10/31 PART II (2019)
Sequel to the indie Halloween set anthology flick 10/31 once again presents a horror movie marathon hosted by Malvolia, the Queen of Screams (Jennifer Nangle). It tells five tales, with some fun trailers this time, by a host of new indie filmmakers, all taking place on Halloween.
After opening with some amusing trailers, the best being Treaters from Zane Hershberger, and then an introduction by Malvolia, the show begins. We start out with A Samhain Liturgy written and directed by Tory van Buskirk. It’s a classic tale of a babysitter (Rhema Srihartiti) encountering peril and evil on Halloween night. The tale is a mash-up of more than one classic horror scenario, has some very disturbing moments and follows the classic tropes with a few twists. It can be gruesome at times and the make-up FX are well rendered. Lead Rhema Srihartiti makes a nice heroine as teen babysitter Holly and Devin Douglas, a very creepy kid as Tommy.
Second story is Dead Lift from director Stephen Wolfe. Story finds down on his luck rideshare driver Jeremy (Tim Robinson) picking up a very ominous passenger (William McCarthy). The segment is spooky and atmospheric, but also a bit talky and feels like it wears out it’s welcome long before it’s over. Dead Lift also stars Ashley Nief as Jeremy’s long suffering girlfriend Whitney. Does score points for trying to do something a little different and having a bit of a Phantasm vibe in spots.
Next up is the very comical and cheesy Apache Hatchet Massacre II from director Max Groah. Basically a story of a Halloween party being held in a cabin on an ancient Native American burial ground. There’s a lot of overacting and the segment comes across as very cheap looking and just plain silly. It doesn’t feel like it fits in with the rest of the stories, which take a more serious approach and look far better produced. It simply comes across as filler. Thankfully, AHM II is mercifully short.
Fourth story is Overkill from writer, director Drew Marvick and is an amusing tale of two serial killers (Aaron Strong and David E. McMahon) fighting over the same sexy babysitter (Anastasia Elfman) on Halloween night. Segment is amusing and features some good gore, but is another segment that seems like it’s a bit long for it’s one sentence scenario. On the plus side, the segment does feature some nice nudity from shapely Lauren Fogle (as “Hot Chick”), which is a rarity for this anthology series.
Fifth and final tale finds Tory van Buskirk back writing and in the director’s chair for Sister Mary, a story of a sexy nun with a dark and bloody secret. It’s an effective segment with some disturbing moments, plenty of blood and lead London Grace does a really good job as the disturbed, conflicted, tormented…and possibly haunted?…Mary.
Overall, this was another fun and spooky anthology from this indie franchise, featuring a different set of directors than the first flick. Like the original 10/31, the stories are a bit uneven, but the makers show potential and most stories have Halloween spirit 🎃 along with some great electronic scores from Rocky Gray! 10/31 Part II is available to stream on Amazon Prime!
Rated 3 (out of 4) jack-o-lanterns.
Sorry, this is as close to a trailer as I could find!
Independent horror is a Halloween set anthology flick from the makers of such recent flicks as The Barn and Bonejangles. It takes place on Halloween night and has two kids (Aliese and Alexandria Kuhn) watching a horror movie marathon hosted by Malvolia, the Queen of Screams (Jennifer Nangle). As the horror hostess promises chills and thrills, it sets up our five tales by five indie filmmakers, all taking place on All Hallows Eve.
First tale is The Old Hag. It takes place in an old bed and breakfast where wannabe filmmakers Tyler and Kevin (The Barn‘s Nickolaus Joshua, billed here as Nick Edwards and Mitchell Musolino, respectively) are hired to do a Youtube commercial for the owner (Cindy Maples) on Halloween night. Tyler keeps seeing a creepy old hag (Jedediah Giacchino) while Kevin refuses to believe him…until it’s too late. The story is written and directed by The Barn‘s Justin M. Seaman and while it shows he has a great visual eye, it was a little flat until the final moments, which were unsettling. Segment had a great location and worthy story but should have been scarier.
Next up is the best of the bunch. Trespassers finds a first date couple Jeff (Chad Bruns) and Stephanie (Sable Griedel), trying to find something to do in the Halloween spirit after their horror flick turns out to be a bust. Stephanie takes Chad to the abandoned Martin farmhouse and tells him a tale of vengeful gypsies, a creepy scarecrow and a murder suicide. As the two roam the desolate property, they find that all urban legends have a basis in fact. Segment is written and directed by Zane Hershberger and really captures the Halloween spirit along with the feel of a creepy local legend. It was very spooky and had a very spunky, sexy characterization from actress Griedel as the Halloween loving Stephanie. Extra points for the very Carpenter-esque score by Matt Cannon during the segment, too.
Third tale has a bit of an Argento-ish flair with psychedelic lighting and a straight razor wielding killer. Story takes place at a roller rink as a costumed killer stalks a girl and her little brother (Bailey Ingersol and Noah Howland) at an after-hours Halloween party. Killing The Dance is directed by John William Holt from a script by Jason Turner and had a nice Giallo feel, some gruesome kills, an unexpected wrap-up and some cool music from Jake Siener.
The Halloween Blizzard of 1991 from writer/director Brett DeJager had potential and some amusing ideas though didn’t quite use them to full effect. Story has a family, Aunt April (April Johnson), mom Katie (Katie Walgrave Forrest), dad Allen (Allen Regimbal) and kids Ben (Fox Forrest) and John (Ethan Hemenway) trapped in the house on Halloween during an unexpected blizzard. They are besieged by not only three creepy trick or treaters (Fox and Egy Forrest, Xander Daire), but a vengeful Santa Claus (Lyle Kroon) who feels Halloween is ruining all the good kids. Segment had its moments but needed to pick and focus on a story. Was it about three demonic trick or treaters?…or a Halloween hating Santa, which sounds more fun.
Anthology finishes up with another of the best stories with The Samhain Slasher. A true nod to Carpenter’s classic, this tale has escaped serial killer Samuel LaCroix (Ryan Heumier) stalking a Halloween party attended by a girl (Jordan Phipps) who is mourning the suicide of her mother (Kirby Gocke). Not only does this segment have a score that strongly evokes Carpenter, but manages to mix in Ouija boards, a religious father (Greg Fallon) haunted by the death of his wife and the masked psychopath. As written and directed by Rocky Gray, who also scored, it’s atmospheric, has some very creepy moments and respectfully pays tribute to Carpenter, while also doing its own thing.
We finally return to our wraparound story which was directed by Hershberger and Hunter Johnson from a script by Hershberger, Gray and Jennifer Nagle. It’s a creepy finale and works within the context of the Halloween theme, leaving us on a chilling note which all good Halloween tales should.
Overall, this was a fun and spooky anthology from some up-and-coming filmmakers. It’s gives plenty of Halloween love and while the stories are a bit uneven, they all show potential and the ones that do nail it down, are quite fun and effective. An entertaining and spooky anthology with plenty of Halloween spirit! 10/31 is currently available on DVD and VHS from the makers here… https://screamteamreleasing.com/collections/10-31-merch …and there is talk of a VOD release later this year, probably near October 🎃!
Rated 3 (out of 4) jack-o-lanterns.