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Review: Jimmy Lee Combs’ Terror Tales (A New Horror Anthology with a Lot of Stars)

Jimmy Lee Combs is back with another feature film, and you may recognize him from 2014’s “what the fuck am I watching” Hans Crippleton Talk to the Hans. While his previous project survived on pure shock value and absurdity, Terror Tales is a horror anthology jam packed with cult actor appearances. In the film, a man (J. Giordano) wakes up to find that he’s riding shotgun with a madman (Christopher Showerman) who claims to have his family trapped and rigged to die. In a combination of The Hitcher and Creepshow, the madman takes his captive on a long road trip all while telling him three grim stories. “Proxy” – follows a famous horror writer after her son’s death, showcasing that not everyone is meant to be a parent. “Radical Video – follows a VHS store in the 80’s and the sledgehammer wielding psycho that threatens its customers and staff. “Epidemic” – follows a nun, an unlikely partner, and the battle to stop a body jumping evil entity who kills its hosts. Terror Tales, shot under Heart and Fire Productions, is written, directed, produced and edited by Jimmy Lee Combs. Look for it on most digital outlets on January 8th 2019 courtesy of High Octane Pictures.

Horror fans are going to flock to this anthology because it’s a star studded old school story. Lynn Lowry (The Crazies), Jonathan Tiersten (Sleepaway Camp) and Yan Birch (People Under the Stairs) star in their particular segments; and they’re joined on screen by Ari Lehman (Friday the 13th), Felissa Rose (Sleepaway Camp), Laurene Landon (Maniac Cop), Jennifer Runyon (Silent Night, Deadly Night 2) and Helene Udy (My Bloody Valentine). Now, I would love to say that Terror Tales is an “Expendables of Horror” deal, a horror over action adventure that’s the best that the genre has to offer. I would love to say “this movie blew my mind,” but I can’t. For me, yes the cast is great, but the overall mood is almost non-existent and the audio could use a lot of work. I almost feel like this was too much of an independent production to showcase these talents, because the somewhat low budget atmosphere subtracted from their appeal. I want to see them shine in all their glory, not shine bright because some of the most important pieces of the puzzle are out of place. Here’s what I did enjoy, though. Kevon Ward and Dennis Vincent killed it on special effects and digital effects. Their work, particularly on the monsters, demons, zombies, etc, were top notch and easily the highlight of the whole movie. I also want to give substantial credit to the set decorators, costumers, and prop departments. Terror Tales takes place in three different time periods, and these crew members put in work to make them represented to perfection.

If I had to rate the three segments, four including the wraparound with the driver and his hostages, I’d probably put them like this. “Radical Video,” “Proxy,” “The Wraparound,” and “Epidemic.” “Radical Video” was the perfect retro throwback and a tribute to the likes of Slumber Party Massacre. Plus, don’t we all just hate weird customers? “Proxy” was great because it was a complicated story with so many plot twists, and don’t we all just love Lynn Lowry? “The Wraparound” isn’t last only because I thought Christopher Showerman is hot, and yes I am that shallow. “Epidemic” comes last only because I don’t think the story got to shine due to it only being a short film. It was the story with the most feature length potential, and Felissa Rose is a fucking horror queen! This may sound well and good, but again, the atmosphere is all over the place and I don’t know if it’s supposed to be serious, hokey, or psychologically damaging. The production was sometimes lacking cohesiveness, like when a child shoots himself in the head and there is no blood splatter, and the audio needed work to not sound so echoey. Special effects were great, though. Since HorrorSociety is a site that champions indie horror flicks, I can’t fail this movie for its indie feel, but I will caution potential buyers that it’s not the best anthology on the catalog. If you think you’re OK with this, then find Terror Tales on digital platforms January 9th 2019 from High Octane Pictures.

Final Score: 6.5 out of 10

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)