Allegoria Review

PLOT: Artists of various kinds are dropped into horrific situations in each of the five stories that make up this anthology.

REVIEW: About twenty years after his brother Rob Zombie made his feature directorial debut, and eleven years after he was credited for “conceiving” the short-lived horror comedy TV show Death Valley, Powerman 5000 frontman Spider One has made his own feature directorial debut with the horror anthology Allegoria. It’s a clever way to get a career started, because Spider One really shot five separate short films, each of them primarily filmed in just one location, then was able to assemble them into one feature-length movie. Unlike most other anthology movies, there is no host to guide us through this one. The movie just bounces from one segment to the next. But the short segments fit together because they reference each other and all follow the same theme: each one deals with the arts in some way. And in each one, art goes terribly wrong for the characters.

Allegoria gets off to a jarring start. The opening segment largely consists of John Ennis – playing acting teacher Robert Anderson Wright – screaming lines at his students, speaking at an ear-splitting volume. It’s instantly irritating, and the only way to get through it is to focus on the amount of spit that flies out of Ennis’s mouth with every word he speaks. This flying spittle is perfectly captured in the lighting, the air is filled with his mouth juice. It brought to mind the advice Gary Oldman gives in an episode of Friends, “(Spitting) is what real actors do! Enunciating is the mark of a good actor, and when you enunciate, you spit!” Judging by that, Robert Anderson Wright is clearly the greatest actor who ever lived. Being an acting coach is therefore the perfect vocation for him. And thankfully, he’s the first artist to get horror shoved in his face.

Allegoria Spider One Scout Taylor-Compton

The next artist is a painter named Marcus (Bryce Johnson). There’s not much to his segment other than a couple phone calls, but it does feature an unnerving special makeup effect. Then we move on to another artist, Eddie Park (Edward Hong), who is introduced just as he’s finishing the first draft of his slasher movie screenplay. He’ll be left wishing he had written about some lighter subject matter. At this point, it was starting to feel to me like Allegoria was improving with each new segment. The first had been annoying, the second was underwhelming, the third was slightly more interesting… and then things really started to work for me with the fourth segment.

The fourth segment is when Spider One brings in Scout Taylor-Compton, the star of his brother’s movies Halloween and Halloween II. Her character is a sculptor named Ivy, who is on a date with a guy named John (Adam Busch), even though she is admittedly out of his league. Taylor-Compton and Busch had a lot of bantering to do in this segment, and the chance to watch them bounce dialogue off of each other was like a breath of fresh air this far into Allegoria. You can see early on where this segment is going to end up, but it’s a pleasant ride to get there nonetheless.

It isn’t until the fifth (and longest) segment that we reach the art you would most expect Spider One to cover: music. His partner Krsy Fox (lead singer of the band Knee High Fox) and Josephine Chang play Brody and Hope, but Chang’s character is the one who’s the lead singer in a band. Brody’s focus is on acting. One of Hope’s bandmates says he has discovered the six notes that can manifest evil, and even though it would be a terrible idea to play those notes, they do get played. Of course. This segment kind of just sputters out in the end, but along the way Fox – who got into acting when she was a child – gets the chance to deliver a mind-blowing performance, and Chang perfectly plays the awkward comedic side of their interaction.

Allegoria Spider One Krsy Fox

Allegoria is a tolerable time killer. Other than a few of the performances and the fact that it was directed by Spider One, there’s not a lot here to make it particularly noteworthy. But if Spider One does intend to pursue a directing career like Rob Zombie, this gets his career off to a simple start and hopefully we’ll get to see bigger and better things from him in the future. This is a curiosity that’s worth taking a look at, and it only takes up 69 minutes of your time.

If Spider One is pondering future feature ideas, I have to let it be known: I’d gladly watch a feature version of Big Baby, the goofy, dirt cheap slasher that Brody and Hope are shown watching. If that scene leaves you wanting to see the full Big Baby footage, minus cutaways or comments from Brody and Hope, stick around through the credits. Spider One kindly tagged all of the Big Baby footage onto the end of the movie.

RLJE Films will be giving Allegoria a VOD release on August 2nd, and the movie will be available to watch on the Shudder streaming service that same day.




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About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.