There’s a brand new feature-length collection of horror-comedy shorts coming to Blu-Ray this month. It’s called Hellarious, and it’s perfect for fans who like a little hilarity mixed in with their carnage.
Curated by Jason Tostevin, co-founder of Nightmares Film Festival, and distributed by Chris Ethridge (Haven’s End) at Film Spawn this collection has something for everyone, especially those whose sense of humor run to the dark and twisty.
Take for instance, Killer Kart. Directed by James Feeney, the film finds a small crew of employees shutting down a grocery store for the evening when they suddenly find themselves in a gory life-and-death struggle for survival against a very angry feral shopping cart.
The premise is completely, farcically ridiculous, but Killer Kart works because Feeney and his cast understood that the best way to play farce is to do it completely seriously. There are no winks to the audience here. The campy dialogue is delivered like discount Shakespeare and I was there for every hilarious and bloody minute of it.
Then there’s Horrific from Rob Boocheck–whose work you might recognize from ABCs of Death 2–in which a goat rancher in Texas finds himself in a face-off against the legendary chupacabra. Boocheck’s creature is one step shy of terrifying and his protagonist played by Mike C. Nelson gives a fearless performance fighting off the infamous creature with all the bravado of The Three Stooges.
Tostevin’s own ‘Til Death finds four very unhappily married friends who decide the best way to deal with their wives is to get rid of their wives. Unfortunately for them, they make the mistake of burying them in cursed ground and they wake to find their wives “alive” the next morning and quite impossible to re-kill.
Watching these guys, who deftly manage to not learn their lesson in the least, slowly lose it over the course of the short is comedic gold. As a bonus, the make-up and effects are bloody brilliant, displaying exactly how each wife was killed without having to show the deaths themselves.
Chris McInroy’s Death Metal finds a musician who wants to be great, but he just doesn’t have what it takes. That is, until his dad gives him a badass guitar created by Satan himself.
Unfortunately, he doesn’t listen to the rules of using the instrument and well, let’s just say there’s a reason they call a guitar an axe. McInroy’s effects are fantastic, and there’s something brilliantly funny and wide-eyed about his protagonist.
Clarissa Jacobson’s Lunch Ladies will take you on a gore-laden trip back to your school days where we find Seretta and LouAnne, fraternal twins who have entered a contest to become personal chefs for Johnny Depp. These ladies love Johnny. The problem is their dead-end job in the cafeteria doesn’t allow them to be creative.
When some, shall we say, fresh ingredients present themselves, however, Johnny is right there to inspire them with one of their favorite movies.
Donna Pieroni and Mary Manofsky are absolutely perfect in the roles of Seretta and LouAnne, respectively. Their comedic timing is on point, even in the most harrowing of circumstances, and they bring a palpable earnestness to the short that sells it completely.
Bitten, a film by Sarah K. Reimers which will also be screening at the iHorror Film Festival this October, might just be one of the best horror-comedy shorts I’ve seen in years, and it all starts when a dog find himself on the wrong end of a werewolf’s bite.
Hilariously funny, Reimers blends suspense and possibility beautifully and Michael Curran gives an unforgettable performance that you have to see to believe.
The collection rounds out with a second entry from Tostevin, co-written by Randall Greenland, titled Born Again, which concerns a group of ill-prepared Satanist attempting to summon up some serious evil.
Unfortunately for them, they seriously messed up this particular ritual and well, someone totally unexpected shows up instead. This short is excellently paced with excellent practical effects.
What’s so brilliant about Hellarious is that it is shining a spotlight on films that would often find themselves lost after their time on the festival circuit. By packaging them together in this collection, it promises these shorts a longer life, but also gives an opportunity for those who don’t regularly get to attend festivals a taste of what they’ve missed.
This can be especially true with horror-comedies, which aren’t easy to pull off to begin with. It takes a skilled hand to combine laughter with the horrific and the filmmakers included in Hellarious prove that they are more than up to the task.
You can pre-order a copy of the collection on Blu-Ray for $20 plus shipping by clicking here. The disc comes with a bonus short from Clarissa Jacobson title A Very Important Film which parodies some of the self-important festival film tropes recognizable to anyone who has ever attended one.
Blu-Rays of Hellarious ship on around September 17, 2019! Check out the trailer below.