Friday, October 4, 2013

Horror Challenge #12: Trapped Ashes

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but I'm a sucker for anthology horror movies.  The re-issues of the classic EC Comics back in the 90s, "Tales from the Crypt" and the like, were my first introduction to horror, and I've always loved them for that.  These stories, while being gruesome and nasty, were also kind of moral in their own twisted way, because the bad guys got punished and those who dabbled in evil learned not to mess with it or it will infect you and probably kill you horribly.  Stories like that, where people get their comeuppance, have always resonated with me because of my love of those early "Tales from the Crypt" stories, and I think this movie was trying to achieve that, but the results were lackluster, and that makes me sad.  I hoped for so much more from this movie.

The wraparound story, the introduction to the characters and such, isn't bad but will be familiar to anyone who's seen this kind of movie before.  A group of people gather in a place and begin telling stories of their lives, where most of the time they did something evil and gross, and one by one they all tell their stories to pass the time until they can get out of wherever they are trapped, but we savvy moviegoers know it's not likely they will escape because this is a horror movie, after all.  The stories each character tells are pretty disgusting, with the first one being a story of an actress who can't get any roles until she gets breast implants, but her vanity comes at a high price.  This story was nasty, and it ends up being ruined by too many attempts at humor.  The second story is of a couple who go to Japan supposedly on vacation, but the husband ignores his wife in favor of business dealings, so she meets an enigmatic man who was some kind of Buddhist Monk from hell, and bad things happen as a result.  This story is a lot of psychedelic imagery and demonic mumbo-jumbo that made my head hurt and it masks what could have been a cool story. 

The third story is about a director who had another director as a close friend and mentor years ago until the guy skipped town, so he shacks up with his friend's girlfriend, and then discovers a terrible secret about her.  This is the weakest of the stories for me.  The "secret" could have been cool,. but the way it was portrayed was no big deal, so I wondered why the guy freaked out about it so much when it could have been a lot worse.  It was just stupid.  The fourth and final story is about a young girl whose mother had a tapeworm growing in her stomach while she was pregnant, and the girl identified with the tapeworm to a creepy extent, and then when her dad leaves her mom and takes her to live with a stepmother she doesn't like, bad things happen.  This was probably the best story of the bunch, though like the others, it could have been better and it took forever to get to the point.  I really wanted to like this movie more, but it just kind of fell flat.  It was ok, but it could have been great with some more work, so I was disappointed.  Bummer.

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