Friday, July 15, 2011

George A Romero Presents: Deadtime Stories: Vol 1 – House Call – review

Director: Tom Savini

Release date: see below

Contains spoilers

Deadtime Stories is a to DVD anthology film from 2011, the segments of which are linked by George A Romero. The first segment, Valley of the Shadow, is a blooming awful “science team gets culled” short. The second story, Wet, is interesting only because it features a meremaid – a rare horror creature – the quality is not superb, however. It is the last section that is the highlight of the volume and is a vampire short – bizarrely it was shot, I understand, for the series Chill Factor and culled from that. The date of the short is 2004.

You probably have already noticed that it was directed by horror legend Tom Savini (Forest of the Damned, From Dusk till Dawn, Lost Boys: The Tribe, Dark Craving, Martin and Absence of Light) and it is a well-directed, tight little character driven drama.

Mrs Norman
It starts with a phone call from Mrs Norman (Mayann Nagel) to a Doctor Marsten (Bingo O’Malley) – the name, I assume, a reference and nod to ‘Salem’s Lot and the Marsten House. The doctor was asleep, a glass of wine in his hand, when the phone rang. He dropped the wine, the glass smashing, as he woke. By the telephone style we know we are in an earlier age. He suggests that she come to the surgery in the morning but she insists. Her son Jimmy (Jason Hoehnen) believes he is a…

examining Jimmy
We do not hear the word at this point but the doctor duly drives through the driving storm to her farmhouse. She is afraid Jimmy will hurt himself or her, he is tied to the bed because he had begged her to restrain him, but now he wants to be free. The doctor goes in to see him and we notice that Jimmy has red irises. He says that he was bitten, by something huge and horrible. The doctor takes blood from Jimmy’s arm.

Jimmy eats the cat
The doctor goes back to the kitchen and assures Mrs Norman that there are tests that can be done on the blood. As they talk she tells him the tales, that the cat vanished and Jimmy claims to have killed it and drunk its blood. That he claims to have the Miller girl come to him willingly and that there was another girl he visited in her room night after night, drinking her blood until she faded away. There was a case in the town of two hikers vanishing and he claims he killed them.

Mrs Norman’s story moves to the death of her husband and how important Jimmy is to her, but the doctor has gone back into Jimmy’s room, shutting the door behind him... but Jimmy has slipped his bonds and is no longer on the bed…

And what a tight little short it is. Well-acted and very well shot. If I had a complaint it is that the hiding of the twist seems forced when you actually discover what the twist is – but it is a nice little pay-off so we won’t complain too much. This story makes the volume worth buying (the other shorts are not worth it really). 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

No comments: