Movie News & Reviews

In ‘Tales of Halloween,’ KC director and writer scare up praise

“The Night Billy Raised Hell” stars a devilish Barry Bostwick.
“The Night Billy Raised Hell” stars a devilish Barry Bostwick. Epic Pictures

Of the 10 stories in the anthology movie “Tales of Halloween,” the one getting some of the biggest praise from horror movie buffs is the one with Kansas City connections.

The short “The Night Billy Raised Hell” was directed by Darren Lynn Bousman, a Shawnee Mission North grad who went on to fame directing a few of the “Saw” movies. Its screenplay is by Clint Sears, a Shawnee Mission Northwest grad and a longtime friend of Bousman’s.

“Darren and I have been friends since middle school and used to run around making movies together,” Sears says. “I never took Hollywood seriously until I came up with a treatment for a movie a few years ago that we successfully sold for development (“The Bystander Effect”). It was around then I started seriously getting into screenwriting as I realized how close to copywriting it was — I have an advertising/marketing background.

“Since then everything has been well received. I have a few rewrites and scripts out there, but this is the first one to come out.”

In their short film, Barry Bostwick of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” fame plays a fun-loving devil who joins a young prankster in wreaking havoc around town on Halloween.

The mainstream Washington Post critic is less than thrilled with “Tales of Halloween” overall. But horror movie critics are loving the whole thing.

And, for example, Matt Donato of We Got This Covered singles out “Billy”: “More than any short, Bousman wastes no time bringing the goods, and Bostwick’s laugh-riot performance absolutely dominates the short’s entire running time. Less can be more, and we get the perfect amount of ghetto-rap-loving, wicked instigation from Bostwick to make ‘The Night Billy Raised Hell’ an easy favorite.’”

“Tales of Halloween” opens Friday at Alamo Drafthouse and Screenland Crossroads.