Split into seven short stories by seven different directors, Scare Package takes us right back to the days of VHS and creepy video store employees with a mixed bag of horror goodies.
But where a lot of horror anthologies can feel inconsistent, Scare Package ties everything together with one theme (to lovingly mock horror tropes) and neatly wraps them within the one short – ‘Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium’ – which sees three horror geeks sifting through a variety of horror stories. However, they also each boast a unique style and varying takes on an array of horror sub-genres to differing effects.
With such variety, there’s going to be something that caters for most tastes. If it’s meta you’re looking for then ‘Cold Open’ is for you you. It follows a horror movie real-life character who is pigeonholed into being the ‘bad situation instigator’ (he’s the weird real estate agent who convinces the young couple to buy the haunted house, the guy who switches road signs so the young teens head straight for the insane asylum rather than camp etc) but in reality, he’s just desperate to be the hero. As the opening short, this sets up the audiences on what to expect – a horror anthology from horror fans to horror fans.
For instance ‘The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill’ plays on a sort of I Know What You Did Last Summer/Friday The 13th theme, as well as the trope of the killer never being able to die (they even try a wood chipper). Elsewhere, the idea of the ‘final girl’ and character stereotypes are explored in the final short ‘Horror Hypothesis’ – which is a short in itself and a conclusion to the larger wrap-around story (it also sees a guest appearance that truly nails that this is for horror movie fans). The stylistic ‘So Much To Do’ also flips the possession theme on its head, turning it into a full-on bloody fight for control of the remote control.
Indeed, most of the shorts in Scare Package have an element of humor to them. ‘One Time In The Woods’ springs to mind when speaking of comedy. This is a gross-out horror farce with a lot to like, including exploding heads and legs being ripped off (much to the annoyance of the legs’ owner who now can’t truly appreciate the butterfly tattoo he has on his ankle).
Some of the stories aren’t quite as well explored in the short time they have. ‘M.I.S.T.E.R’ about a misogynistic pack of werewolves who are struggling to be ‘let off the leash’ is never fully fleshed out or explained to a satisfactory degree. So, too, is ‘Girls’ Night Out Of Body’ about three women who find a mysterious piece of candy that leads to unexpected consequences. With a wonderful set of characters, the build up is just a little too long to really be able to explore them or the crazy situation they’re left in.
However, Scare Package is here to entertain and it certainly does that. It’s a fun romp through horror tropes and nostalgia, and showcases some wonderful filmmaking talent to look out for.
Scare Package is available now on Shudder.