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Video Shop

An ode to low-budget VHS horror, “Video Shop: Tales of Terror” is a satisfying anthology film with a great concept and a killer horror host.

People of a certain age remember the days of video rental with rose-tinted glasses. It was a wonderful time when you could spend hours perusing the shelves of your local video shop, looking for that one special cover to jump out at you, and the discoveries you would make would stay with you and shape your watching habits for the rest of your life!

Video Shop: Tales of Terror is a film that endeavors to take the audience back to this time by introducing us to the Video Dungeon, a sinister video shop with dark secrets!

During a new employee’s first day at the Video Dungeon, six delightful shorts are shown, each one showcased as a video on the shelves of the shop. As well as the anthology wrap-around story of the Video Dungeon, Video Shop: Tales of Terror also boasts its own horror host in UK indie horror favorite Dani Thompson. Thompson channels her inner Elvira to make corny jokes and puns that fans of horror hosts will absolutely adore.

As well as being a horror host, Dani features in most of the segments, some of the fake trailers that are peppered throughout the film, and the wrap-around story. This really does go to show that Thompson is one of the UK’s leading scream queens at the moment and will go down in history with the likes of Emily Booth.

The first segment is Egghead from Mycho Entertainment.

This short sets the scene with a sinister back street cosmetic surgery practice. There are all the things here that Mycho fans will be expecting: the humor, the unique visual style, and the inventive kills.

Egghead is a self-contained slasher film in short form. It would be easy to see this villain in his own feature!

The second segment is Red Lipped Moon from Trash Arts. This one completely changes the comedy tone that has been present so far and delivers an artsy, brooding vampire noir in black and white.

The style is striking and married perfectly with an outstanding score. The tonal shift is welcomed as this is a great piece to immerse in.

The third part is Fleurs Du Mal from Ciao Handy. This is the second segment to feature one of my favorite actors on the UK indie scene, the brilliant Eve Oliver. Fleurs Du Mal is stylistically like the old gothic Hammer films, and with its setting of a 19th-century nunnery, it really nails it.

The story is of a woman who has been committed at the nunnery under the watchful eye of the convent Sister. She was committed because she had delusions of being from a different time and kept talking about a strange thing called a videotape.

This is a really entertaining segment that I feel could be developed to realize the premise in much more detail.

Fourth up is the Evil Dead homage, Mary Whitehouse You’re a Cunt.

This segment is by Alex Churchyard and is the most comedic piece in the anthology. It delivers on the gore and the laughs in equal measure. If you’ve had the pleasure of watching Pandamonium from Mycho and My Bloody Banjo by Liam Regan, you’ll know that James Hamer-Morton has brilliant comedic timing. He uses it to full effect in this marvelous short.

The fifth segment is These Burnt Children from Carnie films.

This segment is a tongue-in-cheek look at the life of a failed, tortured artist. He strives to make the perfect movie and keep his artistic integrity but blames his failings on a dodgy producer that screwed him over and took his girl. When he gets inspiration from an unlikely source, things get bloody!

The closing piece in the anthology is Vergessen from Fausti films.

This is a fundamental change in tone for the final segment. Vergessen is a Nazi-sploitation wartime espionage piece with a stylish grindhouse feel. Not nearly as bloody and not at all comedic, this one immerses you in the world with the use of music.

It may feel like a slightly odd way to close out the anthology, but for fans of this type of exploitation cinema, it should really hit the mark.

With the shorts completed, the wrap-around story comes to a wonderfully inventive close, where we are again met with our horror host to bid us farewell. I’ve tried not to give too much away, but have hopefully said enough to get you intrigued.

If anthology horror is your thing, and you like the lower-budget world, then Video Shop: Tales of Terror is not to be missed! It premieres at Horror on Sea Festival on January 21st.

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