Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Horror > Anthology > Trapped Ashes (2006/Lionsgate/Horror Anthology/DVD)

Trapped Ashes (2006/Lionsgate/Horror Anthology)


Picture: C-     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Feature: C-



There is a dangerous line to tread when a filmmaker is particularly passionate about the subject of his or her film.  It becomes very easy to get too close to the project and forget to ask the all-important question, “Is this a good idea?” And this seems to be precisely what happened to writer/producer Dennis Bartok on Trapped Ashes.  He set out to make a homage to the old anthology horror films, which condensed several horror stories into one movie-going experience.  Trapped Ashes certainly follows in that tradition, but there should have been a moment while Bartok was writing his script about vampire breasts and Stanley Kubrick’s relationship with a succubus, when he sat back and asked, “What the hell am I doing?”


That being said, this film is not entirely without merit.  Each of the four mini horror tales, along with the frame story, are directed by a different legend of the genre including Sean Cunningham who created the Friday the 13th franchise, and Joe Dante who brought you Gremlins.  And each segment is so well directed, exhibiting each filmmaker’s own distinct style, that it is really a shame that their source material is so poor.  Every segment, excepting only the frame story, degenerates at some point into soft-core horror porn.  While this is not at all usual for the horror genre, a regular feature length slasher flick will usually have about the same amount of sex and nudity as each one of the segments.  Now I’m not complaining out of some offended sensibility or bruised morality.  Sex and nudity is a time-honored tradition of the horror film and an inextricable part of the psychology that dominates the genre. I protest only because in this film, it takes up too much screen time that should be spent trying to scare the viewer.  There is no atmosphere to any of the stories because all of the scenes that should be spent creating that atmosphere are spent watching people have dream sex with ghost corpses over and over again.


The picture quality is slightly sub-par with some visible video noise and a sort of muddled look to the color.  As befitting a film that is so self-referentially cinematic, the frame is a 16:9 aspect ratio. The sound is available in either 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital and is slightly better quality than the picture.  The mixing and foley work lack imagination though.


The extras are surprisingly abundant with alternate cuts of two of the stories, separate making-of featurettes for each segment including the frame story, deleted scenes, and one of the more entertaining commentary tracks I’ve heard which includes the writer/producer, about half the cast, and some of the more prominent crew members.


This disc may be worth checking out if you’re looking for some cool grotesqueries, as some of the highlights of the film are the numerous and high-quality practical effects.  But if you’re looking to get scared, look elsewhere. And if you’re looking for ghost corpse horror porn, well, more power to you.



-   Matthew Carrick


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com