Pee-yew! You have to appreciate Shout! Factory for restoring what is easily one of the worst anthology movies of the eighties. I admit to being a completely newcomer in regards to “Deadtime Stories,” and upon finishing it, I was not surprised it was such a rarity for so many years. “Deadtime Stories” watches like someone really loved “Creepshow” and decided to make their own version with only a quarter of the budget. Then mid-way when the studio realized how awful the movie was, they decided to turn it in to a comedy at the last minute so horror fans can convince themselves the whole disaster is intentional and a tongue in cheek jab at the anthology crazy of the decade.
“Deadtime Stories” watches like a lame version of “Princess Bride,” where a young boy is convinced there is a monster in his room. In order to get him to sleep, his moronic uncle Mike decides to tell him three scary stories. This involves three witches trying to revive a long dead monster with the help of assistant Scott Valentine from “Family Ties,” a woman hunting mimbo who is trying to get in to a grandmother’s house and retrieve his meds before he turns in to a werewolf at midnight (It didn’t make sense to me, either), and three psychopaths named the “Baers” that cross paths with another super powered, blonde, female, serial killer named “Goldi Lox.” Every single story is a dud and watches like they were written in haste without being properly developed. The narratives feel only half complete, there are no real twists or memorable moments, and the writer doesn’t even seem to care about coherency to the film.
It’s almost like the studios told the writer “I don’t care if it makes sense, just pad out the script to get us a feature length run time for the film’s release.” How else can you explain the obscenely long animated opening sequence? Among some of the other most baffling moments include a very long moment of Little Red Riding Hood stand in Rachel hallucinating being molested by her boyfriend in front of her mirror, only to realize her dog is licking her behind. There’s also Uncle Mike being called back in to his nephew’s room and scolding him for making him miss a nude bathing suit competition on Cablevision. “Deadtime Stories” is just a nonsensical bore that has every chance to be funny and scary, but is neither. This is the definition of an eighties cheapie, made to cash in on a craze but lacking any kind of vision. For a much better take on a horror anthology steeped in grimm fairy tales, watch “Tale from the Darkside: The Movie,” instead.
The new edition from Scream Factory comes with a DVD copy, along with an audio commentary from director Jeffrey Delman. There’s “I Like the Grotesque,” a fifteen minute conversation with co-writer and director Jef Delman, who discusses his process for the anthology that came from making one movie, his local production, effects, and how it came to home video. “A Band Of Gypsies: The Making of Deadtime Stories” is a fifteen minute talk with co-stars Melissa Leo, Cathryn de prume, and Scott Valentine, and how they’re all still close friends.
They speak well of Jef Delman, despite the movie, and how he ruined working with other directors for them. Leo speaks highly of making the movie and how much fun she had with it. “The Black Forest” is a thirty minute version of the Black Forest segment and how much of it was truncated for the anthology. There are two deleted segments from the Red Riding Hood and Goldi Lox segments with an introduction from Jef Delman. Finally, there are SD theatrical trailers for “Deadtime Stories.”