Horror anthologies appear to be making a comeback these days, we’ve had three V/H/S films, two ABCs of Death, Chillerama, and The Theatre Bizarre in the past six years. Working on each anthology have been a number of different minds familiar with the horror genre including the likes of Tom Savini, Adam Wingard, and Ti West. Now we can add the likes of Kevin Smith (Clerks), Nicolas McCarthy (The Pact) and Gary Shore (Dracula Untold) to the mix with the release of Holidays, a horror anthology that has a warped take on beloved public holidays.
That’s right, as the title suggests holiday periods such as Easter, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day and even New Years Eve are given a lick of blood spatter and celebrated with wails and screams as we delve into some dark holiday tales. There are eight short stories in total, with Valentines Day, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, and Halloween joining the aforementioned dates. Many a horror anthology usually has a mixed bag of quality, and Holidays is no different with some good pieces, some distinctly average ones, and a couple of downright weird ones.
The cream of crop are easily Easter and Fathers Day, directed by Nicolas McCarty and Anthony Scott Burns respectively. Easter follows a young girl who wakes one night to find the Easter bunny with the encounter takes an unexpected turn. It’s a delightfully bizarre entry into the anthology. Fathers Day on the other hand takes a more sombre tone, a young woman receives a cassette tape with a recording of her long lost father who provides directions on how to find him. It’s incredibly atmospheric, a great short, and feels like something straight from an H.P. Lovecraft story.
The weaker entries in the anthology are St. Patrick’s Day, and Mothers Day. The former follows a teacher who gets her deepest wish granted but it comes with a twist, and the latter features a woman who is unable to prevent getting pregnant and seeks to find a cure to her problem. Interestingly both shorts deal with pregnancy, but both are also a little slow. Neither entry is actually bad, Mothers Day itself has an interesting premise, but they’re both feel slow and don’t grab your attention as well as the others.
Christmas is like a fun modern day episode of Tales From the Darkside, starring Seth Green as a father haunted by the actions he took to get his child the best present for Christmas. Kevin Smith was responsible for the Halloween entry that stars Ashley Greene and Harley Quinn Smith. It’s a rather twisted tale, as three girls who work for a man who runs webcam sex shows take their revenge on him after he threatens to assault one of them. It doesn’t end pleasantly even if the antagonist meets a worthy demise. The only thing Halloween about it though is that the girls are prevented from going out to a Halloween party.
Overall Holidays is a good addition to the horror anthology stable, it’s a combination of weird, unusual, and sometimes graphic entries that will appeal to every horror fan out there. But like most anthologies not every entry is a hit, and a few of the shorts could have done with being a touch longer. If this isn’t your usual choice of film, you might want to stick with something like Creepshow. Holidays is available on Netflix now.