be both eerie and original in their diversity.
I can’t get across how much the third film disturbed me; just when you think you’re safe, he’s there. The most gruesome of the three, the film ends with a panning out shot of Art’s handiwork: the amputated and disfigured body of his victim. This was what I had been waiting for in this film, a scene that would finally send shivers down my spine and question my life choices in how I came about watching something this utterly vile on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. Kudos Leone.
Art the Clown is a truly terrifying character. Think Twisty the Clown from American Horror Story; this guy is in the shadow of Art in comparison. With that menacing personality and matching outfit, Art deserves a franchise of films dedicated to his psychotic imagination and dedication to the job. Luckily, Damien Leone produced ‘Terrifier’ in 2016, a full-length film showcasing the talent of Art the Clown and his maniacal hobby. Featuring in all three films, Art is the connecting link, becoming more realistic as each segment unfolds (literally as we find out at the end of the film), deepening his disturbing ability to get inside your head.
All in all, this film is fun. It has just the right amount of scares to entertain as well as disgust. Not everyone will like this film and I wouldn’t expect them to, but given the chance it might surprise you in its unique direction and ability to creep you out.
And my final thought, who still uses VHS players?