(these reviews are reprinted from the Dr. Squid zine, originally published in the late 1990s through the early 2000s)
I got a big kick out of The Tenement and the main reason is that it kept me guessing. And for a guy who has seen quite a few horror movies, that's a real compliment. While the execution is sometimes rough in terms of production values and acting, the clever stories in this horror anthology really make it sing. Case-in-point, we start off with a popular genre cliche: a couple making out in a parked car who, in short order, are attacked by hooded figures. Next thing you know the girl's tied-up and the figures are spouting quazi-satanic stuff. I was started to get annoyed: while the cult was talking about this girl having to pay for her sins (which I assume was making out in a car), a couple of leather-clad lesbians started making out. This was flying in the face of logic and as I was just ready to scream out loud at the screen that this didn't make any sense...I was hit in the face with a clever plot twist. I was impressed. As the building-related stories began, I was thrilled at the interesting left-turns that the stories took.
The building of the title is merely a device to link several stories together - each one is about someone who has lived in this building. The horror movie fanatic who falls into an audition for his favorite director, only to be shot down in flames. We peek inside this fanatic's mind and question what is real and what's not. We're next thrown into a tale of a mute girl and a man stalking her. Their cat and mouse game is engaging and played fairly straight. The next tale starts off with so much humor, it really jerked me out of the vibe of the movie, but before long, I was hip to the dark humor moving this tale of a neurotic man who may or may not be a werewolf. Then we meet a serial killer whose unique way of getting victims causes an encounter with a woman who doesn't react as most victims would. To tell too much more about any of these stories would be too much of a spoiler, but each has it's own share of plot twists and shocking moments.
Overall, you get a lot going on: there are movies within movies, stories with various story threads woven back and forth, bloody deaths, clever nods to all kinds of horror genre stuff and even a nice bit of skin. Some of the scenes are nicely done, others are harshly lit with too little set dressing and sometimes the handheld camerawork is a bit distracting. Frankly, it reminded me of some of the better stuff I've seen on the local college station, which isn't that bad: look beyond that for several roller coaster rides of horror.
Things to watch out for: Fangoria's Mike Gingold's over-the-top performance as the horror movie director. It was a bit much, but I did laugh several times which I think was the point. Also check out Syn DeVil as the stripper who meets up with a werewolf: Yowza! Kudos to director Glen Baisley and Light and Dark Productions for an entertaining horror anthology!
Dr. Squid says check this one out.
Drifter from Joe Sherlock on Vimeo.
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Odd Noggins from Joe Sherlock on Vimeo.
Twisted Fates from Joe Sherlock on Vimeo.
Beneath A Dead Moon from Joe Sherlock on Vimeo.
Deadly Premonitions from Joe Sherlock on Vimeo.