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.
Technology has become such a humongous part of our everyday lives it’s now become a tool that we take for granted, and use without caution. It’s embedded in everything we do now, and because of that, we’re prone to broadcasting how stupid and absurd we can be to the outside world. Peter Huang’s short anthology entitled “5 Films About Technology” is a laugh out loud funny and realistic look at how five groups of people all end up committing some kind of ridiculous act with their own technology thanks to stupidity or circumstance.
Twenty years later, and Rusty Cundieff’s horror anthology “Tales from the Hood” is probably the most socially relevant horror anthology ever created. 1995 gave way to some pretty tame horror entries, but “Tales from the Hood” doesn’t just try to scare, but has a good time delivering some schlock, and sneaks in a lot of social commentary about the race and class warfare that divided us then and continues to divide us more than ever, today. It’s too bad the movie never caught on as a cult classic, since re-watching it years later has allowed me to appreciate it so much more. “Tales from the Hood” tells four horror tales centered on an urban setting and social problem that ensues to this day, incidentally, and they end up being rather compelling and often very creepy.
Pee-yew! You have to appreciate Shout! Factory for restoring what is easily one of the worst anthology movies of the eighties. I admit to being a completely newcomer in regards to “Deadtime Stories,” and upon finishing it, I was not surprised it was such a rarity for so many years. “Deadtime Stories” watches like someone really loved “Creepshow” and decided to make their own version with only a quarter of the budget. Then mid-way when the studio realized how awful the movie was, they decided to turn it in to a comedy at the last minute so horror fans can convince themselves the whole disaster is intentional and a tongue in cheek jab at the anthology crazy of the decade.
“XX” is yet another horror anthology, this time featuring four horror segments directed by women, all of which revolve around concepts mostly associated with women. While “XX” garners the recurring theme of motherhood, the tales themselves are based around feminine or maternal concepts that are twisted for the genre. “The Box” is a loose allegory for anorexia, “The Birthday Party” is about status, “Don’t Fall” is kind an allegory for menstruation, while “Her Only Living Son” is about a mother’s unwillingness to let go of her son and let him realize his destiny. The four very talented female filmmakers were given complete freedom and as a result we have a pretty stellar horror film, all things considering.
“Juvenile delinquency is the product of pent up frustrations, stored-up resentments and bottled-up fears. It is not the product of cartoons and captions. But the comics are a handy, obvious, uncomplicated scapegoat. If the adults who crusade against them would only get as steamed up over such basic causes of delinquency as parental ignorance, indifference, and cruelty, they might discover that comic books are no more a menace than Treasure Island or Jack the Giant Killer”.
I often describe “Creepshow 2” as a mean spirited sequel, but I think that’s why it stands apart from the original. And granted the original movie was also a bit mean spirited in and of itself, so I don’t know why I continuously give it such a label. The whole janitor and med student being eaten by the yeti in “Creepshow” just pour cruel, harsh deaths. Anyway, I love “Creepshow 2” and my re-watching it in its crisp restoration from Arrow Video confirmed that. There are a ton of movies I adored as a kid that just hasn’t held up very well, but “Creepshow 2” still maintains its inherent quality.
While “Creepshow 2” has always been taken as one of pair of horror movies that pay tribute to the golden age of EC Comics, over the years the horror community has learned to appreciate “Creepshow 2” as its own entity. Surely, its cut from the same cloth as the original classic, but it also carves out its own identity and doesn’t repeat the same beats as the original film. The Michael Gornick directed sequel is a darker, grittier, and more vicious follow up to what was kind of a raucous and darkly comic celebration, and it works. As a nostalgic memento, and as a sequel carved by Stephen King and George Romero, “Creepshow 2” is a classic in its own right.
From Youtube Red and Blumhouse comes, “12 Deadly Days” a limited horror comedy anthology centered on pretty much every element of traditional Christmas. The series overall isn’t perfect, but it’s a good, entertaining horror anthology that works around the format of interwoven stories in a particular universe. “12 Deadly Days” and its formula feel very similar to that of “Trick r Treat” where every story’s end is the beginning of a new tale and situation. The first episode is easily the best of the trio of episodes I was sent, as it’s a fun twist on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Set in modern times, billionaire Scrooge begins getting haunted by a ghost and calls in a pair of ghost hunters known as The Cratchit Brothers.