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Twisted Tales 2   C+

Brimstone Productions

Year Released: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Directors: Kevin Lindenmuth, Mick McCleery, Santo Morotta
Writers: Kevin Lindenmuth, Mick McCleery, Santo Morotta
Cast: Matt Hirvela, Diane Phillips, Brett Heniss, Mick McCleery, Joe Timko, Deanie Timko, John Poglia, Gary Putz, John Kolinski, Robert Gomez, Santo Morotta, Carlo Giordani, Kristian Mortensen, Maria Trejo.

Review by Michael Scrutchin

Twisted Tales 2 contains five short films that were made before Brimstone Productions had become a staple of the micro-budget indie scene with movies like Addicted to Murder and the Alien Agenda series. In fact, most of the shorts in this anthology were done 12 to 15 years ago. It's quite a grab bag, but even at its worst it's still strangely fun to watch. And there's at least one memorable gem here that fans of Kevin Lindenmuth won't want to miss.

The first short, "If You Love Me," isn't your typical boy meets girl story. Boy meets girl, she wants him to kill her, and so he does -- again and again, as she keeps popping up somewhere after he murders her. This may sound familiar to those who have seen Lindenmuth's Addicted to Murder, in which a serial killer gets involved with a sexy female vampire who gets off on him repeatedly killing her in various ways. Shot on Super-8mm, "If You Love Me" has a grainy, almost unsettling quality about it -- and a nice twist ending to boot. It's cool to see how the idea for this one may have evolved into the feature-length Addicted to Murder.

"Hello, Mr. Goldfish" is up next, directed by Mick McCleery. It's a wacky and supremely weird comedy that involves two buds, some shrooms, and a goldfish. Well, there's a flashback involving lots of goldfish and their shroom-induced consumption by a very annoying guy. It's insane and irritating, but there's an oddball creative energy driving this one. Funny in a I-can't-believe-I'm-laughing-at-this-crap kinda way.

The third short is my personal favorite. "Roadkill," directed by Lindenmuth, is a dreamlike, vaguely disturbing, and darkly funny little gem. Shot mostly in black and white on Super-8mm, it has a surreal, haunting atmosphere, but also a bit of that sly humor Lindenmuth often eases into his films. I won't give away the specifics of what it's about, but the title may give you a hint. "Roadkill" rocks.

Another one directed by Mick McCleery, "The Heist," is just plain silly. At least it's enthusiastically silly, I guess, even if it's immediately forgettable. Nuff said.

The last short, "Knight Beat," directed by Santo Morotta, is a pleasantly entertaining horror romp about some cops and a reporter fighting against a horde of vampires on an island. Most of the baddies are wearing cheesy masks, but, hey, that Max Schreck Nosferatu mask looks creepy as hell. It's all in the name of comic-book style fun (it features comic-book captions as scene transitions and cool touches like that).

Twisted Tales 2 may be a bumpy ride, but it's never boring. The tales don't have any real connection (unlike the first Twisted Tales anthology, which had a clever wrap-around story), but it's nice to see some of the work Lindenmuth and company did before Brimstone Productions became an important player in the micro-budget indie horror and sci-fi scene.

Review published 10.06.2000.

Follow Michael Scrutchin on Twitter or Letterboxd.

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