terror talesHigh Octane Pictures
2016
TV-14

“Time to gas up.”

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.

I don’t know if it’s the Halloween season (while I write this; IDK, it could be the middle of summer when you stumble upon this review…or when I get around to publishing it), but I do tend to lean towards watching anthology type horror movies around that tie of year. And there’s no shortage of dime-a-dozen horror anthologies on the primary streaming site I utilize for the horror watchin’ goodness. And of course, Terror Tales is one of those flicks I stuck in my To Watch cue.

First off, you may have noticed that the rating is listed as TV-14. Which means that this is a horror flick that was made specifically for television broadcast. Which, in and of itself isn’t necessarily a red flag about the quality. No, it’s the fact that this is TV-14, and not TV-MA, that had me questioning the wisdom in watching this. TV-14 means it might very well be worse than a PG-13 horror flick. But, I’m nothing if not masochistic, so I clicked on this and braced myself for the worst.

Terror Tales is the type of anthology movie that has a wrap-around story to work as a presenter of the short tales within the movie. The wraparound deals with a psychotic vagabond that abducts a family on a road trip, tying up the mother and teenage daughter in a conjoined trailer, and telling the stories to the father riding shotgun with him. The first tale–“By Proxy”–is about a horror writer who dies, and is taken on a This Was Your Life! style journey with a low-rent Cenobite rip-off. The second tale–“Radical Video”–follows a detective that’s investigating a string of murders by the Sledgehammer Killer, who picks up his victims at the titular video store. And the third tale–“Epidemic”–is about a disgraced former preacher who goes up against Satan himself during a rash of demon possessions worldwide.

Quality-wise, to call Terror Tales a “bad movie” would be an insult to bad movies everywhere. It’s one of those movies that, mere minutes after pressing “play”, you’re already face-palming with the video and editing quality that’s overshadowed by acting that would make community theater actors blush in embarrassment. There are a couple of bright spots with that, though: Laurene Landon as the mother of the Sledgehammer Killer in the “Radical Video” segment and Sleepaway Camp alum Felissa Rose in the “Epidemic” segment both are delightful to watch, chewing up all the scenery in their sadly respective short appearances. Otherwise, “Epidemic” is the worst offender in the bunch, what with the extremely wooden “acting”, especially from the nun and pastor characters. Coming in a close second was “By Proxy”, and no, the cheep Cenobite rip-off wasn’t the worst thing about this. Which makes “Radical Video” the best one by default…and even that’s stretching things (though it was amusing to witness what was essentially the “80s” as written by someone who maybe read a book about the decade rather than having lived through it, like I have).

Overall, if you’re looking for a really badly made horror flick for you and all of your friends to have fun riffing on…well, there are actually better bad movies out there to do that. Really, Terror Tales isn’t even entertainingly bad. You’re not missing out much if you happen to pass this one up.