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John’s Horror Corner: V/H/S/94 (2021), more substance than style, this is a horror anthology for gorehounds.

February 26, 2022

MY CALL:  I’m a major anthology fan and a picky critic. That said, this has nothing inspired or clever, but plenty of gory entertainment within its anthology segments.   

MORE HORROR ANTHOLOGIES: Dead of Night (1945), Black Sabbath (1963), Tales from the Crypt (1972), The Vault of Horror (1973), The Uncanny (1977), Screams of a Winter Night (1979), Creepshow (1982), Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), Stephen King’s Cat’s Eye (1985), Deadtime Stories (1986), Creepshow 2 (1987), From a Whisper to a Scream (1987; aka The Offspring), After Midnight (1989), Tales from the Crypt Season 1 (1989), Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (1990), Grimm Prairie Tales (1990), The Willies (1990), Two Evil Eyes (1990), Necronomicon: Book of the Dead (1993), Hellraiser: Bloodline (1996), Campfire Tales (1997), Dark Tales of Japan (2004), 3 Extremes (2004), Creepshow 3 (2006), Trick ‘r Treat (2007), Chillerama (2011), Little Deaths (2011), V/H/S (2012), The Theater Bizarre (2012), The ABCs of Death (2013), V/H/S 2 (2013), All Hallows’ Eve (2013), The Profane Exhibit (2013), The ABCs of Death 2 (2014), V/H/S Viral (2014), Southbound (2015), Tales of Halloween (2015), A Christmas Horror Story (2015), The ABCs of Death 2.5 (2016), Holidays (2016), Terrified (2017; aka Aterrados, a pseudo-anthology), Oats Studios, Vol. 1 (2017), Ghost Stories (2017), XX (2017), All the Creatures Were Stirring (2018), The Field Guide to Evil (2018), Shudder’s series Creepshow (2019-2021), Scare Package (2019), The Mortuary Collection (2019) and Xenophobia (2019).

After three V/H/S horror anthologies in as many years (2012-2014), a fourth installment has finally come about to grace anthology fans. In its wraparound story, a police SWAT team investigates an abandoned warehouse with dead bodies and videotapes depicting horrors. The stories in those tapes are as follows…

Chloe Okuno’s (Slut) Storm Drain explores an urban legend about a “rat man” in the sewers. Despite the humble budget, it conjures fond memories of Digging Up the Marrow (2014) as a reporter (Anna Hopkins; The Expanse) investigates what turns out to be an incredibly gross, disfigured creature. It culminates in a hilarious yet utterly gross projectile acid vomiting which melts a man’s face off in chunky splendor.

Directed and written by Simon Barrett (Séance, V/H/S 2 segment Tape 49), The Empty Wake tests the sanity of a woman (Kyal Legend) overseeing an evening wake in which the family never shows. Over the course of the evening, she is all but certain that the man inside the closed casket is actually alive! This segment takes it’s time and, like its predecessor, comes to a very exciting and gory finale that kinda’ smacks of The Re-Animator (1985).

The Veggie Masher, directed by Steven Kostanski (Psycho Goreman, The Void, Manborg), is just an awkward play on an informercial SlapChop product.

With The Subject, Timo Tjahjanto (May the Devil Take You, The Night Comes for Us) shows us a mad scientist obsessed with combining man and machine… against his subjects’ will. But oh how his subjects shine in the blood of their enemies as they slice soldiers in half and enter battle in FPS videogame POV. The violence is grisly, graphic and very creative! Likewise the robotic surgery victims are gloriously macabre.

The final segment Terror (Ryan Prows; Lowlife) is the weakest of the lot despite its strong ending. A righteous militia keeps a strange prisoner with an interesting secret. I guess it’s got its share of dark humor. But I just didn’t care for its flavor. Eventually brain matter spills out of a head like Chunky Soup. It starts out lame, but boy it really comes around! Gory, chaotic, and funny. I mean, if Rawhead Rex (1986) was infected by a Blade II (2002) vampire biting off faces on a low budget… that’s the monster we eventually see here!

Holy Hell (Jennifer Reeder; Knives and Skin) is our closing/opening/wraparound story in which a SWAT team converges on a warehouse discovering the eyeless bodies of some cult. It’s not very interesting and has nothing to do with its anthology tales.

We have sewer monsters, intestines being dumped to the ground from one’s abdomen, sliced off heads, monstrous vampires and war cyborgs. It’s a simple fun lot. Although I prefer my anthologies to have linked stories (e.g., The Mortuary Collection) or richer stories to tell with clever twists, themes or moral spins (e.g., Terrified, Holidays), this anthology still manages to deliver the goods in the form of raw gory payoffs. I wasn’t impressed by any of the storytelling or ideas, but graphic spilled guts goes a long way in finding my forgiveness and approval. So there’s that.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 27, 2022 1:02 pm

    Sounds like a good one to watch for a good gross-out. Projectile acid vomiting is always cool!

    • John Leavengood permalink
      February 27, 2022 1:12 pm

      Hail, Raatma!

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