Horror anthologies were made popular with Creepshow and modernized and twisted with Chillerama, now, from the twisted minds that brought us films such as Death By VHS, Nightmare Alley and Junk Food Horror Fest, there is Scream Machine. Writer/Producer/Director Walter Ruether III teams up with filmmaker Paul C. Hemmes to bring 5 new chilling tales of madness.
Scream Machine is kicked off with a great introduction from Troma Films‘ Lloyd Kaufman. After Kaufman’s introduction, we are introduced to two new horror hosts for the rest of the show, Dr. Fry (Walter Ruether III) and his assistant Dr. “Head”ley Graves (Paul C. Hemmes). Dr. Fry and Dr. Graves are the only two survivors after an Ebola plague has wiped all of humanity out and the only remaining form of entertainment is Scream Machine. The stories of this anthology include Sledgehammer, Cannibal Pen Pals, April Fool’s Party, Septic Shock and Deadly Indie Drive-In. I am going to review them individually in the order in which they appear in the anthology.
This story was a lot like a short film from Troma. The acting and effects were a bit corny and over-the-top which gave it a real 80’s B movie feel. I found Sledgehammer kind of humorous and not just for the dirty jokes, the death scenes were quite entertaining and there is a scene with a dog at the end that will for sure get a little bit of a chuckle from you.
Cannibal Pen Pals
“The Dahmer Obsession”
This was the most disturbing of the 5 stories. Cannibal Pen Pals takes place in 1993 and chronicles the obsession one man has for notorious cannibalistic serial killer, Jeffrey Dahmer and what could be interpreted as a pen pal love affair with him during his incarceration. If you are offended by rape, necrophelia, foul language and sexual situations, you may want to skip this segment. It is twisted and perverted. What makes this tale so much more disturbing is the fact that things like this do happen. Despite its intense graphic and disturbed nature, Cannibal Pen Pals was in my top 2 favorites from this anthology.
April Fool’s Party
This was my least favorite segment. I wouldn’t really classify this as horror but more of a drug-fueled, more twisted version of Weekend At Bernie’s. I didn’t hate it, but in my opinion, it didn’t quite fit with the rest of the anthology.
This was my favorite story. The best way to describe it is psychological thriller meets the corny gore of the 80’s. The setting was very dark, adding to the overall spooky feel of the segment. I gave Septic Shock bonus points for the random tortoise crawling around munching on celery for a bit of comedic relief. Bravo.
Deadly Indie Drive-In
There was a bit of a nod to 80’s slasher films in Deadly Indie Drive-In. This segment is also a revenge tale of sorts. The feel of the story combined with the dark lighting with moments of acid trip-like colors, I got a bit of a Rob Zombie vibe from it.
If you are into extremely messed up stories accompanied by foul language, necrophilia, murder, gore, revenge, drug use and loads of darkness, Scream Machine is the anthology for you.
Overall, I really enjoyed Scream Machine. It is unique and twisted, the way a horror anthology should be.