I guess you could classify “Scare Package” as a horror movie, and yes even a horror comedy. But if my arm were twisted I’d be more comfortable just classifying it as a comedy. “Scare Package” is that movie that has a great time breaking down horror tropes and satirizing the clichés we’ve seen in various horror movies, but never actually includes any kind of scary content. Every single segment in this anthology is played with a tongue in cheek, and it’s a shame since a movie with this concept has a chance to re-imagine horror tropes.
The frame of the anthology involves the Aaron B. Koontz written and directed “Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium” which centers on the titular video store owner Chad. Chad is a hardcore horror geek and his video store is struggling in the current environment. Weirdly, he only seems to get one customer (Sam) who wants to become an employee. Chad ends up hiring someone else (Hawn) instead, and now Sam has it out for the new trainee, as he begins following him around.
Fifteen minutes too long, “Scare Package” crams in eight short horror segments, along with a climax that just veers head first in to absolute nonsense. I wanted to have a good time with this anthology, but I was also hoping for something a creepy here and there, too. Writer/director Emily Hagin’s “Cold Open” is a solid meta shot about an unhappy horror actor wanting to be a real character; there’s the outdoor outing gone to hell, ode to “The Incredible Melting Man” in the overlong “One Time In The Woods” (written and directed by Chris McInroy), there’s the tale of a husband support group story that turns out to be something entirely sinister in Noah Segan’s mediocre “M.I.S.T.E.R.” (co-scripted by Frank Garcia-Hejl).
There’s the aimless and dull “Girls Night Out Of Body” about a stolen lollipop with bad side effects, written and directed by Courtney and Hillary Andujar; there’s the way too long slasher killer spoof “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” (written and directed by Anthony Cousins), and finally writer/director Baron Vaughn’s ultra weird, way too self-aware “So Much To Do” which involves some body switching, smoke, and martial arts (…?). There isn’t much of a cohesive frame work with “Scare Package” as sometimes the segments just begin, and other times they’re associated with the rental store’s various movies. I never clicked with its super meta (ad irritating) horror gimmick, at any point; sure, “Scare Package” looks like it was a lot of fun to make, it just wasn’t fun to sit through
The release from Image Entertainment includes the bonus segment titled “Locker Room Z” about a locker room with zombies, There’s “Rad Chad’s Rad Ad” which is a faux ad for the video store, there’s the funny 5 ½ minute blooper reel, and the “Original Not-As-Good Ending.” There’s a very good commentary by an informative commentary by Aaron Koontz and Cameron Burns, and last but not least, the full “The Last Drive-In With Joe Bob Briggs” episode of “Scare Package,” from Shudder, with host Joe Bob Briggs and Darcy the Mail Girl providing wonderful commentary. If you buy this movie, buy it for this reason alone.