For today’s film, we travel once again into the giant vortex of nearly public domain films that live in my Mill Creek issued 100 Sci Fi Films box. Last time I went to it, I came up with the somewhat interesting The Shadow OF Chinatown. Today’s film was bought to my attention by Emily from the OTC Nation over on the Palavr boards and is called Alien Zone (aka House Of The Dead).
It is presented in the style of Tales From The Crypt or similar anthology movies, which is what piqued my interest, as anthology movies are another weakness of mine. The hook of the film is that a man is dropped off at the wrong street when returning to his hotel. As it starts to rain, he takes refuge in a nearby morgue at the behest of the mortician. Who then tells the stories of how four bodies wound up where they are. I have a feeling that each person wound up there in a very ironic way, and learned the Ultimate Lesson.
Will it be scary, or lame? We shall see. Well, the fact that it seems to star absolutely no one remotely and looks like it’s a copy of a copy of a copy of something that someone found in a dump known does not bode well.
And, speaking of not boding well – it seems that the man is having an affair with a woman, who is also having an affair. I have a sneaking suspicion that both will receive their comeuppance by the end of the film. At least she had the decency to fit her bed with an L shaped sheet.
Well, apparently the guy has the worst cab driver ever, who likes nothing better than to drop adulterers off in scary parts of town – parts of town populated by what seems to be The Master. Seriously, what sort of town would that man live in?
Everyone in this town is fucking creepy –like they just stepped out of a Thomas Ligotti story. And that bodes well for me, since Ligotti is one of the few authors that can actually disturb me. I don’t know who the mortician is, but he is damn good at being creepy.
Story 1: A Recount Of The Sad End To School Teacher Miss Sibiler
Now, it seems that one Miss Sibiler is not exactly the friendliest of people and doesn’t care for children, and being a teacher, this is not a huge plus. Each night she leaves school and returns home to her big, empty house, in which she lives alone – just her and her transistor radio. And so, naturally, she starts seeing things and imagining that she is not alone (the maniacal orchestral stabs drill this home).
Needless to say, it’s children playing a prank on her. Or is it? Because it seems that the neighbourhood children are an actual bunch of little demons. Who then kill her.
Story 2: The Private Tapes Of Amateur Magician and Photographer Mr Growski
Mr Growski, it seems, was the kind of man who had strange predilections. The kind of predilections that involve women and video cameras and many accusations by the press, police and public. Photography is his life, and he gets very upset when people belittle it. He invites women to his home for a date, all the while recording the precedings. He then invites the young lady to help with a magic trick... and presto: one dead lady.
Needless to say, he gets caught – when his final victim has the wherewithal to phone for help.
No so much ironic – more “was bound to happen eventually”.
Story 3: The Strange Case Of Detective Tolliver And Inspector McDowal
Detective Tolliver and Inspector McDowal are professional rivals, criminologists without equal – except each other. And, being as they are different people, they slightly get on each other’s nerve, especially Tolliver and his ego. Now, it seems that Tolliver receives a letter informing him that he has three days to solve an upcoming murder involving someone close to him. Are his skills up to the task of this riddle? And who sent it? And who will be murdered?
If you answered “No”, “McDowal” and “McDowal” – you would be correct. When you meet someone whose skills are equal to yours, you must kill them. It seems that our Mr Tollover solved the letter on day one, then plotted to kill McDowal. Alas, he fell victim to being blown up by dynamite.
Now that’s irony.
Story 4: How It Was That Mr Cantwell Learned A Lesson In Humility
Mr Cantwell is a man who has no time for anyone but himself, not those he works with, not even a homeless man on the street, just looking for something to eat. It comes to pass that Mr Cantwell finds himself in a building that was no doubt forged by a Mr John Kramer, thus being designed to show people the error of ones ways in violent manners. In due course, Mr Cantwell finds himself plunging down an elevator shaft into a trash heap, locked in a life and death struggle with a spiked wall and fed wine. Following an unknown length of time, Mr Cantwell finds himself free of this prison – and realises that he, too, has become a drunken bum, much in the manner of the same man he slighted at the beginning of the tale.
Following these tales, it seems that our original man receives his comeuppance in the form of not getting out alive. That’ll learn him.
All in all, this was not a good film – boring, obvious “ironic” morality plays wrapped in a boring, obvious morality play. As such things often are. The only good thing to this was the mortician, and even he felt forced after a while, since everything he said ended up being variants of “bad people get punished”.