16th Jan2019

‘Terror Tales’ Review

by Faye Ellis

Stars: Christopher Showerman, Lynn Lowry, Jonathan Tiersten, Yan Birch, Laurene Landon, Jennifer Runyon, Ari Lehmann, Ashley Park, Felissa Rose, Helen Udy, Leana Lewis, Natalie Waldrip | Written and Directed by Jimmy Lee Combs


A horror anthology fan for many years, I’ll admit I was excited for Terror Tales, and I so wish that it had delivered. Firstly, The Wrapround Story (yes, it’s been titled as such)… When a vacationing family are abducted on the road by a psychopath, known only as The Driver, they are told three tales of terror whilst being subjected to violence and mind games, their fate hanging in the balance.

We start with tale number one, By Proxy. I would love to tell you what the segment is actually about, but I honestly don’t think I know myself. Famous writer Susan McKay is, I think, struggling to cope with her young Sons suicide, or so it seems. It then becomes apparent, kinda, that she has actually passed away herself and this is all a Christmas Carol-style shindig. Taken back over her last few months on earth by an unearthly demon, Susan is shown how her actions have affected those around her. Honestly, this was a headache to watch, with far too many twists and turns for its own good, and nothing ever being fully coherent. The acting left a lot to be desired, and I’m pretty sure the kid couldn’t go on living because of his terrible make up job. Honestly, I’ve never seen someone so happy to die. I will say though, the demon did look pretty impressive, but was sadly not used to his full potential.

Next up is Radical Video, which was a breath of fresh air given the last tale. It’s the mid 80’s and a slasher serial killer is on the loose. ‘plays-by-his-own-rules’ detective Ray Stevens tries to track down said killer and end his bloody rampage, but not before enlisting the help of two local video store owners. Given the obviously low budget, I was surprised by how funny this was. There was great energy and chemistry between the video store couple, and detective Stevens was great fun to watch, especially given that he had his own 80’s guitar theme music whenever on screen. IT HIGHLIGHTS THAT HE PLAYS BY HIS OWN RULES. I’m not slating this, it was genuinely funny.

Ticking every slasher box possible, whilst not taking itself too seriously, this was the best thing about Terror Tales for me, and I would have preferred to watch this for two hours.

After some very questionable gun fellatio, and general psychotic activity from The Driver, star of our wrap around, we move onto the final segment, Epidemic. So, Epidemic… Reverend James is committed to an insane asylum after murdering his wife, though completely justified of course, as he believes she has been possessed by the devil. Locked away and concerned for his missing daughter, who he also fears is possessed, he is approached by a nun who seeks his help and promises her safe return. We soon learn, however, that the ‘possession’ is not confined to Rev. James’ family and has spread worldwide. Poorly acted and rushed beyond belief (particularly the transformation scenes) it’s hard to take any of it seriously, but there’s always an audience out there, I guess. The writer has evidently watched The Exorcist, a lot, and was clearly driving for that vibe, but it came off as more Repossessed meets REC. which, executed well, could have been good.

Save for the final scene where tit head from Little Nicky shows up, which is quite funny though not intentional, I couldn’t find any other redeeming factor about this segment. As we reach the concluding wrap around story, I’m hoping that there might be some gem that will save the day, but my optimism proves fruitless. A lazy ending which, much like the rest of the film, makes no sense whatsoever.

I am so in awe of anyone who makes a film, I always will be, it’s a great achievement and deserves recognition. It doesn’t mean that everyone will like your film though and, sadly, Terror Tales was not a film I would care to return to.

Terror Tales is out on VOD now from High Octane Pictures.


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