Halloween is early with today’s release of Tales From the Other Side. This horror anthology has both light and devil-may-care B movie style frights where three kids are left on their own to go trick or treating. Just who they meet isn’t necessarily a friendly old grandma.
This film created by committee is an idea that has its moments. And although the title sounds like the makings of a new franchise ala Tales from the Darkside, there’s significant differences. Alternatively, maybe it’s more like an EC Comics publication.
Neither does it bear any semblance with the audiobooks by Raymond Singclare Cobb or Heather Christie’s play of the same name. The only similarity is with how each independent work seeks to enthral and entertain fans of horror with tales of the supernatural.
Instead, Tales From the Other Side draws from various subgenres. It’s a random mix of YA and adult style terror. “The Petrified Boy” kickstarts the concept with further story within a story narrative, and this type of DNA is a bit frustrating. Not every short uses this narrative technique. Only two of the six pieces make use of this presentation.
In contrast, at least the first story effectively plays with the circus of fear trope. No piece can work unless the ringmaster sells the product, and Rafael Delgado is very effective in giving us that sense of the diabolic. He knows something about this statue, and as for whether its alive or not, and bears a mummy’s curse, the ideas is enough to send shivers down your skin. I have quite the imagination, and can see potential in how this tale can get expanded.
Sadly, these vignettes aren’t interconnected. Instead, it plays with the idea concerning beware the Ides of March. Also, not every story is about a young teen. Even adults can get into trouble here too!
Two later segments (“Crystal Ball” and “Blood Red”) speak about the darker side of humanity and they’re effectively creepy. I suspect these cautionary tales have a lot more to take in. These tales are darker, and lastly, perhaps even weirder. The yuletide piece “Krampus vs elf” left me as speechless in terms of a WTF did I watch? My look was the same as the boys whose mother was telling the story to.
Overall, the presentation is very good. The shorts that I didn’t mention just didn’t work as well for me, but as for the larger arc concerning Scary Mary, I wasn’t surprised. As a result, that story turned effectively cheesy.
I can’t help but think the team behind assembling Tales From the Other Side was going for the Brothers Grimm moment. Anyone who knows their works can see it coming miles away. Surely, the writers can come up with something better. I’d love it had they referred to Baba Yaga instead; she’s a Russian terror who doesn’t get enough love in the West.
3 Stars out of 5
Tales From the Other Side Trailer