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The Theatre of Terror

USA 2019
produced by
Todd Staruch, Tom Ryan, Diane Hackett, Russell Hackett for Theatre of Terror
directed by Tom Ryan
starring wraparound segment: Tom Ryan, Lauren Rehahan; segment The Gift: Heather Brittain O'Scanlon, Adam Ginsberg, John Zion, Danielle Nicolette Najarian, Edward X. Young, Sanj Surati, Carianna Ryan, Marc Shuley, K.J. Hopkins, Milan Davidek, Keith Armonaitis; segment The BookwormScott Gorbach, Sarah Schoofs, Cienna Rizza, Jennifer Jiles, Amy Cole, Patrick Devaney; segment AbductedRussell Hackett, Patrick Boyer, Bob Cleary, Keith Martire; segment Endangered: Alan Rowe Kelly], Lauren Renahan], [Randy Memoli], [Marc Abbott], [Christopher J. Murphy], [Paugh Shadow], [Tim O'Hearn], [Tommie McGuckin], [Heather Drew], [Joseph Competello], [Patrick Bo, Lauren Renahan, Randy Memoli, Marc Abbott, Christopher J. Murphy, Paugh Shadow, Tim O'Hearn, Tommie McGuckin, Heather Drew, Joseph Competello, Patrick Boyer
written by Tom Ryan,  based on a short story by Russell Hackett (segment The Bookworm), music by Robert Frankenberg, Alfredo Morales, special effects by Michael Anthony Scardillo, Beatrice Sniper

review by
Mike Haberfelner

All Amber (Lauren Renahan) wanted to do was help save a local movietheatre that was about to shut down - but when she tries to volunteer, she learns she's already too late. But the owner, Colin (Tom Ryan), still insists to give her a tour of the place - and show her a quartet of macabre films all somehow linked to the theatre in the process:

  • The Gift: Donna (Heather Brittain O'Scanlon) has truly fallen from grace, having gone from successful businesswoman to streetwalking prostitute in a mere couple of years. But it's only when she tries to get her old life back via black magic that she actually learns how much she has lost ...
  • The Bookworm: Mark (Scott Gorbach) loves books just a little bit too much - so when he manages to buy a library just for his own private use, he doesn't realize the (physical) effect the books can have on him ...
  • Abducted: Backwoods weirdo Ned (Russell Hackett) witnesses an UFO landing and abducting people, and now he prepares, should the UFO ever return - but his plans might not be what anybody would expect ...
  • Endangered: When a pipeline is to be built near a small town in the middle of nowhere, which would open hunting season on the population of the endangered grey wolf, a trio of animal activists (Lauren Renahan, Randy Memoli, Marc Abbott), seeing that nothing else had made authorities change their mind, come up with a plan to make the hunters become the hunted - a plan that horribly backfires. But they are saved by a woman (Alan Rowe Kelly) who really cares about these wolves - though maybe a little too much so ...

The Theatre of Terror is basically a very charming throwback to anthology movies of old as well as TV series like the original Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, films and shows that put storytelling above spectacle and always came up with twists and turns to lead their genre stories to surprise endings while carelessly hopping from sci-fi to fantasy to horror and back again and without spending too much time to explain everything away unnecessarily. And like all these, The Theatre of Terror seems to basically just enjoy a bunch of macabre stories, without falling into the bad habit of post-modern genre reinterpretation, over-Easter egging or self irony where it's not due. Instead, it relies on solid storytelling, carried by a swift directorial effort, special effects that work without drawing too much attention to them and distract from the story, and an ensemble cast truly up to the task. Fun watching for sure!

 

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD