Director – Lance W. Dreesen, Clint Hutchison
Cast – John Ritter, David DeLuise, Allison Smith, Rachel York, Carmine Giovinazzo,
Fredric Lehne, Wade Williams, Carl Strano, Bryan Cranston, Katelin Petersen, Jodi Harris, Marcus Bagwell, Brenda Strong, Will Estes, Shonda Farr, Barbara Jansen, Jerry Day
Release Year – 2000
Reviewed by John of the Dead
Terror Tract caught my attention thanks to its title, and I admit that had I not read a few positive remarks about this one I would have passed it over for sure. Time and time again I have been let down by low-budget anthologies that result in exhaustingly poor experiences, but that was not the case with this one. While flawed at times and utterly predictable, Terror Tract gives us three sweet tales and an awesome horror experience thanks to awesome execution from the film’s two directors.
John Ritter(It, Bride of Chucky) stars as real estate agent Bob Carter, who is aiding a young married couple in buying their first home. When the couple begins to ask questions regarding what happened to the previous tenants of the homes, the honest realtor gives them the gory details about the fates of the three families before them.
I absolutely love horror anthologies because we are pretty much given multiple (usually three or more) horror films within one horror film, keeping the viewer engaged thanks to the short runtime of each entry. The three tales given to us in this piece each come with their own unique brand of horror, and the horror sure does reign supreme.
The film opens up with “Nightmare”, in which a married woman and her lover are caught by her suspicious husband, and in the ensuing battle the husband winds up dead with a gaping hole in his chest left by a double barreled shotgun. The two lovers believe their worries are over and once things settle down they can live their lives together, but when the woman begins having nightmares of her husband’s return from the grave, her new life is met with terror when her nightmares become reality. I really enjoyed this entry, and found it a great way to get the film going. This was not the first time that I saw a story regarding a dead lover/someone returning from the grave to exact revenge on those who wronged him/her, but for the sake of enjoyment I found this story engaging and well-written. It was awesome to watch the wife and her new lover suffer much distress as they try and make their way through the first critical stages of covering up her husband’s death, and when his return his the screen we are given awesome vengeance, and you know that I love vengeance.
After “Nightmare” comes my least favorite story of the film, “Bobo”. In “Bobo” a young daddy’s girl befriends a strange monkey in a red suit that found its way to their backyard, and her father agrees to let the monkey stay until its owner comes to retrieve it. While the girl is loving life thanks to her new friend, her father senses the evil that the monkey embodies, and soon enough the entire family witnesses it first hand. When I say that this was my “least” favorite of the bunch, that does not mean that it was not a positive story, because it sure as hell was. The idea of an evil monkey wreaking havoc on a family is far from original (Monkey Shines anyone?), but it worked in this effort thanks to the amount of horror provided at the hands of the monkey, which rivaled all over evil monkey films that I have seen.
To close out the anthology we are given “Come To Granny”, which was just as enjoyable as “Nightmare”. In this entry we are given an attractive psychiatrist who agrees to see a late visitor who arrives at her practice without appointment and refuses to leave. The visitor claims to suffer premonitions in which he is able to see each victim of “The Granny Killer” before she is killed, and the psychiatrist is next. This was a sweet idea that blended the supernatural (premonition) element with the slasher (The Granny Killer) element and gave us great results. I loved that the killer donned a granny mask and even spoke in the tone of the typical grandma, which was utterly creepy and had me wishing that this entry were a full-length film of its own.
As usual with these films, we are given a prologue and epilogue that play into the film, and the epilogue, titled “Make Me An Offer”, was a cool way to end the piece thanks to the high levels of horror it provides, but it does leave quite a few unanswered questions, despite consisting of maybe 10 minute of runtime (at the most) as well.
Terror Tract comes with two directors, with Lance W. Dreeson(Big Bad Wolf) giving us “Bobo” and “Make Me An Offer” and writer Clint Hutchison directing “Nightmare” and “Come To Granny”. Dresson did a good job with his episodes, giving us more horror than expected with “Bobo” that comes in the form of some nice grisly kills at the hands of the monkey. His execution of the characters is good as well, and we watch this seemingly perfect family enjoying the “American Dream” suffer horror that they never expected to come their way. Also, we get a cameo appearance by former professional wrestler “Buff” Bagwell, which I thought was pretty damn cool. “Make Me An Offer” was positive, and while it was short in runtime it was very well executed and included a fantastic performance from John Ritter, as well as a horrific climax that I expected but really did not see coming.
Director Clint Hutchison was my hero in this one, giving us the awesome “Nightmare” in which the simple horror used was executed to near-perfection and resulted in possibly the creepiest entry in the film. He continued his awesomeness with “Come To Granny”, which gave us the sweetest killer the film had to offer in the “Granny Killer”, who was used to full potential in giving us awesome horror thanks to the look of the killer and his/her (we never find out) mannerisms. Hutchison’s atmosphere in both entries is fantastic, and contains all of the dark and moody elements that make for good atmospheric horror, and his execution of both killers is great and results in favorable kill sequences.
Overall, Terror Tract is another positive horror anthology that gives us horror fans all of what we want to see. While this one went virtually unnoticed when it debuted, it gives us great storylines that despite cliches managed to deliver good horror thanks to great direction from both directors, and finally gave me a low-budget horror anthology worth watching.