No matter how low budget or indie, if there’s a horror anthology to be streamed, I’m going to watch it. I had high hopes for this double feature, one focusing on the horrors at a hotel, the other taking on the horror of a Halloween party. Only one came out a winner for me.
HORROR HOTEL: THE MOVIE (2016)
Horror Hotel is a web series I’d never seen an episode of until I watched this movie, which is a collection of episodes from a single season. I’m a big fan of the concept—Tales from the Crypt-esque stories that take place in rooms at the same hotel. Yet there is no wraparound – no bellboy, maid, or front desk clerk to introduce us to tales of the horrific and macabre. But more disappointing is the fact that there are no tales that are horrific or macabre.
Stories go like this:
- A girl kicks her boyfriend out of their hotel room, only to become jealous and vengeful when two blonde alien babes show interest in him.
- A man tries to romance his woman, who is in a coma, but he didn’t anticipate a threesome.
- After a woman is murdered, a man must try to determine which clone of her sister actually killed her.
- An older woman’s plans to swap brains with a younger woman don’t go as planned.
- Hiring a hit man to take out his ex-wife, a man makes the mistake of showing the hit man exactly how he wants it done.
- In a world in which men are practically extinct, a group of man-hunting women sets out to find and destroy more men.
While the production value is good, I personally found every story in Horror Hotel to be unbearably long. The characters and plot ramble on and on, what I assume is supposed to be quirky humor never didn’t tickle my funny bone, the twists have no punch, and there’s nothing in the way of shock, gore, or even exploitation. But the biggest offender is that the forgettable stories haven’t the vaguest hint of actual horror. No horror at the HORROR hotel? Learn more about the show here.
CREATURE FEATURE (2015)
A blatant homage to Creepshow with interconnecting Halloween horror stories as in Trick ‘r Treat, this one features unoriginal stories that are all blatantly ripped off from other popular movies, but it’s well put together and offers all the cheap Halloween thrills you could ask for.
The very short intro story is simply that popular 2-sentence short story about the man whose son tells him to check for the monster under the bed. If you’ve read the tale, you know the twist (aka: the second sentence of the story).
Then we meet a group of friends at a party. While a rock band rages on, they tell scary stories….
- This is a virtual copycat of the clown and babysitter segment from Amusement. You know it’s a good story when a low budget rip off is still chilling. Also, the clown is freaky looking.
- This story is pretty much a clone of the birthday cake story from Creepshow, beginning with a drunk chick talking to her dead father’s grave before he crawls from it to kill his uncaring family.
- A short slasher using the good old reliable killer scarecrow plot.
- A psycho killer meets his match while he’s busy torturing his latest victim.
- Troublemaking kids looking for a good time at an infamously haunted house come face-to-fur with a werewolf.
The wraparound concludes with a total monster party as well, making this a perfectly serviceable cheap knockoff film with a good 1980s throwback vibe to get you in the Halloween mood. The only downside for me is the overuse of horror comic stills between scenes – an anthology staple for sure, but here it’s always accompanied by an agonizingly obnoxious jingle that completely destroys the tone of the film. But I guess I can give director Chase Smith, because…yum.