Horror fans are well acquainted with director Tom Holland. For the rest of you, he’s the man responsible for the original Fright Night and Child’s Play. He’s also contributed three episodes of Tales from the Crypt, and two Stephen King adaptations (The Langoliers and Thinner) with King’s The 10 O’Clock People currently in pre-production. While his name may not be as recognizable as his body of work, he’s still churning out lesser projects, while we wait to see if he can rise to the glory days of his work from the ’80s. Recently, Holland has written and directed nine episodes of Twisted Tales for the TV channel FEARnet, and now they’re all available on one DVD from Image Entertainment on March 18.
The nine episodes are all introduced by Holland and contained within are: “Fred and His GPS” with AJ Bowen (You’re Next) fleeing the scene of a crime with a haunted GPS. “To Hell with You” features Danielle Harris (Halloweens 4, 5, and the first Rob Zombie remake) making a deal with the devil’s minion (William Forsythe). “Boom” has an honorably discharged vet building a bomb that can’t be diffused to try to get his best friend to admit to sleeping with his wife; “Mongo’s Magick Mirror” features Ray Wise, a magic mirror, and an up-and-coming magician trying to steal it from him.
“Bite” is about a group of pot heads trying out a new blend of herbs with psychic and lycan results. “Shockwave” includes a group of socialites who must decide who lives or dies after a nuclear space explosion sends out an electromagnetic pulse that will destroy all life on earth. “Cached” follows the exploits of a killer tablet haunted by a suicidal programmer. “The Pizza Guy” is about a girl who calls upon the devil to speak with her dead sister, and finally, “Vampire’s Dance” follows a girl looking for her missing roommate at a dance club filled with, well, you can probably guess.
Holland definitely takes a cue from his days of working on Tales from the Crypt, with each tale ending with a twist, for better and worse. The acting ranges from passable — see Bowen and Harris — to downright awful. Unsurprisingly, the shorter tales fare the best, but they oddly get worse as the 142 minute runtime starts to drag on. “The Pizza Guy” features the absolute funniest line — even if unintentionally — when the girl tries to apologize to her dead sister about the fight they had causing her death with: “You never got so made that you ran out into traffic because of it.” And “Vampire’s Dance” makes no sense whatsoever.
The special features are a huge bore consisting of five behind the scenes featurettes: “The Making of Boom” (12:06); “The Making of Mongo’s Magick Mirror” (9:12); “The Making of Shockwave” (12:57); “The Making of Cached” (6:56); and “The Making of The Pizza Guy” (15:36). There’s flashes throughout the shorts that show Holland still has some life left in his career, something that gives me hope for his upcoming 10 O’Clock People. As for this collection of Twisted Tales, caution is advised, but there’s bound to be something for everyone when there’s so much content included.