Barely a good one to satisfy my horror itch in this batch, which includes torture porn, a creature feature, found footage, aliens, and a horror anthology.
ANARCHY PARLOR (2014)
I honestly find this to be a pointless piece of torture porn. To summarize, it’s Hostel in a tattoo parlor.
A bunch of kids is partying in Lithuania. One couple goes to the tattoo parlor. The artist tells of a practice in which tattoo artists are the owners of the skin, so they get it back when the person sporting the tattoo dies. We are then treated to a prolonged scene of him removing the guy’s skin.
Meanwhile, the other friends start looking for the couple. They all end up in the tattoo parlor, chained up and being tortured. Nothing scary, nothing exciting. And then, there’s a twist at the end. Yawn.
I was looking forward to Indigenous because I’m a huge fan of this kind of creature feature, but it seriously goes nowhere.
Beautiful kids head to Panama to party. There are shirtless boys galore on the beach, which is a plus. Some local guy they befriend warns them of a Chupacabra-like legend…so they decide to go explore the jungle anyway. Eventually, the creature starts taking them out one by one.
While the creature is mega-cool looking (sort of like The Descent with a wicked long tongue), the initial attacks are all in the dark with flashlights bouncing as people run and scream, so it basically feels like a found footage film. There are endless lights on/lights off moments, leading every time to the creature appearing for a split second in front of the camera and screeching before disappearing in a blur (aka: overkill to the point of numbness).
Giving things a twist, one dude is filming their situation, and uploads it for live streaming, so…the fucking army is sent in to rescue the poor American idiots who didn’t respect the culture. YAWN.
HOLLOWS GROVE (2014)
I just don’t know how to make found footage films sound interesting anymore. This time, a group with a ghost hunting reality show is being documented, so we have two camera men filming. Just for kicks, Lance Henriksen gets a two minute cameo as a friend of one of the guys. I believe at this point, indie directors just hand Lance a majority of their financing and tell him to walk on camera for a moment, say something random, and then walk off.
Anyway, the ghost hunters head to an abandoned orphanage. A caretaker warns them not to go in, they go in, they spend 45 minutes walking around and boring us, there’s a fart joke because apparently those are actually entertaining and will keep us engaged, and a black cat comes into play for a brief freak out moment. Finally, a camera man sees a child reflected in a mirror, which kicks off the usual: frantic running and screaming, lights going on and off, people being flung around and dragged in front of the camera, ghost children, and a horribly cheesy final “scare” after the credits. My apologies for saying the same shit about every found footage film.
THE HYBRID (aka: Scintilla) (2014)
This one just isn’t my thing. It’s sort of like a really boring take on The Thing. A team of mercenaries spends a good portion of the movie just sneaking into a former soviet underground lab. Then they meet a mad scientist working on human/alien hybrids—which basically look like humans with bullets in their eyes. I think it’s called the American look.
After some conspiracy chatter, the team spends a lot more time sneaking around while being hunted by the threat—and it’s just never scary or suspenseful. Finally, they escape the lab, and all the shooting, exploding, and slicing gore takes place outside within a matter of minutes.
FUN SIZE HORROR: VOLUME ONE (2015)
Marketed as a collection of bite-sized Halloween candy horror shorts, this anthology doesn’t have a single Halloween story in it. However, the awesome opening credits feature an entire Halloween animated sequence.
Even though they don’t take place on the 31st of October, many of these scary stories are the types you’d want to hear on the holiday. They are also very short films, so there are 21 jammed into an hour and a half. Many are all about the final scare with little explanation leading up to it, so they really don’t make any sense and may turn off viewers. But it’s worth sticking with because the tales are so varied. There were several standouts for me. A story about a boy afraid of the monsters in the closet and under the bed delivers a freaky creature. Another tale of an adult man’s childhood closet monster returning also treats us to a terrifying creature.
A twisted tale of a little girl who gets a puppy for her birthday stars gorgeous Victor Webster of shows like Mutant X and Charmed. Another familiar face in one story is Tracie Thom—Joanne in the Rent movie. One of the freakiest quickies involves a pregnant woman and spiders. EEK.
There are also some campy horror tales, including one about a psycho dog…with a knife! Hilarious. But the winner for me is the comic short about three witch roommates—two chicks and a gay guy—who argue using single words to cast angry spells on each other in a magic battle. With the stuff they conjure up, they may all find common ground in their taste in hunks….
There’s a Fun Size Horror: Volume Two, and I can’t wait to see it, because it’s super fun finding the diamonds in the rough. Kind of like sorting through a trick or treat bag….