PRIME TIME: an anthology foursome

This is not exactly a top shelf selection of anthologies—but that’s okay, because I grew up in the 80s, when we horror whores would dig deep down in the bowels of the video store aisles for horror we hadn’t seen yet. Although I must confess that lately I have actually turned a few Prime selections off within minutes because I feel life is getting too short to waste blogging about films I can tell I won’t be able to bare (plus I have two new pups running me ragged). So for starters I can say that none of these films met that fate. But does that mean they were worth a watch? Let’s take a brief look at each.

URBAN FEARS (2019)

Not surprisingly, this low budget horror anthology seems inspired by 1980s horror, particularly the synth score.

The intro is sort of a wraparound, with a girl recording a live video on the Internet when she hears a noise and goes to investigate…

1st story: not the best way to keep your audience enthralled. There’s a staggering amount of time focused on a guy raiding and ransacking a house before he is finally chased by a guy in a mask with a knife.

2nd story: a young woman is terrorized by a creepy doll in total Trilogy of Terror style. However, this doll makes humorous comments.

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3rd story: More like a wraparound conclusion than a totally new story, this is a chain reaction of appearances of baddies from the other stories. 

It’s not the highest quality anthology and not particularly entertaining, but I appreciate its attention to cohesion.

SHEVENGE (2019)

It runs two hours long with twelve stories, so obviously the first thing I’ll say about this female themed anthology is that it’s too long—especially considering a few of the “stories” are more like art house clips that don’t do the flow of the film any favors and could have been cut entirely.

As for theme, I say cool…while many of the customer reviews on Amazon call it a film solely for man haters because it paints all men as rapists and cheaters. You have to wonder if horror fans that offended have been paying attention to the history of horror movies. First of all, the horror genre is infamous for being misogynistic, with women presented as sluts or cock teases that deserve to be raped, tortured, and mutilated after we first get to see them run around naked. And how bad can it be when the roles are reversed here considering there’s absolutely no exploitation of the nude male body? Wait. Maybe that means this really is a literal man-hating film…

Secondly, the film’s title is Shevenge, so obviously the females are going to need reasons to get revenge. Even so, I could see the repeated plot of men are shit and women must get revenge as a great opportunity for some diverse approaches that we don’t get. There could have been a lesbian getting revenge on her shitty girlfriend or her abusive father, or a story with a girl’s gay BFF helping her put the straight guy in her place (the possibilities are endless), or a trans female revenge tale. But you know that would make the same people complaining about the man-hating angle furious over having diversity forced down their throats.

But it is what it is, and here’s what it is. Ironically, the horror hostess is a woman in a kitchen. WTF? Is this supposed to be irony? As for the tales, here’s the breakdown:

1st story – a jilted woman’s anger builds as she talks to her male therapist.

2nd story – this tale of a woman who wishes the worst on a guy who posted their sex video online has a satisfying horror moment near the end.

3rd story – this is as basic and bland as a revenge tale of two girls meeting a jerk at a bar gets. To make it more interesting, there’s some animation thrown in.

4th story – a nonsensical black and white clip with flickering footage and voiceovers.

5th story – Some girls seek out a guy who got away with child rape, and what they decide to do to hide their own guilt after could have been expanded upon, because it’s an interesting concept that feels rushed.

6th story – another bland, straightforward tale of a woman getting revenge on a crazy dude.

7th story – a mother/daughter bonding tale.

8th story – an action story in which female assassins go after male assassins.

9th story – Things get monstrous when a dude dabbles in necro rape. This is like an old skool video nasty.

10th story – a very long phone convo between two women…and eventually, a witch.

11th story – a quickie with a twist about a woman telling her friend she was date raped. I feel this one had a good ending but then took things one step farther for no clear reason.

12th story – An unexpected Asian horror short. When a girl kills her abusive father her mother helps cover it up.

SPUNK’S NOT DEAD (2018)

Not sure what kept them from simply calling this one Spunk, but that would have been my choice for the title. Spunk is not what you think it is, although the film makes sure to create a parallel from start to finish.

Spunk is a drug…that’s white and gooey…that you take orally…by drinking it from a condom. The conservative personality spouting conspiracy theories about the drug in the wraparound just cements the idea that it’s all about a sexual fluid, considering conservative extremists are so sexaphobic (when they’re not sex trafficking, raping women and children, and having secret sexual relations with members of the same sex on the side…or while they’re busy promoting people who do all of the above for political positions).

Anyway, this drug is the common thread in all the stories as it makes those who take it a bit crazy. Here’s the breakdown:

1st tale – starting off unique with a laugh track (!?!?), this is about a babysitter who takes some spunk, dances to an 80s style song, and faces a horror in the baby’s crib.

2nd tale – a short, throwaway tale about a guy who buys some spunk while playing basketball in the park. The best part of this tale is the focus on him pouring it into his mouth from the condom and then savoring the stuff on his tongue.

3rd story – this is a nasty, gory one about a guy who does spunk with a prostitute. It feels like it would have been a perfect fit for Shevenge.

5th story – group of friends does a new strain of spunk that turns them into zombies. It’s a fun one.

6th story – the longest and most involved, this is the anchor of the whole anthology. A guy hooked on spunk is ambushed with an intervention. As he tries to sober up, he plays video games and is soon living in a horror video game. This isn’t your nephew’s Pixels!

You gotta love a trashy little anthology like this where you can tell the creators really put their heart into what they were making. Although the film is an anthology about…um…spunk, I feel like it may have been inspired by the 80s classic The Stuff.

MONSTER X (2017)

This 70-minute horror anthology is total popcorn film fun, with a wraparound that totally gets you in the mood. A guy and girl go to a movie theater for a horror film festival, and as they watch each feature the girl starts to see actual monsters in the theater.

The film includes four tales, with werewolves, vampires, a killer with an axe, zombies, and more.

1st tale – a woman is terrorized by a banshee in her house. This is a standard freaky supernatural female tale, and you can pretty much predict the timing of the scares, but it’s got a nice dark tone.

2nd tale – this one about a little girl who sneaks into an exclusive horror film festival was actually in another anthology I watched and blogged about (can’t remember which one), but here the wraparound ties into it perfectly.

3rd story – this cheating lover/revenge plot is short and gets right to the point…and it is like a classic Tales from the Crypt episode with some delicious twists.

4th story – the final story about a babysitter is a clever little twist on the “there are monsters in my room” plot.

I’d say this was my favorite of the bunch. Actually, I’d say the order in which I wrote about these films goes from my least favorite to the one I like the most.

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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