Monday, October 14, 2013

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear (Scream Factory) - A Clever Horror Anthology To Be Seen, Heard, Smelled, Tasted and Touched

I don’t have Chiller TV, but I imagine that it’s like Monsters HD and FearNet in that it provides horror related programming; Some original. Some older material. I’m all for that model especially if said channel wants to support independent releasing in addition to major Hollywood releases and has original programming that doesn’t have Roger Corman’s name all over it (no offense SyFy, but the neo-giant monster attack movies are fun but created an unacceptable CG nuisance on the small screen). What we have for you today is an original piece of Chiller TV; a horror anthology that bases its portmanteau of stories around the five senses. My initial reaction is one of skepticism based solely on the fact that the anthology horror movie seems to have become, in part, a dumping ground for half idea, non starters containing one solid story that wasn’t long enough to make into a feature length movie and then filler to round out the release. While there are exceptions to that current rule, it does unfortunately hold true for quite a few releases coming out in the last few years. It’s important to remember that though we may get as many poorly created portmanteau pictures as we do, oh say zombie flicks, a few may shine. Let us not forget Trick R Treat. Let us not forget VHS and VHS2 or even Chillerama (all of which I adore). Add Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear from Scream Factory to your list of solid horror anthologies with captivating, original stories, cohesion and overall originality without feeling like it is original for original sake. 

Synopsis from Scream Factory:

From the people that brought you Steve Niles’ Remains and Dead Souls comes a terrifying new anthology film based on the human senses…

SMELL – Directed by Nick Everhart. Left by his wife and stuck in a dead-end job, Seth Kyle’s life is the definition of undesirable…until a mysterious saleswoman shows up at his door offering him “a scent to die for.” Armed with a new air of self-confidence and a never-ending barrage of attention, Seth quickly learns that the smell of success comes with a deadly price.

SIGHT – Directed by Miko Hughes. Unsatisfied with his own version of reality, an optometrist develops a machine that can harness the visions of all of his patients. In an attempt to show his favorite patient’s abusive boyfriend the error of his ways, the doctor injects a series of viciously brutal images into his mind, leading to a visceral bloodbath of reality and hallucinations.

TOUCH – Directed by Emily Hagins (My Sucky Teen Romance). After a car accident leaves him stranded in the middle of nowhere, a 12-year-old blind boy stumbles into the stomping grounds of a sadistic serial killer. Using his memory and strong sense of touch, he must navigate through the unfamiliar territory as the killer quickly closes in.

TASTE – Directed by Eric England. A street-smart hacker is brought in for a job interview with a mysterious corporation. He soon learns that the company is led by a man-eater who has impeccable taste…and doesn’t take “no” for an answer.

HEARING – Directed by Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton (YellowBrickRoad). While researching an urban legend about a song that’s long been thought lost, a group of friends piece together all the existing recordings of it, bringing it back to life for the first time in decades. Before long, they discover the bone-chilling truth of what happens to anyone who listens to it and why it was buried for so long.

I don’t want to give too much away, but I’ll simply comment on each story briefly to give you a feeling of what is working and not working on about this release.

 Sight – A creepy tale of the mad scientist in the modern day. Some nice bits of gore to compliment an otherwise sterile piece. 

Touch – Riveting tale that follows a young man through a very scary world that he cannot hope to see. He’s gotta do battle with a big bad crazy. Ultimately, we know that our hero though young, has a chance to outsmart the maniac he can’t even see.

Taste – Yummy gory gooey with some creepy imagery. If you hate your office life, worker bees, this might be a fun story for you to spice up the water cooler. 

Smell – the opening story for the release and one that is actually quite funny… until it turns gross. It’s also somewhat of a moral tale.

Hearing – This is the final story in the compendium. It’s creepy and perfect though I dislike some of the camera work. Ignore it and enjoy this tale of music that infects your brain, and I’m not talking about the pop drivel that you mindlessly sing along too while going through your daily routine. The end of this story is perfect.

My fears were assuaged and any reluctance I had concerning this Chiller TV release was quickly assuaged after watching and enjoy Smell. I’ve heard some pretty damning criticism of some other Chiller TV original releases, but this ain’t one of them. It’s thoughtful and threaded properly to provide a genuinely bonded work that will make you daydream about the potential plot for each sense. The budget is obviously low, but the release works within its limited financial constraint well, not opting for big stars or effects that would otherwise be too expensive to be successful at.

There aren’t many special features on this disc which seems appropriate given its recent release, lack of stars and limited budget. It’s just not economical to go balls to the wall on a disc like this even with some decent directors at the helm of each story (directors of Yellow Brick Road, first time director who is the former actor from Pet Semetery and Emily Hagins of My Sucky teen Romance). It contains a deleted scene as it’s bonus feature which is gory good. The quality of the disc is good and two separate audio options, 5.1 and 2.0 DTS are available. 

Chilling Visions: 5 Senses of Fear is available starting October 22nd, but you can preorder it from Scream Factory now. Let is surprise you. If you’re an anthology nut and need something fresh with adequate gore, plenty of original storytelling and some genuine creep-outs, this is perfect for you and perfect for Halloween. 
The only thing they might have done differently is given us this release in senso-vision. Like Polyester with the little scratch and sniff card.


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