Saturday, August 17, 2019

Lady Belladonna's Tales from The Inferno – review

Directors: Robert Posey & Justin Holtzen (segment)

Release date: 2018

Contains spoilers

This is an anthology stitching shorts together, which is the second Lady Belladonna (Tawnya Bass) film. The first, Lady Belladonna's Night Shades, looked cheaper in the wraparound (about the demonic Lady Belladonna and her time as a soul broker) than this edition and the photography and effects were sharper in this one.

There is a difference in the content also – the first film was pretty much serial killer/slasher themed and there was a real variance in the quality of the shorts. In this one a more supernatural theme enters the concept and the shorts were of a higher quality generally. The segment is called Family Tradition and was probably the strongest part of the film. A note on directors – the film lists Robert Posey & Justin Holtzen as the segment directors, if you find the short’s IMDb page it lists Posey only.

vision of blood
The story takes place in a scrapyard and Bekah (Donna Bella Litton), a teen girl, lives there with Mom (Hailey Josselyn), dad (Shawn McCall) and little sister Grace (Julianne Medina). Bekah gets home in time for the evening meal and there is some family banter but dad, as he looks at the family, sees them splattered with blood and has no humour. He leaves the table and mom says it is the anniversary of grandpa’s (Royd McCargish) death. Bekah makes a snarky comment about dad being drunk in the shed rather than the house.

Donna Bella Litton as Bekah
We cut to the shed and see dad sat, talking to person unknown and saying that he can’t do it anymore, this will be the last time and *he* won’t survive this time. As he speaks, we see him holding a metal mask. Later in the evening Bekah awakens and picks up a pack of cigarettes, going out for a smoke. She sees light in the shed, goes to investigate and, as she gets closer, hears grunts of pain. Looking in the door she sees dad clearly torturing someone (Robert Posey).

from Grandpa's tale
She runs back to the house and dad follows. She calls him crazy but mom intervenes. She wasn’t meant to find out yet but… They tell her the story of Grandpa and his first family, of him coming home to find them all dead, bar one child, and a man violently biting their neck. Grandpa attacked the man and then realised what *it* was. He captured it and starved it, torturing it each anniversary of his family’s slaughter – a tradition passed on to dad when just a child. Will Bekah buy such a story?

Robert Posey as the vampire
The film is well shot, well-paced and the acting is credible throughout. I particularly liked the photography and the directors manage to walk a line where the victim (the vampire) isn’t so much a victim in the audience eyes and the aggressor (dad) is complex and broken with a few simple dialogue strokes. This one is worth the entry fee to the whole anthology. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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