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Trapped Ashes
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24 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

A fantastically good time!

10/10
Author: blindingcoffin from Canada
18 September 2006

I saw this one at the Midnight Madness screening in Toronto and I have to say I was thoroughly entertained. Before the film the producer mentioned he wanted to bring back an Amicus-style anthology film, which it definitely captures the feeling of, however with a very distinctively Japanese feel (most notably in Sean Cunningham's episode) as well as a twinge of Cronenberg-style body horror.

It's great to see Ken Russell back shooting films for the big screen where he belongs and his episode is complete and total obsessive madness where you can tell that he had as much fun making it as I had watching it. Cannibalistic breasts may not be the subtlest of images, but if you go with it you'll have a blast.

The next episode is what might possible be the best and most experimental Sean Cunningham film ever made. Combining animation with some rather shocking scenes of necrophilia and traditional Japanese horror imagery, the episode is both surprising and creepy. It's quite bold and radical, entirely different from anything Cunningham has done before.

The Monte Hellman episode, that was lauded at Cannes, is a cool change of pace for the film, displaying a deep love of cinema history as well as adding a haunting twist to the mythology of the moving image.

And finally, the last episode from newcomer John Gaeta is an extremely well made body horror story that's based on a semi-true story (as we learned from the Midnight Madness Q+A) about a woman's fraternal link with her mother's tapeworm. This is one of the most original and interesting stories of the movie that features great concepts and imagery.

The Joe Dante directed wrap around segments are suitably amusing (even get a Dick Miller cameo) and it's fantastic as always to see John Saxon do his thing.

Writer and producer Dennis Bartok has been able to round up some of cinema's heroes and give them an opportunity to do something different. His screenplay is very consistent however in retaining a singular and entertaining voice between the different personalities of the directors.

This is the kind of film you should just sit back, relax and enjoy as a sometimes subversive, but always quirky trip into the genre. It seethes with pure adoration for the movies, without falling into forced reference-laden in-jokes.

I, for one, had a blast watching it.

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18 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Thank god for Netflix.....

2/10
Author: sanjr1 from United States
2 August 2008

All I can say is THANK GOD FOR NETFLIX!!! I'm the type of cinephile who will buy a movie sight unseen if the filmmakers interest me or if it's a horror film that sounds interesting. In that sense "Trapped Ashes" fulfilled the criteria perfectly....

I realized recently though that I really am wasting money buying movies unseen so I signed up with Netflix figuring that I could rent new releases that appealed to me & if I liked em' I would purchase em'. "Trapped Ashes" was a movie I was dying to see. How could it go wrong?? Russell, Cunninngham, Dante, Hellman & Gaeta (The rookie of the 5) each directing a segment of a horror film?? It's gotta rock...Doesn't it?? It doesn't rock. It's actually pretty much a complete failure. It plays like one of those softcore "Horror" movies that used to play on Showtime in the late 80's thru the mid 90's. Aside from some so-so effects in the first segment there is nothing to recommend this disaster at all.

I returned it to Netflix on the same day I received it, Thankful for the money I saved by not purchasing it. Be warned...It sucks!!

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Creepshow revisited

4/10
Author: dschmeding from Germany
24 July 2008

I don't know why but I used to be a huge fan of Creepshow and Tales from the crypt although the later series were rather lame. "Trapped Ashes" is very much in this tradition and features 4 horror shorts bound together in a surrounding plot of 2 couples and 2 solo people going on a sightseeing on a Hollywood movie site and getting stuck in an hold horror house with an old guy who leads them around. Turns out they can only leave if each tells their most frightening personal story... so here we go... Story 1 is about an actress who doesn't get any new jobs and decides to get a boob job. Now after her life turns around for the positive she soon realizes that her breast are vampire boobies feeding on human blood which doesn't go to well for her lovers. This story is pretty bizarre and trashy and captures the spirit of old "Tales from the crypt" stories best. Its totally idiotic but the end is so over the top its fun. Story 2 is a ghost-story about a couple moving to Japan where the woman is seduced by a monk who dies and takes her to hell where she turns into a succubus. Her husband soon learns he has to free her from there by feeding her a spell. The story is OK, but as frightening or thrilling as a Sesamestreet Episode. At least you get some naked shots and some nice animation sequences of old Japanese paintings which work pretty well. Story 3 is pretty much nothing leading nowhere. An actor and his best friend a scriptwriter regularly meet for chess until a girl appears. Soon the scriptwriter disappears and the actor begins a love affair to find out years later that the girl is some kind of ghost/witch/vampire... honestly I couldn't care less because the episode is boring and makes no sense. Story 4 is another strange one about a girl who grows up in her mothers womb along with a tapeworm and lives with a strange desire for collecting food for her "twin". When she is treated badly by her stepmother the "twin" takes revenge.

What most of the stories suffer from is incredibly long passages of introducing of characters and that is way stretched and often even unnecessary for the plod. So when the action starts most of the time is up and there is not too much time for the horror to happen. Like most of those story collections there is some bad apples in there and I couldn't recommend this average movie just for the vampire boobies and the finale. This is just for real die hard fans of horror shorts... the slow ghost movies won't be too interesting for neither "Tales..." Fans nor others because they don't lead nowhere. Too bad...

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13 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

Has its moments

5/10
Author: Chromium_five from the wild frontier
23 September 2007

I went to see this solely on the basis that it was an anthology horror film. The best I can say about it is that if you are looking for a movie that will make you writhe in discomfort for a couple hours (which is what I was hoping for), this will probably do the trick. The first two stories have the combined effect of making you never want to have sex again. The fourth attempts (less successfully) to put you off both sex and food. The third is a bit of breather in that it has none of the grisly horror of the others and feels like a decent, thoughtful movie that was mistakenly put in the reel. The central narrative, unfortunately, is pretty dull. All of the stories together, while varying in tone, can be boiled down to one basic message: women should be feared. The movie on the whole is an admirable effort and there are certain images that will stay with you for all time either for their grossness or coolness (the breast surgery and the womb-cam in particular), but it does feel like it could have achieved a lot more.

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10 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

The End of the Stories

7/10
Author: Claudio Carvalho from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
7 February 2010

The actress Phoebe Kane (Rachel Veltri) and her boyfriend Andy (Jayce Bartok), the architect Henry (Scott Lowell) and his wife Julia (Lara Harris), the former director Leo (John Saxon) and Nathalie (Michèle- Barbara Pelletier) receive an invitation for a VIP Tour in the Ultra Studios. When they see the spooky house where the missing director Desmond Hacker filmed "Hysteria", they ask their tour guide (Henry Gibson) to stop the car to visit the infamous house. In a moment, they find that they are trapped in a room without any exit and the guide suggests them to tell the scariest experience of each one like in "Hysteria". Each one tells a spooky tale until they finally discover the end of their stories.

"Trapped Ashes" follows the structure of "Creepshow" with a lead story and four segments in the format of "Tales from the Crypt". The lead segment is directed by Joe Dante and the motive why the participants disclose their stories is silly and unreasonable. Ken Russell directs the funny and bizarre "The Girl with the Golden Breasts" with the artificial breasts implanted by the actress sucking human blood. Sean S. Cunningham directs "Jibaku" with the journey to hell of Julia in Japan. Monte Hellman directs the erotic "Stanley's Girlfriend" and with sexy Nina performed by the gorgeous unknown Amelia Cooke affecting the relationship of two best friends. John Gaeta directs the gruesome segment "My Twin, The Worm". In the end, "Trapped Ashes" is a good entertainment despite the unfair reviews in IMDb. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Armadilha do Terror" ("Trap of Terror")

Note: On 17 January 2012, I saw this film again.

On 21 August 2015, I saw this film again.

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13 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Very fun throwback to 70s anthology horror

Author: scooterandpetunia from United States
18 September 2006

Remember all those British-produced anthology horror films that sometimes made it to US theaters back in the 70s, but were more often screened on Saturday late night or Sunday afternoon television? Stuff like THE VAULT OF HORROR or TORTURE GARDEN or FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE (or TALES FROM THE CRYPT or TALES THAT WITNESS MADNESS and on and on)? TRAPPED ASHES is a heartfelt and enthusiastic (and largely successful) attempt to revisit that kind of sometimes-serious, sometimes-funny, sometimes-trashy scare flick.

Encompassing four short episodes and a wrap-around set in a deserted Hollywood studio tour's "haunted house," TRAPPED ASHES explores vampiric breast implants, horny spirits of suicidal Japanese monks, tapeworm twins, and the soul-sucking girlfriend of Stanley Kubrick. Some of the episodes are more successful than others, with the most confident probably being the "Stanley's Girlfriend" one, directed by the most decidedly NON-genre vet Monte Hellman. It's a really touching, elegiac little piece, full of imagination and a genuine love for the world of film. The other three stories - and the wraparound - are more traditionally horrific, but also very inspired in their mixture of sex, horror and a warped approach to the genre. The Ken Russell segment in particular, "The Girl with the Golden Breasts," had the audience in Toronto alternately laughing with glee or squirming in discomfort, leading to three audience casualties!

TRAPPED ASHES will appeal most to horror fans who are looking for a sometimes familiar, but definitely unique and twisted type of anthology genre film. Full of breasts, blood, great special effects, appearances by older actors like Henry Gibson, John Saxon, and a cool, "blink and you'll miss him!" cameo by none other than Dick Miller, it's a wonderful horror-movie debut for screenwriter Dennis Bartok and a great turn by all the veteran directors (and new director/vet f/x guy John Gaeta).

Highly recommended for a fun and old-fashioned-style scary time at the movies.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

A lot of B movie fun!

Author: Prolox from Canada
19 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of people on tour in an empty Hollywood studio back lot, beg their driver to stop in & visit a famous house on the lot used by a filmmaker from many years ago (who as we find out turned to satanism in his later years) to film an anthology horror movie where trapped strangers unable to find a way out of the house, were forced to tell each other ghost stories in order to get out, we'll guess what happens to these people once they get in the house?..anyways the elderly short driver of the tour, tries to get them to tell a horror story, something true that's happened in their real life, figuring it must be the only way to get out of the house, I mean it worked in the movie right? At first their a little hesitant, however they soon give in. Story #1 is directed by filmmaker KEN RUSSEL (GOTHIC) this tale is told by a gorgeous B movie actress, in which she relates the true story of what happened to herself when she was struggling to be an actress but kept getting turned down by filmmakers more interested in hiring big breasted beauties than girls with smaller breasts that had more talent. Deciding to get an operation to enhance her breast size she visits a surgeon who promises that she will be satisfied with the results following the operation & sure enough her career booms! with an overabundance of B movie roles (most of the them are pure sleaze but who cares as long as you're getting work right?) & a great new boyfriend! soon she discovers that the breast implants are not only big, but very hungry producing razor sharp teeth that like to feast on the living flesh (no really I'm not making this up I swear it!) this is perhaps the funniest story of the lot with Russel poking fun at B movie actresses & their filmmakers more concerned with exposing the female body of a big breasted beauty rather than hiring real acting talent for their small budget projects, this tale was a delight & right on target with it's many jabs. Story #2 directed by SEAN (FRIDAY THE 13TH) CUNNINGHAM is told by a couple who think back to when they had marriage problems visiting japan, where the wife meets a handsome, though bizarre man who shows her a painting in another room & is later found dead by her in a cemetery after he hangs himself. As it turns out, he was a monk interested in all things involving the pits of hell & comes back as a decaying zombie to seduce her at first & then take her back to hell with him, making her one of the devils minions, while the husband tries to save her. This is a bizarre story filled with interesting visions & a woman having sex with a decayed corpse. The film has many H.P. LOVECRAFT touches. Story #3 Directed by MONTE (SILENT NIGHT DEALY NIGHT 3) HELLMAN, has an aging filmmaker telling the tale of his meeting with a critically praised young film-maker many years ago & finds they have the very same interests. They quickly become friends, until one day his friend leaves after not talking to him in over a month, leaving behind his seductive girlfriend who quickly seduces his friend. Years later, following his friends death, he discovers a horrifying secret of not only why his friend left him without ever saying goodbye, but also who or rather what his old girlfriend really was... & finally story #4 directed by one of the special effects wizards of THE MATRIX series, has a woman recounting the tale of her mother who gave birth to her & who grew along in her mommy's womb with a tape worm she accidentally swallowed while eating uncooked meat. The worm itself goes missing as the girl grows older, but nonetheless continues to share a psychic bond with it & soon the little girl is taken from her mother to live with her father & her mother's former best friend who gets meaner & meaner with the girl who calls upon the tape worm or rather "her twin" to take care of the problem & of course which anthology series would be complete without a twist ending? Fun, weird, horrific, sexy, though none to scary horror yarn is far & away the best horror anthology to come out in many a year! The film is well acted, directed, interesting & features a few familiar genre faces such as DICK MILLER who plays a miserable looking security guard in the wrap around (which JOE DANTE project would be complete without Dick Miller?) JOHN (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET) SAXON & many others provide horror fans with something fresh & far More entertaining than most horror anthologies. A fun B movie ride in tradition of TALES FROM THE CRYPT & CREEPSHOW don't miss this!

**** stars

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5 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

Below average erotic anthology

4/10
Author: Anthony Pittore III (Shattered_Wake) from Los Angeles, CA
31 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A group of tourists on a movie studio lot are locked in the House of Horror and forced to tell 'true' ghost stories about themselves in order to be released. The stories range from plastic surgery nightmares to necrophilia.

Mysteriously, this film started filming shortly after Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted was released. . . but, I'll just chalk that up to coincidence. From some of the (former) great minds of horror that have brought us such horrors as Friday the 13th, Altered States, The Lair of the White Worm, The Howling, Piranha, Gremlins, The 'burbs, and. . . umm. . . Silent Night, Deadly Night III: Better Watch Out!. . . we're now given Trapped Ashes. It's anthology of four (plus wraparound) stories that vary in quality from the average 'Jibaku' to the pathetic 'Golden Breasts,' we're given quite an array of 'terrifying' tales. Like most anthologies, it's not so much the point of the stories. . . just the stories themselves. However, Trapped Ashes did manage to give a reason for the anthology, so kudos to that. As far as the stories go:

- The Girl with Golden Breasts: The idea was interesting, like Teeth, but with a different part of the female anatomy. There was some good, cringeworthy gore. . . but that's about it. The acting was amateurish, only accentuated by terrible dialogue (including my most hated error: outwardly spoken inner dialogue). As the story progressed, it became more and more ridiculous, resulting in an almost embarrassing conclusion.

- Jibaku: In hopes of classing up the film with some Asian flare, the next story headed to Japan. It's fairly disgusting as it studies some weird necrophiliac fantasies and the story is interesting, but it becomes a bit muddled as it goes through and is ultimately forgettable.

- Stanley's Girlfriend: The third tale, this one about the peril of deceit, is the 'classiest' of the bunch, utilizing mood & suspense more than outward horror. Unfortunately, in an attempt to be slow-burning, it ends up just being downright slow. It's not poorly made, just seems rather unimportant until the final reveal.

- My Twin – The Worm: Uninvolving is probably the best word to describe this one. It was an interesting parasite-twin story. . . but, I didn't really care all that much and found myself easily distracted.

Although I didn't like the tales, I did like the idea for the wraparound. Unfortunately, an anthology made up of lame stories makes for a lame anthology. And, overall, that's what this film turns out to be: pretty lame. If you're heavy into anthologies, give it a look. . . but you can do much better.

Final verdict: 4/10.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

5 uneven Tales From the Crypt style stories done cheaply by master directors makes for just okay viewing

5/10
Author: dbborroughs from Glen Cove, New York
30 July 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Tales from the Crypt like anthology of a group of people on a studio tour who get trapped in a "psycho" like house and tell ghost stories to escape. Of interest mainly for the directors involved-Joe Dante, Ken Russel, Sean Cunningham, Monte Hellman the film itself is a mixed bag. One story has to do with an actress getting her breasts done, another has to do with a Stanley Kubrick like director and an actor friend, Another has to do with a couple who go to Japan and discover a hanged man and the last has to do with a young woman and her twin..or something. Three of the four stories aren't bad, if over long. One (the girl and her twin) is just fair. The problem is the films don't really add up to much, more so that the sting in each tale is left for the very end of the film where we are told what really happened. Its a weird way to do it, and it almost works, but not quite since any tension from the stories are long gone by the final revelations (There is also a couple of lapses of internal logic as a result of the breaking apart.) Worth a look on a slow Saturday on cable. I do have to say that the Ken Russell "Girl with the Golden Breasts" tale is very amusing and a vast improvement over his direct to video home movies. I especially loved his cameo.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Trapped Ashes

5/10
Author: Scarecrow-88 from United States
12 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Anthology shaped in spirit after the Amicus films from back in the day. Except, unlike those past anthologies where one director helmed the entire series of stories throughout the omnibus, "Trapped Ashes" features stories directed by a series of familiar names. Joe Dante(Gremlins;The Howling;Matinée)directs the wraparound story about various people(a screenwriter & his actress wife, a disgruntled married couple with issues, a down-on-his-luck writer whose now a relic, a weird employee at a theater who books films there(..perhaps modeled after Dennis Bartok himself who wrote "Trapped Ashes)and has a case of the munchies) who converge to ride a studios tour, guided by Henry Gibson. They plead in visiting the forbidden "Hysteria" mansion once operated by an effects maestro, known for his salacious sexual behavior and wicked parties, who was abandoned by Ultra Studios(..the setting for this film). Once inside the characters and their guide find themselves trapped in a room with seemingly no exits, this scenario perhaps modeled after the film Hysteria where the mansion was it's setting. The tour guide proposes that horrific stories shared by members of the trapped group might lead to their exit from the mansion and so the anthology begins.

Ken Russell(Gothic;Lair of the White Worm)directs the first tale regarding a pretty actress, nearing 30(..which is 60 in dog years in Hollywood)who decides to try out a new breast implant procedure(..using flesh from cadavers)in the hopes that it'll assist her non-successful career. The procedure has a nasty side-effect..her breast implants need human blood and drain the bodies of victims! The second tale, directed by Sean Cunningham(The New Kids;Friday the 13th)concerns a married couple in Japan and the wife who is haunted by a monk who committed suicide, ravaging her body as a rotting corpse, kidnapping her soul with the husband having to enter a hole to hell in order to save her. The third tale, from Monte Hellman(Two-Lane Black Top;Silent Night, Deadly Night III), shows how a seductress, with a taste for human blood, comes between friends, a director named Stanley(*wink*)and a writer, both whose careers are on the rise. The fourth tale, from John Gaeta(a visual effects expert), focuses on a pregnancy where the baby must share her womb with a parasitic worm which was ingested as the mother ate undercooked meat, and the aftermath. Lots of nudity(..the Russell tale obviously displays breasts, because Rachel Veltri's are creatures which suck blood), necrophilia(..during Lara Harris' "assault", mostly consensual, she actually puts her fingers into his face and under a chest bone while riding him on top!), a parasite molesting a female victim(..she's the stepmother of Michèle-Barbara Pelletier's girl-child who beguiled her father away from her mother), animation mixed with live action(..while the husband searches for his possessed wife in hell, Cunningham's tale uses anime to enliven certain aspects the low budget couldn't compensate), and some minor computer graphics(..in Gaeta's tale, we see inside the womb how the baby is affected by her mother and father's broken marriage with all the shouting). VERY low-budget, and perhaps shows signs of an amateur screen-writer, Dennis Bartok(..who operates the American Cinematheque)because, disappointing to me at least, the tales aren't quite up to par. I didn't think the cast was as bad as others, but the talents involved in this film perhaps deserved better material and actors(..other than the reliable vets, Dick Miller, who barely has any lines, and, especially, Gibson)than were given to them. Most of the tales, other than the Hellman tale, Stanley's Girlfriend, which was pretty much memorable for who the director turned out to actually be, left me rather underwhelmed(..particularly Cunningham's, which I felt needed more exposition). I thought Russell's was sick and morbid enough, also containing a wicked sense of humor and playful performance from the adorable Veltri, but most of the tales really leave anything to be desired. It was great seeing John Saxon in a major role within the film, hitting on a married woman, so there are a few treats for horror buffs. Maybe not enough, though, to recommend to the average horror fan. There's a great deal of unpleasant violence(..the aforementioned necrophilia, finger nails scratching down a man's chest before the woman drinks his blood, and a torn throat of a victim whose blood is used to nourish Veltri's monster tits)which might bode well with gorehounds. Maybe, anticipating this as much as I was, the film couldn't live up to my expectations, but I was expecting so much more than the results provided.

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