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John’s Horror Corner: Scare Package (2019), a feisty, silly, gory meta-movie horror anthology.

October 20, 2020

MY CALL: From segment to segment and filmmaker to filmmaker, this is every bit as much a mixed bag as most horror anthologies. However, the adherence to the playful meta-movie theme really works well as its better qualities make the overall experience much more enjoyable than I expected. Recommended! MOVIES LIKE Scare Package: Also lower budget and very silly, Chillerama (2011) and Stan Against Evil (2016-2018) seem to capture the same feistiness as this anthology, whereas Tucker and Dale versus Evil (2010) feels closest in spirit but with higher production value.

DisclaimerA screener was provided by a PR/Media group/company. However, I was not paid or compensated to write this nor were there any conditions to my receiving the screener other than my solicited review and the timing of its posting.

Short Summary from IMDB: “Chad, the owner of Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, recounts a series of bone-chilling, blood-splattered tales to illustrate the rules of the horror genre to his newest employee.”

Where can WATCH NOW? RLJE Films will release SCARE PACKAGE On Demand, Digital, DVD and Blu-ray October 20th 2020. To watch on Shudder just CLICK HERE.

SOLICITED REVIEWS: On occasion I accept requests for solicited reviews. But make no mistake, I have a day job, limited time and I’m not a professional. My favoritism to accept solicitations leans towards those who offer a physical screener, but that favoritism does not de facto earn a favorable review—but a “fair” review. Examples of my solicited reviews include Belzebuth (2017; US release 2020), Iron Sky: The Coming Race (2019), The Haunting of Sharon Tate (2019), The Unseen (2017; aka Amourosis), The Belko Experiment (2016) and The Barn (2016).

From shady realtors to abandoned insane asylums, our opening sequence briefly paws at a ball of tangled horror tropes like a curious kitten; kind of cute, funny, feisty and unsubtle. We enjoy accidental murders, blood-spurting stabbings, and other Tucker and Dale versus Evil-esque tropey misunderstandings. In fact, this meta discussion of tropes becomes thematic. A green and red-striped convertible car roof, a character named Mike Myers, warnings about picking up hitchhikers, and the sudden advent of morning when the horrors have passed all give nods to the very nods we see in our favorite horror classic.

Organized like many horror anthologies, a wraparound story ties it all together. But not before the film has clearly introduced its tone with writer and director Emily Hagins’ (My Sucky Teen Romance) Cold Open. This opening sequence observes a man wander into a major misunderstanding while haphazardly terrifying two girls on Halloween. It’s very cheeky and there is not a scary moment to be found—and deliberately so.

But despite being so clearly comedy-forward and horror only in theme, One Time in the Woods absolutely delivers what Fangoria fans crave. Writer and director Chris McInroy’s segment features a… were-blob? Yes, a very gooey were-blob, in fact, that interrupts a camping trip. The transformation scene is truly a gore-slathered delight of melting flesh, green slime, and squirting abscesses as his skin sloughs off and he is reduced to a gooey pile of bloody fleshy folds and arterial sprays. A head explodes, legs are torn off, someone is bear-hugged to death and their intestines are squeezed from their… you know. All the while this film delights in spouting blood all over its cast. Like, a LOT. And after all this, the melty were-blob flesh monster bites someone who then also grossly melts into a pile as well. This segment had an entire movie’s worth of chummy sloppy gore and it was delightful for this horror hound!

Between titled anthology segments the owner of Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium lectures a new hire, discussing horror movie motifs and patterns from the aisles of his brick and mortar video store. The video store scenes are charmingly packed with askew humor. Loads of socially awkward metachat transpires between surprisingly likable and very quirky characters.

Written, production-designed and directed by Courtney and Hillary Andujar, Girls’ Night Out of Body is a technically weaker segment with silly execution. Some girls get cursed with candy corn demon-skull faces after shoplifting and become briefly murderous. No gore to speak of nor any effects worth discussing, this segment may have suffered the lowest budget. Likewise of simpler execution, writer, cinematographer and director Anthony Cousins’ The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill plays on a familiar slasher franchise concept. Some would-be victims capture their unkillable killer and try again and again to kill him… but to no avail. It’s a funny idea, but the delivery truly begs for more production. However, the gory finale is good. I quite loved the split-down-the-middle exploding head. Least entertaining of the anthology was Baron Vaughn’s (Mystery Science Theater 3000) So Much to Do, which features a terrible possession fight over a remote control. Not as funny as it desires and no good gore.

A man attends a support group for men who feel neutered in their relationships in writer/director Noah Segan’s (Deadgirl, Cabin Fever 2, Starry Eyes) segment M.I.S.T.E.R.. They complain about womansplaining and our protagonists ends up facing a pack of werewolves. The special effects are weak, but the tone vibes well with things like Chillerama (2011).

Closing out the wraparound story, Aaron B. Koontz’ (Camera Obscure, The Pale Door) Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium, Horror Hypothesis finds his victims waking up in a horror experiment facility. Victims are killed and cut in half with a treadmill (yes, the treadmill is the sundering implement), someone has his arm broken and ripped off and he is then stabbed with the bone shard of the severed limb, a punch through a skull (always a pleaser), lots of intestines, a body is split in half from the crotch, and they even pull a positively zany Final Chapter Tommy Jarvis haircut fakeout. Some really great death scenes in this one and there’s a cameo by Joe Bob Briggs as himself. The budget advertises itself with every blood spurt. But it succeeds at being deliberately funny in the execution and timing of the gore.

This is every bit as much a mixed bag as most horror anthologies. However, the adherence to the playful meta-movie theme really works well as its better qualities (and better segments) make the overall experience much more enjoyable than I expected and a worthy recommendation!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Geoff Arbuckle permalink
    October 20, 2020 1:32 pm

    I liked this movie quite a bit when Joe Bob had it on this past season of Last Drive-In. You’re right, it’s a mixed bag, but when it’s good, it’s very good.

    • John Leavengood permalink
      October 20, 2020 1:34 pm

      Yeah. And really on the greats among anthologies have good segments across the board. Creepshow 1-2, Tales from the Darkside

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