05th Jun2015

‘Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales’ DVD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Amber Benson, Angela Bettis, AJ Bowen, Jose Pablo Cantillo, James Duval, William Forsythe, Eddie Hargitay, Danielle Harris, Noah Hathaway, Marc Senter, Megan Thompson, Alex Urbom, Ray Wise | Written and Directed by Tom Holland

Twisted-Tales-dvd

Originally conceived and made as a 9-episode web series for the now defunct FearNet, Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales has been released on to DVD as yet another horror anthology rather than TV show – running a huge 144 minutes – encompassing the entire series in one “movie”; and an inconsistent movie at that.

Some would say that you have to give web-based programming some leaway, after all budgets aren’t as high etc. However when said web series comes from FearNet, a site that had backing and had the resources, you have to wonder why they didn’t spend that little bit more money to make something a little more polished. Apparently the budget for Twisted Tales was so tight that Tom Holland had to scrap four of the thirteen plans stories, hence the nine we have here.

With stories running at different lengths, with different tones and subject matter, Twisted Tales could be something of a disjointed affair. Thankfully each story is guided by the hand of writer/director Tom Holland (Fright Night/Child’s Play) who pens and directs each tale, with the type of creative freedom not found in the traditional Hollywood system. Holland’s influence not onyl lives behind the camera, it stretches in front of the camera too as Holland opens each segment, Cryptkeeper style, laying out the tale for the audience. Except that is for Vampire’s Dance, the films oddest and weakest segment, in which Holland himslef appears as the janitor at a vampire nightclub…

As with any anthology, there is bound to be a few duds amongst the stories. In this case, with nine different tales the good most definitely outweigh the bad. There’s only really three tales that didn’t hit the right notes for me, the aforementioned Vampire’s Dance (which given Holland’s experience with vampires SHOULD have been a highlight); Bite, a werewolf tale that – thanks to the “psychic” aspect of its tale – ends up being a muddled and clumsy story; and Mongo’s Magick Mirror which, despite an appearance from the ever-fantastic Ray Wise, is let down by some godawful acting from his co-star, magician Joel Ward, who over exaggerates each action and overacts every line.

Of the rest, there’s the fantatic short sharp shock of Fred and His GPS starring the ever awesome AJ Bowen as a man who kills his wife and then argues with his GPS while making his getaway; To Hell With You, featuring William Forsythe as an agent of the Devil trying to negotiate a deal with a disgruntled girlfriend, played by scream queen Danielle Harris; Cached, a ghost-in-the-machine story that plays some cool tricks with reality; Shockwave, which stars Angela Bettis (May) and Amber Benson (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) a twist in the tale story that sees folks fighting it out to hide in a saferoom after a satellite explodes, sending a deadly EMP wave across the planet.

And then there’s Boom – a classic Tales of the Unexpected style tale of betrayal and revenge which stars Atreyu himself, Noah Hathaway, as a bomb expert who suspects his wife Jolene (Sarah Butler) is cheating on him with his best friend Buddy (Alex Urbom). Surprisingly high point of these nine twisted tales is Pizza Guy, a 30 minute story that sees a desperate Erin perform a Satanic ritual to summon the devil, who it turns out comes disguised as pizza delivery guy (Marc Senter)!

I stated in my review of Zombieworld, with any anthology there is going to be a least one segament for everyone and that is certainly the case here. For those that like something a little more serious there’s Shockwave and Boom, for those that enjoy a laugh with their horror there’s Pizza Guy and Fred and His GPS. Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales really does satisfy all horror tastes.

Tom Holland’s Twisted Tales is released on DVD and download on June 15th.

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