Originally published at Fangoria.com on October 22, 2009
DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW is an anthology of five gore-filled short films consisting of serial killers, monsters, and torture. At an abandoned drive-in theater, The Projectionist is the dark-humored host who serves as the narrator in-between each film showcased.
As the anthology progresses, each short film switches ambiance based on its plot. The first short presented, “Pig,” dives straight into the blood and chills. Harsh and unrelenting in its tone and mood, a college frat boy endures painful torture while he’s trapped in a small, enclosed bathroom.
After being served with a claustrophobic and tense entrance, the anthology offers the following comedic segment, “The Closet.” A 12 year old child wants his irritating family to go away. The neglected child mistakenly believes the demonic creature in his closet will help get rid of his family. He then starts using each of his family members as food for the creature. Just like the FINAL DESTINATION series, I find that too much exposition, knowing the full lineup of the death count, makes it harder to build suspense.
Though the comedic segment stumbles, the film regains momentum with its third entry. Significant praise must be given to the make-up effects. One of the most disturbing and grossest segments in the collection is, “Fall Apart.” After a routine checkup with one of his patients, a doctor develops symptoms of a terrible skin disease. Special make-up artist team: Rob Fitz, Nick Flanagan, and Jeff O’ Brien raise the tension to its peak with the doctor’s body horror meltdown. These horrific moments are punctuated by the solemn performance of actor Larry Jay Tisch, the kind doctor who’s unable to cure himself.
The most entertaining and my favorite in the collection is “The Meat Man.” This short film has twisted and quick-witted fun with storytelling. Two adolescent brothers, played by Trevor Fidler and Jimmy Flynn, trade stories concerning the murderous rampage of a serial killer nicknamed, The Meat Man. As their mind warps around the exploits of the Meat Man, they begin to suspect their father is the serial killer and ask themselves, “How would he do it?” The younger storyteller then describes the events that would lead up to the killer’s next potential victim. The older narrator rejects the idea and then fabricates his side of the tale. Director Michael Neel is quite creative as he cleverly displays a variety of narratives.
The anthology concludes with the exciting and violent short, “The Watcher.” During the night in the woods, a group of friends find themselves being stalked by a ravenous hunter. As soon as the death count starts, television’s own SURVIVOR stars, Jenna Morasca and Ethan Zahn, are on the run through the woods searching for safety. The climax of the chase unfolds with vibrant editing and frenetic camerawork.
The anthology, DRIVE-IN HORRORSHOW, delivers a visual feast of blood splatter and clever storytelling while offering a few laughs. Even on a limited budget, you can tell director Michael Neel and producer Greg Ansin share great enthusiasm for the gore and thrills.