Video Shop Tales Of Terror brings together some of Britain’s most interesting independent filmmakers. The likes of MJ Dixon, Sam Mason-Bell, and Pat Higgins are just some of the filmmaking horror favorites who contributed to this horror anthology. But do their efforts allow this film to stand out from the pack, or is it just another horror anthology in a sea of horror anthologies?
After a couple of fake trailers (Don’t Sit On His Face is pure genius), the film proper begins in Video Dungeon. The rental place is dingily lit and caters to a specific clientele. On this particular night, The Proprietor (an unrecognizable Martin W. Payne) takes on a new employee, Clara (Hannah Paterson), while awaiting the arrival of a beloved actress for a signing at the store.
From here, the film takes audiences through the weird titles for rent, starting with MJ Dixon’s Egghead. Eggbert (Rami Hilmi) is one of the best plastic surgeons in the country, possibly the world. But he’s being hounded by sexual harassment claims and begs his friend/colleague to give him a new face. Well, things don’t go to plan.
This is a splendid way to kick off the segments within Video Shop Tales Of Terror. Egghead deals in some goofy but funny puns, terrific make-up effects, and a lot of blood. Thanks to some stylish lighting and good performances, this is one of the best stories here.
“…The Proprietor takes on a new employee…while awaiting the arrival of a beloved actress…”
The Red Lipped Moon follows that up. Written by Chris Mills and director Sam Mason-Bell, this noir vampire tale is the most visually striking of the bunch. Karl (Mills) is determined to discover the lady (Annabella Rich) who murdered his friend. The journey is as hallucinatory as it is perilous.
Mills and Rich are tons of fun, and the screenplay has a darkly humorous streak. But, as previously stated, The Red Lipped Moon is unequivocally the best-looking entry of the lot. Mason-Bell served as director of photography, and every frame is beautiful to behold.
The next entry of Video Shop Tales Of Terror is titled Fleurs du Mal, directed by Andrew Elias. In 1894, Rose (Dani Thompson, who shows up in almost every segment, if just briefly) is put in the care of a strict order of nuns due to her claims of being a time traveler. In order to get back to her time, she needs to retrieve her videotape — a word and object utterly foreign to everyone she encounters in the past.
Sadly, Fleurs du Mal is tediously dull. It may be the brief runtime that rules out proper characterizations. Perhaps the lack of context or explanation is the problem. But, no matter what it is, this is not an engaging or thrilling segment. There’s a twist that should be more compelling, but the lack of substance to these people renders all their actions moot and uninspired.
"…brings together some of Britain's most interesting independent filmmakers."