Anyone who knows me knows that I live and breath Halloween, and that horror anthologies are one of my favorite horror subgenres. So when I first heard about Rocky Gray’s 10/31, I was instantly enamored and couldn’t wait to see it.
Not only is this anthology dripping with indie horror powerhouses, both the trailer and posters are fucking amazing. From the moment I’d seen them, I was sold, along with many other horror fans. But did it live up to its hype?
Official Press Release for 10/31:
10/31 is a horror anthology written and directed by indie horrors best and brightest such as award winning film makers Justin Seaman and Zane Hershberger (The Barn), Brett DeJager (Bonejangles), John William Holt (The Dooms Chapel Horror) an original score and segment directed by award winning film and game composer Rocky Gray (The Barn, Killing Floor 2, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories) and features web horror host Malvolia: The Queen of Screams (Jennifer Nangle). Also on this monster roster is executive producer and creator of Volumes of Blood, P.J. Starks. These blood soaked tales of terror and the macabre in the vein of Creepshow, Body Bags, Tales of Halloween and All Hallows’ Eve 2 are sure to chill horror lovers to the bone.
I can happily say that yes, 10/31 lived up to its hype and is officially one of my favorite anthologies ever! That’s saying a lot because there are so many great horror anthologies, Creepshow and Trick R Treat being two of my favorites. 10/31 stands strong among them and brings a whole new level of terror and fear to fans of the genre!
First off, they wisely chose Malvolia: the Queen of Screams as their host. She introduces the anthology and then wraps up the ending as well. Malvolia represents everything wonderful about Halloween and seeing her do what she does best was brilliant and chilling! Director Hunter Johnson (2 Jennifer, Irrational Fear) created her segment.
Secondly, the musical score resonated from beginning to end. It created a perfectly spooky atmosphere that made each new segment more memorable than the last. Speaking of which, each director kicked ass with their installments, bringing together brilliantly unique stories that stood out, each in their own ways. I’m not sure I can pick a favorite, so I’m going to break each segment down and discuss what makes them so chillingly memorable!
Segment 1 – The Old Hag
The first segment, “The Old Hag,” was directed by Justin M. Seaman and stars Cindy Maples, Mitchell Musolino, and Nickolaus Joshua. The story revolves around two young men who answer a Craigslist ad to a do a commercial for the owner of a Victorian bed and breakfast. Her true plans are much more sinister… but you can’t blame her. All she wants is some sleep.
I loved every single thing about this segment. First of all, the casting was perfect. As everyone probably knows by now, I freaking adore Cindy Maples and it was thrilling to see her in this role. She delivers a sweet and chilling performance and I understood her decision. Then there’s both Mitchell Musolino and Nicklaus Joshua, whom I’ve loved since The Barn. It was great seeing them in action again. Nickolaus even provided some comic relief. Along with the acting, the story was insanely creepy and the FX was amazing. I can easily see Justin Seaman’s fingers prints all over this. I love his style. He really knows how to deliver a spooky horror story.
Segment 2 – Trespassers
Directed by Zane Hershberger, the second segment, “Trespassers,” stars Chad Burns and Sable Griedel. The story centers around Jeff and Stephanie, a couple on their first date. When their movie of choice turns out to be a bust, Stephanie decides to take Jeff to an old murder house with a creepy urban legend about a cursed family and an evil, mysterious scarecrow. What could go wrong?
This one was incredibly engrossing! It’s such a relatable story, something I could easily see any horror fan doing. The characters were amazing and Sable Griedel especially stood out. I would love to see her in more things. Chad impressed me as well, even more so at the end – let’s just say he kind of stepped up to the plate. “Trespassers” also had one of my favorite kills that may or may not involve a head – that’s all I’m saying! Kudos, Zane – you’re a rock star at delivering horror stories!
Segment 3 – Killing The Dance
The third segment, “Killing the Dance,” was directed by John William Holt and stars Bailey Ingersoll and Wendy Keeling. The story takes place at a skating rink lock-in on Halloween night. An evening of fun quickly turns into a night of crime in an epic retro revenge.
This one took me by surprise. I’m not as familiar with John’s work, but I definitely dig it. “Killing the Dance” was fun, mysterious, and full of WTF! moments. I know everyone will love it! Plus the uber-talented Cassandra Baker did the FX on this one and it undeniably shows.
Segment 4 – The Halloween Blizzard of ’91
“The Halloween Blizzard of ’91” was directed by Brett DeJager and stars Allen Regimbal and Katie Walgrave. The short is based on the actual events that took place in Duluth, MN in 1991. In this story, two worlds collide inside a house that has been snowed in on Halloween. A creepy Santa shows up on All Hallows Eve as three devious tricksters punish those with no candy in the most sadistic and inhumane ways.
There’s no doubt that this is definitely the sinister work of Brett Dejager! There’s so much going on, yet it all works together perfectly. The three devious tricksters remind me of Sam from Trick R Treat or the kids from the story “Trick” from Tales of Halloween. I think they would be friends or perhaps are long lost cousins. They’re not the only creepy fuckers in this short though. Santa is pretty insane himself. I wasn’t sure how the story would end, but it was done perfectly and made me want a full feature.
Segment 5 – The Samhain Slasher
The fifth segment, “The Samhain Slasher,” was directed by Rocky Gray and stars Greg Fallon, Jordan Phipps, Hanleigh Baker, Darius White, and Ryan Heumier. The story takes place a year after a serial killer named Samuel LeCroix was captured for his sadistic Halloween murder spree, only to escape and do what he does best… kill.
Evanescence’s former drummer Rocky Gray may be a rock star at composing, but he’s also one hell of a director as well. This story was insanely creepy and starred some of my favorite people, including Greg Fallon and Jordan Phipps from Close Calls. I had no clue they were in this segment, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them there on my TV screen. I guess it’s not surprising since the amazing Close Calls director, Richard Stringham, assisted with this segment as well. “The Samhain Slasher” has it all: a dark, ominous night with creepy Halloween costumes, a Ouija board, a stormy night, and a killer on the loose. This one is probably the darkest out of the 10/31 bunch, delivering the most gore and some insanely awesome kills. Hanging by your intestines?! Now that’s brutal.