Thursday, October 17, 2013

BMET3: Tales of the Dead: Grim Stories of Curses, Horror, and Gore

In addition to having the longest title, Tales of the Dead: Grim Stories of Curses, Horror, and Gore is from a purely technical perspective the most competently-made movie I've seen so far. It's got logos and shit at the beginning and everything. Nobody told them they should actually light night shoots and there's way to much "look at the discordant noises I can make with my Casio" sound, but the acting is mostly at least community theater level and the camera seems to generally be aimed at where it's supposed to. All in all, solid low-end straight-to-video filmmaking.

The movie tells the story of some Brits who have gathered on Halloween to, I think watch horror movies, though most of the framing makes it seem more like they're telling ghost stories. There are five stories within the story:

  • The first is the story about a woman suffering from Apotemnophilia (a mental disorder that makes you want to amputate your limbs) who for some crazy reason can't get a doctor to chop off her parts. Luckily some random stranger gives her the card of someone who probably doesn't have a medical degree but is willing to help her out. If you've ever seen Tales From the Dark Side or read an EC Comic, you can guess where it goes from there. This is definitely the best of the stories, mainly because it's short and has a beginning, middle, and end. 
  • Next is the story of a kid who loves horror movies and has a dead father and a mother who wants him to get a job. He claims that he's really creative but his "creativity" seems to manifest as vivid hallucinations of being in scenes from classic  horror movies. After a bit of this, his mom sends him to the store for smokes, the movie inexplicably rewinds at high speed, and he gets attacked by Night of the Living Dead zombies. Back in the framing sequence, the actors were blown away, but I didn't  get it. 
  • The third story is about a cop tracking an S&M-themed serial killer. But get this: the cop is also into S&M. After a couple of murders, an old acquaintance from the S&M scene shows the cop a letter (that said way too much and was written too poorly to read on the small screen) and the cop quits his job. That's the end of the story. Maybe whatever the letter said made that seem like an ending, but without any hint what that was,  it kind of feels like they gave up. 
  • The next story is one of those cutting-edge found footage movies, and  the point at which I realized they were supposed to be watching bad movies instead of telling bad ghost stories--this one was VHS because it was, of course, the real tape. Anyway, apparently some filmmakers are planning to make a film about a witch's curse in Northhampton, so we're treated to some scenes of research and some night vision shakycam before everybody presumably gets killed off-screen or something. 
  • The fifth person doesn't have a DVD or a VHS, she has an actual story about a killer who targets people who celebrate Halloween (if they'd made it Christmas, at least they'd have gotten some publicity from Fox News). She explains that he starts by cutting the electricity. Can you guess what happens next? Can you? CAN YOU? 
Takeaway: Just because this is the least awful one so far doesn't mean it's not awful. 
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