Halloween is just round the corner, and teenager Timothy (Caleb Thomas) is excited, because it means the perfect opportunity to scare the shit out of people and pull pranks. This time of the year also really gives him the energy to continue his arts and crafts.
Timothy is very interested in horror, his room full of posters and self-made models of creatures and monsters from his imagination. He's a creative guy, but this seems to be how he fills his time, and it also presents a chance of escape from his life, which isn't too great. He lives with his loving mum (Sarah Lancaster) who works as a nurse at the local hospital. They're both trying to move forward from bad memories involving an abusive stepfather who basically walked out the door and never came back, while also getting earache from neighbours who are not so tolerant of Timothy's practical jokes.
We also get a clear indication that he doesn't have many friends, from the amount of time he spends at home, and his awkwardness outside of it. He and his mum go to the shops, and he's hiding in the corner from the cute cashier he fancies (Annie Read). Of course, she unfortunately has a boyfriend, and a very tough one at that. Timothy feels rightfully threatened, and is bullied frequently by him and his gang, conveniently when the girl isn't around to sort her fella out.
The one time Timothy tries to fight back with a knock to the face, things turn intense in retaliation as he is beaten up mercilessly by the three, and he runs off hurting and humiliated. Trying to make his way home, he finds a strangely-placed pumpkin in the woods. His natural decision is to take it back to the house with him.
Using the pumpkin as a punching (or in his case, stabbing) bag, he wishes in a rage that he could scare his tormentors 'to death', and a few hours later, his desire is to be fulfilled, bloodily and really, when an eccentric dwarf-like being calling itself the 'Trickster' appears and offers his help...
With a running time of 80 minutes, director Todd Tucker's THE TERROR OF HALLOW'S EVE has an agreeable length for those seeking something quick but certainly good. The acting is decent, Sarah Lancaster standing out as Tim's mother, the emotion in her role palpable thanks to her great, committed performance. The film also boasts good production values, and doesn't shy away from gore at times when it's afforded (one scene involving puppets finishes in gloriously grisly fashion).
It's very much a Halloween film, made with genuine spirit and bringing in some great talent, John Carpenter (yes, THE one) provided the musical score. Also, be observant near the end... you may notice some parallels between this and Carpenter's slasher 'HALLOWEEN' (1978), which is cool for genre fans...director Tucker himself stated he wanted to create something giving off the fun vibes of early 80s horror.
The ending, which darkly twists everything before, was surprising and I'm appalled at myself for having not seen it coming. It's cool, grim, and has just the right amount of logic to be believed, all things considered. And then there's a final scene which borders on perfection, opting for chill-inducing dialogue rather than a desperate jump cut to end things... the better choice was made, and its effect is superb.
We were sent a screener of Tucker's film via email, therefore I had only the film itself to write about.
The film premiered at London Frightfest on August 28th.
THE TERROR OF HALLOW'S EVE isn't trying to be ground-breaking. It's a straight-to-it, well made chiller that deserves to be watched... best time is on Halloween night, I think!
Liked this one a lot.
Review by Elliott Moran
|Directed by Todd Tucker|