A Lab report By Lily Spellman
Anthologies have a soft spot in my heart, from Tales from the Crypts original film all the way to All Hallows' Eve which gave us something to be afraid of again. They give us a chance to tickle that spooky bone by switching up the story, style, and formatting between stories. Texas Tall Tales should be proud to count itself among those that pride themselves in storytelling.
Too many films have tried and failed to gain access into the elusive club of "good" anthologies, those that will be remembered and talked about. it's hard to say that this is going to be a classic but it's impossible to say it will be forgotten. Texas Tall Tales has the makings of a fantastic anthology wrapped up in a great narrative with a satisfying ending.
The framework for Texas Tall Tales is the story of Lily, a psychopath with a complicated past that isn't explained immediately. As we follow her night of rampage we uncover more about her motives and her past as well as being told 3 scary stories by friends during a girls night in. This wonderful set up pays off at the end and is interesting throughout, giving us plenty of psychedelic imagery, brutal kills, and a smart narrative.
Each story told holds a different lesson and can vary drastically in tone. The first story is a tale of greed along with what making the right choice can mean and at the end it takes a sharp twist that leaves your jaw on the floor. The second is a haunting tale of Satanic possession and rebirth, horrifying imagery, and intensely disturbing performances.
The third is a tale of abandonment, envy, and lust gone wrong when a country singer sells his soul for the voice of his dreams. The comedic element of the demons banter shows off the writing skills of the team behind the film. Each tale offers a different type of scare from psychological to body horror.
By the end of the film we are left wanting more and being teased with what might come in the future. I for one need to know how Lilys story ends, I am invested and I need closure. There were many scenes that stuck in my head after the film ended and it’s been no easy task trying to write about the film without spoiling any of the surprise and fun in store for those who haven’t seen it yet.
A standout moment for me is the casual and happy way the devil explains his plan. Not saying when it happens but boy is it a great moment.
To say this was a fun watch would be an understatement, it felt like a night at the drive-in and I couldn't have enjoyed that more. The movie has some great jokes and some fantastic kills. I highly recommend this as a late-night watch, it is very fun and doesn't try hard to impress you, it knows it doesn't need to, it stands on its own legs.
Stay tuned to Texas Tall Tales on Twitter for more information about this fantastic flick. Support the film through the website and be sure to let us know what YOU thought of Texas Tall Tales after this Fridays #MutantFam Pre-Party.
Stick around below for an exclusive interview with Kris Serold, from the team behind the film, and stick with Mutantfam.com for more from all of us here at the site.
"This fuckin’ thing better work" Bellowed Lily, "I don't want a single germ in here! Goddamn Blob ruined everything!" She stomped down from the ladder she was on and adjusted her goggles leaving them on the top of her head.
She walked past Reel who had just finished plugging a large wire into a small box in the middle of the room and fiddled with some switches checking the meters as they lowered and raised in response, finally satisfied she paused and hummed.
"So we good?" she asked "should be, this stuffs all new, I'm used to classic gear" replied Reel, taking a drag off a cigarette and peering into the box which was sparking slightly. "Those sparks are natural," he said "its part of the science...or something".
Lily sat down and spun back across the room on her chair landing by a desk opposite the clump of wires and flipping open her laptop, typing furiously and finishing with a flair filled SLAM on the enter key the machine whirs to life.
"ITS ALIVE" Shouted Reel "Hey dude come on!" Lily growled "it was my turn to say it"
"NEVER! ITS ALIVE MWAHAHA!" he shouted louder now cackling at his own joke.
The box suddenly whirred, it light up and began to hum loudly. A bright light shone out before thinning into a line above the box and fading. The line stretched outward and faded more taking the shape of a man, a very confused man, holding a toothbrush.
"H..Hello?" the man spoke softly, Lily perked her head up and glanced towards the box "IT WORKED!" she shouted excitedly!
"Listen," said Lily "sorry ‘bout the whole, pajama bathroom invasion thing, this tech is new and I dunno how the hell it works. We lost the instructions and Reel just winged it, for THAT I apologize”
"No problem," said the man “I'm gonna...sit here while we chat," he said gesturing to something. "Okie Dokie, said Lily with a large maniacal grin, "Let's get started. Subjects name and occupation please? In case this backfires and your atoms fry, to notify next of kin."
Kris, sitting on the edge of his tub uncomfortably: "Hi, I'm Kris Serold, Creative Producer from sunny San Antonio, Texas. Been working in video production in some shape or form since 2004. Filming live shows, shorts, music videos, covering hyper-local news, producing
content for clients, teaching video editing at a local college, and finally producing, writing and directing a feature film.
Lily: So Texas Tall Tales is an anthology film framed around the narrative of a ladies night in gone very very wrong. What gave you the idea to set the tales up this way?
Kris: The anthology part came about out of the circumstances of filming in San Antonio on a micro-budget. We didn't have the money to lock down a handful of actors on a prolonged schedule like shooting a feature entails. Break up the movie in essentially short films. There were four stories and just lining them up and letting them play felt really lazy. We wanted the stories to flow. Creepshow had the comic book. Twilight Zone had the narrator. Ours was these women reminiscing about telling scary stories, trouble for them is they're in their own tall tale.
Lily: Lily's tale is the framework for the entire film. Most of the time the framing of anthology films is devoid of a fleshed-out plot. Was there ever a point when you followed that formula or did you always want her story to be big and epic
Kris: She was one of the first stories we had. Craig Hubbard and Jeremiah Brite were developing that story when I was brought onto the project. At the time it was very supernatural based La Llorona with a little back story. She's already a ghost haunting, tormenting, killing people. The Curse of La Llorona just came out and it was...I thought let's invert it and tell that story before she becomes that without being too overt about it. Make her story a slasher. After framing it like that we loosely combined Slumber Party Massacre and Friday The 13th.
Lily was a fortunate part of the production because it encompassed most of the screen time which meant we could do more with it than the others. We also had Destiny Soria killing it for us while she was running to LA to work on other projects. The Dia De Los Muertos scene was huge production value for no money. Filmmakers, find an event and shoot around it.
Lily: The first tale deals heavily with greed and the repercussions of thinking only of yourself. Was the supernatural element always included or did his evolve with the story
Kris: Couch Potato was Craig Hubbard's idea. He read about black-eyed children appearing to people at night in East Texas gas stations in the middle of nowhere, and the idea of the moocher friend. For me, this tale is a little two-sided. There's the warning, "Greedy beware." And then there's the audience's willing/wanting to see the greedy punished. Even if it is in blood.
Lily: The next tale includes a nod to the previous one. Does this mean each tale is within the same universe
Kris: We didn't want to do it too heavy-handed but Yes! Haha! We wanted that little foreshadowing before that story kicked off.
Lily: The second tale was very haunting and the actor playing the husband was very disturbing. Was it his choice or yours to have him be so peppy
Kris: Jason Campbell played the husband in Governor's Rule. That tale was directed by an old friend and fellow filmmaker, Alejandro Dehoyos. Alejandro and Jason worked together on building that character on the day. Given restrictions in the schedule, we weren't always able to rehearse before the shoot. The character David is a closeted-gay conservative. It gave it another dimension to the character as long as we didn't want to overplay it.
What disturbed you about him?
Lily: His happy demeanor despite his horrendous acts, he seemed too relaxed for the horrible tasks he had set for himself. It's disturbing in a great way.
Kris Begins to stand up and stretch "what are you doing?" asked Lily "I was gonna head to the kitchen...get some coffee... doesn't this thing like follow me or something?”
"Nope, tub for you tub boy. back to the tub."
Kris starts to sit on the toilet
"Tub" Lily said, "but I was just.." "tub, it’s funnier" Kris sat down in the tub again.
Lily: The third story features heavy psychedelic imagery and is a fun deal with the devil story. What musicians did you draw inspiration from for your leads songs and what led you to the humorous aspect of the devil
Kris: Big Bad Deal was one of two that I directed. Niko Laven played the lead. He's an old friend of mine that's an actual musician whos been playing for over a decade, solo and with his family. The songs were his and we incorporated them into the story. The music video of him on the oil rig was shot years before with a dear friend of ours, John JD Evans, who passed away in 2018. It's nice seeing that in the movie. Michelle Masker played Deja, the devil. She and I talked about playing that character a bit different than the audience's first expectation. She's a southern girl who is very competent at her job and a real go-getter. She's an inter-dimensional being that knows no God or Devil, just her job and moving up the ladder. A bit Lovecraftian.
Lily: And the ending of the main framework hints that we may see more. Any plans for a tall tales 2
Kris: Oh, absolutely. We were developing a multi-pronged approach by packaging it as a series and as feature films, anthology, and stand-alones. The COVID 19 situation made us halt productions and rethink moving forward. I'm currently developing a comedy-horror cartoon series to redirect in these crazy times. To say this was a large project would be an understatement
Lily: What would be the hardest thing you had to pull off
Kris: It's difficult to say because the whole process of making a feature film is wrought with peril. Writing, casting, locations, schedules aligning, weather permitting, and on and on with production variables seen and unforeseen. THEN, when we have all this lined up, we gotta make sure we're on schedule and getting what we need in the can. Each story ranged from one to two shoot days. Lily was more like three with three pick up days. Most of the time we'd only be able to do one or two takes and move on. That's when I felt the most pressure in the process.
Kris: Texas Tall Tales would not be here without every one of them giving their time, effort, and talent. We set out to show that you didn't need millions of dollars to make a quality feature film that is entertaining.
We are self-distributing our film and can be purchased (Stream and DVD) on our website, texastalltale.com
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Lily waved goodbye and shut down the machine, relieving Kris of his tub filled nightmare. "gee that was super neat how somehow website text was visible through his audio transmission..."
Lily mused as she shut off the laptop and headed out of the room, piggybacking on Reel as they headed to the theater to watch more movies.
You can find Everything Texas Tall Tales over at
as well as on twitter at : @Texas_Tall_Tale
Follow Me and the lab at @LilysLab and the rest of the fam at Mutantfam.com! See you at the drive-in! - Lily xoxo