Review by: Eric R. Lowther
Posted by: Root Rot
The Dead Hour
Web series from www.thedeadhour.com
Daniel B Iske & Scott Coleman, creators/producers
Hey, kids! It’s Eric R. Lowther aka biguglyhairyscary back here on the Witch’s Hat after a guest stint across the pond on Jonny’s Cult Films, so make sure you hop over to Jonny’s great blog and check out my review for the movie “Reeker”. It’s good to be back, since I get to review a little something different this time around. I’m talking about Omaha, Nebraska filmmakers Daniel B. Iske and Scott Coleman’s web series “The Dead Hour”. You may have heard of these guys from a few indie horror films they’ve made, specifically “The Wretched” and “New House”. I haven’t seen these films for myself, but after checking out the web series I’m definitely on the lookout for them.
“The Dead Hour” is a fine addition to the episodic horror tradition of “Tales from the Crypt” and even a smattering of the “Twilight Zone”, though the style and quality presented here is much more akin to the darker episodes of the “Tales from the Dark Side” television series. I was originally asked to review only the latest installment, “Cannibal Girls” (is this what it’s come to? Root thinks about cannibals and I’m the first reviewer to come to mind?), but after watching that one I decided to check out the rest of the webisodes. “The Dead Hour”, like many of the old-fashioned episodic horror shows, makes use of a host in the form of “DJ R”, a smooth-voiced and sexy radio DJ. Her sultry and often tongue-in-cheek delivery introduces us to each episode, and she is waaaay easier on the eyes than our old Crypt Keeper. Her introductions again make me think of the voice-over introductions used in the “Tales from the Dark Side” series, though instead of that show’s male voice dripping with dark danger and foul whimsy we have DJ R’s far more pleasing, though no less dark, tone and manner. Currently, there are five webisodes available for free viewing;
“Cougar” centers on the arrival of a gorgeous new divorcee in an upscale community and her “carnal appetites”. This is a classic genre cautionary tale, and though I was a little off-put by the lead actress’s performance the three teenage boys in the production displayed chops beyond their years.
“Alcoholic Vampire” is a tale of a vampire with a drinking problem, one even more dark than your standard vampiric issues. He even joins a human therapy group to try and defeat his urges, but that only fuels the fire. Like all “The Dead Hour” episodes, the acting and script here are top-notch, as are the technical aspects. If you like the cheekier Crypt and Dark Side episodes, you’ll love this one.
“Donor” follows a young man hiding his unemployed status from his wife, faking going to work every day while he uses up their savings and looks for work. Along the way he meets up with a strange doctor, one that will buy all his spare parts and pieces for his long and lucrative client list. This one also screams Dark Side in its subject matter and feel. The sets used here, especially the old garage and workshop where the doctor performs his surgeries, are fantastic with a great amount of attention to detail.
“The Hole” is perhaps the weakest of the stories presented and concerns a recently retired accountant having trouble adjusting to his new, sedentary life. We’re led to believe our new retiree is much more sinister than he appears, but unlike the other stories offered up by “The Dead Hour” the whole thing gets just a little too disjointed and the very nature of the short-story format just doesn’t give us enough time to really feel it or have it make much sense. This is the only tale so far that I can say I wasn’t impressed with, though I think this time it was the script that caused the problems since the acting and direction were still quite good.
“Cannibal Girls” follows two young women after the fall of civilization due to war, disease and a little hint to the Mayan 2012 predictions. Humanity has been reduced to a few thousand, and of those, many are “sick”. The sick are homicidal, almost “rage zombies” that will kill and eat any “sane” people they find. Our heroes are forced to turn to cannibalism to live, but are they really living or just “existing”? This episode is really just the two actresses bouncing off each other, but they and the script they’re working from are good enough to keep your attention. Had the actresses been of a lower caliber, or if the episode had spent literally two more minutes just showing us the girls talking I think it would’ve lost me. I also noticed that one of our heroines falls down not once but twice, for no apparent reason other than the script just really needed her to. That device really only works once in a full-length movie, and to use it twice in this short of a production is kind of abusing your viewer. Putting that aside, I still recommend it.
As I said before, the acting, writing and technical details are consistently above average in all of the productions, and the only black mark on the scripts as I see them come from “The Hole”. I’ll certainly be watching for new webisodes as well as checking out the makers’ full-length film projects as well. Make sure you get in on this gem on the ground floor before somebody at some cable network somewhere gets smart, pays these guys and yanks it off the free-view ‘net.
Well, that’s enough for me this time around. Make sure you’re checking out all the podcast and blog goodness that is The Witch’s Hat. Remember, we’re always looking for contributors for the blog and podcasts, so if you have a movie you want to review or something you want to jaw about in the genres make sure you drop Mr. Rot a line and grab some of the podcast and blog glory for yourselves. So, until next time this has been biguglyhairyscary saying, see ya’, kids.
Links to The Dead Hour
Related Witch’s Hat links
Question or comments
The Witch’s Hat Voice Mail 313 444 2611