Title: The Theatre Bizarre
Director: Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo
Screenwriters: Zach Chassler, Richard Stanley
Starring: Udo Kier, Virginia Newcomb, Amanda Marquardt
Screened at the 2011 Fantasia Film Festival
I approach anthologies with caution, but The Theatre Bizarre is genuinely delightful, bringing together six well-known figures in independent horror (Richard Stanley, Buddy Giovinazzo, Tom Savini, Douglas Buck, Karim Hussein, and David Gregory) to make anything they wanted, within a certain length (15 minutes or so) and a certain budget (uncertain, but pretty low). The lack of a subject matter restriction and the caliber of talent involve mean that this is more than just a series of clever concepts — all six films are compelling original visions, and all are at least entertaining, though the quality does vary. One of them is incoherent (Savini’s), one doesn’t really go anywhere (Giovinazzo’s), one is good old-fashioned monster movie fun (Stanley’s, pictured above), one is hilarious (Gregory’s), one is disturbing (Hussein’s), and one — Douglas Buck’s “The Accident” — is sad, evocative, completely unexpected, and kind of brilliant. The shorts are tied together by a creepy and inexplicable wraparound sequence starring Udo Kier. Horror buffs should seek this out.
— Eugene Novikov