Allow me to preface this to point out that I have nothing but the utmost respect for filmmakers. All of them. Getting a movie made… while it doesn’t necessarily take talent… does takes something often more important than talent and that’s hard work, dedication, and a blind ear to those telling you shouldn’t be doing this. Talent helps too, but talent is random and rare and often suppressed. We mention this because we have nothing but love and respect the filmmakers who have contributed to this anthology of horror films titled ‘George A. Romero presents: Dead Time Stories’ and despite the fact that all three of these movies that make up this anthology are terrible to varying degrees of terribleness, I’m still with you brothers. Keep shooting.
The legendary George A. Romero will narrate for us in a style that can best be described as ‘uninspiring’, introing and outroing these three stories.
The first story is ‘The Gorge’, or ‘The Descent’ meets ‘Alive’. Three friends decide to do some cave diving when an earthquake or something hits and they go a tumbling down the hole with no way out. One of them has a crushed leg, so it’s not looking good for him, but as the Spam and stuff starts running out, this dude is looking less like a friend and more like a tasty side dish. Can the other two retain their humanity?
Poor lighting, production values that seem lower than average and subpar acting are the main enemies of ‘The Gorge’. I know they’re in a cave and all and there probably isn’t much to see anyway, but where the desired effect was probably an ominous darkness, I just got darkness out of it. The story dragged a little, probably made so because our characters weren’t able to sell us on the fact that these were authentic words that were actually coming out of their mouths, so I didn’t care too much that they were eating Chuck, or whatever his name was. Personally in that situation I would’ve took some of those candles and cooked him up a little though. Raw Chuck is never very tasty. ‘The Gorge’ wasn’t completely unwatchable, but it was lackluster.
‘On Sabbath Hill’ features an ambitious, asshole married professor engaged in a sexual affair with one of his hotter students, until she alerts him that she’s pregnant. Since he’s an asshole he’s not all that sympathetic which leads to this student blowing a hole through her head in class, though she still lives on… in the assholes brain!
To me at least, On Sabbath Hill was more refined than ‘The Gorge’ but less entertaining. It’s a shame because it had a legitimate hottie, some legitimate gore and a storyline that has plenty of tread on it, but at least it’s tried and true. The main problem I had with this one is that it truly dragged on way too long, having me longing for the drag that was ‘The Gorge’ to the point I nodded off on it and had to pick it up the next day. It didn’t help that our asshole professor, while seemingly well versed in the field biographical history, was far too bland too hold an audiences interest, and the story was paced way too slow. ‘On Sabbath Hill’ was the longest and weakest of the three stories.
Finally we have ‘Dust’, a story about a heartbroken security guard caring for his terminally ill wife, until a scientist at the facility he guards shows him a breakthrough. Dust from Mars, thought to be inert, but when activated just the right way is shown to have amazing healing powers. So this cat sneaks some out, gives it to his lady and not only does it cure her but it makes her crazy horny. Unfortunately the effects are only temporary which requires my man to steal more fairy dust, do some violent stuff to get the fairy dust, and damn if the fairy dust doesn’t have some seriously undesirable side effects. Life as we know it could very well be over.
Probably the best of the three stories, ‘Dust’ improves slightly on the problems that plagued the other two. The acting performances are a little better, the production values still seem uncomfortably low, but they are also a little better, and the pace is more consistent. It’s a slow pace but it’s a consistent pace. Mars fairy dust is a pretty wacky launching point for a horror short story but it is interesting enough, and handled well enough to hold ones interest for the most part. Again, the same problems are still there, they’re just less pronounced with this episode for whatever reason.
True enough, ‘Deadtime Stories’ wasn’t all that good… I think this was volume 2, I can’t be completely sure, but we do appreciate the effort that went into getting them made. Except from George A. Romero. Since the bulk of the meager budget was probably spent getting George to narrate for two minutes and put his name on top of the title, a little more effort maybe? Perhaps get out of the Barcolounger and direct one of these things. Just throwing it out there George.