Listen, it’s hard to be taken seriously in the horror community when you’re a “youngin’”. Having been born in 1992 I missed out on some of the more obscure titles of the 80’s and before. Thankfully we’ve reached a point where everyone and their mother has a distribution company, and we’re getting fantastic releases of these titles left and right. Enter, Deadtime Stories, a 1986 anthology film directed by Jeffrey Delman. This film had been brought to my attention by a few friends I hold near and dear to my heart. I was pretty excited that Scream Factory was putting out a bluray because even the worst of the worst of 80’s films tend to have a bit of charm. Now, was that the case here? Well, sit back and relax as we go segment by segment. Let me tell you…..a DEADTIME STORY!
We open on an…..unusual uncle? Uhh, as uncomfortable as this makes me, we open on an uncle tucking his nephew into bed, normal right? Well, all the uncle wants to do is go downstairs and watch porn but his nephew is worried about the monster that may or may not be under his bed. Hmmmmm…this is gonna make an interesting wrap around. To get the boy to go to sleep the uncle begins telling him these twisted fairy tales…what a shitty uncle. BEGIN SEGMENT 1!
Our first segment is about two witches luring unsuspecting guests back to their lair so that they can be sacrificed to a third witch. These hateful bitches, er, witches are able to disguise themselves as beautiful young women. Using this power they trick an older gentlemen into a three way before cutting off his hand. This scene sounds so much cooler than it appears. Also, remember, this is an uncle telling this story to his 8 year old nephew. That in itself made me feel a bit uncomfortable. During this first segment I checked the clock 3 times. It was a drag, and besides some decent effects towards the end, this segment offered nothing. MOVING ON!
Segment 2 is a play on Little Red Riding Hood. We open on Rachel (our Little Red) looking into a mirror fantasizing about being, er, teased and touched. SOMEONE CALL THE POLICE ON THIS UNCLE! Now, Rachel is told to run an errand for her grandmother; pick up her medicine from the pharmacy. In a coincidental system of events the medication she went to pick up is switched with that of a young man named Willie. Of course, Willie just so happens to be a werewolf and chaos ensues! Honestly, this is the best segment of the bunch. When I think 80’s fun, I think of the goofy schlock we saw here. You can bypass this entire film but give this segment a chance.
Now, our final segment is a play on Goldilocks and the Three Bears. In this version Goldilox is a serial killer with telekinesis (think a more psychotic Tina from Friday part 7) and the three “Baers” are a family that just escaped the loony bin. There’s honestly nothing else to know here folks. This segment kind of just begins and ends. Besides getting to look at a young Cathryn de Prume, I found nothing of value from this story.
Now you know I’m not a fan of the film, solet’s look at the disc itself. The movie looks great, as most Scream Factory releases do. This is a brand new transfer from the original negative. Also included is an informative commentary and interview with Director/Co-writer Jeffrey Delman and interviews with cast members Cathryn de Prume, Melissa Leo and Scott Valentine. Recycled features include an alternative cut of the first story (didn’t watch…please don’t make me!) and other deleted scenes.
Listen, if you grew up with this film, fantastic! There is definitely an audience for it and a following. I’m a huge anthology fan, but Deadtime Stories fell completely flat for me. I honestly found myself dozing off at certain points, which is unacceptable during an 83 minute film. If you are a huge fan of this movie, I’d say pick this up. If you are a Scream Factory completionist…for the love of God, wait for a sale. Other than that, I’d say this is a hard pass for me. Deadtime Stories is a snoozefest.
Jason Price founded the mighty Icon Vs. Icon more than a decade ago. Along the way, he’s assembled an amazing group of like-minded individuals to spread the word on some of the most unique people and projects on the pop culture landscape.