By Nick Durham
Not to be confused with the no-budget anthology films that bear George Romero’s name that came out a handful of years back, Deadtime Stories is an oft-forgotten horror/comedy anthology film from 1986. It’s something that offers up way more laughs than scares and doesn’t take itself too seriously in the least, which is actually half-refreshing, and half-frustrating given the potential of the film. Scream Factory has decided to release the film on Blu-ray for the first time, and now a new generation can discover the film for the first time.
The wraparound story of Deadtime Stories involves an annoyed uncle telling his young nephew some bedtime stories. He gives a handful of fairy tale bedtime stories the horror treatment, all of which are told with the utmost glee. Our opening story deals with a coven of killer witches, and is probably the least enjoyable of the trio of tales, even though it features the best makeup and gore effects. The second story is a take on Little Red Riding Hood, finding our voluptuous heroine running afoul of an asshole werewolf. The third story is a take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears (and features future Oscar winner Melissa Leo) in which a psychotic (and psychic, and sexy) Goldilocks teams up with the Baer (no, that’s how it’s spelled) family to cause chaos and carnage.
While Deadtime Stories may be classified as a horror anthology, it’s definitely more of a comedy anthology. Tongue is planted firmly in cheek here, and the film’s tone is definitely nothing serious or scary in the least. In fact, the film’s soundtrack features a number of original songs featuring self-aware lyrics that will make you laugh your ass off. It’s obvious that writer/director Jef Delman wanted to do something fun here, and he succeeded. Granted the film as a whole is quite uneven and occasionally drags in spots, but that aside, it’s still a welcome diversion.
Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release of Deadtime Stories features some interesting supplements. There’s a new commentary track from Delman as well as a brand new interview featuring him as well. There’s also new interviews with Melissa Leo, as well as actors Scott Valentine and Cathryn de Prume as well. There’s an interesting alternate cut of the opening story segment, as well as a handful of deleted scenes and the usual trailers and still gallery. The film itself has received a new HD transfer, and this is undoubtedly the best the film has ever looked. It’s good to see Scream Factory putting in a pretty good effort for a film that not many may remember all that well.
All in all, Deadtime Stories is far from the best horror anthology film you’ll ever see, but for what it is, it’s pretty damn entertaining. You’ll definitely laugh more than get any kind of thrills from scares or gore here, but that’s all well and good, and doesn’t deter from the overall enjoyment of the film all that much. Scream Factory’s Blu-ray release is pretty good as well, so if you can find this at a good price, I’d say pick it up.