#294 -- Scary or Die (2012)

Directors: Bob Badway, Michael Emanuel & Igor Meglic
Rating: 3 / 5

You, like me, might be drawn by that fucking awesome clown on the cover of Scary or Die. And once you watch it, you'll be surprised to find that it's not one of those instances of the cover looking way cooler than the actual movie. Well, at least the clown bit. You might be a little disappointed by the movie as a whole, but if you don't take it too seriously, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. It's an anthology movie with five separate segments, one of which acts as the wrap-around story for the entire thing.

The Crossing is about a couple of rednecks who act as vigilante border control officers. They abduct Mexican immigrants (and I assume those of hispanic heritage that aren't immigrants at all), return them to the border, and kill them as a warning to those who wish to cross in the future. They're hoping that one day, they'll get the picture and stop coming into "their country." They're real assholes, and it's impossible to care about them at all. Anyways, during this particular trip to the border, some home-made booze gets spilled onto the graves of the fallen immigrants, and this wakes them up. You can guess that they're not too happy about the way they've been treated, and being under the ground for so long has made them hungry. This bit was okay, and I think it acted as more of cultural satire than horror. There are actually a lot of people out there who think this way. The zombies weren't the scary part; you'll actually find yourself rooting for them since the two main characters are such dickheads. The scary part is the way these guys act. Once the zombies start rising, you'll get to see all the people that they've killed, and some of them are children. That's the scary part for me -- that someone would actually murder children simply because of the color of their skin.

Re-Membered is a story about a hit-man who gets more than he bargained for when he is sent to kill a person who I can only assume was a satanist. It shows him cutting this guy up in his bathtub, stuffing him in a bag and throwing him into the trunk of his car. He then starts driving toward an unknown destination, and he keeps hearing a mysterious tapping coming from his trunk. He goes to check it out, finds the body exactly the way he left it. He continues driving, still hearing the noise, and goes to check a second time. This time, the body is gone, and in its place is a note that reads "You can't kill me." I didn't like this one as much as the first, which says a lot, because I didn't like the first one all that much either. I think it could have been better as a full-length movie, or even if it had just a little more time to develop the story. If it told us more about the man that the hit man killed, his history and just why he was being sent to kill him, it could have been interesting.

Taejung's Lament is about a man whose wife died recently. He is very lonely, lives a dull and sad life, and can't seem to pick himself up. One night, he sees a pretty girl walking down the street; they exchange smiles, and it's made obvious that she might be able to help him get over the loss of his wife. But before anything of significance can happen, the girl is kidnapped by a stranger. Taejung uses his cell phone (stuffed into the gas tank of the stranger's car) to track them down, and he saves the girl. She invites him to her apartment for a party, but once he gets there, he realizes that he should have left things alone. The man who abducted the girl was none other than Van Helsing, and this party he is attending is about to get a little out of hand. This one's interesting enough, I guess, but it's the worst of the bunch. The majority of it just shows Taejung walking around and looking sad. Once it gets to the good stuff, it ends. It's too much build-up and not enough pay-off.

Clowned is the best in the collection, which is why it's featured on the cover, I'm guessing. It's the longest of the bunch, which allows it to give us a better, more complex story. It's about a guy named Emmett who gets bitten by a clown at his little brother's birthday party. Afterwards, he starts feeling a little funny and can't seem to get enough to eat. He starts getting sick a lot, but that's only the beginning. Eventually he starts to grow really quickly, causing him to wear funny-looking clothes (because they're the only ones that will fit him) and bigger shoes. His skin also starts to turn colors, and he grows a white afro. He tries to live with it for a short period of time, but when he starts to develop the urge to eat his little brother, he decides it's time to split. He runs away, lives his life like a bum, and tries to resist the urge to eat people. But of course, cannibals will be cannibals...I think the effects in this one were wonderful. I loved the way the clown looked -- with his giant mouth filled with razor-sharp teeth, his weird clothes and that sack he wore over his head. He was genuinely creepy. But not scary. Sure, he ate some people, but they all deserved it. It wasn't just a story about a killer clown; it was a story about a man who is forced to abandon his family for their own safety. He has to run away form his mother, his little brother, his girlfriend, and the unborn child that he doesn't know about. It's a very sad story, and I really enjoyed it.

Lover Come Back is the last, and shortest, in the collection. It's about a woman whose husband became extremely abusive and murdered her. He stuffed her in a box and left her out in the woods. But this woman's grandfather was a master of black arts (or something like that), and as a young child he'd given her a special power. It was something like this -- if there was love in her heart, that love would never die. Even though he was abusive, she still loved her husband. So, she died with that love still in her heart; meaning that she wouldn't die. She came back to get her revenge on him. This one tried to act as a wrap-around story, but ti didn't really succeed. The whole reason that these stories were being strung together was because someone was watching them online. They're separated by a gnarly-looking hand surfing the web and clicking on links that led to the clips. The lady in this short ended up being on the other end of that hand. It's interesting enough, but the wrap-around aspect of it didn't make much sense. The point of a wrap-around story in an anthology is to bring all the separate stories together and make them click. This one didn't do that. There was  no reason that the woman was watching these clips, and it didn't do anything for the rest of the stories. Plus it was so short that it felt completely pointless.

Overall, Scary or Die is an okay horror anthology. It's got some interesting bits, but it's nothing that will leave you breathless. Clowned was great, but the rest were only so-so. Still, it wasn't a complete time-waster, and if you're like me, you'll come away from it at least a little bit entertained.

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