Thursday, October 06, 2016


I've been a fan of horror anthologies since I was a little kid and my Mom sat me down to watch DR. TERROR'S HOUSE OF HORRORS... but you can read all about that in the upcoming Exploitation Retrospect #53 due out later this month. In the meantime here's a review of the twisted 1986 portmanteau DEADTIME STORIES ripped screaming from the pages of ER #5 originally published in May 1987. Not to be confused with the wretched DEADTIME STORIES hosted by George Romero, this fun flick features Scott Valentine and was directed by Jeffrey Delman, who would not helm another feature until 2002's RANDOM SHOOTING IN LA.

Every once in a great while a film comes along that successfully blends the broad aspects of horror and comedy. Of course, there are always films that try: HOUSE, A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2, etc. However, there are some that can combine the two: TOXIC AVENGER, RE-ANIMATOR, CLASS OF NUKE 'EM HIGH, and just added to this list is the fiendishly funny DEADTIME STORIES.

The film is a very low budget horror anthology flick built around this tried and true premise. A young boy is staying with his uncle, and because he is afraid of the dark he requests to hear some bedtime stories. Well, Uncle Mark is a bit demented, so he gives the kid what he wants.

The first story stars a young Scott Valentine, a current teen heartthrob due to his role on TV's 'Family Ties' and his starring role in the current MY DEMON LOVER. He stars as a young boy who has sold himself into the services of two witches. The witches are trying to raise their sister from the dead, and Valentine's character must help them get the necessary ingredients. The tale has some intense effects, such as a severed hand that seems to take on a life of its own, a face-hugging heart, and (in the highlight of the film), the retransformation of the dead witch: she begins as an old, decayed skeleton and ends up as a full, revengeful demon bitch!

The second story is a modern-day update of "Little Red Riding Hood" which is skewed due to the fact that Uncle Mark was watching the 'Miss Nude Bayone' Competition on the tube. Red (or Rcahel [sic] as she's called) is now a firm-bodied high school cheerleader who picks up the wrong prescription at the store. So, the big bad wolf (dressed in leather pants and skinny tie) comes looking for her and the story follows the familiar pattern all the way until the infamous "Grandma, what big teeth you have" line.

The final story is a wickedly funny retelling of the "Goldilocks and the 3 Bears" tale. This time Goldi Loxx (named after Golda Meir!!) is a psychotic killer who keeps the corpses of her dead suitors in the house. When "Papa" and "Baby" Baer escape from a mental institution with the help of "Momma" Baer they head for their hideout in the woods – where Goldi just happens to be staying. Naturally, Goldi fits right in with the family and they combine their powers to rob and create general mayhem everywhere they can. The most incredible scene in the film comes when "Baby" Baers [sic] plays a game of "She Loves Me/She Loves Me Not" with the severed arm of one of Goldi's victims.

This is a twisted film, and a fine example of what horror anthologies should be more like. I highly recommend DEADTIME STORIES, so see it quick or wait for the inevitable video release. Four stars. (R) – Dan Taylor

Dan Taylor is the editor and publisher of Exploitation Retrospect, which celebrates 30 years of existence this month. You can read more about his love of horror anthology flicks in the new issue, available soon. He last wrote about FUTURE FORCE for VHS Wednesday. 

DEADTIME STORIES is available from Amazon.

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