When I heard that 10/31 PART II was an anthology film, I was actually really excited. I had not seen the original, which I assume follows the same anthology formula, but I love campy B-movies of all kinds, and I especially love anthology films. It’s a great way to sample something and if you don’t care for one story, there’s another one 15 minutes later. Luckily, 10/31 PART II has a lot to offer and it starts with a package of four fake movie trailers. In order, we see “Treaters”, “Truck Squatch”, “The Candy Taker”, and “The October Kids”. As someone that grew up on 90s kids movies, “The October Kids” resonated with me, and is easily my favorite of the trailers. It features awful acting from kids and a mix of Jumanji, The Monster Squad, and Stranger Things. Honestly, I could have watched a full 15-20 minute short of that story, so here’s hoping that they turn it into something for Part III if the producers decide to make another sequel.
Malvolia: The Queen of Screams is our host of the film and we don’t see her for too long, but she does add a bit of a separation from the trailers to the actual film.
In the story, “A Samhain Liturgy”, a girl is babysitting a young boy, Tommy, and she invites her boyfriend to hang out. She bribes Tommy by bringing a scary movie and letting him watch it in his room, clearly thinking this is something his parents would never let him watch. When the boyfriend shows up, poorly explaining what death metal is, we begin hearing noises from the basement. From there, we end up in a monster movie before the short film ends in its namesake title. Overall, this is a campy but fun short, in the same vein as something like Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark if Nickelodeon allowed more blood and F-bombs. I will say there are a few moments that really took me out of this as a whole, especially one that has to do with the boy that our babysitter main character is taking care of. My favorite part of this short is the callback to the boy’s hobby of painting paper-mache masks.
“Dead Lift” takes us on a journey with a late-night rideshare driver. We learn that he has not been doing well mentally as he writes notes and can’t focus on driving. That’s when he picks up an older gentleman. A boomer that clearly didn’t use the rideshare app and has poor etiquette in the car. He doesn’t even wear his seatbelt! After a long conversation about monsters, this short takes a turn into another dimension. The acting in the first half of this short is actually really good as is the lighting, but the back half of this story isn’t nearly as compelling and I thought it could have ended a bit sooner. I will state that adding a radio DJ by the name of Chet Chunkers into this gave me a good laugh.
But “Dead Lift” seems like high art compared to the purposeful B-Level short “Apache Hatchet Massacre” where, all I can really think to say is, White people! Am I right? A story about some people camping on the site of an ancient burial ground, this short gives us the (purposefully) worst acting in 10/31 PART II. It has some silly moments, especially if you go back and think about it. Why did someone bring an empty box of beer to the party? Why would you wear a lab coat to an archeological dig? The premise here is total camp and, with one of the shortest run times in the movie, I felt like it didn’t drag, but it also doesn’t stick the landing very well either. I’ll just be glad that it didn’t get more offensive to Indigenous Americans.
“Overkill” only has one premise and it’s honestly glorious. It asks the question, “What if more than one serial killer was looking to murder the same person?” This takes us into a bit of meta-horror where we get a Jason Voorhees-like killer who murders one couple before finding his way to the home of a woman dressed in a skimpy nurse outfit. There he meets another killer lusting over the woman and it just gets funnier from there.
The final anthology story is “Sister Mary,” which took a while to fully understand. If you look past the nun going to a nightclub and dating, you’ll have fun with this. Yes, the nun looks like a pornstar pretending to be a nun. Yes, the story has the weirdest timeline, but the lighting and camera work here are top tier, and we get a great return to Tommy who bookends this short.
Overall, I’d say that 10/31 PART II is a good time. No need to watch the original as this is just more short stories rather than it being a real sequel. It does try to be Trick ‘R Treat and it’s a fair comparison to make from the audience, but the filmmakers shouldn’t strive for it, especially considering this film was made on a much lower budget. My other major critique is that Malvolia could have been used more often in this film to add a buffer between some of the short stories. It would have helped separate a short like “Dead Lift” which felt like it was more serious than what followed it. Don’t get me wrong, everything in this film sits nicely in campy B-movie territory, but “Apache Hatchet Massacre” pushes the limits of over-the-top parody while “Dead Lift” tries to be quirky but not an outrageous SNL skit.
This is a good time though. 10/31 PART II is a film you can have fun with, especially with friends. This is worth a virtual movie night with friends where you laugh, and then discuss what short was the best afterward.
10/31 PART II is now available on Demand and Digital from Terror Films.