Reviewed by: Jamey Hughton
What's it about
There are two episodes to this horror anthology. In “Karma”, four bank robbers pull off a heist but leave a few casualties in their wake. When their car breaks down on the highway, they head to a creaky old farmhouse for assistance and you can guess where things might lead from there. In “Storm”, a party takes a wacky turn when a group of friends decide to play a round of Bloody Mary. Plus, someone really strange turns up at their door: Tony Todd (the Candyman himself), dressed as a clown.
Is it good movie?
Well folks, guess who’s the “host” of NITE TALES? It’s Flavor Flav, and he introduces the film in an incredibly dubious way. My main concern (other than the obvious fact that Flavor Flav was on the screen) arose when he told us we were about to see two movies pressed into one, “for the first time ever.” Umm, what? Horror anthologies have been around for a looooong time, Mr. Flav, sir. I’m thinking of CREEPSHOW and CREEPSHOW 2, TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE, and so on. And those movies offered more than just two episodes in their “anthology”. Hell, this is just a double-header. Directed by Deon Taylor, NITE TALES is cheaply made and written without imagination - the stories are cliched, routine and don’t give us much payoff.
“Karma” is particularly guilty of being something done about eighty times before. It starts off on a decent foot, with Taylor getting some nice shots during the early bank robbery. The four criminals then must confront the fact that one of them has a gunshot wound and might not make it much longer. They’re not about to head to the Emergency Room for a drop-off, so shooting him dead seems like a good idea. But then the car breaks down and they check out a farmhouse in hopes of finding a phone. Apparently, none of these dudes has a cell phone, so I have to assume this is set around 1995. Once at the farmhouse, much shit hits the fan, as the scenario becomes another uninspired riff on the TEXAS CHAINSAW / HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES formula. The makeup effects are crappy, the lighting poor, the twists silly. The lead actors give it a good shot, but there’s nothing interesting going on here.
Part two, “Storm”, probably fares a little better because of Tony Todd, who creates an air of menace as a mysterious character who turns up at our soon-to-be victims’ doorstep in a rainstorm. He needs to use the phone. I mentioned he’s a clown, right? Anyway, the characters have just played Bloody Mary and folks are starting to go missing, so the sinister clown is cleverly made out to be the prime suspect. There’s a lot going on here, making for a boatload of random cliches. Eventually a cop turns up as well, and he’s one of those entirely unhelpful cops you see in movies. The kind that discovers a corpse, and then instead of even thinking to “call it in”, drags the body across the floor and ruthlessly questions the teen suspects. Once again, nobody’s got a damn cell phone. There’s little credibility to the idea that these characters would be completely cut off from the outside.
What’s more, “Storm” builds to an ending that Taylor seems to think will come as a big surprise - but it’s more of a foregone conclusion. The lack of budget is quite obvious even in the contained setting of the house. This is also clear when all the death scenes cut away before the big moment - to the tune of an oft-repeated and very cheesy sound effect. As far as the acting goes, I’m not even going to get into it, except to say that the leader of the Lost Boys from HOOK (“RUFIO! RUFIO!”) plays one of the “teens” and he is really about 35 years old. Well, I guess that can’t be a bad thing for an actor.
Video / Audio
Nite Tales Behind the Scenes features creator Deon Taylor talking about the film and has some footage from the shoot. It is listed under the title “Coming Soon from the Nite Tales Brand”, which seems to be a mistake or... maybe I’m just confused. It runs about 18 minutes.
NITE TALES features two cheaply made horror movies for the price of one, with the lamest host ever turning up at the beginning and the end. The stories are too plain and unimaginative to drum up any interest.