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Ida Malene Smith Bakke
Sister Maddie (Alyssa Benner) is babysitting for her younger brother, and agrees to tell him some scary stories in order to get him to go to sleep.
The first tale is Massacre on 34th Street, which looks set to be a promising splatter-fest when a nutter dressed as Santa Claus takes an axe to a charity bell-ringer's neck outside a hardware store: while the gore is not all that convincing, it is delightfully OTT. Sadly, the rest of this story is far less bloody, and holds very few surprises as the killer dispatches of a bunch of friends. It seems as though we could be in for a disappointing time.
Story number two, Baby Killer, puts paid to that idea: it's wonderfully twisted, unexpectedly mean spirited, and features some taboo-busting graphic violence. Richard Hackel plays disgraced M.D. Herbert Cain (looking a lot like serial killer doctor Harold Shipman), whose daughter suffers from terminal leukaemia. Desperate to save her life, Cain conducts stem cell research, for which he needs fresh bodies, starting with the janitor at his old hospital (killing him by throwing acid in his face). When his experiment fails, Cain realises that he needs younger subjects, and abducts a child from a playground. Here's where it starts to get really nasty: Cain repeatedly stabs the kid with a scalpel when he refuses to shut up, and then saws the lad's leg off. Cain's next victim is even younger: the deranged doctor visits his heavily pregnant neighbour Sandy (Miranda Howard) and cuts open her belly to remove the fetus, which he takes to his lab. There he pushes his thumbs into its eye sockets and bashes it on the floor. This totally tasteless moment makes up up for the terrible acting from the guys playing the cops who eventually track down Dr. Cain.
Final tale Abstinence follows college pals Mouth (Sean Jones) and Jonah (Joe Bachan), who realise that there is an epidemic on campus, a deadly venereal disease that turns the infected into zombies. Hooking up with female student Mary Beth (Asia Rain), the pals seek safety in the projection booth of the local cinema. Unforgettable images include a random scene from a (fake) porno in which the female star takes more than one bodily fluid in the face, and the sight of Mouth's infected tally-whacker covered in weeping pustular sores. If you like yucky body horror, this one should more than satisfy.
The film's ending, in which the sister is attacked by the characters from her stories, makes very little sense, but it doesn't prevent the film as a whole being an entertaining and surprisingly warped collection of the macabre.
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