Horror Movie Review: Deadtime Stories (1986)

Deadtime Stories (also known internationally as Freaky Fairy-Tales and The Griebels from Deadtime Stories) is a 1986 American horror comedy anthology film co-written and directed by Jeffery Delman in his directorial debut.

An impatient uncle attempts to calm his rambunctious nephew by telling him three horror stories.

The first story tells about a fisherman’s son who is sold as a slave to two witches that are trying to resurrect their sister. The second story is about a teenage girl who picks up the medication for her grandmother, which is mixed up with medicine intended for a werewolf. In the third story, three mental patients escape and share their country house hideaway with a murderess.

The stories are all clearly inspired by classic fairy tales such as Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which is ultimately the wraparound story.

Deadtime Stories tries its hand at giving classic fairy tales their own unique spin. A low budget horror, with decent effects and license free material to go creatively wild with, what could go wrong?

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After the quick introduction of our storyteller, we open with a tale I’m fairly certain isn’t based on anything specific. Although I enjoyed the witches, with their great costuming and funny accents, I found this story very slow and almost boring. The characters made little sense and by the time it got to the fantastic visual effects of their sister resurrecting, it was pretty much over and abruptly ends. I’m with the nephew on this one when he criticizes his uncles’ terrible ending.

Next up, is a play on Little Red Riding Hood. I wasn’t sure if I’d accidentally opened a porn version of this fairy tale when this instalment of the anthology begun. The opening mirror scene goes on just a bit too long. Additionally, the entire story is pretty sexual, which is extremely weird when you realise it’s being told to a little boy by his uncle alone in his bedroom. It’s clear with each passing tale that the uncle is a horny predator with a one track mind. Fortunately, the story does eventually get off the top magazine shelf and starts going somewhere. The effects are decent but disappointingly they miss out the best part of the story, which is the wolf dressed as granny. He just straight up slays her and the story is again, very quickly wrapped up.

Lastly, we have my favourite, Goldilocks and the Three Bears (or rather, Goldilox). This instalment shows what the whole movie should have been about. The creative license they take with the characters is so clever and fun. A very well rounded story with a satisfying conclusion.

Deadtime Stories clearly has its faults but there’s something here to be enjoyed. If you see it through the lens that the uncle is just a terrible storyteller who wants to go back to spanking the monkey downstairs, you can forgive some of the misjudgements. And hey, by the third story, he finally listened to the nephew critiques.

Overall, a goofy, silly, tongue in cheek horror comedy. Some low budget trash that’s worth watching if not just for the absurdity of it all.


  • Sally Powell

    Editor/Writer - Stay at home mum educating the horror minds of tomorrow. If it's got vampires or Nicolas Cage in it, I'm sold. Found cleaning bums or kicking ass in an RPG. (And occasionally here reviewing all things horror and gaming related!)

Deadtime Stories
  • The Final Score - 5/10
User Review
8.5/10 (1 vote)