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TRAPPED ASHES
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Reviewed by: Zombie Boy

Directed by: Joe Dante, Ken Russell, Sean S. Cunningham, Monte Hellman, John Gaeta.

Starring:
Henry Gibson
John Saxon
Rachel Veltri

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A buncha disparate characters get hijacked on a movie studio tour and are ransomed for their most horrible true-life stories.
Is it good movie?
I was dubious going into this anthology film, as its cover claim "From the Biggest Names in Horror" seemed a little disingenuous to me. As it stands, it is an anthology (and a strange case of the writer, Dennis Bartok, being the driving force behind it) that is hit and miss.

Joe Dante takes care of the wraparound segments, and his work is as enjoyable as it can be, given what he had to work with. Namely, getting the six characters into the spooky house to tell their stories in the hopes of survival. Look for Dick Miller in a cameo, and it is always a pleasure to watch John Saxon work.

The first of the stories is The Girl with the Golden Breasts, and is a bizarre and grotesque tale of vampiric tits. Lots of nice T&A on display, as well as a heaping helping of squishy bits. Kudos to Ken Russell for being such an old weirdo. But what else should I expect from the man behind The Lair of the White Worm?

The second installment is satisfying as well, although it is difficult to imagine Sean Cunningham directing such a somber meditation on a failed marriage and adultery as Jibaku. This one is especially notable for its interesting foray off into anime, and its clever use of Jorge Buttgeriet-esque necrophilia.

Unfortunately, the last two stories fall flat. Monte Hellman's Stanley's Girlfriend might have been okay as its own short, but paired up in a supposed horror anthology it doesn't work. It is speculative fiction about a period in the life of Stanley Kubrick, and could have done without the stupidly tacked-on supernatural connotations. They were neither scary nor clever, and only detracted from what otherwise might have been a worthwhile piece.

Which brings us, finally, to My Twin, The Worm. This is John Gaeta's first, and so far only, directing gig, and, quite frankly, is too boring to talk about. It takes the cool premise of a pregnant mother who must let a tapeworm coexist with her fetus for the baby's survival and does nothing with it.

It is worth note that all the entries have a core psycho-sexual theme, and since they were all written by Bartok, I wonder what's on his mind, hmm?
Video / Audio
Video: 1.78:1 Widescreen.

Audio: 5.0 and 2.0 Dolby Digital, with optional English and Spanish subtitles.

No complaints on either one.
The Extras
Cast and Crew commentary: The commentary here is much more all around entertaining than the film. Dennis Bartok is well up for a chat, and the revolving door of cast and crew members keeps it lively and fresh.

Deleted Scenes: This is mostly a agglomeration of one-off shots not used, and is played like a slideshow against some soft jazz. The only real actual deleted scene is from Jibaku, showing some tension between the husband and wife, which would have been nice to have in that film. There is also a scene from Breasts, which can also be seen in the director's cut of that segment. Speaking of which:

The Girl with the Golden Breasts (original cut): I'm not sure why this is included, seeing how the only real addition is the one deleted scene, plus it has some graphics not in place and incomplete narration. But hell, I'm not going to complain about vicious tits!

Stanley's Girlfriend: Same semi-decent short film, with only one extra scene that I could divine. Although the fact that this has its own credits and title card suggests that maybe it was originally meant to be a standalone short.

A Look Inside: A Five-Part Making of Trapped Ashes: This is just what it sounds like: five separate featurettes dedicated to each segment, respectively. Each is around six to seven minutes long, just enough to provide some interesting interviews and behind-the-scene stuff, but not long enough to become tedious.
Last Call
The end result here is at best an up an down collection. Ultimately it is worth owning for the Breasts segment if nothing else, but don't expect much more from it than that. Much todo is made about all of these tales being at least partially based on real events, but the reason we watch movies is to be taken away from real events and the be shown the fantastic, yannow?
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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