The short storyline attached to the IMDB page of Monster X says this:
‘Two friends hide in an old theater to escape ravenous hordes of vampires, zombies and werewolves.’
Sounds like good fun, right? Well, it’s a hit & miss movie. An anthology that goes for a grindhouse feel but ends up coming across cheap.
The stories are being seen by a couple on their first date to a horror marathon. The pair have little chemistry but that actually works in conjunction with the date that isn’t going so well.
It’s about to get a whole lot worse though as unbeknown to them during this showing the monsters on the screen are also coming to life in the cinema. Four stories themed around specific monsters starting with a banshee.
Called Banshee, this is the most serious-toned of the anthology. A woman at home with her husband hears the sound of a woman screaming then discovers him dead in the bed. It’s a dark & tense start & it never lifts in tone as a pale woman dressed in white begins to haunt the grieving widow.
Based around Irish mythology, it is said that should you hear the scream of a banshee a family member will die, if you see her scream you will be next to die.
It’s a story that has been done in horror numerous times to varying results but this short is one of the finer additions. The only let down being the cringe-inducing acting from the exposition spouting police detective.
The second film is called Howl of a Good Time & is very different to the first. Taking a cheesy & more light-hearted stance. An invite only special screening at a cinema sees three young girls desperate to get in. Being too young they are naturally refused entry even though one of them has a note from her father.
Still, undeterred this one manages to gain entry through a back door. Once inside she discovers just why the screening was so private but she has a secret of her own. The most fun of the four, it’s pretty obvious where this is going early on but that doesn’t detract from the reveal, one that is pretty entertaining. The added twist is gleefully done & although the effects are a bit ropey, it’s certainly the highlight of the anthology.
The final two shorts are where things begin to fall apart.
Now That You’re Dead sees a woman return home early to discover her husband in bed with another woman. Something she suspected & prepared for. She confronts them & shoots them both dead However, when she takes the bodies to be deposed of, she soon finds that they may not be as dead as she expected.
Sounds familiar, right? It really is having been done in some format countless times & with far better results. This feels less like a tribute resulting in a tiresome & boring story.
The final film, Don’t let the Light In also has a familiar feel. A babysitter arrives at a job discovering that the child has already been left alone, with no parents in the house to meet her. There’s your warning signs already!
Initially concerned she figures it’s an easy night until she hears loud banging from upstairs. The young boy claims it is monsters in his bedroom but she natural dismisses his worries.
…but the banging just won’t stop.
A disappointing final short leads back into the wrap-around story that sees the dating couple forced to run for their survival as all manner of beasties come at them. The peril they face draws them closer together but it’s incredibly forgettable & not scary at all.
For what it gets right, Monster X is a decent anthology collection with a nice mix of horror & comedy. The first half is far more entertaining than the second half but as a throwaway popcorn flick it’s worth a watch seeing as it comes in at about 68 minutes long.
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