Shaun vs. Deadtime Stories (1986)

Uncle Mike is trying to put his nephew Brian to bed but the kid won’t go down unless he’s told three increasingly disturbing stories before he goes to sleep.

Judging a Book by its Cover

-Stabbed.  Boiled in oil.  This book has seen some shit.

-I really like the poster, it always stood out to me on the rental store shelves.

Nobody lives happily ever after.

Directed by Jeffrey Delman

Starring Scott Valentine, Melissa Leo and Catherine de Prume

In the same vein as horror anthologies like Creepshow, Nightmares and Tales from the Crypt, Deadtime Stories has a wraparound story involving an uncle babysitting his nephew for the evening and telling his nephew several stories to lull him to sleep.

The first story, “The Black Forest” takes place in the 1600s and involves a young man named Peter who is a somewhat willing slave for a couple of witches.  Their current mission is to bring their sister back from the dead but need some unique items and time is of the essence.  They send Peter into the village to first lure away a filthy-minded pastor though the witches kill him for his hand to use in a spell so they can locate their sisters’ body.  Peter draws the line at the two witches killing but he does what he’s told until they send him to grab a young woman as a sacrifice for their soon-to-be hungry sister.  Falling for the young woman, Peter must make a choice between saving the beautiful sacrifice or helping out a bunch of ugly witches that don’t treat him well.  Hmm.

Who would turn their back on this face?

Not satisfied with just one story, nor a happy ending, Brian wants a retelling of the werewolf classic, Little Red Riding Hood.  Uncle Mike, missing out on some quality cable porn, recounts a more lurid tale about a young woman named Rachel who lives with her grandmother.  She goes to a pharmacy to pick up her grandmother’s prescription.  Unfortunately the clerk mixes up that prescription with another man’s super secret medicine and he desperately needs it.  Rachel’s boyfriend is kinda/sorta pressuring her into the ol’ premarital sex thing so she’s gone for much of the evening.  Without his medicine, the man turns into a werewolf and breaks into grandmother’s house while trying to retrieve his drugs.  Rachel is in for a surprise when she gets home.

Brian convinces Uncle Mike to tell one more story about “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Mama Baer arrives to pick up her husband and son, Papa and Baby Baer, escape from the loony bin.  Mama is the concerned type, Papa is very disgruntled and likes to slap his son, Baby, who is a large man but an incredible idiot.  The police, led by detectives Nimble and Quick, are on the chase for them but they have their hands full with a serial killer as well by the name of Goldi Lox.  Lox is fortunately armed with a telekinetic power that she uses to kill her victims/ex-boyfriends, whose bodies are strewn about her home…which of course is the Baer household.  They are none too happy with what they’ve come home to, but they’re all nutbars and get along just fine. Lox even finds a new boyfriend in Baby after he survives her telekinetic attacks in a routine out of an old Looney Tunes cartoon.

Don’t mind him, he’s just haaaanging around.

The idea of an anthology of twisted takes on classic bedtime stories sounds ripe for some interesting stories yet Deadtime Stories starts off with an original story to derail the idea right off the start.  The first story involving the witches was short and to the point, mixing in some decent humour and gore with your typical “happily ever after” with a funny twist.   The second tale finally brings some familiarity with a modern spin on “Red Riding Hood” and much like the first story, it felt rushed in telling its story and ended just as I was getting into it.  And funnily enough, the same thing happens with the last segment, in fact, so much effort is put into developing the characters that it eats up the running time and the segment soon jumps right to the end.  Come on!

I liked, or wanted to like, all the segments but an overall 82 minute running time, with a wraparound story, doesn’t allow much time for these segments to be fully enjoyed.  The first two parts do their best to tell a full story but the last segment really comes off as rushed and not very satisfying.  If you’re doing an anthology, give the stories the time they need.


Story:  7 – A babysitting uncle tells his nephew three scary tales to put the boy to sleep.  Each segment is regretfully short but pack in as much blood and humour as time allows.

Blood: 6 – The film covers a lot of ground and each story has its own style of bloodletting.  The first story involving the witches is more fantastical in nature and the bloodiest scene involves a decomposed body coming back to life in a rather gross manner.  The werewolf gets to chomp out a throat in the second

Nudity: 6 – While the witches thankfully don’t show off anything, the other two-thirds provide some decent boobage from both Riding Hood and Goldi Lox.

Overall: 6 – Overall, I don’t hate Deadtime Stories but I expected more from it to get my full enjoyment out of the segments.


-A good portion of the “Black Forest” segment was filmed in the director’s backyard.

-The music was mostly done by the director, Jeffrey Delman.  And it’s pretty good!  Here’s the films’ theme song:

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