Tag Archive: anthology


The ABC’s of Death (2012)

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It’s probably hard enough to make an anthology-type movie with just four or five directors, but The ABC’s of Death has TWENTY-SIX, one for each letter of the alphabet.  As the name implies, each three to four minute segment features a person (or people) getting killed, with the cause of death starting with that respective letter.  We certainly can’t review each one, but with entries like ‘D is for Dogfight’ and ‘Q is for Quack’, there is something for most horror fans.  The stories are presented in a wide variety of styles from serious artsy entries to humorous animations, and everything in-between. Each director had $5,000 and free reign to do whatever they wanted as long as the scene featured their letter and opened and closed on a red background.   With directors from around the world, all twenty-six stories are unique and vary a lot based on the director’s country of origin. And yes… F is for Fart!

Alex’s Thoughts: It’s hard to rate this movie, as there are so many different segments.  As a whole I thought it was a good effort, and while not all of the segments were good; if I didn’t like a particular one, I only had to sit through it for a few minutes.  The biggest gripe I have is that the version on Netflix that I watched didn’t have sub-titles, and with only a handful of the stories in English, I feel like I missed out on what was being presented.  A less, but equally annoying, aspect was the constant fade to and from a red background or object at the beginning and end of each segment.  After seeing that eight times I was already fed up with it, but no, I had to see it 18 more times.  I am a fan of different directing styles and short stories, so this was the perfect  format for me, even if I did only like/ understand only about half of the segments.  Alex rates This Movie: 7/10

Tim’s Thoughts: Conceptually this is an amazing idea, but I really felt the execution was lacking. Only one or two of these are watchable, while the rest are either too ambitious, silly or just plain stupid. I respect the effort, but would much rather have only 5 or 6 stories, with less crap, and just a tiny bit more time to develop. An interesting exercise in cinema, and nothing else. Tim Rates This Movie 4/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

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Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990)

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As a woman tries to prepare for a dinner party, but the main course is having some objections; probably because it is a 10-year-old boy who doesn’t want to be murdered and eaten.  He attempts to stall the woman with stories out of a book she gave him to read. He recites the following tales:

Lot 249

A doctorate student named Billingsly (Steve Buscemi) was cheated out of a fellowship by a fellow student and his girlfriend (Juliann Moore).  He isn’t going to stand for that, so he plans to use the ancient scroll he found in a mummy he just acquired to get a little payback. The text in the scroll brings the mummy back to life to do its master’s bidding, which in this case is to kill that bastard and his girlfriend.  The deed is done, but the girl’s brother Andy (Christian Slater) is on to Billingsly and destroys the mummy and almost kills him.  Andy torches what he thinks is the scroll and spares Billingsly’s life, so long as he gets out of Dodge.  Turns out it wasn’t the right scroll, and now Billingsly has two new corpses to do his will: Andy’s sister and her beau.

Cat From Hell

A professional assassin is hired by and old man to make a hit for $100,000; the target: a small cute black kitty cat. The hit man is sure this old coot is off his meds or something, but just as he is about to leave, the wad of cash in the old guy’s hand keeps him around long enough to hear why this cat has to die. After being taken in by the old man’s sister, it killed three members of the household. The cat tripped her sister and she fell down the stairs, it suffocated her sister’s friend in her sleep and it caused the butler to get into a car crash.

The old guy feels like he is next and that the cat is there as revenge for using cats to test his drugs on at his pharmaceutical company.  He leaves to go into town, and to let the hit man go to work on eliminating this feline fiend.  Somehow this eight pound cat gets the better of the guy, and wiggles it way down his throat and kills him.  The old guy comes back the next day to see his nemesis crawl out of the dead guys mouth and dies from a heart attack. Cat 5, rich old guy 0.

The Lover’s Vow

A starving artist stumbles out of a bar after closing time, and witnesses a gargoyle-looking monster rip off the bartender’s hand and head.  As it approaches him, he tells him that it will let him live if he never tells anyone about it ever again.  Of course the guy agrees and runs home.  He spots a hottie on the way back to his place and urges her to come with him since it isn’t safer around there.  One thing leads to another and they bed down together, and the following day she introduces him to an art dealer friend and he becomes a huge success.

Ten years and two kid later they are rich, and since they have everything they could want, the only gift he can give his wife is the one thing he has been keeping from her: the story of what happened the night they met.  He breaks his promise and tells her everything.  Gargoyle monsters don’t like it when you break your vow, and he pays the ultimate price at the hands of wife, who isn’t who he thought she was after all!

Alex’s Thoughts: I always thought that this was one of the better horror anthology movies out there. There is a mix of good and bad acting, and stories; but it seems like the lower stories have the best acting, so it all evens out.  Lot 249 is my favorite, just because of the cast; sure the mummy is pretty bad, but you have 3 legitimate actors doing a pretty good job.  The cat one has some interesting camera work with the flashback scenes and the transition to present day, and that scene where the cat comes out of the guy’s mouth is especially gross.  The gargoyle one is so predictable it’s comical, but it isn’t all bad.  The gargoyle costume itself is cheap and corny, but the transformation scenes are pretty decent.  The wraparound story with the kid and lady are nothing special, but I’ve seen much worse.  Overall, fans of shows like The Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt and The Outer Limits should appreciate this.  Alex Rates This Movie 7/10.

Tim’s Thoughts: This was originally supposed to be  Creepshow 3, and you can tell, but I mean that as a compliment. It’s better than 2, and while some of the effects are goofy, they pacing and stories are all solid. Lot 249 is a lot of fun, mostly due to the cast, but the part that stayed with me all these years was the Cat From Hell. While this is nothing amazing, it’s a lot of fun, and if you can still find it on Netflix Instant, or Amazon Prime it is worth your time.  Of course it helps if you like horror anthologies. Tim Rates This Movie 7/10

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View the IMDB entry for this movie here.

Before DVD There Was…

V/H/S  (2012) w/ a guest review from Matt Deitchley

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A group of punk twenty-something hipsters are hired by a friend-of-a-friend to steal a VHS tape from a home belonging to an old man.  They bring along their camcorder to film their shenanigans, as per usual (despite this being present day).  Upon entering the home they find  all of the rooms empty except for one. It has a dead guy in it, surrounded by a bunch of TVs with a VHS tape player.  They proceed to take a look and see what are on these tapes, so they know what there are stealing.  Each tape they view is more gruesome than the last. Here’s what they saw:

Tape 1: A group of three d-bags decide to film each other having sex with whatever girl they can bring back to their hotel room after a night out drinking, with a camera built into a pair of glasses.  The three boys manage to bring back two girls, one of whom passes out before they can make their little video.  So that leaves three dudes and one odd quirky girl who doesn’t seem quite right, but is attracted to the guy with the camera glasses.

The alpha of the group sets about doing his thing, but she wants to be with glasses guy. The third guy tries to get in on the action too be she ends up biting his hand.  They open the bathroom door to find the girl ripping alpha guy apart, not sexually, but literally.  She then kills the other guy as glasses escapes down the hall, but the oaf falls down the stairs and breaks his wrists.  She gives chase and you get a good view of how this once cute girl is now a grotesque monster.  She still claims to like the boy and tries to give him a BJ.  Maybe it is the fact that his bone is sticking out of his hand, or maybe that this girl just ate his friends, but he can’t get it up.  She is upset by this and starts to cry, so glasses takes-off again.  As he goes for help he is lifted into the air, as we get a glimpse of the girl flying away with him as his glasses fall back down to earth.

vhs monster

Tape 2:  A young couple is recording their road trip through the Southwest.  Most of it is your basic tourist type stuff.  One night in their hotel they hear a knock at the door: someone is asking for some help, but they ignore them and go to sleep.  The camera comes on as we see the guy sleeping, then we see the girl sleeping too. Who could be filming this if it isn’t them?  Whoever has the camera makes threatening gestures with a knife before stealing their money and sticking their toothbrushes in the toilet. They are none the wiser.

Some more touristy stuff, then back to another hotel room as the guy is being filmed again as he sleeps.  This time it isn’t just to rob them, as someone sticks a knife in his throat.  The next shot is of his girlfriend and another girl making out in the bathroom, both covered in his blood, it just stops there.

VHS stabber

Tape 3: A girl takes her three friends out to a secluded lake, all the while dropping hints that they will be killed out there.  As they sit around the water the girl tells the story of when she came out here a few years ago, and all her friends were killed by some psycho, and no one believed her.  She explains that they are just bait for him, and she plans on catching the killer.  Sure enough he shows up and kills them off one by one until only the girl is left, but she has rigged the woods like Arnold in the end of Predator.  The killer falls into her traps, but isn’t slowed by any of them, any of which would kill a normal person.  The last thing we see if the guy pulling out the girl’s intestines.

VHS woods

Tape 4: A girl is web chatting with her boyfriend, and after showing him her boobs, takes him on a tour of her new apartment.  She shows him all of the spots where weird things have been happening, like the sound of footsteps. The next night they are chatting and she hears a knock at the door, no one is there when she opens it, and leaves it open just to be sure. It’s then that a creepy looking kid runs into the apartment, and then shuts the door behind it.  The guy plays it off like it was the wind, but he scared for his girlfriend. She calls the next night and hears the same noise, and instead of turning on a light like a normal human, she uses the flash from her camera, which reveals a kid sitting in front of the TV, who starts to chase her. She is officially freaked at this point.

The next day while talking, she tells him that her arm has been hurting then proceeds to show him the huge hole she has cut into herself where she is poking around looking for what’s causing the discomfort. Maybe it’s the silver dollar sized hole you cut yourself? Another night, but this time there are like 5 ghost kids in the room. She faints, and then her boyfriend, who is supposed to be a thousand miles away comes into the room and cuts a demon baby out of her, then breaks her arm and tells her doctors she was hit by a car.  She thinks she is crazy, but her boyfriend tells her it will be ok and hangs up. Seconds later he is chatting with another topless girlfriend, where we are lead to believe that this whole thing will happen to her as well. WTF?

vhs skype

Back to the movie itself:  The group’s leader returns to the room with the tapes and TV, after searching the rest of the house, to find everyone missing, even the dead guy.  He finds one of his friends minus a head in the hall, and also sees the dead guy, who is no longer dead as we are treated to one final tape as the guy is ripped to shreds.

Tape 5: A group of frat guys are headed off to a Halloween party in a part of town they don’t know. They get to the house but find it empty, and figure that someone is just playing a prank on them.  They hear some voices coming from the attic, and when they go to investigate, find a bunch of cultists about to sacrifice a girl.  They run for the hills, but they realize they can’t leave this girl to die and the hands of these crazy mofos, so they go back.  They fight off the cultists who are soon pulled into the rafters by an unseen force as the guys grab the girl and go.  The house is now 100% haunted with arms coming out of the walls, birds flying around inside, and stuff floating and crashing.

They get the girl to their car and speed off in the nick of time.  She isn’t doing well and they need to get her to a hospital ASAP.  That is when the car stalls and the lights go out.  When they come back one, the girl is gone, but soon appears outside of the car looking all sorts of spooky.  The doors won’t open, but that is the least of their problems… as they are on a train track with one barreling down on them!

Alex’s Thoughts: I like horror movie anthologies; getting different directors and stories all in the same movie keeps my attention and the movie fresh. This was a good concept, and was pulled off decently, though it could have been better with some sort of explanation about the old guy and the house.  All of the tapes were open-ended without the viewer knowing what happened, so it would have been nice to have at least one story explained to us.  The shaky cam footage was way shaky this time around, and if you have vertigo you will lose it within the first 3 minutes for sure.  The acting was fine and the effects were decent, but with found-footage movies the effects don’t have to be great, since the film quality is often poor.  Here is what I would rate the tapes: Monster Girl (Tape 1) 9/10, Road Trip (Tape 2) 2/10, Haunted Woods (Tape 3) 6/10, Scary Skype (Tape 4) 6/10 & Wrong House (Tape 5) 8/10.  Although reviews are mixed among horror fans, I liked it. Alex Rates This Movie 8/10

Tim’s Thoughts: I am going to be the bad guy here. There has been some discussion about our rating system and how our numbers really represent our feelings. There will probably be a post sometime soon regarding this, but for now assume that anything six and up is a recommend, and this is a solid 6. First things first, this movie is way too long. Some of the vignettes are stronger than others, and I think we all agree on what those are, but the flaws are rampant, and almost damning. I disliked the first part of this movie so much that I would have turned it off if it weren’t for the blog. That also means I would have missed some really good stories. The real appeal for me is the way the mini-movies reminded me of ghost stories I would read as a kid, and like all those generic compilations there is always a clunker, and most of the stories have weak parts where it takes too long to get going, or lingers too long in their endings. Long story short (too late) see this and decide for yourself, it’s good enough to see it in it’s entirety, but not great. Tim Rates This Movie 6/10

Matt’s Thoughts: I’m always conflicted when it comes to horror movies. I really enjoy the good ones, but I get creeped out really easily too and I’m not a big fan of cheap scares. I’m pretty much a 9 year old girl. So, for me to sit through an entire horror movie and get freaked, the movie better be worth the hefty electric bill that follows when I turn every light on in my house for a week afterward, in addition to the awkward conversations with my wife:

Me: “Gah! Where did you come from?! Stop jumping out of the shadows like a Ghoulie!”

My Wife: “Uh, I just asked if you wanted fish for dinner. … Anyway, did you have any laundry to do?”

Me: “GAH! Stop it!”

I’d say this movie qualifies as worth my terrified-ness. There are some definite flaws with V/H/S, namely the storyline that attempts to connect all the random tape viewings is weak. This would have worked better if the teens found these videos randomly, or even if they kept the existing storyline of teens breaking into a house for a tape, but didn’t add a killer dead guy into the mix. It often makes very little sense and becomes distracting from the others stories, most of which are engaging and fun. This movie is also much too long, at 2 hours. The Road Trip (Tape 2) and The Killer in the Woods (Tape 3) are both the weakest and could be cut altogether. But Monster Girl (Tape 1) is a slow build with a cool/creepy climax and good effects. Scary Skype (Tape 4) is a nice Paranormal Activity-esque short, that’s predictible but geniunely creepy. And Wrong [Haunted] House (Tape 5) appears to be unoriginal and boring, until the last five minutes when some killer effects will have you sitting up in your chair and saying, “Oh shit! They is effing screwed!” Overall this is a fun movie with surprisingly impressive effects for low budget horror. It’s good enough to share with friends so you can take credit for “finding it” when they like it. Plus, if one of the stories is dragging for you, just skip ahead to the next. Matt Rates This Movie 8/10

View the IMDB entry for this movie here, or add it to your Netflix queue

Deadtime Stories: Vol 1 (2011)

This anthology of three stories is introduced by Mr. Walking Dead himself, George Romero; who in his current state, appears to be right up there with The Crypt Keeper as far as scary looking movie hosts go.  So let’s begin story by story, shall we…

Valley of the Shadow – A group of explorers set out to try to find a mystical tree pod that a pharmaceutical company will pay big money for.  While exploring an area that is supposed to be the Amazon, but looks suspiciously like Northern California, they find the scrotum shaped pods; only to have most of the party killed by bloody savages.  A few survivors take a boat upstream, and decide to get out at a beach full of severed heads on sticks.  They are slaughtered, of course.  It turns out their leader just wanted to find her husband who went missing in that area 3 years ago.  Luckily for her, her head gets to be on the stick next to his.

Wet –  A young drunk loser makes his living scavenging items off of the beach near his home.  One day he finds a box made out of jade and gold, he goes to a local antique store to try to sell it, but the old sea dog there won’t buy.  He tells the man a story about how those boxes were used to hold the remains of evil mermaids, and as long as their dismembered parts were kept in separate boxes they would stay dead.  The man could care less about that shit, he wants some booze money, so he goes looking for more boxes.  He ends up finding the boxes that contain the remains of an entire mermaid; and does the exact opposite of what the old bastard says: he dumps them all out in a shallow grave on the beach.  That night the mermaid comes back to life and… hey, guess what? She is super hot and wants to give the guy a BJ. This isn’t so bad.  Oh wait… she bites off his dick and turns into a monster.  That’s pretty bad.  The old man comes over in the morning to find the other guy turned into a fish monster, but also finds the mermaid who now has legs ( She must have made a deal with a sea witch too).  She reveals to him that she is the mermaid he cut up and put into those boxes many years ago, and now it’s time for some sweet revenge!

Housecall – A terrified mother calls a doctor in the middle of the night worried about her son.  The doctor comes-a-callin’ and the boy tells him that he was bit by something.  The doctor goes to talk with the mother who says that her boy has been drinking the blood of the neighborhood girls, and thinks that he is a vampire.  It turns out that yes. Yes he is.  And the doctors takes care of it with a well-placed stake through the heart.  But seeing her little boy being killed with a piece of wood isn’t the worse thing that is going to happen to the mother tonight, come to find out that the doctor is a vamp too; and didn’t take too kindly to someone eating all of his food.

Alex’s Thoughts: The first story is chalked full of terrible acting and editing so bad, it’s almost impossible to figure out what’s going on.  Throw in a bunch of meaningless flashback and you get the dumpster fire that this thing really is.  I kind of enjoyed the second story, parts were kind of cheesy and the ending wasn’t great, but it was the best of the three by far.  The final story had a nice twist to it, and was alright.  All in all this wasn’t great, but if you exclude the first short it is very watchable at just a bit over an hour.  Romero must have needed some quick cash for a new pair of his telescopic lens glasses, otherwise I can’t figure out why he would put his name on something like this.  Alex Rates This Movie 4/10

Tim’s Thoughts: It’s sad, really sad. George Romero has either gotten too complacent, or maybe just lazy. He hasn’t made anything good in years, and this just adds proof the to case against him. I didn’t like any of the stories, and the first one was the worst by far. I don’t think I liked any of this, and the “low budget” excuse is now bullshit thanks to amazing movies like Paranormal Activity. You can make quality, if you want, and apparently these guys had no interest in that. Tim Rates This Movie 2/10

“I recognized the taste of your son’s foul and miserable blood immediately.”

View the IMDB entry for this movie here or add it to your Netflix queue