Those who are unfamiliar with the blood drinking mistress of the dark, Queen Malvolia (Jenn Nangle: Irrational Fear, Split, Lilith) have been missing a growing talent in the indie world. For about a year, this seductive demoness has been known to host her own creepy, quirky, Tales from the Crypt/Elvira-esque YouTube episodes as well as Scream Team’s anthology release of 10/31. Last season Malvolia the Queen of Screams unleashed a Halloween special featuring the underworld-dwelling horror hostess going topside for a party, which didn’t bode well for the guests who summoned her. This year, the Queen is back with an all new special, The Queen of Screams: A Halloween Special. And she has been brewing a taste for revenge to quench her thirst for the blood.
When four victims awake confused and disoriented within the walls of a seemingly abandoned hospital, Malvolia’s unmistakable voice breaks through the building’s intercom speaker. Welcoming her guests… err, victims, the Queen appears before them with a devilish sparkle in her eye. Bringing to light the atrocities of which each human is guilty, Malvolia details her desire to play a game. Each victim must face one challenge. However, she promises that only one will walk free while the others leave in body bags. After bringing a previous victim back to life for another round of devious torture, the demoness summons her butler, Victor (Garrett Lee), to serve a round of drinks to toast this sadistic game of death.
As the games begin, it quickly becomes obvious that trusting The Queen of Screams’ word is ill advised. Anyone in their right mind should expect that a scorned demoness of darkness set on revenge will not play fair. And in a Saw-esque fashion, choices are made that determine the fate of each victim. One by one, the players are dispatched, leaving only a final girl… or guy… to walk free. Or do they?
While retaining a certain level of quirky humor to which Malvolia fans have come to know and love, this year’s Halloween special, directed by Richard Trejo, raises the bar on all levels with a darker twist. The first noticeable difference for this Malvolia segment is the production value. While earlier episodes relied heavily on the script and cast due to limitations, this Halloween special dives deeper into details. Everything from cinematic effects and film locations to a creepy score and practical effects produced by Chronix EFX all blend nicely to form a thrilling and chilling Halloween treat for the season.
Higher production value is not the only noticeable change from earlier Malvolia episodes. Nangle outdoes herself writing this year’s script by taking on an angle of frustration most people must feel in the indie scene of entertainment. This Malvolia story displays delightful depth mirroring self-serving, two-faced individuals seeking the limelight for themselves in a cutthroat industry. The Queen’s victims include an online pirate named Adam (Cyrus Soliman), a malicious blogger named Nancy (Amanda Cano), an aspiring filmmaker named Hunter (Hunter Johnson: 2 Jennifer), a former suitor named Jack (Raymond Vinsik Williams) and a self-proclaimed scream queen named Sydney (Danielle Inks: Insomniac). With each character representing different vile sides of the jungle that is the entertainment industry, it is difficult not to side with the demoness as she quenches her thirst for revenge.
Every one of the newcomers in the cast lineup fell right into their roles in a way that was just fitting for a Queen of Screams production adding a touch of humor to their loathsome characters. Along with the new members, several familiar faces join Nangle in the festivities of Malvolia horror. Charles Chudabala (Irrational Fear) and Brialynn Massie (Vengeance) make a comical appearance as Malvolia’s minions who are eager to please their queen while Lee shows the badass side of the butler in a supernatural fist fight. Just before a spine-crushing Mortal Kombat move, Lee says a line that is a reminiscence of Jason Lee’s character of Azrael from Dogma (1999). Is this pure coincidence? Likely so. Is it appropriate and deeply ironic, given the two actor’s last names? Absolutely.
With a steady crew, solid writing and new additions, this is sure to be a favorite among Malvolia followers while gaining some new fans in the process. Developing a piece of entertainment is never easy on a modest budget, but the only improvement I might suggest is tying each victim’s challenge more closely into their offense. Regardless, this clever horror short of entertainment has heart.. .perhaps borrowed from one of Malvolia’s victims. ‘Tis the season for horror indulgence, so make sure to sink your teeth into this year’s Malvolia special, The Queen of Screams: A Halloween Special, by following the link below!