Deadtime Stories – Blu-ray review
Director: Jeffrey Delman
Stars: Scott Valentine, Nicole Picard, Matt Mitler
By Brian M. Sammons
I love me some anthology movies. They’re usually like buffets; even if some of the stories suck, some are likely to be good. And then there are the rarities, the anthologies that are all good, or all bad. So when it comes to this largely forgotten, fairy tale-themed Deadtime Stories from 1986, why has is slipped into obscurity? Is it one of the bad one and deserves to be lost to time, or is it the very definition of a hidden gem? Well grab your magic wand, enchanted mirror, and favorite red hood and let’s find out.
The wrap-around story concerns an uncle babysitting one of the worst child actors I can remember seeing in a long, long time. The brat thinks that there’s a monster in his bedroom and won’t go to sleep, so the uncle has to tell him three bedtime stories, and thus the movie really begins. Story one isn’t based on any one fairy tale, it’s more a general story of witches, and a deep dark forest, and a young man forced to do the witches’ bidding. That man is Scott Valentine, someone who had 15 minutes of fame back in the 80s thanks to the TV show Family Ties, and he is the top billed star here. Anyway, the witches wants to resurrect their dead sister, they make the man/boy abduct a pretty virgin as a sacrifice, and black magic and hilarity ensue. The story is as basic as it gets, but it does have a few funny bits (something you will find scattered throughout this movie), and has some cool and mostly effective gore during the resurrection scene.
The second story takes Little Red Riding Hood sets it in the modern day. And yes, as you have no doubt guessed from the start, the Big Bad Wolf will be a werewolf here. Other than that, it’s the same old story we all know, just modernized and sometimes played for laughs. Of the three tales, it’s the most traditional and also perhaps the most effective. It does nothing original, but what it does, it does pretty well.
The third story is Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except here the three bears are a family who recently escaped from an insane asylum, and Goldi Lox is a chaste serial killer armed with Carrie-like telekinetic powers. For doing something completely different, this one gets high marks. It is also the most “wacky” of the three stories, and in forcing the “comedy” (yes, these are ironic quotation marks) down our throats, it is easily the least effective and the hardest bit to sit through. Not all of it is dire, and our introduction Goldi was well done, but on the whole, this segment falls flat.
So that’s the movie in brief, but what about the extras on this new Blu-ray/DVD set from Scream Factory? Well there’s an audio commentary with co-writer/director Jeffrey Delman, who also comes back for a 15-minute interview. There is a making-of featurette, which is basically interviews with three of the actors from the movie, and that also runs 15 minutes. The first segment in this movie, the one about the witches, was also made into a standalone, 30-minute short movie called, “The Black Forest” and that little movie is also here, so that’s very cool. And then there’s the ever-present deleted scenes, trailers, and photo gallery.
Deadtime Stories isn’t a must-have movie. It’s just not all the way good enough for that and is never once scary, but it is fun, and sometimes funny. It has some good gory gags at the start, and then sadly some of the kills later on have obviously been truncated by the dreaded MPAA. Hit and miss is probably the best way to describe it. So if you are an avid anthology collector like I am, a fan of all things 80s (also as I am), or a lover of twisted fairy tales, then this one could be for you. If not, then you might want to pass on it. So consider this a conditional recommendation at best.