The original Volumes of Blood released in 2015 and consisted of five horror tales set in a library. A group of friends told stories of their versions of urban horror legends. Each legend had deadly consequences with a nice twist. I have yet to see this film, so this series is very new to me. I have read countless times that this sequel is much darker than its predecessor with more blood and guts!
With recent releases such as ABCs of Death, VHS, and Tales of Halloween, Horror anthology films are making a comeback in the most spectacular way and continuing this marvelous trend is Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories. The film continues the excellent trend of anthology horror whipping up seven tales of terror with a runtime of nearly two hours; I was deeply in love! However it was tough to choose a favorite, but I did. My favorite part was the Christmas Eve segment appropriately enough dealt with Black Friday. The ending had a cruel twist and was filled with tension along with suspense.
The opening of the film immediately gives the audience a short entitled Murder Death Kill, a fantastic way to kick off the beginning of the film. The dialogue, kills, and the story met expectations; I am digging this all the way through! VOB: Horror Stories brings the good ole fashion slasher that we once knew back to the screen.
The main component of the film centers around a house with a real estate agent showing the home to a couple that appears to be potential buyers. As the couple is shown each room in the house, a scary story is triggered, and each of these well-crafted tales centers around a special event or holiday. VOB: Horror Movies takes audiences on an adventure filled with practical effects, gore, and impressive kills. This anthology finds its footing very quickly using its genius blend of storytelling to entertain fans of the genre. The writing in this film is good; the dialogue is quite entertaining; fit for the times, and the cinematography is nothing short of amazing. VOB: Horror Movies pays tribute to many 80’s horror classics such as serial killers, monsters, and of course slashers. That said, VOB: Horror Movies has set a precedence of how a horror anthology should flow.
VOB: Horror Stories has not released to the general public. The film is seeking distribution and is hitting the festival circuit. Check out our interview with Writer and Producer P.J. Starks right after the gruesome photo gallery.
A couple plans to purchase an old home but would like one last tour before the closing. They’re guided around the estate by a creepy realtor that may have more in store than they bargained for. Searching floor by floor, they begin to discover the remnants of its sordid and terrifying past… A popular 80’s franchise gets a modern upgrade, but at what price? On Halloween night a teen left home alone meets a trick or treater that wants more than just candy. A door to door insurance salesman makes a Thanksgiving house call with monstrous consequences. Andrew and Sara are happily married and plan on spending some quality time together, but something sinister has other plans for their evening. Carol’s Christmas Eve turns into a fight for survival when a vengeful stranger isn’t feeling the holiday spirit. Lastly, a birthday party turns bloody when some unexpected guests drop by at the wrong time. Seven interwoven tales of terror, how many stories does your house have?
Check Out The Trailer Below:
Writer and Producer P.J.Starks has graciously lent us some time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions regarding Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories and what his has in store for the future.
iHorror: Did you accomplish what you had set out to do with this film?
P.J. Starks: Absolutely. Our goal was to outdo the predecessor on multiple levels. We wanted better acting, better effects and better, stronger story lines with more interesting characters. I feel like we achieved this. Of course everyone will feel differently on those various areas. However, I know that we really went above and beyond what had come before. The universe of VOB already had a strong foundation, so taking it to the next level was really the only reason to even create a second installment. Overall everyone who has watched the film seems to agree that is what we did.
iH: Do you plan on making a third installment?
PS: I have come up with a concept for a third anthology that will complete the overall story line. At the same time, with the second film, I wanted to build onto what Volumes of Blood could potentially be by creating an entire mythos. We managed to create some pretty badass masked killers in this film, so there’s a good chance that you’ll see spin-off films that feature these characters in a single narrative.
iH: The casting for Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories was stellar, were you involved in the process?
PS: Eric Huskisson, my other producer and bestie, and I were both heavily involved in the casting for the film. Most people equate indie horror with shitty acting. And in a lot of cases, they’re right. We didn’t want that to be the situation with VOBHS. We wanted a film with strong leads and solid performances. We wanted that audience to be able to watch the film without being taken out the moment by subpar acting. We were extremely picky, and the final project speaks for itself. We have some super strong actors who really hold their own. I believe that’s wat sets our film a part from a lot of other indie fare out there. We really do have some fantastic and memorable performances throughout the film.
iH: What was the most challenging part of filming Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories?
PS: To look at the quality of the film you’d think that making it in such a quick turnaround, from conception to completion, that it would’ve been an overall hassle free production. It was actually the total opposite. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many issues with trying to get a production finished. Whether it was losing a location, which happened multiple times or losing cast and crew, which happened more than I like to admit. We had many obstacles to overcome reaching a final cut. Making this film was a massive undertaking as well as headache. That’s why I think it turned out the way it did. Eric and myself had an incredible team behind us. They were so dedicated to the process and to the project. In a lot of cases, we were very transparent with issues, and some couldn’t be avoided. I think the whole cast and crew were determined to make this a great film and they pulled through. Everyone who worked on the film are the backbone and the reason for any successes it has seen or may see.
iH: How was it working with a variety of directors on this film? Were there any creative challenges? Benefits?
PS: I love collaboration. Working with others is just an awesome experience. It was fun working with all the various directors. Some I’ve known for a while and others were unknown, but the entire experience of working with these directors was a real treat. I try not to micromanage. There’s a reason these guys were put into the director’s chair, so I wanted them to have as much creative freedom as necessary. That’s not to say they we didn’t have to say no or reel them in, we did. But at the end of the day, they need that freedom to take a pre-written script and make it their own. We wanted each sequence to be as much their vision as it was ours. We did have some creative challenges along the way; I ultimately had to kick several people off the film, and we had a couple walk due to creative differences. But it was because they couldn’t get onboard with the overall endgame and we wouldn’t budge. If something was going to hurt the film we said no. Luckily we only had a few that wouldn’t play ball, but everyone else was open to ideas and working together towards a common goal. It was the most stressful film I’ve ever produced, but it was also the most satisfying because of who we ended up working with.
iH: I know this is probably like choosing a favorite child, do you have a favorite segment in Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories?
PS: When you’ve written a majority of the scripts you always have a favorite. For the longest time, Blood Bath was the favorite of several, however, a lot changes from script to screen. While Blood Bath is still a fun ride and Jon Maynard did a kickass job with the script, ultimately Feeding Time became my favorite segment. I like all the segments. I think each one is so uniquely grotesque. They all offer something different from characters to tone, so on and so forth. Nevertheless, Feeding Time is definitely my favorite. The sequence Fear is a very slow burn with an ultra-satisfying twist, but the opening to Feeding is a slow burn too with a twist equally satisfying in my eyes. I think Caleb Shore and Shelby Taylor Mullins very much did the script justice with their performances. I love their back and forth before the sequence takes a hard bloody left turn. And the antagonist is so cool and creepy looking. Barbie Clark created all the costumes in the film and did such an awesome job. She created so many iconic looks from Atticus Crow in Murder Death Killer and The Woman in Fear, For Sinners Here. Without her, this film would have suffered tremendously, so I give a lot of credit to producer Chris Bower for convincing us we needed a Costume Designer. I can’t imagine doing this film without Barbie. Her look for the Johnny Boy character in Feeding Time is just so insanely disturbing; she nailed it. The same goes for her husband BJ who created the Johnny Boy mask. It was just perfectly sculpted.
iH: In the original screenplay were there any stories that did not make the final cut?
PS: The script went through many iterations before we settled on the final seven stories that we did. Ultimately all the sequences that you see in the film are the ones that we intended to shoot. Bits and pieces hit the cutting room floor, but all the segments are there.
iH: When did you decide you were going to become a filmmaker? Do you have any advice to give to future filmmakers?
PS: I’ve been into visual story telling for a very long time. I did several projects and really pushed myself to be more creative, but it wasn’t until 2007 before I took it seriously and started figuring out what I truly wanted. Since then I’ve evolved in my role on projects going from writing and directing to now doing a lot of producing. But I think you have to evolve and try your hand at many different positions to figure out what it is that you love to do. Especially behind the camera. Best advice I have is get off your ass and do it. Stop dreaming about it and just do it. Don’t wait too long, dive in now. The technology and methods are changing so much that just getting out there and doing it is your best chance at finding success in it.
iH: Is Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories available to the public? If so, is it available on DVD/Blu-Ray or VOD?
PS: Not yet, we’re still setting up some screenings and getting it out to festivals. It won’t have the festival run that VOB had; we want to get this one in people’s hands a lot faster. We’ve already started getting with some distributors to see what options we have.
iH: Do you have any projects that you are currently working on that you can discuss?
PS: I’m working on several projects at the moment. I’m executive producing a couple other anthology projects. One is called 10/31/16; it’s a Halloween themed horror flick in the vein of V/H/S and Creepshow. It’s created by Rocky Gray who did the score for VOBHS; he also serves as a director. The other anthology is a creature feature called Cryptids that follows the exploits of several well-known and not so well-known monsters. I love monster movies, so it’s exciting to be working on one. Plus, it gives me another excuse to work with director Justin M. Seaman who wrote and directed The Barn as well as Zane Hershberger, who was a First AD on VOBHS. They’re a couple passionate and talented guys. I’m serving as a co-producer on Deimosimine from Chad Armstrong the co-owner of LeglessCorpse Films. It’s a very dark, drug-induced demonic horror story that is something much different than all the other “possession” type horror you see out there. It tackles and very serious and relevant problem facing a lot of people in today’s society. I’ve got a couple other possible projects that I may be producing on the horizon. I’m still in talks with those.
Thank you so much, PJ! Looking forward to your future kick-ass projects!
-ABOUT THE AUTHOR-
Ryan T. Cusick is a writer for ihorror.com and very much enjoys conversation and writing about anything within the horror genre. Horror first sparked his interest after watching the original, The Amityville Horror when he was the tender age of three. Ryan lives in California with his wife and Eleven-year-old daughter, who is also expressing interest in the horror genre. Ryan recently received his Master’s Degree in Psychology and has aspirations to write a novel. Ryan can be followed on Twitter @Nytmare112