A panty-sniffing psycho (played with a shit eating grin and endless panache by a terrific Christopher Showerman) kidnaps a family and forces the patriarch to listen to a trilogy of terror tales (hence that title this flick sports) or else he’ll release a deadly nerve gas that will force the man’s wife and daughter to twerk themselves to death…oh for the fucking love of fuck…
Anyway, tale one, By Proxy, concerns a horror author/mother (Lynn Lowry of Shivers fame) who witnesses the suicide of her small child. After that a demon visits her to teach her the error of her life’s ways on Christmas like a distaff Ebeneezer Scrooge. Featuring a nice performance from Lowry, some real emotional content, and a fun demon design, this is a very strong way to start the collection of stories.
Next up is Radical Video, an ’80’s set yarn featuring the horror hound pleasin’ misadventures of a serial killer armed with a sledgehammer puttin’ the murder biz on anyone that has the misfortune to cross his path! Filled with ’80’s fashions, great low-rent gore effects, S.O.V. segments, and even a video store this segment is by far the highlight of the entire film, and honestly should be expanded into it’s own feature.
Finally we come to Epidemic, a tale of a body-hopping demon (Yan Birch of Wes Craven’s The People Under the Stairs) responsible for a plague of possessions down through the centuries. This one too features a super-fun (and practically realized) demon design, and is a real hoot with it’s flashbacks to ancient witch trials and it’s utilization of possession flick tropes in rapid succession!
While the budget on this one is low, Writer/Director Jimmy Lee Combs attempts a variety of styles and stories, and for the most part is rather successful. From the references included, and obvious heart put into the production it becomes rather obvious that Combs is an avid lover of our beloved horror biz, and he truly aims to please by including creature effects, maniacs, ultra-violence, demons, flashbacks, and plenty of cameos (besides Lowry and Birch we also get appearances from Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop), Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), and Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp).
My biggest gripe with Terror Tales is that it runs long. At two hours in length the film drags more than it should, and while nothing present is particularly horrible, something should have went by the wayside to keep this one at a rocket paced ninety minutes (give or take).
At the end of the day what we have is an arcane anthology with zero duds in the mix that’s made with some care and love (if not a plethora of dough). Give Terror Tales a shot; I think you boils n’ ghouls will dig on what it puts down!