Beneath the surface of Todd Tucker’s, there’s a fantastic Halloween themed horror movie. “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is a movie with so much flab and filler that it ultimately loses sight of what it’s trying to accomplish, not to mention it distracts from the utterly fantastic special effects and supporting performances. You’ll have a hard time appreciating those elements since Zack Ward’s script’s pacing is so glacial. “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is a mix of “976-Evil,” “Halloween,” and “Cellar Dweller,” with a lot of spirit, but none of the sinister tone or deep rooted menace.
It’s October 30th, 1981. Special effects prodigy Tim (Caleb Thomas), still struggling with the divorce of his parents, becomes the victim of a group of bullies in his small town. Anxious to get back at them, Tim’s imagination takes on life in the form of an impish creature known as the Trickster (Doug Jones). The enigmatic being offers Tim a chance to wreak pure revenge on his tormentors by giving him the power to bring to life his twisted monsters. But as Tim revels in the payback, the Trickster seems to have ulterior motives.
“The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is stuck under a veneer of family drama, and bullying melodrama, and can barely muster up the enthusiasm to build on the horror premise until the final half. Writer Ward seems to build up on family drama and how Tim’s love for Halloween has a link to his imagination. The problem is the screenplay never quite explores the link to his imagination with Halloween, or why Tim loves Halloween. Does he have superpowers embedded in him, or did the supernatural beings decide to take advantage of his pain? And did his trauma enhance his abilities to manifest the monsters of his imagination? Is his father’s (Christian Kane has a thankless walk on role) past with drug abuse Tim’s strength or fuel for evil?
In either case, “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” meanders in to melodrama, and sub-plots that go nowhere. Only when it finally kicks the narrative in to motion does the movie rise above average. All things considered, the make up effects are fantastic, and Doug Jones is excellent as The Trickster. The Trickster has a lot of potential to be a fascinating horror villain, but he’s lost here in so much empty melodrama, and filler. Not to mention the movie seemingly has no idea how to come to a close, thus writer Ward sloppily tacks on two endings, and a silly epilogue that hints at a sequel. “The Terror of Hallow’s Eve” is a solid Halloween horror drama if you can get past its script’s flaws; Doug Jones and Sarah Lancaster’s spirited supporting turns are enough of a reason to give this one a shot.