Flashback to the days of V/H/S

They’re the only anthologies in my collection that I haven’t blogged about, so I thought it was time to revisit the V/H/S franchise and remind myself of which tales are my favorites.

I think the series does a fantastic job of reinvigorating the found footage genre by making it an anthology in which every story, including the wraparound, is first person. So let’s get to the breakdown.

V/H/S (2012)

The wraparound in the first film has a bunch of scummy guys hired to break into a house and steal a VHS tape. They find a dead dude sitting in front of a bunch of TV monitors. So what’s on the monitors?…

1st story – this is the one that gave the franchise its reputation, scored its own spinoff movie SiREN, and is still one of my faves. Guys pick up some girls and take them to a hotel room to party. But one girl with freaky eyes just keeps repeating “I like you” to one of the guys who happens to be wearing glasses with a hidden camera built in.

When the other guys try to gang bang the weird girl, we get to see just why she’s so freaky, genitalia goes flying, and we even get to see a cutie naked (before the flying genitalia part…).

2nd story – eh. This one is about a couple that goes on a road trip, not realizing that someone is coming into their hotel room at night and filming them sleeping. The twist at the end is the payoff, but it’s a forgettable tale overall. It’s even more of a letdown because it comes from director Ti West. For a while there, he had many of us expecting something good every time he got behind a camera.

3rd story – another naked cute guy, plus there’s some great gore.

A group of friends goes into the woods, where anyone who looks through the camera ends up dying at the hands of a killer that only appears through the lens.

4th story- an odd mix of subgenres, this one has a girl video chatting with her boyfriend nightly because she keeps hearing someone in her apartment. She also has a weird growth on her arm…

5th story – it’s a Halloween tale! Guys go to what they think is a house party, but end up interrupting some sort of ritual. They rescue a girl and try to escape, which leads to some creepy shit happening.

Cool story, but just as it’s going somewhere even more thrilling, a fricking train enters the picture and ruins everything.

V/H/S 2 (2013)

Most of the wraparound in this one is lame—except when the two investigators spy on a cheater and we see his dick. They then go to the house of a missing college boy and watch videos…

1st story – this weak warm-up is the familiar story of a guy who gets a transplant and then starts experiencing weird things. This time it’s the eye, and it sees dead people.

2nd story – this is one of my faves, about a guy wearing a GoPro while bike riding on trails. Zombies attack and it becomes a zombie POV flick! When it came time to eat, I’d so be the zombie below…

3rd story – this one has a slow build…And subtitles! Ugh. I really hate when movies aren’t consistent. If I don’t know from the start I’m going to be dealing with subtitles, I don’t want to deal with them. Luckily, this turns into an insane horror flick, with documentary filmmakers visiting a religious cult that unleashes demon/zombie things and the ultimate devil beast.

4th story – it would be just another alien invasion story done found footage style if not for the fact that the camera is attached to a little dog! Unique approach to a house full of unsupervised kids being terrorized, but it goes too far when the dog gets dragged into it.

Finally, the wraparound redeems itself with loads of horror fun. I’m not saying it makes sense, just that it’s fun.

V/H/S VIRAL (2014)

Breaking away from the theme of people entering a house and finding videotapes to watch, this wraparound has a guy chasing and filming a crime in progress. So it just randomly cuts to each story. Considering the filmmakers couldn’t even come up with a cohesive wraparound, the series was clearly losing its way by this final film.

1st story – this shit is way too Harry Potter for me, with a magician turning evil when he puts on a supernatural cloak. The cheap final jump scare is insulting.

2nd story – another one with subtitle interruptions, but again it is one of the strongest stories. A dude creates a machine that lets him swap places with an alternate reality version of himself. When he realizes this a sexually fucked up existence, his wife inviting two guys over to play is the vanilla stuff….

This is like a modern day Frank Henenlotter film.

3rd story – this is just pure, mindless, gore and action horror madness. A bunch of skater dudes finds a private place to goof off. Suddenly they’re being attacked by a walking corpse cult and it becomes a bloody battle to the death.

A whole lot of weird shit happens in the wraparound before the film is through, and it’s a mess. Really kills the series. Guess that’s why the “TV series” is an exclusive…on SNAPCHAT…


About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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