Director/Screenplay/Makeup Effects – Damien Leone, Story – Jesse Baget & Damien Leone, Producer – Jesse Baget, Photography – Tom Agnello, Christopher Cafaro, Christopher Eadiccio, George Steuber & Marvin Suarez, Music – Noir Deco, Production Design – Molly Maguire. Production Company – Ruthless Pictures.
Katie Maguire (Sarah), Catherine Callahan (Caroline), Marie Maser (Costume Designer), Kayla Lian (Casey), Mike Giannelli (Art the Clown), Sydney Freihofer (Tia), Cole Mathewson (Timmy), Marissa Wolf (Kristen), Minna Taylor (Sara), Brandon Despain (Alien), Daniel Rodas (Man in Car)
Sarah is babysitting young Timmy and Tia on Halloween Night. Timmy finds that someone has placed a VHS tape into his candy bag while out trick-or-treating. The children insist on watching the tape and find it contains a series of short horror films. In one story, Casey is abducted by a sinister clown and made a prisoner in a tunnel with several other girls. In another story, Caroline has just moved into a new home when it is invaded by an alien. In another story, a costume designer is pursued by a sinister clown.
All Hallows’ Eve was a directorial debut for Damien Leone. Leone subsequently went on to make Frankenstein vs the Mummy (2015) and the more high-profile Terrifier (2016) and sequel Terrifier 2 (2022). In these, and in films for others, Leone also provides the makeup effects.
As becomes apparent with All Hallows’ Eve, the film is an Anthology. The anthology has a long history in the horror genre going back to the silent era and gaining a popularity in the 1960s with the various Amicus films. At the time that All Hallows’ Eve came out, the genre saw a renewed interest with multi-director films like The ABCs of Death (2012) and V/H/S (2012). All Hallows’ Eve has a very similar central premise to V/H/S of people being left a videotape and sitting down to watch what is on it.
The disappointment that becomes evident in watching is that All Hallows’ Eve is not an original work that has been made for the screen but is a fix-up compiled from short films that Damien Leone made several years earlier. To this extent, I am unable to work out which scenes consist of these re-edited short films and which have been shot new for this film.
The opening segment, for instance, seems randomly plotted – we go from Kayla Lian in a train station or bus terminal as a clown pokes its head in the door; to her and two other girls chained up on what looks like an abandoned subway tunnel and making an escape just as a monster comes; to scenes where a pregnant woman is being sacrificed by a Satanic cult. There seems little-to-no connection between the scenes, least of all on a narrative level.
The complaint you could make of All Hallows’ Eve is that it looks exactly like what it is – a string of amateur films made by someone still looking to perfect the art and that they should have remained what they are, the sort of thing you pull out of the drawer after you have made it to remind yourself how far you have come. Most of them play out as a single effect – girls trapped in a subway, woman pursued by an alien in her home, woman pursued by a killer clown – without any narrative rationale for what is happening. Normally in a short film, you are used to narrative condensation in order to cram as much exposition as needed into your running time. However, you cannot help but notice that these episodes consist of almost nothing except a single effect.