Horror anthologies let us enjoy fun, little snippets of horror, in gruesome, bite-sized chunks. There are lots to choose from, but here is a run down of the Top 10 Horror Anthologies out there.
10) Skeletons In The Closet (2018)
Quite a unique entry, compared to the typical template for horror anthologies. Usually anthologies offer several short stories, which are interspersed through a larger narrative. But Skeletons In The Closet is like a Russian Doll of horror stories. We begin with a young girl and her babysitter, who are watching a horror TV show. We then also get to watch that horror TV show, in which the characters are watching their own horror anthology. Then we watch that horror anthology too, and every now and then it jumps back and forth between the events between the babysitter and girl, and the events occurring within the TV show.
The movie is overall enjoyable and the short stories start off strong, but finish weak. However, the wrap-around events of the TV show and babysitter, make-up for that.
9) Tales From The Hood (1995)
A selection of horror tales, that take place in the African American community. The wrap-around story focuses on a group of three youths, who visit a funeral home, to collect some drugs. But they soon get drawn into the mortician’s bizarre stories, about how the resident corpses met their untimely fates.
The collection of stories are all good, including a story about a young boy being victimised by a monster, and another about a white supremacist who gets his comeuppance at the hands of an old slave curse.
Should I watch the sequels?
There’s a Tales From The Hood 2 & 3, both of which are worth a watch.
8) The Willies (1990)
The Willies is geared toward a younger audience, but still fun for adults who prefer their horror to be a bit lighter. Featuring a young Sean Astin, when he was still knee-high to a hobbit, and a selection of other recognisable actors, this movie is good fun.
A group of young boys, camping out in one of their back yards, sit around sharing scary stories. Of course, we the audience get to enjoy those stories directly. Part of the joy is that these tales do actually sound like the kind of tall tales that young boys might actually tell to each other. A bit gross, a bit ridiculous, and with the traditional caveat of it supposedly being a true story, just to make it all the more scary.
7) Trilogy Of Terror (1975)
Old school horror anthology, that has become a staple of the genre. Trilogy of Terror stars Karen Black, playing four different roles, over three stories. Each of the stories are good in their own right, but the one that is the stand-out icon is the final tale of a woman who becomes the victim of a Zuni fetish doll. In many ways, that doll is the break-out star of the movie.
For a movie that’s over 45 years old, it still holds its own.
Should I watch the sequel?
Trilogy Of Terror 2 has the same format as the first, with one actress starring across three stories. Again, the highlight is the continuation of the saga of the Zuni doll. For that alone, its worth watching.
6) Twilight Zone The Movie (1983)
The Twilight Zone movie is the standard, classic horror anthology. It helps that it draws from The Twilight Zone TV show, which is already based on short, scary stories. So, the movie is an updated reworking of classic Twilight Zone stories. Produced and directed by Steven Spielberg and John Landis, it has that classic 80’s feel, so may also be especially enjoyable for those who are into the current 80’s revival.
Starring John Lithgow and Dan Akroyd, among others, the movie is made up of four stories and a larger wrap-around story, acting as an intro and outro.
5) The Mortuary Collection (2019)
A young woman visits a funeral home, in response to a job advertisement. The funeral director, agrees to interview her and takes her on a tour of the facility. As they go, the creepy mortician shares a series of ghastly tales about the deaths that have come through the funeral home.
There are four stories told, along with the overarching interaction between mortician, played by Clancy Brown, and the young woman, played by Caitlin Custer.
One nice aspect of this movie is in the telling of the wrap-around story. In most anthologies, the wrap-around story simply serves to bookend the other tales, and add a final scary moment to the film. But in The Mortuary Tales, the wrap-around story is itself a well developed tale.
One of the best anthology horror movies of the last ten years and deserving addition to our Top 10 Horror Anthologies.
4) Creepshow (1982)
A creative collaboration of horror giants George A. Romero and Steven King, it’s no wonder that Creepshow is one of the best horror anthology franchises out there.
Featuring five stories, told in the style of a 1950’s horror comic, the format of the movie is a joy in itself. With notable stars, such as Leslie Nielson, Ted Danson, and Adrienne Bareau, the performances are often in-your-face and sometimes intentionally campy.
Every story is unique and each of them a belter! This movie is also a good way to introduce horror to young adults, though it’s not child-friendly, despite the comic-book theme. If you want some easily digestible horror and haven’t seen it before, then you should definitely check it out.
Should I watch the sequels?
Definitely. There is a Creephsow 2 & 3, which you should absolutely watch. But, joy of joys, there is also a new Creepshow TV series, which is just as good as the movies.
3) Tales From The Darkside (1990)
This anthology boasts an all-star cast, including Blondie’s Debbie Harry, Christian Slater, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, and more. The movie utilises the familiar format, of having a wrap-around story through which the other short stories are told. Out wrap-around is about an unfortunate paperboy, who has been caught and imprisoned by a suburban witch, who intends to cook and eat the boy. The young captive attempts to delay his terrible fate, by telling the witch a series of stories, which we the audience get to enjoy.
The three stories draw from a variety of sources, as inspiration. The first is based on a short story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and tells the tale of a murderous mummy. The second is by George A. Romero and is an adaptation of a Steven King short story called “The Cat From Hell”. The third is inspired by Japanese folklore, but given a monstrous western twist.
A must watch movie.
2) VHS (2012)
While the majority of anthology films seem to have a light-hearted element to them, VHS dives headlong into the darkness.
A group of thrill-seeking criminals break into a house, where the find the corpse of an old man, sat in front of a TV. One of the intruders begins to watch the VHS tapes that the dead man was apparently watching, before he died. We are treated to the content of those tapes, all shot in the “found-footage” style.
The very first story is the runaway treat of this movie, with some tasty special effects that hit you unexpectedly. The other short stories are each good, though some better than others. But each of them are different enough that it all keeps you interested, including the wrap-around story, that slowly develops in a series of creepy segues.
Should I watch the sequels?
VHS 2 is a bit hit and miss in places, and doesn’t live up the legacy of the first film. However, VHS Viral, the third movie, manages to pull it back and is far better than number 2.
1) Trick ‘r Treat (2007)
Trick ‘r Treat may have become the tear-away king of the anthologies. Incredibly popular from the moment it was released, fans have been hoping for a sequel ever since. No other anthology has left people wanting more, in the way that this has. Trick ‘r Treat has to claim the number 1 spot on our Top 10 Horror Anthologies.
The most brilliant feature of this movie, is that all the stories take place in the same town, on the same Halloween night and the film makers did a great job of dropping Easter eggs through the movie, such as seeing the characters from the different stories, interweaving through each other’s tales. So you get the extra fun of seeing these little cross-over moments, as the various horrors intersect. What’s more, all of the stories are themselves great!
Definitely looking forward to that sequel!
Tales From The Lodge (2019)
A hilarious entry that has flown under the radar. While the movie does feature several stories being told throughout the film, the movie is actually more about the larger plot of the people telling those stories.
Cat’s Eye (1985)
A series of short stories by Steven King, all connected by the same cat, which moves through each story.
From Beyond The Grave (1974)
Peter Cushing plays the owner of an antique store, whose various collectibles each have a dark story behind them.
Tales From The Crypt (1972)
A British movie that is very different from the later TV show of the same name. It shows its age, but the stories are still good.
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