The Theatre Bizarre (2011) Poster

The Theatre Bizarre (2011)

  • Rate: 4.9/10 total 349 votes 
  • Genre: Horror
  • Runtime: 114 min | Canada:108 min (Fantasia Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Berlin, Germany
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The Theatre Bizarre (2011)

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  • IMDb page: The Theatre Bizarre (2011)
  • Rate: 4.9/10 total 349 votes 
  • Genre: Horror
  • Runtime: 114 min | Canada:108 min (Fantasia Film Festival)
  • Filming Location: Berlin, Germany
  • Stars: Udo Kier, Virginia Newcomb and Amanda Marquardt
  • Original Music By: Simon Boswell (segments "The Mother Of Toads" and "Vision Stains") Susan DiBona (segment "I Love You") Pierre Marchand (segment "The Accident") Mark Raskin (segment "Sweets")  
  • Plot Keyword: Episodic | Omnibus | Location In Title | Six Stories | Three Word Title

Writing Credits By:

  • Zach Chassler (screenplay: framing segments)
  • Richard Stanley (screenplay) segment "The Mother Of Toads" and
  • Scarlett Amaris (screenplay) segment "The Mother Of Toads" and
  • Emiliano Ranzani (screenplay) segment "The Mother of Toads"
  • Buddy Giovinazzo (screenplay) (segment "I Love You")
  • John Esposito (screenplay) (segment "Wet Dreams")
  • Douglas Buck (screenplay) (segment "The Accident")
  • Karim Hussain (screenplay) (segment "Vision Stains")
  • David Gregory (screenplay) (segment "Sweets")

Known Trivia

    Plot: Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre… See more » |  »

    Story: Down a seedy city street in her neighborhood, young Enola Penny is obsessed with what appears to be a long abandoned theatre. One night, she sees that the front door is slightly ajar and impulsively decides to sneak inside. But there in the dark, decrepit auditorium, a show unlike any other unfolds before her eyes. Its host is an eerie human puppet named Peg Poett who will introduce Penny to six tales of the bizarre: A couple traveling in a remote part of the French Pyrenees cross paths with a lustful witch; A paranoid lover faces the wrath of a partner who has been pushed to her limit; The Freudian dreams of an unfaithful husband blur the lines between fantasy and reality; The horrors of the real world are interpreted through the mind of a child; A woman addicted to other people's memories gets her fix through the vitreous fluid of her victims' eyeballs; And a perverse obsession with sweets turns sour for a couple in too deep…Written by Anonymous  

    FullCast & Crew

    Produced By:

    • Nicco Ardin known as producer (framing segments)
    • John Cregan known as producer
    • Carl Daft known as producer
    • John Esposito known as associate producer (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Gesine Giovinazzo-Todt known as producer (segment "I Love You")
    • David Gregory known as producer
    • Evan Husney known as associate producer (segment "Sweets")
    • Jacqui Knapp known as producer (framing segments)
    • Fabrice Lambot known as producer (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Robert Lucas known as co-producer (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Victoria Sanchez Mandryk known as producer (segments "The Accident" and "Vision Stains")
    • Caroline Piras known as producer (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Jean-Pierre Putters known as producer (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Michael Ruggiero known as producer (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Kirsten Sohrauer known as producer (segment "I Love You")
    • Alexandra Spector known as producer (segment "Sweets")
    • Stephanie Trepanier known as associate producer (segments "The Accident" and "Vision Stains")
    • Daryl Tucker known as executive producer
    • Carsten Waitz known as associate producer (segment "I Love You")

    FullCast & Crew:

    • Udo Kier known as Peg Poett (framing segments)
    • Virginia Newcomb known as Enola Penny (framing segments)
    • Amanda Marquardt known as (framing segments)
    • Amelia M. Gotham known as (framing segments)
    • Catriona MacColl known as Mere Antoinette (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Shane Woodward known as Martin (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Victoria Maurette known as Karina (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • André Hennicke known as Axel (segment "I Love You")
    • Suzan Anbeh known as Mo (segment "I Love You")
    • Harvey Friedman known as (segment "I Love You")
    • Debbie Rochon known as Carla (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Tom Savini known as Dr. Maurey (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • James Gill known as Donnie (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Jodii Christianson known as (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Lena Kleine known as Mother (segment "The Accident")
    • Mélodie Simard known as (segment "The Accident")
    • Jean-Paul Rivière known as (segment "The Accident")
    • Bruno Decary known as (segment "The Accident")
    • Lynn Lowry known as Mikela Da Vinci (segment "Sweets")
    • Kaniehtiio Horn known as The Writer (segment "Vision Stains")
    • Cynthia Wu-Maheux known as Junkie Girl (segment "Vision Stains") (as Cynthia Wu Maheux)
    • Imogen Haworth known as Pregnant Woman (segment "Vision Stains")
    • Rachelle Glait known as Homeless Woman (segment "Vision Stains")
    • Lindsay Goranson known as Estelle (segment "Sweets")
    • Guilford Adams known as Greg (segment "Sweets")
    • Jessica Remmers known as Antonia (segment "Sweets")
    • Elissa Dowling known as Subs (segment "Sweets")
    • Jeff Dylan Graham known as Buzz (segment "Sweets")
    • Erin Marie Hogan known as Test Tube Baby (segment "Sweets")
    • Dave Grave known as Old Punk (segment "Sweets")
    • Jeffrey Phillip Block known as Chef (segment "Sweets")
    • Adam Carr known as Kissing Couple (segment "Sweets")
    • Tree Carr known as Kissing Couple (segment "Sweets")
    • Jeremy Gladen
    • Halfbreed Billy Gram known as Dungeon Master (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Bobby Hacker known as Restaurant Patron (segment "Sweets")
    • Whitney Moore known as Restaurant Patron (segment "Sweets")
    • Lorry O'Toole known as Hot Waitress (segment "Sweets")
    • Damon Packard known as Sous-Chef (segment "Sweets")
    • Julieta Randall known as Hot Waitress #2 (segment "Sweets")
    • Julietta Randall known as Server (segment "Sweets")
    • Erica Rhodes known as Cellist (segment "Sweets")
    • Gregg Shore known as Guitarist (segment "Sweets")
    • Jill Snyder known as Restaurant Patron (segment "Sweets")

    ..

     

    Supporting Department

    Makeup Department:
    • Lorena Acevedo known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Erin Arreola known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Autumn Cook known as key makeup artist (key hair stylist)
    • Jerami Cruise known as special makeup effects artist (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Aubrie Davis known as key beauty (segment "Sweets")
    • C.J. Goldman known as special makeup effects artist (segments "The Accident" and "Vision Stains")
    • Katharina Grethlein known as prostethics makeup artist (segment "I Love You")
    • Kelsie Gygi known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Melanie Karapetian known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Brian Kinney known as special makeup effects artist
    • Michael Kish known as hair stylist (segment "Sweets)
    • Victor Krone known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Charlie Le Mindu known as wig design (segment "Sweets")
    • Gabriela Mendoza known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Rosa Menendez known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Mareike Mohmand known as key makeup artist (segment "I Love You")
    • Philipp Rathgeber known as prostethics makeup artist (segment "I Love You")
    • Angelina Sambrotto known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • David Scherer known as creature effects
    • David Scherer known as special makeup effects artist
    • Jessica Sierra known as assistant makeup artist (segment "Sweets")
    • Stacy A. Smith known as assistant makeup artist
    • Jennifer Suarez known as hair stylist (segment "Sweets)
    • Sabrina M. Swafford known as hair stylist (segment "Sweets)

    Art Department:

    • Sabine Asanger known as art department assistant
    • Bobby Hacker known as art director: framing segments
    • Bea Kosubek known as property master: indoor (segment "I Love You")
    • Claudia Ribbisch known as property master: outdoor (segment "I Love You")
    • Elle Schneider known as painter

    ..

     

    Company

    Production Companies:

    • Severin Films
    • Metaluna Productions (in association with)
    • Nightscape Entertainment
    • Quota Productions

    Other Companies:

    • American Entertainment Insurance Services  production and E&O insurance
    • Athalys  camera equipment provided by

    Distributors:

    • W2 Media (2012) (USA) (theatrical)
    • Severin Films (2011) (worldwide) (all media)
    • Image Entertainment (2012) (USA) (DVD)

    ..

     

    Other Stuff

    Special Effects:

    • Oddtopsy FX (segment "Sweets")
    • ToeTag FX (segment "Wet Dreams")

    Visual Effects by:

    • Stacy Davidson known as visual effects artist (segment "Wet Dreams")
    • Bobby Hacker known as visual effects artist (segments "Wet Dreams" and "Sweets")
    • Marcus Koch known as visual effects artist (segments "Wet Dreams" and "Sweets")
    • Christian Kröhl known as colorist (Segment "I Love You")
    • Renaud Quilichini known as visual effects artist (segment "The Mother Of Toads")
    • Renaud Quilichini known as visual effects (segment "The Mother Of Toads")

    Release Date:

    • Canada 16 July 2011 (Fantasia International Film Festival)
    • UK 25 August 2011 (London FrightFest Film Festival)
    • France 3 September 2011 (L'Étrange Festival)
    • France 15 September 2011 (Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival)
    • Germany 15 September 2011 (Oldenburg International Film Festival)
    • Sweden 18 September 2011 (Lund Fantastisk Film Festival)
    • Canada 23 October 2011 (Toronto After Dark Film Festival)
    • France 27 January 2012 (Gerardmer Fantasy Film Festival)
    • USA 24 April 2012 (DVD premiere)

    ..

     
     

    Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database


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    Posted on March 29, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .

    9 Comments

    1. Mark Vessey from England
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      Not since the original Creepshow has there been a horror anthology asamazing as this. Comprising of six different short films, each with adifferent director and introductory segment, every short film isentirely different and unique in their own way and even the segments inbetween with Udo Kier and extremely entertaining to watch. Mother ofToads is a great B-movie throwback, I Love You is like a violentversion of The Room, Wet Dreams has Tom Savini, therefore it isautomatically gold, The Accident is harrowing and haunting, VisionStains is interesting and engaging and Sweets is disgusting fun. Besthorror of the year.

    2. dschmeding from Germany
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      "Theater Bizarre" is a horror anthology that much reminds me of lastyears "Little Deaths" in that it takes some rather strange and extremeideas for some of the stories of which there are many. So lets start atthe extremely disappointing beginning…

      "Mother of toads" is a totally lame and rather typical horror storyabout a couple on holidays meeting a strange witch inviting them tolook at her Necronomicon. Some Lovecraft references, nudity and slimyfrogs just don't nail it here. Total snooze fest with the lazieststoryline of all.

      "I love you" continues equally boring with bad acting, annoying Germanaccents and a dysfunctional couple at the end of their relationship.Throat-slitting and blood on white sheets also don't nail it since thestory goes nowhere and seems rather childish to me. Basically asforgettable as the first story and nosedives with dumb lines like "Myvagina and your penis never were friends".

      "Wet dreams" is about a guy having nightmares about castration and apsycho therapist telling him to open his eyes to wake up from hisdreams. The whole thing ends in a rather bloody mess with a twistedidea for the end but ultimately the whole storytelling is uneven andsuffers from bad acting.

      "The accident" is the first highlight here. This is no real horrorstory but a rather slow meditation on life and death through the eyesof a mother and her little daughter who witness a motorcycle accident.This has great atmosphere and some really gripping visuals (the deerlooked frightenly real and the acting is great) and is especially moodybecause of the perfect piano score and great editing. Unfortunately thepromising short leads absolutely nowhere in the end.

      "Vision stains" is some really twisted stuff by "Subconscious cruelty"director Karim Hussain. It starts off gritty with a homeless girlgetting high on heroin in some dirty back alley when suddenly anothergirl appears and kills her and takes her eye liquid in a syringeinjecting it in her own eyeball. The basic idea of transferring thelast flashing pictures while dying to another person reminded me of anItalian movie with a camera (can't remember the title). But this onegoes further and uses some pretty disturbing images. This one has apoint to end on but honestly I found it a little uneven too.

      Last but not least "Sweets" continues the disturbing imagery with somepretty nasty food fetishes and a bizarre break up scene of a couple.The guys acting is pretty incredible and makes the food fetish themetwice as bizarre. It all culminates in one of the goriest scenes ofthis anthology.

      The surrounding Theatre-Plot with Udo Kier has some great visuals by"Wizard of Gore" Remake Director Jeremy Kasten but the lack of a storyand Kiers accent which is nearly as annoying as that of the male leadin "I love you" ruin it.

      After all this is your typical anthology. It fails on many levels (mostof the time on the lazy storytelling) but has some nice ideas andvisuals. Its hard to say which story is the best because basically thefirst half totally sucks and the second raises the bar a lot butbecause of the flaws has no real highlight. If you want some bizarrestories like in "Little Deaths" enjoy the second half but don't expecttoo much. Even with all those sick ideas … when the curtain falls Iwas left thinking "Meeeeeh".

    3. the_wolf_imdb from Prague
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      This movie is really a very bizarre one, even in the context of bizarre/ horror movies. It is no ordinary horror however – more or less it isunusually deep trip into the darkness. Forget "positive heroes runningfrom demons or killers". This is way way darker and definitely notsuitable for typical viewer.

      The first story almost seems lame but the darkness increases from thethis very point on. When it reaches "Vision Stains" you may be sure youare watching something so dark it may just come from Hell itself. Yetthese stories are no gore flicks, they have their wicked souls, theirown twisted logic. Some of them like the "Vision Stains" are reallyhard to watch.

      I absolutely do love "The Accident". It is basically not a horrorstory, but more poem or "experience". It is very slow, gentle, almosttender story about the dying and the meaning of life and death. It isabsolutely mesmerizing, brilliant example of storytelling mixed withgreat soundtrack and the editing. It is pure 10/10 and alone makes thewhole movie worth watching. It does not fit here however – it is notdark, not twisted and in some ways almost zen-like positive. It isreally beautiful.

      I could not recommend this movie for everyone – the only reallyaccessible story is "The Accident" which is the weakest in the terms ofgore and the most powerful in the terms of philosophy. The otherstories could be way too much disturbing for ordinary viewer – notbecause they are full of gore, but because of twisted and elaboratedevil, abuse, loss, suffering and despair depicted here. It is verypowerful and dark anthology, definitely no ordinary teenager slashermovie. No fun is here, no light at the end of the tunnel. You have tohave right mood to watch this anthology or you will end up reallydepressed.

    4. Paul Haakonsen from Denmark
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      It was without having any prior knowledge about what this was about,aside from it being an anthology of horror stories, that I sat down towatch this movie.

      Some of the segments, chapters, call them what you will, were actuallynicely enough put together and shot in a great way, however they werelacking shock and scare aspects. I wasn't particularly impressed withthis, and hand on heart, must admit that I actually fell asleep duringthe fourth story, woke up and turned off the movie. It was not justworking for me.

      The acting was nice enough, though nothing really stands out. But theperformances put on by the people in the movie was working well enoughfor the respective stories. Udo Kier was perhaps the person that leftthe most memorable impression in the movie though.

      I am a fan of horror, but "The Theatre Bizarre", just didn't cut it forme. There are far better horror anthologies out there, and this onewill just go straight to the archives, never to be seen again.

    5. Killer_Movie from USA
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      Normally in an Anthology I would break it down by stories. I feel thatin this case that will not be necessary. The production of this projecthad such a cheap feel to it, like it was made way back in the day. Ithonestly felt like it was draining the life out of me it was all sobland though I did manage to finish the entire "film". This reminded memuch of "Tales From The Darkside", in it's tacky form. It didn't evencome close to comparing it to episodes of "Tales From The Crypt" or"Masters of Horror" it certainly didn't have that caliper of greatness,and I have seen every episode from all 3 shows I just mentioned. Horrorfans do yourself a favor and pass on this I really feel I have to getthe message out there because anthology's are my ultimate favorite andthis just plain sucked for lack of better words, wasn't even worthwatching for free on the net, there are better films to watch out thereso pass on this one. 3-4/10

    6. kosmasp
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      I really like when people get ecstatic about a movie. Even if it's amovie I can't get behind that much. The other reviewer (up til now),was having fun watching this. I am glad for him, but I can't quiteshare the enthusiasm. While that is debatable, I don't think comparingthis to the Creepshow is a good move.

      Creepshow stands on it's on right and this movie does not really try toimitate this. It tries to be as crazy as a movie can be. It is morelike the British film "Little Deaths" that was made in recent years.Though that was really OTT. This one has recognizable actors and a verygood camera (visually stunning most of the times, even/especially whenit feels odd). Still there is something missing to make it really good.As it is, I feel it's just mediocre.

    7. george.schmidt (GSchmidt0609@aol.com) from fairview, nj
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      THE THEATRE BIZARRE (2011) **1/2 Udo Kier, Virginia Newcomb, CatrionaMacCall, Shane Woodward, Victoria Maurette, Andre Hennicke, SuzanAnbeh, Harvey Friedman, Debbie Rochon, James Gill, Jodii Christianson,Lena Kleine, Melodie Simard, Lynn Lowry, Kaniehtiio Horn, LindsayGoranson, Guilford Adams. Mixed-bag of horror anthology parts "TwilightZone" meets "The Hitch Hiker" : young Newcomb finds an abandonedtheater housing human marionette Kier (ever creepier) as the host of aseries of terror tales including : "The Mother Of Toads" about a cursedmonstrosity recalling vintage Corman; "I Love You" features fineperformances from its tormented couple Hennicke and the ethereal Anbehquestioning fidelity at a painful cost; "Wet Dreams" with aphilandering dreamer in a nightmare; "The Accident" (the best of thebunch) that truly echoes Rod Serling's aforementioned dream stateretelling of a life-and-death situation; "Vision Stains" offers aserial killer of women who injects their memories directly into hereyes (yeah, not for the squeamish); and the final tale "Sweets" about asouring relationship with O.Henry meets the Marquis de Sade twists.Truly twisted, gleefully over-the-top and at times-maddeninglyadequately acted/directed; and enough blood and guts for thegore-hounds out there. Perfect for a Halloween party. (Dirs: DouglasBuck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Jeremy Kasten,Tom Savini & Richard Stanley).

    8. chrismsawin from United States
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      What the hell happened to American horror? Remember when mainstreamhorror films actually offered either originality or creativity in theway victims died? Now we're practically spoon fed the same formula overand over and it doesn't help that more than half of the horror filmsgetting the green light or being released in theaters are a remake of afilm you love. The 70s, 80s, 90s, and even early 00s in some cases werea fantastic time for horror that seem to have gone the way of the dodobird. The horror genre is no stranger to the anthology formula, butthere's something about The Theatre Bizarre that manages to capture theatmosphere of certain horror films you know and love.

      Tales From the Crypt, Dead of Night, Creepshow, Trick 'r Treat, andTales From the Darkside: The Movie are a few films The Theatre Bizarrewill either remind you of and/or it pays homage to. To bridge the storytogether, a woman is drawn to the worn down looking theater next door.Once inside, she's treated to a show hosted by a man acting like aliving wind-up toy (played by Udo Kier). Just the framing segmentsalone are extremely creepy. The make-up, the way the people on stagemove, and the way eyes are painted on the top of their eyelids. It's abit unsettling in the best of ways. There are six stories in the film'snearly two hour runtime: "The Mother of Toads" is one of the weakest. Acouple takes a vacation in France basically in the middle of nowhere.While they're browsing shops, they meet an elderly woman who draws theman, Martin (Shane Woodward) into her home with The Necronomicon. Thetea she gives him puts him under her spell and all hell breaks loosefrom there. This is probably a lot like the movie Frogs. Themulti-colored toad vision is pretty lame. The best scene comes at thebeginning where Martin and his girlfriend Karina (Victoria Maurette)are driving through the countryside. The shot obviously pays tribute tothe opening of The Shining. I was left with what felt like the punchline to a really bad joke at the end of the story. "Don't you hate itwhen you get really drunk and you wake up next to a giant multi-tittedtoad?" "I Love You" is the other fairly timid story and the one thatfeatures the stiffest acting. A man wakes up in his bathroom with bloodeverywhere. He calls his therapist, who's with his wife that he hasn'tbeen able to get a hold of for days. She comes home only to tell himthat she's leaving him. "I Love You" is basically an R-rated dramauntil the last two minutes where everything is turned upside down. Thescenes that stick out the most are the ones of Andre Hennickeunconscious in his bathroom. Everything is white; the floor, the walls,his clothes. The only color in the scene is from his blood. It's notbad, deserves some credit for a solid buildup to its climax, and is atleast a bit more threatening than toads.

      "Wet Dreams" directed by and co-starring the legendary Tom Savini is upnext. A man has very vivid dreams that usually involve his wifecastrating him and feeding his severed member to him during breakfast.It's a pretty decent stab at a mind-bending horror story. It's noInception, but it doesn't really have the opportunity to be and in theend has no reason to be as in depth as that as its story progression isjust fine.

      "The Accident" is another slow burning story. You can pretty much guesswhat it's about from the title. The way the deer acts is horrificenough, but what sells the entire story is the haunting music and thefacial expression of the biker. The little girl asks some questionsabout death, which her mom gives really stupid answers to (seriously, agood zombie?).

      "Vision Strains" is easily the most original and creative story of thefilm. A woman targets homeless women and addicts and kills them. Intheir last breaths and as their life flashes before their eyes, thewoman injects their eye fluid into her own and basically experiencestheir life story. She writes it all down in an attempt to learneverything the world has to offer. A serial killer with purpose issomething that doesn't come along very often.

      "Sweet Dreams" rounds out the set. This one was a bit hard to watch.There are some really disturbing fetishes going on with this one allinvolving gluttony, sweets, and overeating. It's downright disgustingat times and it has the goriest ending of the bunch. It puts a prettyinteresting twist on The Last Supper, as well.

      It's not that The Theatre Bizarre isn't flawed. Like most horrormovies, there's plenty of bad to go along with the good as it suffersfrom weak writing with actors in certain stories that don't have thatnatural flow that the rest of the cast does. One could also argue thatonly half of the movie really leaves a long-lasting impression. To behonest though, there were bits and pieces of every story that spoke tothe horror fan in me in ways I haven't felt in years. Like a classichorror film, it's like you have to sit through some lameness to delveinto the greatness buried deep within its core. Nauseating,phantasmagorical, and discomforting, The Theatre Bizarre is pure, gory,blood-soaked madness at its finest that will give horror fans thefeeling of being a kid locked in a candy store for two blissful hours.

    9. Chris_Pandolfi from Los Angeles, CA
      29 Mar 2012, 7:02 pm

      "The Theatre Bizarre" boasts seven directors, nine screenwriters, andnineteen people with varying producing credits to their names. It's ahorror anthology, you see, comprised of six shorts and one wraparoundsegment. As a collective whole, it's a little like a hideous laboratorymonster stitched together out of spare parts by people with no skillsin science, medicine, or even basic needlework. As individual stories,the parts are rotten, as if they had been extracted from subjectsseveral months dead. Only one piece is a fresh specimen; it's anhonest, though-provoking, and surprisingly poignant little story thataddresses life's darker aspects with dignity. It's the only segmentwith an emotional core, so I think of it as the film's heart –harvested from the body of a good person and beautifully preserved in aglass jar.

      The framing segments, directed by Jeremy Kasten, are constructed aslive stage performances in an abandoned theater. The only apparentaudience member is a disturbed young woman (Virginia Newcomb), wholives across the street in an apartment bedroom with cut-up andtattered theater paraphernalia plastered to the walls. On stage are aseries of actors caked with unnatural makeup; they're made to resembleautomatons, and their static movements are enhanced with a slew ofmechanical sound effects. The emcee (Udo Kier), whose narrations are aseries of nonsensical ruminations about stories and storytellers,becomes more natural-looking as the short films progress. The youngwoman in the audience, meanwhile, becomes increasingly unnatural inappearance. Visually creative though they may be, the wraparoundsegments make no adequate connection between the individual stories andexist primarily to be gawked at.

      "The Mother of Toads," directed by Richard Stanley. Martin (ShaneWoodward) and Karina (Victoria Maurette) are a young couple vacationingin France. Karina buys a pair of pentagram earrings from an ominous oldwoman (Catriona MacColl), who piques Martin's interest by claiming topossess a copy of the "Necronomicon." Karina, uninterested, goes to aspa. Martin travels into the countryside to the old woman's home, whichlooks more like a castle you would see on a historical monuments tour.I cannot make heads or tails of the rest of the segment, except to saythat there's a sex scene, some grotesque physical transformations, anda lot of toads.

      "I Love You," directed by Buddy Giovinazzo. In Berlin (a wastedlocation since all the characters speak English), a French woman namedMo (Suzan Anbeh) decides to leave her German boyfriend, Axel (AndreHennicke). It has more to do with the fact that he's obsessive andparanoid; quite simply, she enjoys being unfaithful. She explains thisto him during a calm and candid conversation that's not onlyexcessively wordy but also hilarious unconvincing. What are we to makeof the fact that, at two points in the segment, Axel awakens on thefloor of his bathroom with a gaping wound on his hand and bloodeverywhere?

      "Wet Dreams," directed by Tom Savini. Here is an awful Freudian segmentthat cheats the audience by incessantly blurring the line betweenreality and dreams. An abusive and unfaithful husband named Donnie(James Gill) is seeing a psychologist (Savini) about his recurringnightmares. In one, his wife's vagina is a crab monster. In the other,his penis is served to him for breakfast. One too many moments are ofDonnie waking up screaming, making it impossible to keep track of hisdream states. The final scene, which unfairly reversed everything Ithought I had learned, begins with his wife (Debbie Rochon) waking upfrom a nightmare.

      "The Accident," directed by Douglas Buck. This is the only good segmentin the entire film. It's so good, in fact, that it's a wonder anyonethought it belonged in this movie. It's the heart I mentioned earlier.It deals with an unpleasant subject, and yet it's not a horror story;it's simply about a mother (Lena Kleine) explaining to her youngdaughter (Melodie Simard) about death. It intercuts between their lyingin bed and the scene of an accident, in which the girl witnessed thedeaths of a motorcyclist and a deer on a stretch of road. The girl isnot disturbed, but she wants to understand what it means. The motherfeeds her daughter age-appropriate explanations, all the while awarethat, in reality, certain things cannot be explained.

      "Vision Stains," directed by Karim Hussain. A woman known as The Writer(Kaniehtiio Horn) seeks out female transients and drug addicts, killsthem, and extracts fluid from one of their eyeballs. She then injectsthat fluid into her own eye and is flooded with her victims' memories,which she then writes down in a single-use notebook. Her home, a filthywarehouse, has stacks and stacks of these notebooks, which must makeher one of the most prolific serial killers in history. She then spotsa pregnant woman and wonders what the unborn see. Do I need to describethis any further?

      "Sweets," directed by David Gregory. Here is a segment so strange thatit seems to have been transplanted from an alternate universe. Itbegins as relationship drama, in which an unemotional woman (LindsayGoranson) clutches a melting ice cream cone while her blubberingboyfriend (Guilford Adams) picks at candy, which is smashed into agooey mess on his floor. It becomes food porn, the woman dressing likea fashion-show reject and going to a restaurant that looks more like anart gallery. A band plays while people are served plates of nondescriptfood, which they pick up and greedily stuff into their mouths. Quiteinexplicably, it turns into a gore fest, someone getting slit openbefore being eaten by the ravenous patrons. This segment alone provesthat "The Theatre Bizarre" is an apt title indeed. I feel bad forDouglas Buck. His short deserved far more than being a segment in anawful anthology.

      — Chris Pandolfi (www.atatheaternearyou.net)

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