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A strange mailman delivers a videotape titled "Escapes" to young Matthew Wilson. Matt gets curious and decides to give it a watch. The movie turns out to be a horror anthology with legendary horror actor Vincent Price as the host, who introduces every of the six segments. The first segment titled "A Little Fishy" follows a fisherman, who ends up being the bait. "Coffee Break" follows a delivery man, who gets lost and ends up in the one town you can't get lost in... or leave. "Who's There" follows a man, who finds a baby Sasquatch in the forest, withe terrifying results. "Jonah's Dream" follows a widow in financial trouble, who finds a UFO in her late husband's mine along with something else. "Think Twice" follows a homeless guy, who gets robbed, but a strange glowing crystal he finds, allows him to dispense his own unique kind of justice. The sixth and final segment, "Hall of Faces", follows Matt again, who ends up in the place where Price is hosting from.
Vincent Price was arguably one of the greatest actors that ever lived and inarguably the greatest horror protagonist of the 1950s and 1960s. But the horror genre changed drastically in the year 1973 (mainly due to the release of "The Exorcist") and, all of a sudden, there weren't many roles anymore for an actor of Price's caliber. Gothic and Grand Guignol horror movies suddenly weren't popular anymore and got replaced by raw and gritty exploitation movies. Throughout the rest of the '70s, the almighty Vincent Price was a bit lost, but in the 1980s he gave his career its final boost by briefly appearing as the typically sinister host in low-keyed anthologies or as the narrator in macabre fairy-tales, for example his legendary contribution to Michael Jackson's "Thriller". The very modest and inconspicuous made-for-TV anthology "Escapes" is another title that probably never would have caught any attention if Price's name wasn't attached to it. Price only briefly appears at the beginning and the ending of the wraparound story, but his stern voice and sinister laughter are doing all the necessary work. Furthermore "Escapes" is not much more than a cheap attempt to cash in on the successes of "Creepshow" (1982) and "Twilight Zone: The Movie" (1983). The short segments, five in total, are child-friendly but definitely not childish, and the least you can say is that they offer unpretentious good fun! None of the stories are frightening, not even remotely, but they are interesting enough and the atmosphere of the film is exactly right. The first two segments are my favorites, notably because they are both fairly ominous whereas segments three and four are sillier and more fantasy-like. In "Something Fishy", a fisherman physically experiences how the rules of his favorite sport are turned upside down, and "Coffee Break" gives a whole new and uncanny meaning to the term "slowing down" This second segment mainly benefices from the creepy performance of John Mitchum as the seemingly friendly local yokel who advises a stressed-out delivery boy to relax, enjoy the scenery and stop for a good cup of coffee... The third segment involves a chubby jogger and three bizarre creatures that escaped from a medical lab. Apart from a fairly admirably attempt to build up suspense, there's very little to say about this short story and the denouement is just too silly for words. I didn't like the fourth segment "Jonah's Dream", as it reminded me too much of a Walt Disney story. Being more of a fan of raw and gritty horror anthologies, I personally very much prefer the '80s outings "From a Whisper to a Scream" (also starring Vincent Price), "Deadtime Stories" or "Screamtime", but I certainly don't consider watching "Escapes" as a waste of my (not-so-precious) time
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