Review: Joseph Mazzaferro’s Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s (Over the Top in the Best Way)

We can still use more Halloween in January, right? Well, Mazz Appeal Films and Hawk9 Productions’ Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s is now available on Blu-ray, DVD and Amazon Prime. Written, directed and produced by Joseph Mazzaferro (Scathing), Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s somehow manages to blend retro elements with modern audience grabbers to become one of the most successful horror-comedies to see release in 2018. The film follows a small town with a deadly rumor: little Aunt Ethel down the street loves to kill kids and make them into Halloween candy. Is she a witch, or is it a myth? A small group of teens decide to find out and break into her house to put the rumors to rest once and for all. Gail Yost, Madeleine Murphy, Stephanie Town, Sean Gloria, Chris Cavalier, Melissa Daddio, Jason Henne and Kierney Nelson star in Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s, now available on home media.

This movie fooled me. I wasn’t expecting much, and I honestly thought I was going to hate it. As I grow older and older, I’m less enthusiastic about horror comedy titles that rely on sexual innuendos and gross out humor. For some reason, though, Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s managed to tickle my funny bone and there were a few times where I chuckled; and I didn’t care that the film fits a sex scene into every other scene. Hell, all the boobs and nudity will probably play into this movie’s favor if it’s aimed at a college aged demographic. The humor ranges from subtle, to sarcastic, to head achingly stupid and everywhere in between. Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s is over the top in the best way! And after the opening kill sequence, that was very nostalgic with its kids parking and then getting hunted, I fully expected Joseph Mazzaffero’s new flick to stay in the retro lane. However, it cleverly includes stylistic elements of the 80’s – like scores that sound kin to Friday the 13th and Halloween – while also being a modern horror movie with technology, slang and instant gratification of all kinds.

I loved the idea of crazy Aunt Ethel making her victims into Halloween candy. It’s brutally cannibalistic in nature and somehow whimsical and fun; which is the reason this movie flourishes. It always manages to effectively blend the two flavors together without error. My gripe is…I wish Aunt Ethel wasn’t shown as much as she was. It takes away from the overall mystique of her character and she starts to seem less scary, even when she’s waving around a loaded gun. Oh yeah, this movie’s a bit of a thriller at the end! If she would’ve been kept to the shadows more, and did more 80’s styled hunting from behind, she would have been the epic legend the small town was hoping for. Still, this film gas classic cars and capable actors, so I can overlook my personal opinion on this matter. The lulls when there’s too much talking and build-up, eh not so much. Halloween at Aunt Ethel’s has cinematography from Jason Henne and editing from Mazz Appeal. Despite the bumps along the way, it’s still a solid production with a great cast, a cool atmosphere and just enough horror to keep viewers interested until the very end.

And most importantly, it’s something I can definitely recommend to horror comedy fans. Find it on Blu-ray, DVD and Amazon Prime today! Final Score: 7.5 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)

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