When you’re looking for something a little different to watch, you can’t go wrong with an anthology. If you don’t happen to like the first story, just wait a few minutes and a new one will start up. It’s always fresh and you get a lot of story for your two-hour time block. This is especially true for horror movies. Fans of horror are eclectic. There are so many sub-genres and categories that it’s near impossible to please every fan with just one movie… unless it’s an anthology. Viewers get a bit of everything in Legless Corpse’s newest release, Volumes of Blood.
When director/writer/producer P.J. Starks (Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street 2008) decided to make a horror anthology using the Unscripted Film School – a library project he started to make indie filmmaking more accessible to his community – he knew he wanted his friends from Verite Cinema involved. After working on 2014’s Lucky, special effects artist Lisa Duvall, directors Starks and Jakon Bilinksi, writer Todd Martin, actor Dylan Schuller and costume designer/actor Louisa Torres hopped on the band wagon with Starks for Volumes of Blood. Going with the setting of a library – something that made this librarian’s heart skip a beat – Starks got a few other people rounded up, like director of fan favorite The Confession of Fred Krueger (2015) Nathan Thomas Milliner, film critic and author John Kenneth Muir (Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the Horror Film 2009) and director Lee Vervoort (The Truck 2013).
Volumes of Blood is a bunch of films within a film within a film. The wraparound story, titled “It’s A Wrap” and directed by Vervoort, ties the movie together, starting off in sociology class where we get a clip of one of the funniest ‘80s horror parodies I’ve seen in a long time. A student from this class meets friends later in the school’s library and they discuss urban legends, each giving their own version of possible legends that they could create that would spread around the school in record time. The only parameters of their stories is that they have to be scary and they have to take place in the library.
The first attempt at a new and improved urban legend is titled “A Little Pick Me Up” and was directed by Muir. It begins in the library with overwhelmed student Angela, who only wants to finish her paper but time is ticking and nothing is getting her motivated. Along comes the sketchy, sunglasses-wearing Lucem Ferre (Jim O’Rear), who offers the young girl a new product on the market – an energy drink called Ka-Pow! that lasts for hours, tastes great and has no crash. A college students dream come true, right? Angela is skeptical at first, but is desperate and eventually chugs the drink. Needless to say, she probably should have Googled the meaning behind the product’s name before slamming it.
The second story in Volumes of Blood, titled “Ghastly” and directed by Starks, is about a library clerk who, while putting books away, stumbles across a novel called “Ghosts” by Luchem Ferre (the guy from the first story, natch). He puts the ghost book away, but seconds later, it’s right there in front of him. He can’t seem to get rid of the thing. Behind him and always out of the clerk’s vision is a pale, dark haired ghost that reaches out for him. Her eyes are like black holes and her gaunt, pale frame flickers about the short. The clerk never speaks – although he does scream. As a matter of fact, the only voices we hear throughout the short are distorted through the TV or library intercom. That, combined with being filmed in black and white and the creepy, Ring-like ghost make this short my favorite.
The third story, titled “13 After Midnight” and directed by Bilinski, has Sidney (Paige Ward) trying to study for a midterm while her slacker, booze chugging boyfriend, Norman (Grant Niezgodski), irritates her and tries to get her to go to a party. She gives in, but only after finishing her studying, something she can do even after the library closes since Norman’s brother works there. After doing one shot with her beau, Sidney continues studying, only to wake up hours later, disoriented and unable to stand. In the darkened building, she sees a hairy, skull faced monster staring at her, and pulls herself together enough to run. What does this creature want from her?
The fourth and last story in Volumes of Blood, directed by Milliner and titled “Encyclopedia Satanica,” has poor Paige (Kristine Renee Farley), distraught over the recent suicide of her boyfriend, working alone in the library. She talks with a friend who shows her a strange book he found called Encyclopedia Satanica that explains how to call spirits back from the dead, among other nasty things. After her friend leaves, she follows the directions to talk to Derek (Kevin Roach) one last time, but she gets more than she bargained for when he finally appears.
Volumes of Blood is a fantastic foray into horror anthology films. I absolutely loved all of the chin dips to other horror movies and meta nods, including everything from character names (Norman and Sidney, for example) to a debate on ‘80s slashers to the shots of both DVD, from books covers of previous works of both the directors and writers to the, like, radical horror movie clip in the very beginning. There are also all of these little jokes like renaming Norman’s Jack Daniels “Friskey Whiskey” that were fun to find and kept me on my toes. Last but not least, the special effects and gore were top-notch, especially for a microbudget indie film like this one. Be sure to pick up the DVD from LeglessCorpse.com, which was released on April 22, 2016 and will also be available soon for rent or to purchase through Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble. If you end up loving this flick as much as I did, check out our review of Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories.