Tag Archives: Horror Anthologies

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 2: V/H/S

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 2: V/H/S

On this, the second day of my month long series on films in the horror genre (or a variation thereof), I decided to take a trip down memory lane. I pondered what film ought I sacrifice two hours (more once I’ve written this post) to as I rummaged through the mess of Blu-rays, DVD’s, VCD’s, and Laserdiscs that I’ve accumulated over the years. Many of these films remain in the original cellophane (no comments about that please, that is a blog for another day) and haven’t been touched since I chose to store them in the box. I reached high atop the towering stack within the darkest recesses of the closest within my office. I tilted the box that hadn’t been opened in ages, ghosting myself with the inch or so of dust that had accumulated on top and now slid down like a massive mudslide coming from the sides of Mt. Fuji resting in my hair and on my face. I cracked the box open, and saw something that peaked my interest. I instantly recalled images I had recently come across in the local newspaper. I had seen pictures of a grim grinning ghostly exponent heralding the release of the newest addition to the massive franchise of films featuring the ghastly Sadako, or as U.S. readers may know her, the girl from The Ring. Sadako 3-D2 4-D.

Behold, in front of me, was a DVD of a movie that I hadn’t seen in years, long before the reality of ingesting octopus balls and the carcass of Mr. Ed would become a reality. I wondered if I ought to revisit the film, that being The Ring 0? Then I remembered, the film was featured as a major plot device an object that happened to be a video format I had neglected. A format long ago forgotten, unless you shop at the library, or are an overseas missionary. Not Betamax, no no no. Something far more available in its heyday. Not HD-DVD, neither. VHS. The Ring movies focused on a VHS tape. Thankfully, that was the moment when I recalled a newer movie I had not yet seen. Another film with a sequel in the local cineplex this very season. Rather than skip straight to the overpriced shopping mall to gaze upon the newest entry in all it’s ear piercing glory, I chose to go back to my queue, to visit the original entry.

Because of that not so quick witted decision, I am now able to bring to you:

31 Days of Films and Frights – Day 2: V/H/S

Adam Wingard
David Bruckner
Ti West
Glenn McQuaid
Joe Swanberg
Radio Silence
Year: 2012
Cast: Adam Wingard, Joe Swanberg, Lane Hughes, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Chad Villella, Jason Yachanin, Calvin Reeder, Hannah Fierman
Language: English
Country: United States
Specs: 116 mins. / Color / OAR N/A / MPAA Rating: R
Rating: ★★★★ / B

A group of petty thieves are contracted by an anonymous 3rd party to break into a house and retrieve a mystery VHS tape. Finding the presumed homeowner dead, they begin to rummage through hundreds of found VHS tapes, viewing each on a television next to the corpse, in hopes of locating the tape requested. Startled, they soon realize that each cassette contains a grim video of some poor unsuspecting victims demise.

I am thankful that I had zero knowledge of the film prior to my viewing. It made my “enjoyment” of this terrifying anthology all the more startling with each haunting segment. The film is comprised of 5 short-films, posed as found footage films within the main story-arc (Tape 56) of the petty thieves and their home invasion. Perhaps the strongest of the shorts, Bruckner’s Amateur Night, was also the most terrifying. The aspect that I enjoyed most, with all of the segments, was the “reveal” at the end of each, akin to a gorified episode of Twilight Zone, or Night Gallery (itself a more gruesome take on creator Rod Serling’s seminal classic.)

In recent cinema history, we’ve seen a glut of films of this sub-genre grace the local silver screen. Apartment 143, Paranormal Activity, The Last Broadcast, and of course, The Blair Witch Project. This film, however, stands apart from those others. It is unpredictable at times, which, for this genre, is rarer than a Caucasian in the town I currently reside.

Each film was created entirely autonomous from the others, with its own cast and crew, and it makes for a stronger whole, in my opinion. While not all of the subjects are equal in their caliber, I appreciated the variety of styles of each creative team.

There certainly is a fair share of scares, an equal amount of gruesome imagery, and creative and inventive plots to hold the interest of even the most jaded of horror film fans. While not a masterpiece in and of itself, it is a film that I would happily recommend to anyone that hasn’t just finished off an extra large portion of lasagne from their local Italian eatery.

In conclusion, it’s a film best viewed with the lights on. However, if you choose to not heed my advice, I heartily suggest watching an episode of lighter fare afterwards, such as the latest episode of Dads.

On second thought, that’s worse. Forget what I said. Enjoy the nightmares…

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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in Movies


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31 Days of Howl-oween: Day 08 – Creepshow 2

Sitting down in front of the cabinet television set in the downstairs family room on the lime green couch atop the brown shag carpeting in the three story white home with the large backyard eating our fresh popped popcorn in a large paper bag with the cheese flavored salt added by dad and the town club lime soda.  What memories!  Of course, that location and setting has nothing to do with today’s film.  That would be the tiny front living room on the 27″ Zenith with the microwave popcorn and the Faygo Rock and Rye.  Earlier that day, my mother had picked us up from school, as she did every day hitherto.  Unbeknownst to her, from that cold dark night forward, she would forever hear the haunting words of the film we sat to watch that night each and every time she would pick us up from our three different schools.

Today’s entry was due to the success of the first film, and proved to be the first in what would turn to be either produced or rumored to be produced ( article) and ( article) and ( article) films in a franchise.  Does that necessarily mean that is was deserving of such fanfare?

With that, I give you today’s film…

31 Days of Howl-oween

A Review of Films Filled with Frights

Day 8

Film #08

~ Creepshow 2 ~

Director:  Michael Gornick
Year:  1987
Cast:  Domenick John, Tom Savini, George Kennedy, Lois Chiles, Tom Wright
Language:  English
Country:  English
Specs:  92 mins. / Color / OAR 1.85:1 / MPAA Rating: R

An anthology film that revolves around young Billy and the stories contained within his horror comic titled “Creepshow”.  A storefront cigar Indian statue comes to life to avenge the murder of his owner, a group of teens take a swim in a lake inhabited by a very hungry creature in the form of an oil spill ooze, and an adulterous woman inadvertently hits a lone hitchhiker and decides to drive away.  However, the hitchhiker is too keen on preventing the woman from escaping.

This sequel to the 1982 film comes across as a cheap imitation to other anthologies of its ilk.  The acting is stilted, the stories are rather juvenile and pedestrian, and the runtime is short (in this case, thankfully!).  The makeup job on The Creep is amazing, and the deterioration of the hitchhiker is impressive, but sadly it can’t rescue this film from the sludge.

As with another film from my childhood (“Mr. Boogedy”), this film held a special place in my and my siblings hearts.  A favorite saying of ours for many years was that of the hapless hitchhiker:  “Thanks for the ride, lady”.  Sadly, that is still the most memorable aspect to this otherwise forgettable entry in the horror anthology genre.

No thanks for the ride, lady…

My Rating:  ** / D+

Available on Amazon: Creepshow 2 (Divimax Edition)

Stay tuned…

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Posted by on October 8, 2010 in Movies


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