Like all good anthologies, a wraparound story takes a stab at clumsy cohesion. Here, Arabian Nights-style, an abducted schoolgirl must tell her captor stories to stay alive. The best comes first with "Don't Answer the Door," in which a two young siblings awaiting Mom's arrival home find their apartment infiltrated by wait and see. The scariest scenes reside here, as do jolts of genuine humor.
"Endless Flight" borrows a bit from 1997's Turbulence as aboard a plane, a flight attendant fights for her life against a serial killer being transported. A wicked fairy tale updated for our celeb-obsessed age, "Secret Recipe" pits stepsister against stepsister, and takes more than a big bite of inspiration from "Dumplings," the sickest of stories in Asia's 2004 terror triptych, Three Extremes.
Finally, there's "Ambulance on the Dead Zone," which zombie fanatics will gobble up. The undead-overkilled among us, however, may wish for less-tired subject matter for an exit. Of course, it could be worse, and enough good exists in Horror Stories overall to merit a recommendation for pre-Halloween viewing.
The DVD marks my introduction to Artsploitation Films, a newish label devoted to spotlighting international genre gems. With its presentation of Horror Stories, the group earns my respect; not only is the movie impressive, but Artsploitation has included a booklet once a DVD staple, now rarely seen outside Criterion whose three articles combine to make an informative and visually pleasing mini-magazine.
A sequel Horror Stories 2, duh was released in the Far East over the summer. Here's hoping Artsploitation follows suit in importing that one. Rod Lott
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