PRIME TIME: anthology horror, a goblin, possession, and a creature

As COVID continues to take its toll on streaming options, I’m feeling less and less inspired to even watch the titles I’m settling on putting in my watchlists. So were there any pleasant surprises in this batch?

DARK TALES (2017)

Dark Tales is another anthology of short films that feel like they were culled from YouTube. There’s very little here that is even vaguely effective as a terror tale, but I guess the “dark” part does fit.

It opens with some title cards about a found footage situation, but if the text (some of which changes too fast to completely read) is meant to serve as a wraparound, it’s pointless.

Meanwhile, most of these stories are more like inconclusive clips rather than cohesive stories. Here’s the breakdown:

1st – a girl comes to her friend covered in blood. This goes nowhere.

2nd – this is as simple as it gets. A guy gives a transfusion for a woman’s bathory tub.

3rd – it’s yet another take on the clown doll come to life while a girl is babysitting tale, which originated and was still done best in the movie Amusement.

4th – a guy tied up in a wheelchair in a murder lair tries to escape.

5th – two guys try to make a snuff film but things don’t go as planned.

6th – although it isn’t much of a horror story in the end, this is my favorite simply because of the twist. A woman is tied up by a redneck, and he makes her recount how she lost her virginity. He’s cute, too.

7th – a holy roller trying to deliver his victim to his savior gets a saving of his own.

8th – a woman gets a call from a perv who tells her to never ask what he looks like. Of course, she does. This was an okay story as well.

GOBLIN (2020)

Goblin is a funny little indie that kind of feels like one of those pseudo horror flix from the 80s where the spooky green creature is drawn to the main child. In fact, the main child in this film is creepier than the goblin….

A woman, her young son, her new husband, and his teen son move into a new house, and right away, the quirky tone of the film is established. It’s never clear if the couple had a good relationship, but the husband immediately begins to act kind of douchey. Played by actor Joe Cummings, he’s also sizzling hot, spends much of his time shirtless, and steals the show because he’s fricking funny.

The wife sees a goblin outside the window, the son draws the goblin in school, the neighbor warns them the goblin is real and to get out before it eats them, and the husband and his dick teenage son (also funny) don’t believe it’s a monster but plan to capture whatever it is.

The CGI goblin is kind of cute in a Shrek sort of way, the film runs a tight 71 minutes long, and did I mention Joe Cummings is hot, shirtless a lot, super funny, and steals the show?

HEX (2018)

Hex seems to get a lot of hate online, but for someone who is easily bored, I didn’t actually find it all that bad.

It’s definitely a bit basic and familiar. A young guy on vacation in an exotic land meets a pretty young woman and becomes enthralled with her. As their romance takes off, some odd occurrences make him question her sincerity. She’s a little…off.

Maybe that’s because she might be a little…possessed.

Therein lies the problem. Nothing all that compelling or frightening happens along the way to elevate the fear level, so by the time the pair decides to consult a witch doctor for the final act, not even the big climax has the flexibility to go all that big.

It’s more enthralling than everything that comes before it, but it’s still somewhat of a disappointment. I think this film would have worked better as a shorter, more straight to the point story in an anthology.

CREATURE FROM CANNIBAL CREEK (2019)

Yes, the poster art is false advertising. This is a goofy low budget backwoods horror flick in which the monster looks like a guy wearing a green trash bag filled with autumn leaves.

A backwoods family captures random people that wander into the woods and tosses them in cages to eat later. There’s a matriarch, a dude dressed like a Hills Have Eyes cannibal, and a grunting dude wearing a mask.

One of the victims tries to escape, gets stabbed, crawls into the woods, and is turned into the trash bag monster by a bunch of branches that come to life. Whatever.

More random characters wander into the woods, and the monster starts killing them instead of getting revenge on the cannibal family. WTF? Meanwhile, the cannibal family goes on, poking, prodding, and dicing up victims while whimsical banjo music plays. Ugh.

The most memorable moment of the entire film is a dude getting brutally screwed up the ass with a tree branch.

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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