This week's VHS was Stephen M. Kienzle's 1990 anthology flick Terrorgram.
Three tales about ne'er do wells whose lives are thrust into chaos after receiving a mysterious package.
This was another title offered up by Ben Ruffett at his latest Hamilton Trash Cinema screening and again, his curation skills were on point. Terrorgram was wildly over-the-top and cheesy, but also kind of charming in its excesses. Don't take my word for it though, just listen to the dolcet tones of James Earl Jones!
It's like Rod Serling's opening to The Twliight Zone, but super dense and filled with mail puns. As Ben said, you kind of just zone out half way through and then it's just the sound of Jones' voice washing over you.
Terrorgram consisted of a trio of stories, the first being the most excessive. Heroine Overdose was basically about a misogynistic director that gets pulled into a parallel universe where gender stereotypes are reversed. He gets harassed and assaulted by women at every turn and can't seem to do anything about it. I have to wonder if this scenario had happened to Harvey Weinstein thirty years ago, a ton of people may have been spared a lot of trauma. Rest assured, they both got what they deserved in the end.
Pandora revolved around a newscaster that runs down a child, but does nothing so she can save her career. When the kid's jack-in-the-box shows up at her door, all manner of creeps invade. This may be the weakest of the three, perhaps just because everyone on the news team made Louis Bloom look like a saint. I will say that this segment does have some good gore and make up effects though.
Last was Veteran's Day and its more serious tone was quite a departure from the camp of the first two. Kienzle was himself a war vet and I wager this was the story he actually wanted to tell after buttering us up with some comedy. A deadbeat dad gets visited by the ghost of a soldier whom he got drafted into Vietnam by ratting him out to the army. It does not go well for either of them, as he is forced to relive the man's 'Nam experience. It's kind of like House, but if William Katt had been a garbage person.
Terrorgram was a lot better and more entertaining than it should have been, largely by way of its fresh scenarios and both the quality and quantity of its special effects collectively supplied by John Blake, Kevin Hudson, John Eggett and Richard Burk.