Campfire Tales (1991)

Yes, there are two movies called Campfire Tales. One was made in 1991 and the other in 1997. They are both anthology films. They both start with the urban legend “The Hook.” One has Amy Smart and James Marsden. The other has Gunnar Hansen, which is why we picked the 1991 Campfire Tales.

Yes, life is weird that this type of coincidence would happen.

“The Hook” is a story that has been told around campfires for years: a murderer with a hook on his right hand has escaped from the local insane asylum and is killing boys and girls on lover’s lane. This story really started being told nationwide in 1950 and some believe that they were influenced by the 1946 Texarkana Moonlight Murders, which also are the inspiration behind The Town That Dreaded Sundown. Bill Murray also tells the story at one point in Meatballs and the story also inspired the beginning of He Knows You’re Alone and the killer in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

None of those adaptions have the hook killer murder the girl’s parents or have her use his own weapon against him, however.

The second story — “Overtoke” — warns of the evils of drugs with a dealer’s product not only being the stickiest bud of all time but one that turns users into slime. “The Fright Before Christmas” has a very easy concept: Santa Claus has an evil side called Satan Claus who punishes people on Christmas. Finally, “Skull and Crossbones” has a shipwrecked pirate that discovers gold and zombies on an island. And by zombies, I mean straight up Fulci zombies. Or zombis?

“The Hook” was a student film that writer/director team William Cooke and Paul Talbot filmed. Then they added the other tales, hired Hansen for some name recognition and took advantage of the Shot On Video era. They’d work together again to make Freakshow, which also has Hansen in it, and Talbot would make the portmanteau in prison Hellblock 13, which has Hansen as an executioner and Debbie Rochon as the death row inmate telling the three stories.

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