Chester Horrors

Q & A

Chesters Reviews



Joseph Sargent

Story 1: Terror in Topanga
The classic mental inmate who escapes, who could hate this?
The acting in this short was good, not great, not awful but good. The strange artful way which
the cop dies at the start, by being stabbed, was over the top, grabbing the aerial and slowly sliding down, was not a good effect.
The setup of Lisa needing to smoke, she unwittingly heads out not heeding the advice of her better half and trouble ensues, strange customer in smoke shop, running low on gas and a cop who had been stabbed by a loose madman…how will Lisa survive her trip back up Topanga Canyon.
Well I can assure you, this is a good storey and I do like it, it's a very campfire style tale. The acting was good and the suspense of the pump jockey was equally good.  I feel this storey ended too soon.
Summary: Good Story, over acted, but is a good campy campfire story.

Story 2: The Bishop of Battle
A young Emilio Estevez as an arcade junkie.  How arcades used to be!
Beads of sweat dripping down a gamers face as he concentrates on beating a video game, brings back memories, however onto the review:
The story isn't really scary but more thought provoking… is there a sub story? Is there a reflection of how society was with a decline of the typical family?
Kids playing video games all the time and it affecting their education, fathers grabbing beers and not communicating with their children.
I do like this story and I like the wardrobe and setting.  I think the acting is good and at times very intense.  JJ sneaking out I'm sure most can relate to, however, committing break and enter is maybe a bit far-fetched for I guess a 15/16 year old; we see JJ enter the arcade but how on earth did he get through the mall and past security.  Having your close friend call you up in the middle of the night only to be greeted by your parents seems strange and then only calling because you had a little argument with him is even stranger, could it not wait until morning?
 I did enjoy the way the story jumped from watching JJ and then being part of the game, very TRON.
When JJ walks away after reaching level 13 and the arcade falls apart and catches on fire, I'm sure most people would make a run for it!
Summary: Love the retro feel of this movie, good acting by lead, even good effects, but dated.

Storey 3: The Benediction
Of course no horror collection would be complete without the religious story.
This story holds true to the title, the scenery and cinematography were great throughout this segment.
With the minor faults during this short such as the boys hand moving when he is meant to be dead on the table, and the annoying mother who is clearly distraught but her over acting seemed to be more about camera time and to be noticed.
The subtle flaws in the movie are there if you look and pay attention, but the overall story is ok.
One question I do have is when Macleod is removing his tire and jack from the truck, where did all his luggage go, it was as if the trunk was empty.
As much as I like cars and trucks, I find it a little hard to believe that the anti-Christ would drive a Chevy, I peg him for more of a Ford fan.
When Macleod's car is flipped from being chased, much like the great 1971 movie Duel, we see Macleod's suit cases reappear BUT the jug of holy water that had no lid, somehow survived the entire flip and crash and still had the holy water inside (now that's a miracle).
This short movie was good in parts but for me the scenery and acting by Lance Hendriksen stole the show.
Summary: Good story, good scenes, good acting by lead. Has a very copycat feel.

Storey 4: Night of the Rat
Did not like this short at all, yet it had two very well rounded actors.
At the start of this movie it had all the potential to go somewhere, very good, the howling wind, the darkness and the screen window slamming… BUT that's as good as this movie gets.
When Claire Houston opens the kitchen cupboards to find the sound that's being made from within, a glass drops on the counter, falls to the floor and smashes, yet for some reason in the next shot there is glass all over the counter.
When Steven is in bed and becomes horny Claire pushes him away and says he is insensitive and moves away, even though Steven has set the mousetraps and is ready for action at the slightest noise. While still lying in bed together you hear the trap snap and she tells Steven to go up and get rid of the rat…yet he is insensitive?
If we, the viewer, are to believe that the rat has been there for a while, why has it taken so long for the cat "Rosie" to become curious and venture down into the basement?
Later during the movie we see Claire looking for Rosie but cannot find her. I'm not sure if an avid movie fan would believe a person would go crawling under the house without any signs that what they’re looking for would be there; very weak direction and writing.
During the scene when Brooke comes home from school she asks to go play at her friend's house, her mother accepts as long as she's home before it gets dark and thinks this may help Brooke take her mind off her missing cat Rosie; shortly thereafter Brooke is screaming for her mother to come as her teddy is ripped apart, when Claire arrives outside her bedroom she opens the door to reveal a completely wrecked room, teddy's ripped apart, bedding ripped, bedside table busted. Brooke asks her mother why would Rosie do this... I would like to think that if a kid is able to play out until dark then she would be educated on what a cat is capable of.
When you’re resting at home and ready for bed just about to fall off to sleep your phone rings, it's the exterminator you called who has been to your home once, and was asked to leave after being told that you will not be using him. Would he really be calling and would you be patient with him??
And finally… when the rat is making its way through the house and terrorizing the Houston family it bites through the electrics and yet moments later the radio comes on!
Summary: I thought this movie was a desperate grab at a terror story. I did like the scenery and what the setting was, BUT felt it lacked a lot in story, character and overall plot.


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