In a burning city, being ravaged by monsters and zombies, a man darts into a movie theater for safety. The place is full of corpses but the popcorn is free and a festival of horror yarns is unspooling in this “Tales From the Crypt” styled collection of terror tales.
After a short bit about skinny dippers getting gobbled up by a lake critter we are treated to, “Gray Matter.” This shapes up as a cautionary story about ignoring that gaping wound in your skull after a night out. Simon is alarmed at first to find a crater in his noggin but the parasite inside winds up helping him snatch a date with the office hottie , Emily. He even wakes up with his head healed but this terror tale still has one twist to reveal.
“Curiosity Kills” is a slapstick story ,with almost no dialogue, about a young boy who can’t resist the urge to pry into daddy’s briefcase. There he finds a potion which turbo charges his pet mouse into a rampaging rodent on a roaring riptide of revenge. It plays like a “Three Stooges” flick directed by Eli Roth.
Next you get the atmospheric and sinister, ‘Hag.” Here a man tries to cope with a sleepwalking wife as well as a ghostly presence in his home. Turns out he is sleeping with danger but that lesson is learned way too late!
Next there is a cartoon break but it is a doozie that plays like H.P. Lovecraft hijacked the Disney Studios. The whole thing comes off like a cartoon by Timothy Leary.
‘House Call” features a dentist who is held hostage by a gun toting madman. The guy is convinced he is a vampire and wants the doc to remove his bicuspids. Unfortunately this occurs at the good doctor’s home and all he has on hand is a tiny crescent wrench. Even more brutal than the ‘Is it safe?” scene from ‘Marathon Man.” in which Laurence Olivier used a drill to expose the nerves in Dustin Hoffman’s teeth.
“Happy Memories’ gives you puppets and more Cuthulu imagery . It is followed by the one useless entry, “Stay at Home Dad,” which turns out to be one long stupid joke inspired by breast feeding. Feel free to skip it but stay tuned for the finale,”Hellyfish.”
The last film blends 50s style atomic horror with oceanic terror as Giant Jellyfish stage an assault on a resort beach. Fun stuff but you have to overlook the occasionally shoddy special effects .
This is brain candy with a decidedly high sugar count. That is partly due to co-writer John Skipp. He is best known for starting the “splatter punk” movement in horror novels with his partner, Craig Spector.
He helps craft some very gory set pieces here but there is also plenty of humor between shocks. Good fun.
Best Lines: “What were you expecting, a grasshopper with a top hat?”
“Eating my brains does not count as a symbiotic relationship.”
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.