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Items | The tips and tricks of the cult classic “Halloween Tales”

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Halloween is a holiday known all over the world. Its history goes back to the ancient pagan celebrations, more precisely in Celtic mythology, in which the barrier between the spiritual world and the earthly world became more tenuous and the contact with already dead beings would be more intense. Over the years, the celebration formerly known as Samhain, celebrated under traditional Sabbath ideas, has evolved into a more “fun” celebration, so to speak, in which people dress up as countless icons of pop culture and take to the streets for candy drives. the innocent game of deceiving or tricking – especially in the Nordic countries, although in Brazil it also happens more sporadically. However, few remember the obscurantism and dense atmosphere that this time of year brings – and director Michael Dougherty promises to take audiences to a lesser known side of this celebration with his new film.

“Halloween Tales” starts from the premises of the many horror anthologies that became popular in 19th century urban literature in England and would go viral with the arrival of “American Horror Story”. In other words, the narrative is divided into five small creative cores which are intertwined by the same theme or by the convergence of characters – and beyond the more theoretical scope, each of these sub-plots is told through perspectives which are not at all premeditated and which deny all the clichés of the horror genre. Dougherty also comes in here as a script lead, providing his own take on the facts and even facilitating language that might yield to predictable formulas.

The feature also references the anachronistic editing of several classic cinematic works of drama, allowing audiences to travel back in time to search for answers and Easter eggs. Beginning with a morbid clip that shows a woman’s disregard for Halloween and her subsequent murder by demonic force, this backdrop serves as our base for traveling back in time to where all these events began. It is interesting to see how the filmmaker also plays with irony by bringing us face to face with an instructional video on this particular day, which warns us to be careful with sweets, not to go out alone, not to walk in the middle of the street and not go to strangers – and guess what? It’s those four warnings that take drastic turns into bloody, chilling stories.

In short, we have the journey of a young virgin (Anna Paquin) in search of true love which yields to cruel twists; the development of a high school teacher (Dylan Baker) into a dangerous serial killer; a grumpy old man (Brian Cox) is visited by a costumed demon who will do anything to kill him; and the misadventure of a group of teenagers who wish to pay homage to a tragic event which occurred in their small town. Dougherty ensures that the blocks are not thrown at the viewers at once, making good use of parallel editing alongside Robert Ivison to avoid falling into linear monotony and looking for references and certain more subtle elements that can indicate the end. of each story. The result is, for the most part, satisfying, even if it can sometimes seem ridiculous. But even with those flaws, the cinematic options still speak louder.

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The script follows a very metaphorical line that negates the use of scenic clarity. In other words, the framing and angle options always value the prefiguration, leaving the possibility for the public, through synesthetic elements, to conclude the result without absolute certainty. I have to say that, personally, the stories that let you down are my favorite – and the gnawing feeling of wanting to see more and more of them is quickly replaced by an upside-down satisfaction, suppressed by the next story. In an infinite cycle, one can even perceive a closure – not with the end credits, but with the moment when the character of Paquin reaches its maximum of revelation (the only truly explicit moment in the feature film).

Arcs also make use of the suspense, dread, and excessive calm that always comes after the storm. The narrative progression is almost geometric, reaching the peak and then returning to an intoxicating, lethargic and full state, as if nothing had happened and as if the next day were just a simple continuation of the previous one, sometimes asking questions about the human nature of works that have been extended to the supernatural. This unsettling sentiment is most visible in the teenage subplot and its tragic ending, which has to do with the bus crash that claimed the lives of eight children over thirty years ago.

Although limited to clearly expressionist references, the art direction and photography play an important role in increasing the weight of the atmosphere. The density is reaffirmed by the excessive use of fog, the play of shadow and light, the presence of dry and twisted trees which immediately transport us to a classic horror scenario – the haunted forest or the abandoned medieval castle. Sometimes the characters are soaked without any explanation by beams of raw light which accentuate their delimitations and make them intrusive elements within a chaotic construction. Of course, these choices are made to allow maximum connection with the target audience, but opting for saturation is redundant, albeit oddly satisfying.

‘Halloween Tales’ is one of those movies that delivers more than it promises. After all, if you look down from above, it looks like you’ll see simple stories that add nothing to such a battered genre; but looking closely, it’s almost impossible not to get a shiver down your spine when you see a quirky and gruesome perspective on one of the most famous celebrations of all time.

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