(1986) ½ star
Inspired by Horrorthon 2006 conversations regarding horror anthology films (e.g., Creepshow), I decided to check out Deadtime Stories, a film I recall being advertised in the 1980s.
Do I really have to summarize the 3 stories that comprise Deadtime Stories? If ImnotMarc (dude, you really need to change your name) can describe all the Leprechaun films I guess I'm obligated to. Sigh.
Like most horror anthology films, Deadtime Stories is bookended by a framing story. In this case a lazy uncle is forced to keep telling his bratty, afraid-of-the-dark nephew bedtime stories in an effort to get the little shit to sleep (I kept thinking that a punch in the mouth would’ve been equally effective and so much more satisfying for me, the viewer). Don’t even get me started on how much I hated this kid. Okay, so the 3 stories go something like this,
In “Peter and the Witches” two withes have enslaved a young fisherman in order to help them resurrect their dead sister. He ultimately betrays them after falling in love with a virgin he helped kidnap to sacrifice. In “Little Red Running Hood” a fat red riding hood ends up in battle with a pill-popping drug addict after his anti-werewolf prescription is mixed up with riding hood’s grandmother’s prescription. In the final, and worst of the bunch, tale, a trio of homicidal maniacs (The Baers) encounter Goldi Lox, a “sexy” young woman who shares their penchant for dismemberment (and whose boobs we see at one point). Sorry, that’s the best I can do in describing this terrible exercise in tedium. The best part of this film is the title. It’s always sad to me when a good title gets wasted on a bad film or when a great film has an awful title (I’m sure Jordan will be able to whip up examples from both categories).
Every Horrorthonner inevitably stumbles across a film that’s so awful, it’s physically painful to watch. For me, that moment occurred when I popped in Deadtime Stories. About 10 minutes into it my ass really started to hurt. You know the kind of ass hurt I’m talking about; the kind you’ll get pretty quickly while suffering through a Catholic mass, waiting for your number to be called at the DMV, or watching young children play any sporting event. Now, my ass pain mighhhhhhhhht have been from sitting on a really uncomfortable chair at my desk while watching this film on my computer (the DVD wouldn’t work on my player), but most likely it was my body’s way of saying, “You’re making me sit through this? Screw you!” It's one of those times where you think, “Okay, this sucks and I really want to shut it off but I’ve already watched 10 minutes of it and I’ll have to start over again with a different movie and I’ll be losing precious Horrorthon movie watching time…” For those of you who have not yet experienced this inner-dialogue, take it from me, it’s worth it to start another film. Otherwise, if you’re like me, you’ll spend the entire time swearing at the film and your decision to keep watching it. In Deadtime Stories, there’s not a single scare, laugh, or anything for that matter. Even the one shot of 1980s boobs could not fix this. The only satisfying scene is the ending, where the brat's fear of the dark is ultimately justified.
A brief list of other horror anthology films:
Freakshow (1995, William Cooke, Paul Talbot)
Creepshow (1982, George A. Romero)
Tales From the Darkside: The Movie (1990, John Harrison)
The House That Dripped Blood (1971, Peter Duffell)
Creepshow 2 (1987, Michael Gornick)
Dr. Terror's House of Horrors (1965, Freddie Francis)
Cradle of Fear (2001)
Body Bags (1993, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper)