The realm of horror is awash with fine examples of endless situations and scenarios where terror and fear-inducing frights are rife. Horror has ventured into pretty much every area and setting you could possibly imagine. Gas stations, office blocks, cellars, abandoned mines, high-rise apartments, beach resorts and even the mind itself have all had the horror treatment at some point.
Even the ever-growing world of gambling has been dipped into on occasion by the genre – though ‘B movies’ abound, with most efforts being panned by the critics. Las Vegas often appears as a location for serial killers to stalk their way through, exacting a punishment upon those who dare visit ‘Sin City’. Though what with all the options to play live roulette online these days, the victims in these films would probably have been better off staying at home.
One thing you can be sure to count on; there’ll be cheesy one-liners, laughable special effects and plenty of gore.
LEPRECHAUN 3 (1995)
The Leprechaun franchise has found its way into a host of unusual settings over the years. Whether he’s plaguing the streets of Los Angeles or even winding up in space, this unusual series of horror-comedy films has earned itself a cult following.
In ‘Leprechaun 3’ the action finds its way to the original Sin City itself – Las Vegas. The Leprechaun embarks on his usual hijinks, making all who dare try their luck against him instantly regret it. One memorable death scene includes a woman wishing to be made young again, and receiving quite the opposite. Perhaps it’s unsurprising that this instalment in the Leprechaun franchise was direct to video.
THE HAUNTED CASINO (AKA DEAD MAN’S HAND) (2007)
Director Charles Band, better known as the man behind the long-running horror franchise ‘Puppetmaster’, has continued to churn out low-budget horror fare over the years. Back in 2007, it resulted in this off-the-cuff gore fest.
A small group of friends head to Vegas after one of them inherits a casino, which unfortunately happens to be haunted by a gang of ghostly mobsters. A whole host of unusual horror icons turn up to steal the show, including Sid Haig (‘The Devil’s Rejects’) and Michael Berryman (‘The Hills Have Eyes’). ‘The Haunted Casino’ is certainly a slow-burner in terms of terror, with most reviewers describing it as ‘mediocre’ or ‘average’.
HOSTEL III (2011)
The third follow-up to Eli Roth’s gruesome torture-fest sees all the action moved across the Atlantic and into the US-based arm of the Elite Hunting Club.
Whilst on a bachelor party in Las Vegas, four guys find themselves the unwilling victims of a torturous game show all for the sake of perverse entertainment. In this game of luck and chance, the ultimate odds are exacted out – with the victims themselves becoming the wager. Though on the surface an interesting concept, this threequel lost much of the quality shown in its predecessors and it came as no surprise to see it panned by the critics.
CHEAP THRILLS (2013)
Horror is the perfect genre for a thrill or two, especially when the stakes are high. In E.L. Katz’s ‘Cheap Thrills’, high stakes are the name of the game. Two old friends randomly meet a scheming couple in a bar who challenge the pals to a number of escalating dares in exchange for cash. This black comedy horror is a fantastic example of just what people will do for money when they really need it.
There are plenty of twists and surprises along the way, with everything ending in violence as the evening plays out.
13: 13 Beloved (AKA Game of Death) (2006)
In this critically acclaimed Thai thriller, the idea of escalating challenges in exchange for money is once more a prominent factor guiding someone who is down on their luck.
Phucit must race against the clock in order to complete 13 various tasks for increasing amounts of money. It plays on our fears regarding the worst of reality television, as the stunts become more and more dangerous and degrading. The ending is sure to leave you feeling hollow, as Phucit must pay the ultimate price.
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