DIRECTOR Tom Holland WRITER Tom Holland STARS Amber Benson; Angela Bettis; AJ Bowen DVD Now
REVIEW Lloyd Haynes

Twisted TalesOriginally conceived as a 13-episode series and premiering in 2013 via the Fearnet website, Twisted Tales combines eight short films and one two-parter, comprising of murder, revenge, monsters, and even the end of the world, all scripted, directed and hosted by Tom Holland (Fright NightChild’s Play).

Twisted Tales is a mixed bag. By far the most interesting and substantial of the twisted tales is “Shockwave”. A dinner party in a plush Los Angeles apartment is disrupted by news of a nuclear explosion in space, which has resulted in the Earth being engulfed in electromagnetic waves. With global power resources rapidly shutting down and the prospect of all humanity being wiped out, Jesse (Tom Holland’s son Josh) reveals that he has built a panic room for such an eventuality, but as the room can only accommodate two people the guests begin to reveal their darker sides as feelings of jealousy and hatred manifest themselves. Also noteworthy is “The Pizza Guy”, a two-part episode about a grieving young woman (Erin Aine Smith) who is obsessed with making contact with her dead sister, killed in a road accident a year earlier. She encourages three friends to join her in a Satanic ritual, only for a gormless pizza delivery man (Marc Senter) to materialise instead of Beelzebub. But is he really what he appears to be?

“Fred and His GPS” and “Vampire’s Dance” are the weakest stories, the latter being especially poor, with a threadbare script which goes absolutely nowhere. “To Hell With You” and “Mongo’s Magik Mirror” are more amusing than horrific but feature good performances from Danielle Harris, William Forsythe and Ray Wise, while “Boom”, “Cached” and the aforementioned “Shockwave” generate a fair amount of tension within their brief time frame. “Bite”, which details the horrors of experimenting with new recreational drugs, is ruined by the director’s insistence on freeze frames and slow motion. Should Holland decide to continue with the series he would be well advised to place the emphasis on a stronger selection of scripts and to dispense with his on-screen introductions, which are trifling to say the least.

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Born from a love of horror, ponderous thoughts and meandering topics, Exquisite Terror is a periodical that takes a more academic approach to the genre.