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Review: “Minutes Past Midnight” (2016)

A buffet of delectably decadent horror helpings

Hello there fellow horror hounds, it’s Thakgore and today I bring you a review of the anthology film “Minutes Past Midnight”. After being pleasantly surprised by their recent release “Galaxy of Horrors” (review) I wanted to check out more of what the people at Little Terrors had up their sleeves. Boy, am I glad I did. As always since this is an anthology film I’ll be breaking down each segment and giving it an individual rating as well as giving the entire film a rating at the end. So let’s all pretend like it’s college and stay up late because it’s just….

Never Tear Us Apart (dir. Sid Zanforlin)

Two friends go to meet the estranged grandparents of one of them for the very first time. What appears at first to be an idyllic meeting turns quickly to terror.

“Never Tear Us Apart” is certainly an interesting way to kick things off. Visceral and immediate is the violence in this one with some pretty amazing effects work and a kill that instantly went into my own personal hall of fame. Very strong opening act that is only hampered by being a tad too short. 4 out of 5

Awake (dir. Francisco Sonic Kim)

The story of two harried parents trying to take care of a child who can’t sleep. Will he find peace or will the supernatural forces keeping him awake get the better of them all?

I found this entry merely okay. While I can appreciate what the filmmakers were trying to do I felt that the story was too disjointed for me to enjoy completely. Praise should be given, however, to the young boy who plays the lead. He was very creepy and elevated the material. 3 out of 5

Crazy for You (dir. James Moran)

A serial killer falls hard for a woman and wants to change his evil ways. Can he manage to stop killing for the woman he loves or will his unhealthy fear of polka dots win the day?

A playful film that feels very much like horror by way of Wes Anderson or Bryan Fuller. A quirky tale of love and death that packs a truckload of charm into its short run time. The cinematography is top notch and I loved the sweetly macabre ending. Fantastically odd. 4 out of 5

The Mill at Calder’s End (dir. Kevin McTurk)

In the wake of his father’s disappearance a man returns to his ancestral home to confront the curse that has plagued his family for generations.

This film is spectacular and just the kind of hidden gem I go into every anthology film hoping to find. Made with a mix of puppetry, live action and what even looks to be a bit of stop motion, “The Mill at Calder’s End” is just the kind of old-fashioned, gothic tale I grew up adoring. Reminding one of the stories of M.R. James or H.P. Lovecraft this short film is something to behold. What director Kevin McTurk managed to pull off with this one is nothing less than amazing and I take my hat off to him. Very well made short that stuck with me long after it was over. 5 out of 5

Roid Rage (dir. Ryan Lightbourn)

A man, stricken with a killer roid problem seeks answers from and violent vengeance on those responsible for his horrifying condition.

This one is insane. There’s no other way around it. All at once gross, crude, cheesy and hilarious, “Roid Rage” would feel right at home in the Astron-6 catalog. I mean, where else will you see a positively disgusting proctologist appointment and a multiman shootout all in the same movie? There is a preview for an imaginary film based on the short at the end and I hope someone at Troma sees it because I want that film to be made. Bad. 5 out of 5

Feeder (dir. Christian Rivers)

A struggling musician moves into a run down apartment block in order to focus on his art and meet an upcoming deadline. When inspiration refuses to strike he discovers a much darker way to achieve his goals.

While I did see a much more interesting take on this very subject earlier this year with the film “Deep Dark” I still rather enjoyed this one. The effects are surprisingly good and the performances were believable. I particularly enjoyed the bluesy soundtrack. While it doesn’t break any new ground this is a solid effort. 3 out of 5

Timothy (dir. Marc Martínez Jordán)

A young boy and his babysitter are set upon by a sledgehammer wielding madman in a bunny costume.

The only foreign language film of the collection, “Timothy” is really, really good. The level of craftsmanship at play here is truly breathtaking. From the lighting to the creepy little voice that Timothy has I found my skin crawling all over multiple times. I was more than impressed by this one. 5 out of 5

Ghost Train (dir. Lee Cronin)

Two men return to the place where, many years ago, their friend went missing inside a haunted house ride.

A tale of guilt and regret, “Ghost Train” has some pretty impressive things going for it. The cinematography is well done and the giant “Death” that sits atop the ride makes for a striking visual. The story, however, isn’t quite as fleshed out as it needs to be. I found myself bored from the start to the underwhelming end and that isn’t something that should happen in a film that is under fifteen minutes. 2 out of 5

Horrific (dir. Robert Boocheck)

A man just trying to enjoy an evening in his run down trailer soon finds himself at war with a mythological creature.

Talk about going out with a bang. The last short of the collection, “Horrific”, is yet another film with a strong comedic tone. From boiling Twinkies to eat to playing “whack-a-mole” with a sledgehammer and a stove this one made me laugh out loud more than once. The comedic timing is nearly perfect and I really loved the ending. A fine finale to be sure. 5 out of 5

At the end of the day I have to say I was extremely impressed by “Minutes Past Midnight”. I had an incredible time with it and I think you will too. I can’t say enough about how great “The Mill at Calder’s End” was or how awesomely creeped out I was by “Timothy”. Any film that can have me thinking and talking about it for days afterward is something special. See this one as soon as you can. 5 out of 5

“Minutes Past Midnight” is available for streaming at Amazon Video, VOD and also on Special Edition Blu-ray and DVD.

Written by Thakgore

Horror fan since childhood. Also, a stay at home Dad, layabout and general rapscallion. Purveyor of all things diabolical, devious and dire as well as loquacious lover of ludicrous alliteration and bold balladeer of bellicose buffoonery. Master of the run-on sentence.