Scare Package (2020)

From the duo who brought you Camera Obscura and The Pale Door comes this hilariously blood-soaked anthology that is sure to attract fans of both genres.

Chad Buckley is your resident horror aficionado who runs a retro video store called Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium. Hawn is a young man who applies for a job at the video store and Chad likes his spirit so he hires him much to the chagrin of the overbearing and sometimes overstaying Sam, who is Chad’s best buddy. As Hawn learns about the business, Chad introduces him to a series of films that could tickle Hawn’s newfound hobby.

We are introduced to a variety of horror stories. They include a monster in the woods story, a men’s gathering that soon reveals its true nature, a trio of girls in for the night of their lives, a group of teens facing off against a deadly killer using any means necessary, and a woman who discovers her spirit has been corrupted. Just when Chad thinks he’s got it all, he is in for the shocker of a lifetime as he’s sent to a mental institution with others who are just as nuts as he is…or so he thinks.

There have been many great horror anthologies. Creepshow. Tales from the Darkside. Tales from the Crypt. Tales from the Hood. We may have just found the next great anthology with this blending of comedy and horror from the duo of Aaron B. Koontz and Cameron Burns. However, they did not pull this off alone as they are joined by a group of indie genre directors who bring it all in one nice little “scare package”, pun heavily intended.

The film begins with “Cold Open”, directed by Emily Hagins. This is the hilarious story of Mike Myers (yes that’s his name), played by Jon Michael Simpson, who tells the audience and his friend, about the tropes used in horror movies as he always seems to be at the right place and right time…or is he? Then, we get to the core story of the film, “Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium”, directed by Koontz himself. This is where the fun begins as we see Koontz regular Jeremy King, in his first lead role, ham it up as Chad, the video store owner who takes young Hawn, played by Hawn Tran, under his wing. Byron Brown’s Sam seems to be that annoying type who just can’t let go of the fact he tends to sometimes overstay his welcome.

My first favorite is the third segment, “One Time in the Woods”, directed by Chris McInroy, where we see a double entendre of a man who melts into some sort of oozy monster only to have the potential victims saved and then double crossed by a man, who is revealed to be a serial killer. While the killer hacks his way through the victims, we still see Mr. Ooze talking throughout it and making me crack up through the entire segment. The fourth segment, “M.I.S.T.E.R.”, directed by Noah Segan, is a funny story of a guy who joins a men’s group as they complain about their significant others but of course, there’s a twist to the story. We then have the Andujar Sisters’ “Girls Night Out of Body”, where a trio of roommates hoping to have a kickass Halloween girls’ night get something far more sinister.

One of the other funny segments is Anthony Cousins’ “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” in which a group of teens attempt to use every trope to stop a serial killer once and for all with some twists and turns. Then there’s the supernatural “So Much to Do”, from Baron Vaughn, which is perhaps the least fun of the segments but has a kick butt fight between Toni Trucks’ Francesca and a corrupted spirit. This soon leads into the mind-blowing finale which connects to the core story of the Cryptkee…errr, Rad Chad being part of the segment “Horror Hypotheses”, the only other segment directed by Koontz and this one is a hoot as it has wrestling legend Dustin Rhodes as a masked killer called “The Devil’s Lake Impaler” and an amazing cameo from the legendary Joe Bob Briggs as himself amidst the chaos.

Scare Package could be the next great horror anthology as it is a funny blending of horror and comedy with some funny segments and a few well, no bad segments all wrapped up in a nifty little package just in time for Halloween.

WFG RATING: B

RLJE Films and Shudder present a Paper Street Pictures production. Directors: Emily Hagins, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, Courtney and Hilary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Baron Vaughn. Producers: Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, Peter S. Hall, Courtney and Hilary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Ben Hanks, Roman Dent, Dustin Rhodes, Ashleigh Snead, Shawn Talley, Alex Euting, Ben Fee, Paul Gandersman, and Kris Phipps. Writers: Emily Hagins, Aaron B. Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, Courtney and Hilary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Frank Garcia-Hejl, Ben Fee, John Karsko, and Baron Vaughn. Cinematography: Andrew Scott Baird, Anthony Cousins, E.J. Enriquez, Kalilah Robinson, Spencer Rollins, Dustin Supencheck, and Sonja Tsypin. Editing: Winnie Cheung, Alex Euting, Paul Gandersman, Richard Louprasong, Tyler Mager, Chris McInroy, Mike Small, and Rhiannon C. Vaughn.

Cast: Jeremy King, Byron Brown, Hawn Tran, Zoe Graham, Chase Williamson, Jon Michael Simpson, Noah Segan, Toni Trucks, Chelsey Grant, Luxy Banner, Aaron D. Alexander, Dustin Rhodes, Joe Bob Briggs.

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