Deadtime Stories (1986)

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Some classic bedtimes stories get the horror treatment in this 1980s anthology seen through the eyes of a narrator who tris to put his nephew to bed.

Little Brian has trouble sleeping and he is visiting his Uncle Mike. He pleads for his Uncle Mike to help him go to sleep by telling him bedtime stories. The first story involves a boy named Peter who is forced as a slave to two witches who are looking to resurrect their long dead sister. The second story is a modern day take on Little Red Riding Hood as she contends with a werewolf. The third and final story revolves around a modern day look at Goldilocks and the Three Bears but replace the bears with a family of bank robbers named Baer and a telepathic girl named Goldi Lox.

The film, written by the trio of director Jeffrey Delman, J. Edward Kiernan, and Charles F. Shelton, does quite an interesting job of making horror versions of classic bedtime tales. The first story, titled “Peter and the Witches” features Family Ties’ good-hearted biker Nick himself, Scott Valentine, as the titular Peter. Here, he is a slave boy to two elderly witches who look for sacrifices to resurrect their dead sister. Some of the gruesome matter here involves a victim getting his arm burned to the point that his forearm comes off and inserting a still-beating heart in a skeleton resulting in the first stage of the sister’s resurrection.

The second story, Little Red Runninghood, features future comic actor Nicole Picard as “Red” or in this case, Rachel. While she is set to lose her virginity to her boyfriend, a mysterious man named Willie is trying to get Grandma’s attention. Yes, Willie, played by The Mutilator’s Matt Mitler, is the Big Bad Wolf, or in this case, Werewolf. His transformation juxtaposes with Rachel’s love scene. Of course, things go from insane to even more insane. Of course, if you know the classic tale, you know what line to expect to end this story.

The final story is perhaps both the most comical and shocking story, a modern day look at Goldilocks and the Three Bears. This is hilarious on the part of the Baers, who are a trio of bank robbers. Papa Baer, played by Kevin Hannon, is hilarious as he is constantly complaining. Future Oscar winner Melissa Leo, as Mama Baer, is the level-headed member like her fuzzy fairy tale counterpart and Timothy Rule is the boneheaded Baby Baer. As for Cathryn De Prume’s Goldi Lox, she can be best described as an 80’s Carrie White, a telepathic girl who is seen killing off a conquest and it is believed that’s exactly what she does. Things take a comedic twist including a funny fourth wall break from Baby Baer and an ending to the story that shows what can happen when you “assume” things on part of the police.

The stories intercut with young Brian DePersia having trouble sleeping and asking his annoyed Uncle Mike, played by Michael Mesmer telling Brian the stories, all of which usually have “happy endings” but when Brian asks for a scary ending in one particular story, it is seen in a more comical fashion. The final moments of the film leaves with a freeze frame that is comical on its own part.

Deadtime Stories may be no Creepshow, but it’s both gruesome and comical in terms of taking some classic tales and modernizing them. The Goldilocks tale is both horrific and the most hilarious of the stories and for an 80’s anthology, the overall film is a fun tale for those who like a bit of comedy in their horror films.

WFG RATING: B

A Scary Stuff Production. Director: Jeffrey Delman. Producers: Jeffrey Delman and Bill Paul. Writers: Jeffrey Delman, J. Edward Kiernan, and Charles F. Shelton. Cinematography: Daniel B. Canton. Editing: William Szarka.

Cast: Scott Valentine, Nicole Picard, Matt Mitler, Cathryn De Prume, Melissa Leo, Kathy Fleig, Phyllis Craig, Michael Mesmer, Brian DePersia, Kevin Hannon, Timothy Rule, Fran Lopate, Michael Berlinger.

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