HIDDEN HORROR FOR HALLOWEEN – All Hallows’ Eve

All Hallows’ Eve is a horror anthology film by director Damien Leone, consisting of three short films (two he had shot and released years before this feature) and a wraparound all tied together by a metaphysical and malevolent clown.

After returning from trick or treating, little Timmy and Tia find a blank VHS tape in their spoils. Through much bargaining with their babysitter to play the cassette, Sarah (Katie Maguire) reluctantly runs the tape in what materializes as the device for the presentation of the short stories.

In the first tale (released in 2008 as The 9th Circle), a woman is lured to what appears to be Hell by a mysterious clown. Although there is not much of a suspenseful build or reason behind the victim’s suffering, the end result will have viewers shocked by the vulgar imagery.

Concerned that Timmy and Tia may have nightmares, she stops the video and puts the children to bed. But of course, she can’t help but continue to watch once she is alone.

Leone’s next tale, which was not released previously as a standalone short film, is about a woman (Catherine A. Callahan) spending the night alone in her new house, while her boyfriend is out of town. Paranoia sets in once a crashed object knocks the power out on her street. The second story does a better job of building tension and suspense, but the payoff is tame in comparison to the surrounding tales.

The final story (released in 2011 as Terrifier) is a supernatural slasher about a woman (Marie Maser) on her way home from work on a dark, deserted highway. After witnessing a murder, she is pursued by the assailant – a homicidal clown.

Between each tale, strange occurrences are happening to Sarah and the children, but the babysitter brushes it off as imaginations running wild. Sarah soon realizes that the video is becoming a reality, which quickly escalates in to probably the most appalling conclusion of all the other stories combined.

Leone does a respectable job at presenting each tale, but he is constantly taking away from the viewers’ attachment by cutting to Timmy, Tia and Sarah’s reactions to the action in each tale throughout.

The makeup and effects are hit and miss, the former including the first creature presented in The 9th Circle, and the terrifying clown makeup applied to actor Mike Giannelli throughout each manifestation of Art the Clown. But the quality craftsmanship is counter-balanced with the lesser impressive group of demons in the first story and cheaply clad visitors in the second.

All Hallows’ Eve is an impressive low-budget hidden horror for gore-hounds and coulrophobics, combining elements of the supernatural and extraterrestrial, using conventions from slasher, home invasion and psychological genres, and setting an atmosphere reminiscent of a classic a giallo film.

~ Morbid Matthew McPhee

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