Horror anthology about a college professor (Zada) teaching a course called "The Psychology of Fear". He brings his students (including psychic McWhirter) to his home, one dark and stormy ...
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When an exotic dancer is murdered at a seedy strip club, her sister goes undercover to find the killer. While working at the club, she realizes that everyone is a suspect and she must work fast to find the killer and get revenge.
Horror anthology about a college professor (Zada) teaching a course called "The Psychology of Fear". He brings his students (including psychic McWhirter) to his home, one dark and stormy night to tell scary stories. The first involves a young couple whose car breaks down by an old, abandoned house. The second has four trendy teenage girls getting lost in a bad part of town, and chased by a pack of vicious dogs. Last, we have Helgenberger confronting a stalker at the answering service where she works the night shift. Written by
Dzong A.D. Tranchina
Perturbed by the teacher in their psychology class, eventually he's forced to change his curriculum, and when he offers a special after- hours seminar that contains his original plans, students join at his house to indulge in telling scary stories to experience fear.
The Good Stor(ies): The Old Dark House-On their anniversary, a couple go for a midnight drive and get stranded on an abandoned road containing a house with a mysterious past. Eager for help, they ignore the warnings and go over, but when no one answers, they attempt to break in and get separated, forcing him to accept a deadly secret about the house's history. This here is a rather enjoyable entry, with a lot going for it. The atmosphere of the house, with the abandoned, sheet-covered furniture and shrubbery-lined walkways outside, give off a perfect Gothic atmospheric feel, combined with the back-story told to create a rather creepy setting. The mystery, with the bloodied necklace and off-screen call, works nicely with the key set-up scene, the collection of skulls covered in spiders and bugs as well as the flashlight-through-the- keyhole sequence, and then the final resolution is quite nice as it's a neat twist. If there was a flaw, it's not the fastest-moving story, but it's still enjoyable.
A Night on the Town-Trying to find a club, a group of friends drive around the city, and when they're low on gas, stop off at a gas station. When they meet the proprietor and his vicious dogs, they find themselves in an escalating series of encounters that makes them wish they hadn't stumbled upon. This is a slightly uneven effort, hampered really by the fact that there isn't a real effort to develop this one early on and simply making it run on the situation. They're lost in a strange part of town, the man they run into is somewhat slimy and perverted, but it never really does anything really interesting with those areas. Once it shifts into action, though, it's a lot more interesting and exciting from the different ambush attacks of the dogs through the town, to the deranged owner's extreme attempts to break into the car while it's on the run, this one is a lot of fun with its action set-ups and is an extremely better entry in the second half. Throw in an explosive finale, and it's a really redeeming effort.
Allison's Story-Arriving at their professor's house, the students proceed to tell their stories but one of them becomes concerned something is wrong. As the night continues, she begins to think those feelings are getting even stronger, and they eventually find the real reason why the events have been happening all night long. As the wrap- around, the main parts before the ending are just minor set-up pieces where the real fun is in the finale, which is a lot of fun. After the main stories, the ambush in the basement, complete with the flowing circle and eventual fire-filled room and slaughter, makes for a good time, and the interweaving with the stories told allows for a nightmarish feel in the manner done. It just takes a while to get there since that is the movie's logical end.
The Bad Stor(ies): All Night Operator-Returning to her apartment, a phone-line operator wants to forget about the ski accident that injured her and goes to work at a phone-call answering service. After getting several harassing phone calls from a deranged lunatic, she starts to realize that the caller is a little more unhinged than he let on, and thinking he's coming after her, she tries to defend herself. This here is the lone weak-link among the stories, simply through the exploits of two factors built into the main plot. This here has a one-note story that never really gives it a chance to go anywhere without a twist that is extremely illogical and unneeded, so it lumbers on mainly hitting all the expected notes until it's expected climax, driving out much of the suspense out of the premise. The other factor is the trapped-in-one- location nature, never allowing for there to be any suspense built up over the killer gradually coming closer to here, which combines with the first factor to lower it heavily. The finale chase through the building, with some clever hiding tactics and a couple suspenseful moments with her injury, is rather good, but it's too little too late.
Rated R: Violence and Language.
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