Film Review: Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories (dir by Nathan Thomas Milliner, P.J. Starks, James Treakle, Sean Blevins, John William Holt, Jon Maynard, and Justin M. Seaman)


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You may remember that, last year, I raved about an independent horror film called Volumes of Blood!  Did you take my advice and track it down?  DID YOU!?  It’s available on Amazon and, if you haven’t seen it yet, you’re running behind because the sequel has just been released.

Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories opens with the following warning:

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That warning pretty much tells you everything that you need to know.  Full of clever references and call backs to previous horror films, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories was made by people who love horror and it will be best appreciated by other horror lovers.  Like the first film, it earns the title Volumes of Blood because the blood never stops flowing.

Like the first film, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is an anthology film, telling 8 different but inter-connected stories of gore and horror.  Things start off with a nicely done little slasher parody called Murder Death Killer.  Directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner, Murder Death Killer deals with three small-time crooks who make the mistake of visiting a junkyard that’s haunted by the vengeful spirit of Atticus Crow.  Murder Death Killer is nicely directed, with Milliner exploiting that junkyard for every ounce of ominous atmosphere that it has.  One of the crooks, Mr. Dawson, is played by Thomas Dunbar, an actor who gives off a welcome Sid Haig vibe.

Murder Death Killer is followed by Haters, which is directed by the film’s producer, P.J. Starks.  Haters deals with two horror fans who, after watching a remake of Murder Death Killer (one that we’re told stars Vin Diesel and Eric Roberts), make the mistake of pissing off the wrong usher.  Haters features many references to my favorite part of the first Volumes of Blood, a fictional movie called The Dewey Deathimal System.

The atmospheric and gory Trick or Treat (directed by Sean Blevins) picks up directly where the first Volumes of Blood ended, with the town of Owensboro, Kentucky coming to terms with the massacre at the local library and the first film’s mysterious murderer continuing to seek fresh victims.  You’ll never look at candy corn the same way again.

Trick or Treat leads directly to Killer House (directed by James Treakle).  A mysterious realtor (played by Christopher Bower) leads a couple on a tour through a mysterious house.  The realtor is quite insistent on visiting the cellar but the couple wants to see the upstairs first.  However, regardless of where the tour leads, each room triggers a different story.  The highlight of Killer House is the wonderfully creepy performance of Christopher Bower.

Feeding Time (directed by John William Holt) is a nicely done little film about an insurance salesman who is desperate to make a sell on the day before Thanksgiving.  The house that he visits doesn’t appear to be occupied by anyone other than a mysterious teenage girl (Shelby Taylor Mullins, giving a memorably off-key performance) who swear that there’s a monster in her closet.

In Blood Bath (directed by Jon Maynard), a man fears that his bathtub may have eaten both his wife and his best friend.  Is the bathtub truly possessed or is the man just suffering the side effects from having forgotten to take his medicine?  Blood Bath will keep you guessing.

Fear, For Sinners Here (directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner) was my personal favorite of all the stories in Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories.  On Christmas Eve, Carol (Jessica Schroeder) sits in her living room and she wraps presents while melancholy Christmas music plays on a record player.  Carol is wrapping toys for someone name “Joey.”  She’s sad, sometimes crying and sometimes growing angry.  I don’t want to spoil too much of this story, beyond saying that it’s superbly done.  It starts as a poignant look at holiday depression but then there’s a twist and then another.  Jessica Schroeder gives a great performance.

And finally, Death Day Party (directed by Justin M. Seaman) follows a seemingly sweet elderly couple as they celebrate a birthday in a definitely less than sweet way.  Full of rude humor, Death Day Party will appeal to those with an appreciation for the morbid and macabre.

Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories ends with a dedication to Wes Craven, Angus Scrimm, Gunnar Hansen, and Herschell Gordon Lewis.  It’s an appropriate dedication because Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is a film made by people who love horror for viewers who love horror.  Mixing humor with gore, Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is a fun celebration of the macabre.

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