Sunday, January 06, 2013
Anthology Theater Style
The Theatre Bizarre is six short stories wrapped around with a seventh one. Each one has a different director as well. The framing sequence is directed by Jeremy Kasten. This was an interest wrap around story. Enola (Virginia Newcomb) enters the theater and is treated to a series of automatons introduce each story. As each story is told, one automaton (Udo Kier) begins to change. This was filmed after all the other stories was filmed, which really was a smart way to do it. Kasten now had an idea for each automaton to introduce each story. It was fun to see how these fit into each story as well.
The first short story was directed by Richard Stanley and was called The Mother Of Toads. This short was about a guy (Shane Woodward) who is drawn to a witch. It has a very Lovecraft feel to it. I wasn't all that impressed with it really, but it does have a nice set to it. The main problem for me was the story. There wasn't much of one there and it wasn't all that interesting to me anyway. The big toad is fun to look at at least. The acting was also just okay.
Next up was I Love You, directed by Buddy Giovinazzo. This was more of a drama, but does have some horror to it at the end. Two lovers (André Hennicke and Suzan Anbeh) are fighting since she wants to leave him, apparently for good this time. There is a lot of going back and forth between the two as the tell each other their side of the story. While I was starting to feel a little bored with the exchange after a while, there was some funny moments that keeps it from getting too boring. The ending was expected, but it was done in a way that surprised me all the same. The gory effects are very well done, even if you only see them for a short time. The acting was real good at least. The couple may not really look like two people I could see together, but they pulled it off anyway.
After this was the Tom Savini segment called Wet Dreams. A lot of people say that this one would have made a good Tales From The Crypt story. Donnie (James Gill) is having dreams that usually end up with him losing his manhood. Tom Savini also stars as the Doctor who is trying to help Donnie with his little problem. This was another short where I just didn't care much for the story. Wet Dreams seems to get a split reaction from people. Either they really liked it, or they didn't at all. I guess since I don't have to worry about losing something so personal as a guy's manhood, it just didn't appeal to me. The acting was okay and the effects, while a little gory, was also just okay.
The Accident was directed by Douglas Buck, and was my favorite of the bunch. A mother (Lena Kleine) and daughter (Mélodie Simard) are driving when a father (Jean-Paul Rivière) and son (Bruno Decary) drive by on motorcycles. Moments later they come across the two guys after one of them hits an animal. While the story isn't complicated, it is a touching story as we death through the eyes of a child. There are some who didn't like this one just because it didn't go anywhere. Not all stories need a twist or anything in order to be heart felt. The acting was good, but it was really the effects that puts it over the top. The animal looks very real, which makes it very hard to watch what happens to it.
Next to last is Vision Stains, directed by Karim Hussain. A woman (Kaniehtiio Horn) has found a way to see what a dying person is seeing just before they die. Like their life flashing before their eyes type thing. I'm sure it might have been explained, but I never really got why she was doing this. Even so, I found this story fairly interesting. It wasn't the best, but it wasn't the worst of the bunch either. The acting was fine, but it is the effects that will make you flinch...a lot. There are plenty of times we get to see a needle going into an eye. Not something I want to see again soon.
And last, but not least, Sweets. This one was directed by David Gregory. This one is about Estelle (Lindsay Goranson) trying to fatten up her boyfriend (Guiford Adams) so she and her upper class friends can have a feast of their own. Once again I wasn't all the interested in this one as far as the story goes. It was alright, but like some of the others, the effects is what pushed it. The acting was good, but the effects made it one of the goriest and sickest of the bunch.
The Theatre Bizarre was made with stage plays in mind. Only one, I Love You, seems to hold to that idea though. I suppose you could probably pull off Sweets on the stage as well. Many feel that this movie didn't work since there is no real theme that runs through the different shorts. While this is true, I don't see why it should take away from your enjoyment, or disappointment, of each short. Four of the six does have to do with a sin at least. Three of them have something to do with one cheating on the other, while the last one has to do with gluttony. Even though I didn't find The Theatre Bizarre to be the greatest film out there, I still enjoyed it. Like a set of movies, you aren't going to like every one of them. Overall I thought The Theatre Bizarre was pretty good. I loved some of them, and didn't like some of them, so an average movie in the end. It has been doing well enough though that a sequel is in the works. It is now on instant watch on Netflix, if you have it. I would suggest getting the DVD though, if you are into hearing the directors commentary. Everyone expect Buck gives their commentary on their own short. If your not interested in that, and just want to see the film, then instant watch is perfect for you.
3 out of 5 Don't think I would make a very good automaton