“And it was going so good too.” That’s my initial reaction to the third act of “Ghost Stories” which feels like one gigantic cop out of a finale. You can reason that the creators wanted to introduce these esoteric ideas that come colliding, but I felt like “Ghost Stories” just ran out of ideas and just stopped trying. I’m also not a fan of the underlying message about how lack of belief is linked to being some kind of bitter individual with a horrible life. Either way I imagine the finale to “Ghost Stories” will be a very polarizing element in the horror movie world in 2018. I think some horror fans will defend its radical approach while others will lambast it for trying way too hard. I’m in the latter category. I didn’t buy its self important morality play.
In the second installment of the Mexico Barbaro anthologies, a series of short stories interconnect in a the world of Mexican fear. This second anthology is more connected through story and style through each of the filmmakers collaborating with the others. The different shorts within the anthology include 8 visions from 9 directors.
Every kid in the nineties that loved horror has come across Alvin Schwartz’s “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” at one point in time. It’s still considered a very effective and excellent trilogy of books comprised of some of the best urban folklore and scary tales ever produced. Author Joe Oliveto has created something very much in the vein of the series of books with everything from a cover scheme and storytelling format that’s a loving tribute to the nostalgia of the original books.
In this anthology of the subversive, four tales are told with bloody realism. A woman is cut open while naked to remove something from her body, a man obsessed with his sister helps her give birth with dire consequences, a group rolls around outside in mud and blood, a man masturbates until the end and a group of women worship a man in a very particular way.
I swear, there’s nothing more baffling and unusual than “Tales of the Third Dimension,” a horror anthology of cobbled together horror tropes that doesn’t deliver a remotely scary movie. There’s a stiff, robotic skeleton who narrates in a bad Rod Serling impression. He’s accompanied by three puppet buzzards that interact with one another like the Three Stooges, and there’s the inexplicable recurring presence of cats. It was originally supposed to be in 3D, so there are a ton of scenes obviously meant for the gimmick that just looks laugh out loud moronic sans the effect. Finally there are three bland horror tales where, I swear, the moral of one is “Be a good kid, and Santa Claus will defend you against your psychotic, mentally deranged, wheelchair bound grandmother.”
I think most people go in to a movie that’s labeled a found footage anthology film might be expecting something like “VHS,” but directors Michael McQuown and Vincent J Guastini have so much more ambitious in mind. While the aforementioned horror film garnered a small assemblage of horror stories with a framework, “The Dark Tapes” tries to add more cogency. Everything in “The Dark Tapes” is cryptic and complex, and what we’re watching ends up making more sense the more we think about it. The directors obviously aspired to make a movie you have to watch more than once to understand. And of course they invite audiences to go to the movie’s website to perhaps convey their own theories about what the movie entails.