Five short stories are presented by psychic ghost hunter Damien Shadows.
It’s great that we have horror anthologies to satisfy a craving we have for our short attention spans. Some of them are great while others just end up being a waste of time. With anthologies, there’s also the chance to end up with something that’s a complete mixed bag of elements. Theater of the Deranged II fell into that category for me. The film mostly took things light and tried to have fun. Each of the five stories contained were strung together by a wraparound that rubbed me the wrong way at first but I eventually found to be rather funny. I have never seen the original Theater of the Deranged, but after watching the sequel, you can call me curious. We will take a look at each of the segments and hopefully you’ll get a better idea of what’s in store for you with Theater of the Deranged II.
Each segment is introduced by Damien Shadows (Eric Hollerbach), an internet ghost hunter with psychic abilities. He analyzes each segment and identifies the haunting and gives the audience advice on how to rid of each entity. These segments are silly but the way Hollerbach looks so blankly into the camera, there are quite a few laughs to be had.
The first segment was titled “Tag” and was directed by Shane Ryan (Amateur Porn Star Killer). The story was sort of weak and interesting at the same time. A young girl is keeping a secret and is haunted by what she did in the past. When the ghost of her friend appears, she has to do to herself exactly what she did to her friend so many years ago. It was bizarre and surreal yet it never felt like it belonged in this particular anthology. Did I mention that the segment was subtitled and in Japanese? I think it would have worked better as a standalone short.
Next up is “Panty Raid”, about a deranged individual who is in search of the perfect panties. That’s the story in a nutshell and this one has some great moments. Especially if you enjoy masturbating co-eds and scantily clad girls pillow fighting. The film is light on dialogue and the tone is far more humorous than the previous segment. Director Shawn Burkett (The Sleeping Soul) keeps things moving and the short is over before you know it. It’s a little light on the gore but it makes up for that with humor and skin. The final moments work the best.
“Untimely Demise” features adult film star Sophie Dee as the wife of a mime that cheats on him with a clown. After the mime kills her and the clown with his mime powers, he comes back years later to get revenge on his former partner and partner’s son. This one had me laughing at how ridiculous the whole concept was. These mime powers are such a great idea and I don’t think I had seen anything quite like that before. James Cullen Bressack (My Pure Joy) treats the hilarious concept with absolute seriousness which elevates the short above the rest. By far my favorite of the film.
“My Aunt is Coming to Town” is by far the least interesting entry in the anthology. Erin (Olivia Blake) and Jeff (Aaron Quick Nelson) are a young couple just starting up their relationship. Jeff will find out the hard way that Olivia has a terrifying secret she is hiding from him. While the acting is solid, this one seems to move too slow without much happening. There’s a nice grossout moment but it just doesn’t save this one for me. Christopher Leto (Rough Cut) should have made a few trims and maybe injected a tad bit of humor into it to help it fit in better with the rest.
“PlateFace” is the most unique entry. It’s a silent film shot in black and white with the three leads wearing plain white masks throughout. It felt very much like a classic silent short complete with audience laugh track. It follows a man being introduced to the daughter of his girlfriend before he moves in. He grows increasingly obsessed with her until he can no longer contain his urges. Director Dustin Mills (Bath Salt Zombies) brought a really unique idea to this film. The entire short was done rather well but I had trouble getting into it. Again, it sort of felt like it should have been a part of something else.
The wraparound and middle three segments felt like they belonged together while the first and fifth didn’t fit the mold. It’s still an entertaining anthology and worth a peek. ***(out of 5)
Theater of the Deranged II (2013)