Updated: Oct 19, 2021
The VHS series has always been hit and miss, with brilliant segments (like Safe Haven from VHS 2) butting up against lesser entries. But the 4th film which just dropped on @shudder might be the most consistent & is a ton of freaky fun, despite suffering from a not-great wraparound story.
The first story proper ‘Storm Drain’ takes a reporter and cameraman on a subterranean search for the mythical Ratman. This was an excellent opener -creepy, weird and with a nice reference to The Howling at the end. And give me all the practical Monster FX!
‘The Empty Wake’ is a simple setup- a woman working in a funeral parlour has to contend with a moving coffin, a hurricane and the undead. Fun but a bit empty.
‘The Subject’ is the highlight here, another madcap gonzo horror mini-epic from Timo Tjahjanto, the Indonesian genius who gave us Safe Haven, The Night Comes for Us & May The Devil Take Us 1 & 2. This starts as a mad scientist story then switches to first-person shooter robo-monster murder jam and just gets wilder as it goes along. This one gets 5 stars alone.
‘Terror’ is the last short & gleefully skewers a group of wannabe Timothy McVeigh patriot douchebags and their plot to blow up a mall. Their method is gloriously bizarre and descends into bloody idiocy - another highlight.
Sadly, ‘Holy Hell’ the wraparound is lacklustre, marred by terrible acting and not adding up to much story-wise, but it’s not enough to sink the whole endeavour.
Overall, VHS 94 is a blast of undemanding gory horror fun and the scratchy VHS vibes are a refreshing antidote to the other slick & more ponderous horror offerings of the season.
4 Ratmaa’s out of 5.