VOLUMES OF BLOOD: HORROR STORIES *** U.S.A. 2016 Dir: Sean Blevins, John William Holt, Jon Maynard, Nathan Thomas Milliner, Justin M Seaman, James Treakle. 119 mins
VOLUMES OF BLOOD (2015) was a collection of shorts set in the Owensboro, Kentucky, and this latest anthology revisits the town for a succession of horrific stories from slightly different time periods, most linked by a single house. Strong on practical gore FX and amusingly flippant twists, it’s an often-impressive indie horror compendium. Two of the strongest segments are from director Nathan Thomas Milliner, namely the opener “Murder, Death, Killer” – featuring a scarecrow-like vengeful slasher named “Atticus Crow” – and the enjoyably unpredictable “Fear, For Sinners Here”, in which a troubled young woman frantically wrapping up presents on Christmas Eve is visited by sinister carol singers.
The latter story sacrifices its eerie build-up for a throwaway twist satirising 21st century consumerism, while Justin M Seaman’s “The Deathday Party” delivers the biggest array of gore though proves a tad one note in its tale of an elderly couple using a birthday party as an excuse to gruesomely kill off neighbourhood irritants. Sean Blevins’ “Trick Or Treat”, in which a young blonde is terrorised by a maniacal trick or treater, and Jon Maynard’s “Blood Bath” (a guy desperate to conceive loses it after forgetting his meds) both have their moments, though John William Holt’s “Feeding Time” is stronger than either in its tale of a disturbed teen runaway trying to convince an insurance salesman of the monster dwelling in her closet since childhood. The most enjoyable of this generally satisfying bunch is “Haters”, if only for its amusing banter between a pair of horror fans following their viewing of a remake of “Murder, Death, Killer” – which one considers to have “Rob Zombied the shit out” of the franchise. Their commentary on the contemporary horror scene (“It Follows? More like It Swallows!”) is fun to watch, the remake debate presents both sides (note: “nostalgia blindness”) and it’s probably the only movie in which the killer’s rampage is sparked by a Burt Reynolds-themed insult.
Review by Steven West