Written by: Michael Den Boer on July 30th, 2010
Theatrical Release Date: UK, 2000, 2007
Director: Kemal Yildirim
Cast: Kemal Yildirim, Saima Yildirim, Jason Impey, Nadeem Choudhry, Ali Yildirim, Caroline Nash, Gary Halliday, Mike Tuppen, Karl Rhodes, Alex Bakshacv, Monica Sandanasamy, Muntazohar, Nick Stoppani, Julie Gilmour, Bowie Hythe, Helena Martin, Yusuf-Ziya Yildirim, Tina Yildirim
DVD released: September 28th, 2010
Approximate running time: 73 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 4:3 Full Frame / 1.85:1 Letterboxed Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo English
DVD Release: Chemical Burn
Region Coding: Region 0 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.95
Tales of the Dead follows the structure of an anthology movie. With four separate tales which are loosely connected by using a Halloween party in which of group friends decide to watch horror films. The first story titled ‘Less is More’ revolves around a woman who fantasizes about being an amputee. The second story titled ‘Wolf Cry’ centers around a teenager whose obsession with horror films puts him in harm’s way. The third story titled ‘Penance’ follows the exploits of a serial killer who lures an alcoholic detective into a dangerous game of cat and mouse. The fourth story titled ‘Missing’ revolves around a group of friends who come face to face with a supernatural force while investigating an ancient curse.
The most interesting premise of the four stories is ‘Less is More’. And while the ending does provide a very satisfying conclusion. The events leading up to the finale tend to bog the story down. The weakest of the four stories is ‘Wolf Cry’ which is a rather uneventful affair that is short on scares and predictable. The most accessible of the four stories is ‘Penance’ which takes its inspiration from Italian thrillers known as giallo’s. Also one of the main characters names is Argento. And even though it brings nothing new to the giallo genre. It is still reasonably effective enough as a homage to the genre. The final story ‘Missing’ is best summed up as a Blair Witch Project clone.
From a production stand point the direction ranges from average to above average. Pacing wise things tends to be more on the lethargic side. Performance wise none of the cast leave a lasting impression and they are adequate at best. Easily the weakest area of this production are the interludes which connect each story. Ultimately Tales from the Dead is a forgettable horror film that even the most hardcore horror film fans will find a chore to get through.
The scenes which connect each of the four stories which make up this feature and the two segments , ‘Less is More’ and ‘Missing’ are all presented in a 4:3 full frame aspect ratio. The other two segments, ‘Wolf Cry’ and ‘Penance’ are presented in a letterboxed widescreen. Black levels are above average at best and there is noticeable sharpening of the image that varies in degree throughout. Even though Missing is the weakest looking segment and this is more to do with the intended look of the this segment. Overall considering the source materials used for this transfer this is most likely as good as this film is ever going to look.
This release comes with one audio option, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in English. The dialog often tends to be on the quite side as I had to adjust my volume on more than one occasions. Also there some mild issues with distortion that for the most part are never to excessive. It should be noted that these issues with the audio appear to be more inherent to the source material.
Extras for this release include a trailer for the film (1 minute 55 seconds) and two behind the scenes featurette’s “Making of Wolf Cry” (5 minutes 32 seconds) and “Making of Penance” (16 minutes 16 seconds). These two ‘Making of’ segments are essentially a collection of onset footage. Overall Tales of the Dead gets serviceable audio / video presentation.