A brand new anthology film hosted by a stunning and quirky horror vixen. Were the three short films enough to keep the film afloat or is this picture dead on arrival?
The Penny Dreadful Picture Show is written and directed by Nick Everhart – Slash-In-The-Box, Leigh Scott – The Morning After, and Eliza Swenson – The Slaughter House. Featured appearances include Eliza Swenson (The Beast of Bray Road), Craig Blair (“Pokemon”), Theodore Bouloukos, Jeffrey Combs (Trancers II), Sid Haig (The Devil’s Rejects), Josh Hammond (Jeepers Creepers II), Alexis Iacono (The Black Dahlia Haunting), Devanny Pinn (15 Til Mdnight), and Al Snow (“WWF”).
In The Penny Dreadful Picture Show a dollish lunatic, Penny Dreadful, is excited about her dates for the evening and desperate in her quest for true love. She is accompanied in this journey by her two minions, a zombie bell hop and a flying monkey/wolfman type, all set inside an abandoned, run down movie theater. The theater is filled with creepy dolls and each date is forced to watch a new, horrific short film. Their tastes in horror movies and their reactions to Penny Dreadful will decide their fate.
If I had to place the short films in order from my favorite to least favorite, it would have to go like this: The Penny Dreadful interludes, Slash-In-The-Box, The Slaughter House, and Morning After. While it was by far my least favorite addition, Morning After was still a solid, well produced film with great acting performances. It just…wasn’t my thing. The Slaughter House was reminescent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake, but was full of ups and downs. Slash-In-The-Box should have been longer, if only to satisfy my interests; and The Penny Dreadful interludes should be continued and the character should have her own movie devoted souly to her. I think the emerging hostess is that strong that she could carry a few films by herself.
Another interesting aspect of The Penny Dreadful Picture Show is that it feels like a walk through horror film history. I can see specific decades assigned to each film – Penny Dreadful as the 20s/30s, Slash-In-The-Box as the 2010s, The Slaughter House as the 2000s, and Morning After as the 70s/80s. It’s an interesting concept – if this even was their goal in the first place – and it went over smoothly. If anything, it kept the movie fresh and interesting by having different styles of story showcased. I can also applaud the movie for having shorts with building storylines instead of in your face “we only have 15 minutes to make a killing!” blood and gore.
Besides Morning After failing to hold my attention, there really isn’t anything I can complain about here. This was a very enjoyable anthology film. Do I think it can compete with the other compilation films that are hogging all the spot light? I don’t think so, at least not yet. Luckily, The Penny Dreadful Picture Show is fronted by a beautiful and entertaining face, a new horror hostess capable of captivating an audience. That is by far the strongest trait of this movie. For that reason alone I can rate this film a 7 out of 10. Strong effort, good storylines, original host. Check it out if you get the chance.