Movie Review: TERROR TALES

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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.

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Movies+Beer: ZOMBIELAND 2 Doubletap

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zombieland 2

Ten years after the first Zombieland hit theaters, we finally get the sequel they’ve been threatening to make. Join James and Exalted Geeks Brian, Sarah, Everett, Jessie and Jacob as we discuss what is basically America’s answer to Shaun Of The Dead, and whether double tapping the franchise was a good thing, or if they should have left the corpse lay…

Movies+Beer: IT CHAPTER 2

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it chapter 2
James is joined by long-time heterosexual lifemate Brian in watching the anticipated second chapter in the recent movie adaptation of Stephen King’s IT. How does it hold up to the first chapter? Does it blow away the miniseries from 1990? Will the Husker fans be cheering too loudly? Tune in and find out…
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Movies+Beer: AMERICAN POLTERGEIST

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american poltergeis

James is joined once again by Kari via Skype to discuss the 2015 direct-to-video stinker American Poltergeist! Come, listen as we marvel at how bad this movie is, and how close we came to a sequel…
::END TRANSMISSION::

Movies+Beer: MANDY THE HAUNTED DOLL

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movie poster

Uncle NecRo finally figured out how to use Skype (kinda), and enlisted the help of longtime friend Kari on her first time on the podcast, to watch a movie so terrible I couldn’t just do justice with a mere write-up: MANDY THE HAUNTED DOLL! Listen along as we go through this waste of a Haunted Doll movie, if you dare!

::END TRANSMISSION::

Movies+Beer: BRIGHTBURN

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Brian, Andrea and James Classic took in a showing of the Superhero Horror flick Brightburn, then went to Sean O’Casey’s to talk about it…

Movie Review: WINCHESTER

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winchesterLionsgate / CBS Films
2018
PG-13

I’m a mother. A fighter. A protector. And I am not afraid.

On an isolated stretch of land 50 miles outside of San Francisco sits the most haunted house in the world. Built by Sarah Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, it is a house that knows no end. Constructed in an incessant twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week mania for decades, it stands seven stories tall and contains hundreds of rooms. To the outsider it looks like a monstrous monument to a disturbed woman’s madness. But Sarah is not building for herself, for her niece or for the brilliant Doctor Eric Price whom she has summoned to the house. She is building a prison, an asylum for hundreds of vengeful ghosts, and the most terrifying among them have a score to settle with the Winchesters.

To answer your unasked question: Yes, I am familiar with the Winchester House. You really can’t be an enthusiast of spooky legends and folklore and not know something about the house that ghosts built. I’ve never visited the place myself (as I rarely travel farther than a few states away from my neck of the woods); I do have a couple of friends who did tour the house during their honeymoon. They say it was…expansive.

It’s from this legendary house where we get the premise of the movie Winchester. Clearly, going into this, the notion that this was “based on actual events” is secondary to the horror flick this wants to be. Whether you believe in haunting and vengeful spirits or not, I find that going into these kind of flicks as straight-up fiction lends to a far more enjoyable watching experience.

As a movie itself, Winchester works well as a rather enjoyable slow-burning Gothic ghost story. Something like a classic Castle-style throwback, with lots of dark and spooky atmosphere, some decent jump scares (fortunately, the movie doesn’t rely on them like a lot of haunting movies out nowadays), very good visuals and some rather good acting from the cast.

Overall, I think Winchester is one of the better “true haunting” type horror movies to come out in these modern times. Far better than any of the long list of The Haunting Of… movies that always populate my video streaming suggestions. This works best as a late-night viewing, with all the lights off and preferably on a dark and stormy night, with a big bowl of popcorn. Recommended.

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