WEIRD FICTION *** USA 2018 Dir: Jacob Perrett. 87 mins
Writer-producer-cinematographer-editor-director Jacob Perrett’s feature debut is an unusually likeable anthology that replicates (on a shoestring) the lo-fi look, pace, sound and performances of 80’s VHS horror. Perrett also plays “The Collector”, the film’s Crypt Keeper-like host, unspooling a quartet of stories.
“Goodnight Daddy” features a couple of comic book geeks on a mission to find the bodies of missing local women and happening upon a unique (and sympathetic) masked killer. “Night of the Sitter” is about a high school football captain looking after the weird 15 year old brother of the girl he wants to shag and becoming involved in a night long hunt for “some kind of boogeyman”. This episode in particular involves a satisfying rug-pull, as a creepy dummy horror story transforms into very 80’s wish-fulfilment fantasy summarised as “The bravest thing you’ve ever done for a blowjob”. “The Incubus” is a ponderous tale of a young porn actor bitten by a vampire, highlighted by an unexpected homage to Mark Patton’s marvellously goofy dance sequence in the second ELM STREET movie. Finally, “Cosmic Terror” features a lonely teenage girl befriending an alien that landed in her garden; she dubs him “Squid”, teaches him about humanity, music and movies (via the trowel scene in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD) and ends up facing the apocalypse. Avoiding the temptation of falling back on gore, nudity and shock cuts, Perrett’s film is horror-lite, unfashionably slow and character-driven, but also appealing and offbeat. Fans of a certain age will be won over by the attention to detail, including groovy cassette decks, Farrah Fawcett posters and Belinda Carlisle vinyl records.
Review by Steven West