Hallow's End (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

The two reviewers didn't split dramatically, but they did split. Scoop was not at all enthusiastic, but thought it had some good moments, despite being made with no money and non-actors. Tuna thought it was basically dreadful..


Scoop's notes

This is a small-budget independent horror movie made in Texas. It is based around one of those Halloween Haunted Houses, and it was shot in a widescreen aspect ratio, so it seems that the director had hopes of  Halloween theatrical release. It didn't work out that way, but the film got a Halloween video release.

It is a minor film, and not many people will ever see it, but it is an illustration of how to create a pretty decent little flick with no money at all. Here's how they pulled it off: there is a haunted house in Richland Hills, in the DFW area, which is one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the world: The Boneyard. It's a popular attraction in the Autumn, but the giant warehouse lies dormant for many months of the year, so the director of this film figured that he might as well locate the film entirely in the haunted house. I'm surmising that no money changed hands, and he was able to get this perfect location, with the set already decorated suitably to start filming, for free. My guess is that the haunted house people let him use their facility in exchange for a monstrous promotional presence in the film. He delivered. Their url www.theboneyard.com is visible throughout the movie, so the deal was sweet for everyone. They got a full-length feature ad for their haunted house, and he got an ideal fully-decorated set cost-free.

Again, I'm just guessing at the deal, and I may be wrong

The plot is nothing very special. The college kids who run the haunted house start to fall under the spell of an ancient book of magic, and that causes each of them to turn into the character they play in the Halloween exhibition. The first hour of the film basically consists of fraternity horseplay and various romantic triangles between the college kids. Nothing supernatural happens until about an hour into the film, although there are some pretty spooky moments before that, since one of the kids is a joker, and uses the props in the house to scare the others, as well as the visitors. There was a mysterious murder of a minor character about 25 minutes in, but that was a throwaway, because 1) none of the other kids noticed he was missing! 2) even after the film ended, I still had no idea who committed that first murder, which occurred before the kids started transforming.

It's not a completely ineffective little horror flick, and most (but not all) of the actors are fine, but I'm not sure which market the director hoped to sell to. The film has no explicit gore, no very original concepts, no stars, limited production values, and basically one set. There is some T&A, but it certainly isn't enough to please the people who want a horrotica. The two sex scenes are dark, brief, and inexplicit.

Given all that, I can't see a very wide audience for the film, not even a decent-sized cult audience.


DVD info from Amazon

  • This is an amazingly comprehensive DVD for a straight-to-vid movie. It has several featurettes and a full-length director's commentary.

  • The transfer is a widescreen letterboxed version - ratio about 1.8.



Camille Chen shows her breasts and buns.

Brandy Little and Amy Jo Hearron show their breasts, and rub them together, in a lesbian scene.

Tuna's notes

This is a low-budget, straight-to-video release that spends 45 minutes trying to be a character study, then 45 minutes as grade Z horror. The "Service Fraternity" members gather with their girlfriends to put on their annual Halloween haunted house charity project in a warehouse formerly owned by a satanist. The leader this year is an aggressive, obnoxious asshole (Matt Morris) who is dating Brandy Little. Brandy is the ex- of professional wimp Stephan Cloud, who is now dating overachiever Amy Morris. Meanwhile, Brandy Little actually prefers to have sex with Amy Jo Hearron. Camille Chen rounds out the female cast.

The film switches from character study to horror when the eight main characters begin changing into the characters they portray in the haunted house -- vampires, zombies, etc. It is all the fault of a book donated by Satan to the charity show. (Oh, that Satan. People bad-mouth him, but he really has a heart!) The main plot hook is to see if the wimp will grow testicles in time to save himself or anyone else.

Unfortunately, the plot is a mess that takes way too long to get started, and many members of the cast have no acting ability at all.

The Critics Vote

  • no reviews on file

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 3.0/10. That is much too high. The film should eventually drop about two points.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, Scoop says the film is a C-: barely minimal level of acceptability for genre fans, not interesting to others. Tuna believes it is below minimum genre requirements, identifies the film as a D, and advises everyone to stay away.

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