Tuesday, April 24, 2012

DVD Review: SCARLET FRY'S JUNKFOOD HORRORFEST (2011)

SCARLET FRY'S JUNKFOOD HORRORFEST (2011)

Label: Chemical Burn Entertainment
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 75 mins
Director: Brian Crow, Walter Ruether
Cast: Calico Cooper, Cara Moody , Werner

Synopsis: Scarlet Fry takes you on the thrill of your life with: Blood Thirsty Cannibals, Satanic Zombies, Demented Nurses, Junkie Serial Killers, Freaky Perverts and More! This Blood Drenched Deluxe Horrorfest isn’t for the weak at heart. A drug dealer has made his last deal after he decides to hand a junkie serial killer (Calico Cooper) some bad junk. This junk is, in fact, a video tape entitled "Junkfood Horrorfest." This horror anthology, hosted by Scarlet Fry, features six twisted tales that kick off when the junkie and her new found friend decide to watch the tape. Little does her friend know how much trouble he’s in for. Get ready for a blood drenched, deluxe horrorfest that isn’t for the weak at heart. Twisted tales that will turn your stomach and send you crying for Mommy!      

My love of the horror anthology began with classic Sunday monster movie matinee showings of the Amicus horror anthologies Tales from the Crypt (1972) and The Vault of Horror (1973) on TV - these creepy documents of 70's macabre were hosted by mysterious figures and their chill and inherent camp kept me rapt as a 10 year old boy. The format continued to entertain me through the 80's and 90's with horror collections like the Creepshow (1982), Cat's Eye (1985) and Tales from the Darkside (1990) which was based on  the beloved by me long running TV series. The omnibus format dried up a bit in the nineties but the new millennium brought with it quite a few tasty fright collections including the Korean export Three... Extremes (2004) and the new Halloween classic Trick R. Treat (2009).  We were also treated to less polished indie features like Drive-In Horrorshow (2009) and Slices of Life (2010) which while lo-fi were ripe with idea, wit and gore. Then just last year Camp Motion Pictures resurrected the "lost" Super 8mm anthology film The Basement (1989), a rough and amateurishly assembled throwback to the Amicus films of the 70's featuring some great gore and a passion for the macabre. There can be little doubt that the anthology is back so lets see how this stacks up.

The anthology film in question tonight is Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest (2011) from Chemical Burn Entertainment hosted by Scarlet Fry (Walter Ruether). It opens with a pre-credit sequence of a woman itching for a fix of heroin which she attempts to score from a  dealer who's strung out himself next to a dumpster in an alleyway. The junkie-dealer stiffs her with VHS cassette stuffed inside a paper bag. Not the black tar she was craving she returns with a tire iron in hand and beats him to a bloody pulp. Role opening credits and we're then introduced to our host Scarlet Fry, a rather poorly conceived horror host of sorts who goes on to introduce the six shorts that comprise the film and right from the start the dialogue is pretty bad. It's not witty or clever  in that lovable Cryptkeeper sorta way just eye-rolling awful.

The six shorts aren't so much stories as half-developed ideas that aren't fleshed out or developed in even a shallow way. We begin with The Blood-Thirsty Butcher wherein an obese man living in an apartment complex finds his fridge empty and just sorta resorts to cannibalism without explanation. In The Solution we meet a nurse who wishes to to end her employment with a wheelchair-bound invalid with the help of a sniper. Griptape Spank features a group of skater-stoners who frequent a creepy perv in a parking garage to earn extra bucks with splattery consequences. Wasted Life quite simply documents the suicide of a man who's decided he wants to shuffle off this mortal coil sooner than later and in The Devil Made Me Do It a man is murdered during a Satanic ritual but returns a zombie to seek revenge against his killer. The final short Love is Blind is the best of the shabby bunch featuring a young woman who's just discovered she's with child and when she breaks the news to her less than enthused boyfriend. Tired of his douchebaggery she really tears into him. It's not great but when leveled against the rest of the shorts it's not bad and features some decent low-budget gore including a gruesome eyeball extraction.

The DVD comes with a few special features including one of Scarley Fry's earlier anthologies Horrorama (1990) which I liked even less and Scarlet Fry's horror host presentation of the seminal cult classic Carnival of Souls (1962) which is a fantastically eerie film that influenced George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968) and is well worth a watch.  

Special Features:
- Scarlet Fry's Horrorama
- Scarlet Fry's presentation of Carnival of Souls

Verdict: I just didn't care much for Scarlet Fry's Junkfood Horrorfest. It's an amateurish anthology entry. I can tolerate no-budget filmmaking but these shorts that were barely stories - more a collection of uninspired half-formed ideas. Not helping is the rather uninteresting host/framing device. It's really hard to recommend this when you could watch far superior indie anthologies like Drive-In Horrorshow or Slices of Life or any of the films mentioned anywhere else in this review. Skip it. 1.5 outta 5

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