Andrew E reviews Terror Tales!
Official Synopsis: When abducted by a psychopath, a husband is taken on a ride from hell where he is subjected to three horrific tales of terror while his family is held captive in an attached cargo trailer.
Writer & Director: Jimmy Lee Combs
Gruemonkeys Andrew E reviews “Terror Tales”. Andrew E will review and rate each short story and the movie as a whole, let’s find out what he thought!
Andrew E: Here is the setup for each of the short stories told in this film, they are told by a crazed maniac (Christopher Showerman; George of the Jungle 2) who kidnaps a man (J. Giodano), his wife (Pam Renall) and daughter (Bailey Sorrel) on the roadside. Whilst they drive he psychotically tells these horror tales to his kidnapped victims. Christopher Showerman is brilliant as the kidnapper and storyteller and is able to flit between a deranged psychopath and lovable character nicely, reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”. Christopher Showerman is a stand out performer in the whole movie. His delivery is spot on and embodies everything to truly make you afraid of him, and maybe even find him sexy? But ties these tales together nicely.
The First Story….
The first tale in this twisted anthology is that of Susan, a famed horror writer who when she falls pregnant can no longer produce the hit horror novels she once could. Susan is played by Lynn Lowry famed for her roles in 1975’s Shivers and 1973’s The Crazies. We are witness to her child Trevor aged presumably under 10 in the opening moments of the film committing suicide. We see a grieving mother and then her trial as there are suspicions she murdered her son. Upon the end of the trial when her name is cleared we see an unknown person shoot Susan in the head. What transpires next is a demon version of the ghost of Christmas past who takes Susan’s spirit back through what lead to Trevor’s suicide and what part Susan had to play.
This installment of the horror anthology was well executed; Susan’s character was portrayed brilliantly and was very believable as the twists reveal this Munchhausen inspired story and this Mother’s dark disease. At times this story made me feel uncomfortable (being a parent) but one assumes this was the intent. It kept my interest, and my hatred towards the character of Susan grew throughout (which again was intentional). The Ink Demon (the ghost of Christmas past) was impressive and there were some good practical and computer-generated effects to the ghostly demon. I was satisfied with Susan’s ending was that of suffering. This segment had gore, trauma, and a mother that nobody would ever wish for. A chilling start to the terror tales that are unfolded in this movie.
GRUEMONKEY Rating: 3.5/5 GrueMonkeys!
We are introduced to a 1980’s busy video rental store (some of our younger readers may be unfamiliar – it’s like Netflix but in a store). A young woman leaves the store only to be kidnapped and murdered (by a killer nicknamed “the sledgehammer” no less). Each of the gruesome murders is being captured on a video camera. The film introduces Detective Stevens (Brett Shafer) who is from the wrong side of the tracks. When a disgruntled video renter is refused service (Jonathan Tiersten) the store is later broken into and trashed. Detective Stevens begins to investigate whether Mr. Tate (Jonathan Tiersten; Sleepaway Camp, The Perfect House) is also the culprit of the unexplained murders. Detective Stevens visits Mr. Tate’s mother (Laurene Landon; Maniac Cop, Airplane 2). Mrs. Tate is rather “different” and brilliant to watch, she owns a dog that will make you smile! Mrs. Tate reveals a rather dark upbringing that her son had, which leads Detective Stevens to further believe he is indeed the serial killer “The Sledgehammer”.
The video store owners receive a video back containing footage of the murders and begin to panic they might be next. This segment has a lot of styles (headbands and aluminous colors), and just the right amount of 80’s music to accompany the story. Its set up is vastly different from the previous tale but brilliantly funny. The fun “Snuff” movie urban legend becomes a reality in this short segment. Jonathan Tiersten delivers a brilliant stuttering oddball. And Laurene Landon as his mother is a perfect pairing, if not a little eerie. Thank god video stores are a thing of the past, as this may just put you off! Hat’s off to the over the top 80’s gore effects – a little retro masterpiece. A true video nasty!
GRUEMONKEY Rating: 4/5 GrueMonkeys!
A calm and tranquil bible study group is shown. Pastor James (Thomas Fears) is presented as the leader of the group. After his congregation leaves the audience is shown Pastor James entering a make-shift dungeon through a trap door where he is keeping his supposedly ill wife (Shelley Maxwell), who is revealed to be possessed. After killing his wife Pastor James is arrested. Upon his arrest, the media get hold of the story and news anchor Sonya Hamilton (Helene Udy; My Bloody Valentine) is posing the question is the devil real as she questions the rise in alleged possessions. Pastor James daughter (Paige Awtrey) who reported Pastor James to the police is said to be missing and is revealed to be in nun convent also possessed. The Vatican is concerned about the increase in possessions. Sister Agnes (Irene Leonard) is sent to release Pastor James from his institution to assist with solving why so many more people are possessed. It is revealed that a witch summoned Satan to earth a long time ago. We are shown a tale about a witch hunter named Edmond Blackburn avenging his brother’s death played by Ari Leham (Friday 13th) hunting the murderous and evil seductive witch played by Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp, Death House) who brings forward Satan (Yan Birch; The people under the stairs, Slumber Party Massacre 3).
Confronted by his possessed daughter Pastor James must find his faith again to release his daughter from her devilish imprisonment. Satan is birthed again and Pastor James must not only regain his faith but find extra strength to beat the devil. The whole time the world is consumed with evil including a terrifying Gasha!
This tale was insane, it had a lot to follow and some impressive costumes and practical makeup effects. This was my least favorite of our three short stories but had some great acting performances. Satan himself (Yan Birch) was a delight, Felissa Rose truly embodied the seductress witch with style and Ari Leham gave a great performance. To me, the story was a little long and with a little editing could have been more effective, but it was by no means bad.
GRUEMONKEY Rating: 3/5 GrueMonkeys!
To round off these tales Christopher Showerman executes his victims and is found in bed with an unknown potential prostitute. When Christopher orders her to investigate a strange noise at gunpoint he is terrified as the re-animated corpses of his last 3 victims come back to eat him alive!
The movie also has a great follow up to the Radical Video segment in the credits so be sure to stick around for that.
In conclusion, this twisted anthology has some great films contained within it. Some are stronger than others but together work very well. This film runs for over 2 hours, so be prepared to give this horror some time. It did have some drawbacks including some sound effect issues and editing slips, But if you’re a fan of anthology movies, and want a plethora of horror superstars than this is the movie for you! Blood, guts, gore and some brilliant actin told through genuinely great short stories!
OVERALL RATING: 3.5 / 5 GRUEMONKEYS
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