“Theatre Of The Deranged II” is the second in an anthology series from Psykik Junky Pictures. In the sophomore series we are greeted with a new host to lead us through these twisted tales. And twisted they are. Damien Shadows introduces us to some very original and interesting short films from some of the top indie forces in the horror community. A new host and five new short films manage to create a new level for this sequel anthology. As much as I liked the first “Theatre Of The Deranged” seems like an entirely new beast all together with some very unique stories that set above the original collection.
“Tag” is a Japanese horror short that is experimental, haunting and bizarre. The story focuses on a woman being tormented by the ghost of another. It is a dark melodrama that I didn’t totally understand why things were happening in it, but I was totally hypnotized by the fact that they were happening. I know it has something to doe with conscience being consumed with guilt. Either way it was a well directed, emotionally executed, twisted dramatization that I was utterly fascinated by.
“Panty Raid” is a blended short film that uses very dark satirical moments then presents them in very malevolent serial/slasher style. The story follows a college kid inspired to do a panty raid on a sorority house. Sadly it is a shadow element that trails the path of a serial killer who is also inspired by women's under pants. It is a really entertaining short film that pokes fun at the notions that all college kids are just hanging out and getting off. It plays on the fetish side of sexual explorations but never exaggerates things to the point it becomes hokey, always keeping the atmosphere of a truly sinister atmosphere. After all there is a brutal killer in the house.
“Unmimely Demise” is one of those strange short films that could only come from the mind of James Cullen Bressack. Every thing about this short film should be a train wreck and yet everything works-something he is very good at simply because he doesn’t shy from the uncomfortable or edgier interpretations of life. The short is about a mime returning to get revenge on the 10 yr anniversary of the day he killed his wife. The story when watching the short film sounds like a real soap opera plot line and should really seem lame. It isn’t though because it is about mimes! Once famous mimes and what comes next is just something you have to watch the short to really appreciate. The dramatic kill sequences are straight from Looney Tunes absurdity and yet come off with complete bloody horror awesomeness!
“My Aunt is Coming to Town” is really just a really twisted and humorous period joke. Not in the funny, dirty joke comical style but in the crude, misogynistic manner. It features a female lead who meets her beaus on dating sites, and enjoys a fun sexual love affair until her Aunt comes to town. It was a pretty entertaining short film that manages to hide the true nature of the story. It is a fun little story but not really at the level the other films in this collection seem to be.
“Plate Face” is a brilliant piece of avant garde theatre and by far the best short film in this anthology. The story is a simple one of a man in the middle of a mother and daughter situation. In love with one and lust consumes him for the other. The brilliant part is that it is a completely silent film, with a comedy laugh track of oohs and ahs. Classic silent movie music blended with modern horror. Not sure but I guess it could be considered a crime of passion in some circles. The fact that the laugh track is set up with the positive reaction coming in on very dark cruel moments off the story forcing an almost uncomfortably for the viewer is awesome. It challenges you to think about what is happening on screen and in yourself.
“Theatre Of The Deranged II” is a step up from the first collection and a truly great collection of very individual, creative and entertaining short films. The use of a host with skits in between the shorts that speak of demons, and hexes being released on the audience by each of the films is kind of cheesy but totally entertaining. I kind of feel Shadow’s side kick may be getting sexually assaulted by the supernatural way more than he would like. The guy selling the ghost busting products added a nice “straight” balance against the over-the-top tongue in cheek humor of Damien Shadow. Over all I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology series.