Film Reviews:

Twisted Tales

(Rita Klus, Kevin J. Lindenmuth and Mick McCleery, US, 1994)

Anthology horror films will always find a warm welcome at the DSO HQ. Twisted Tales is a shot-on-video/straight-to-video release from that master of the modern American low-budget horror flick Kevin J. Lindenmuth. Here he shares the directing job with Mick McCleery who normally acts (poorly) in Lindenmuth's productions and Rita Klus who directs the first of three stories - "Nothing but the Truth". It stars one Freddie Ganno as a compulsive liar who looks like a cross between a young John Travolta and Jerry Seinfield. The second story ("The Shooting" directed by Mick McCleery) is well-acted given the usual restrictions of such low-budget productions. Most importantly, for this type of 'sting in the tale' or surprise ending approach, the plot keeps you guessing all along, you've no idea which direction it will go in and as a result the conclusion is unexpected and satisfying. On this evidence, perhaps McCleery should stick to working behind the camera.

The final story, "Hungry Like A... Bat?" is about a guy who is one-third man, one-third vampire and one-third werewolf! Fortunately, it features some good humour (it's the only one that does) but suffers from a loose structure and wandering plot. Indicative of the lack of budget, Hungry... seems to have been filmed in the same apartment as the first story, whilst all three directors appear in bit part roles at one point or another. There are some funny out-takes at the end and a mini (ten minute) documentary featuring routine interviews with the directors. Twisted Tales is a nice idea but suffers from the weak entries outweighing the good one and some feeble plotting and rushed production (even by low-budget standards). No amount of enthusiasm can overcome these flaws.

Rob Dyer

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