Horror anthology movies are often tiny surprises, collections of morality tales wrapped up as genre vignettes. I take great pleasure in watching these movies and always look forward to them when I get the opportunity to view one. I was therefore pretty psyched to be offered the chance to review writer-director-producer Jimmy Lee Combs’ Terror Tales. Modest in budget but big in passion, Combs has put together three fun short films which are wrapped-around by yet another quirky tale about a family kidnapped by a psychopath.
The first story is a Tale of Christmas past-style yarn about a mother being shown the truth behind her young son’s death. Another is a 1980s-set detective story which sees a tough cop on the hunt for a video store-loving serial killer (the best of the bunch) and the third features body-hopping demonic possession.
Pitched as a love letter to horror anthologies such as Creepshow and Tales From The Crypt, it’s very obvious that Jimmy Lee Combs has a serious love of classic (mainly 1980s) horror cinema. He directs things with his tongue firmly lodged in his cheek, keeping the humour bubbling on the surface as each of these dark tales plays out. Classic horror echoes through what Combs has to offer and hardcore genre fans will taste subtle hints of the likes of The Sixth Sense and The Exorcist as well as the ‘80s video nasty furore and even Alan Spencer’s iconic ’80s cop sitcom Sledge Hammer! It’s a smorgasbord of delight.
It’s clear that Combs had budget imitations when putting Terror Tales together, but his dedication is evident and he manages to include some solid practical and digital effects in each of his tales. He knows his audience and what they want and he delivers. Terror Tales is a fun and entertaining ride.