Having sat through a festival screening of THE THEATRE BIZARRE, the bafflingly overhyped, arse-numbingly dull horror anthology film, I can honestly say W2 Media will not be getting my money for their newly announced sequel.
Still awaiting any kind of release date in the UK, THE THEATRE BIZARRE is constructed of 6 short films from various International filmmakers, tenuously held together with a framing "story" featuring genre legend Udo Kier.
And he's not the only talent wasted on this...
* HARDWARE and DUST DEVIL director Richard Stanley apparently never recovered from his miserable time getting Marlon Brando to remove the ice bucket from his head on the set of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU - his segment, THE MOTHER OF TOADS is an unintentionally hilarious tale of two travellers crossing paths with a seductive witch, and shows zero evidence of his earlier directorial/screenwriting flare.
* Tom Savini directs and co-stars in WET DREAMS, one of the more entertaining entries, but the low production values and performances scupper your enjoyment. This would arguably have been great as an episode of TALES FROM THE CRYPT back in the day, but here it resembles nothing more than an amateur student film. C-, tops.
* Karim Hussain worked as cinematographer on the awesome HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, but is marred by a ludicrous story (and not in a good way) in VISION STAINS. The sole purpose of this entry seems to be to induce a lot of wincing from the audience as we get to see a needle penetrating an eyeball in graphic close up. Effective, sure. But you know what they say, once you've seen one eyeball violated you've seen them all, and after the third time you soon see the story for what it is. Idiotic.
The only segment of any discerning quality is THE ACCIDENT. A sombre examination of a young girl struggling with the concept of death for the first time, that, while avoiding the trappings of its filmic bedfellows (the writing, acting, direction and cinematography are all top notch, despite budgetary constraints) it simply has no place in an anthology of this kind. It's a crying shame director Douglas Buck couldn't just showcase this solo on the short film festival circuit.
Still, the marketing peeps have crafted some pretty cool promo art for the film, which will go along way to ensure the DVD winds up on many a horror film fan's shelf, so props there:
Could a sequel shake things up and deliver a rival to such anthology classics as CREEPSHOW, THE TWILIGHT ZONE MOVIE, or TRICK R' TREAT? With the spectacular misfires on display here, it seems highly unlikely.
All in all, consider yourself warned come January when THE THEATRE BIZARRSE opens Stateside. As for the sequel, W2 Media are threatening to have it ready for early 2013. Can't wait.
Have you seen THE THEATRE BIZARRE? Would you be up for a sequel? Am I being too harsh on it? Feel free to give me grief in the Comments below or on Twitter @Starburst_Mag