Dir. Derek Braasch, Matt Cannon, Marcelo Fabani, Phil Herman, Joe Sherlock
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
The pulsating mix of garage rock and poor microphone coverage really elevate the films late night appeal that takes me back to nights of watching TETSUO and CKY as a teen.
This anthology is centred around a burglar forced to read a horror writers stories. A whispering witch and a narrator who channels his inner Otis Driftwood steer a guy to read but it's so choppily shot with repeated cuts of narration and a badly cut interjection of the witch to appear and disappear at will, suddenly what begins at a laughably bad attempt to put together a series of short films becomes a hypnotic nightmare. The Microsoft Word titles and transitions add to the realisation there is no budget here but the film makers carry on regardless and this knowingness adds to the VHS quality, fortunately aging the film older than it's release year.
At 2 hours, it's far too long for an anthology film to keep your attention and is better served in smaller chunks. Part 1 was only an hour long with 5 shorts, there's only 6 here including the wraparound but it's double the length. Maybe this is to give some big names larger roles but it doesn't make the film any more enjoyable.
The grizzly opening of the first segment shows the tone of HORRORTALES.666 and while it may be zero budget, it creates a more authentic lens for horror with grizzly murders and nasty special effects that it really harks back to the August Underground movies that terrified a generation before.
Following that there are shorts about aliens that uses stock footage to good effect with Windows 95 graphics to boot but certainly has a deeper tale to tell than the expectant slasher segments. Chapter 3 takes a festive turn as Santa wields a chainsaw but this Santa isn't the real deal (despite the story pretending he is - his fake beard says otherwise). He certainly delivers presence but it's laughable bad at not even trying to hide the lack of budget for practical effects.
This segment ends with the Burglar waking up from a sleep and it's probably the just moment to end. Reaching the hour mark, HORRORTALES.666 PART 2 would be a fulfilling midnight movie for those wanting to suffer but instead, the segments carry on like an endurance test and unfortunately really starts to drag out the experience far longer than it's welcome.
To say the film gets darker is a much understated phrase as the depravity of a bathory style killing segment is an eye opener but the final segment feels like a stretch as the film makers go meta and tries to create a short by filming the short. It is a branch too far and really isn't needed. The segment is almost 30 minutes long and doesn't add anything for those giving it patience. The in-joke would be best served as an extra as it seems only interesting if you are actually part of the film, not only that but any sense of conclusion for the burglar will be left disappointed.
What is the driving force that keeps me coming back to these stories asks the burglar at one point and it's one any viewer will ask themselves but there is a magnetism to the films score and style that keeps you entranced even if you can't make it to the final destination. At 2 hours it's just too long, cut down to just the first 4 segments and leave it there and it would be much more worthwhile, unfortunately up until the 70 minute mark the film has some level of enjoyment to be had but everything after adds literally nothing. HORRORTALES.666 PART 2 won't appeal to most but for those looking for something a little dirty and depraved there's something to appreciate here.