Movie Review-Death by VHS


Review-Death by VHS is the return of Walter Ruether’s alter ego Scarlet Fry. This is basically an anthology that two people buy and go home and watch it with us. They refer to this film as having some drug effect on the viewer. To be honest, this film is a step in the right director for Walter. I am not saying it a masterpiece but it focused on what I think is Scarlet Fry’s biggest positive, cruel humor. While his horror and gore aspect is low budget and I feel he tries way too hard, his script and dialogue at times is just so dementedly funny that I think he should really focus more on that. Case in point is story three Christmas Krampus. It is about a mentally challenged adult and his family, one Christmas he wishes his parents harm. This little story was just so dark and cruel, that you cannot sit back and laugh at it. Now, when the harm comes it is twisted and I felt that the gore and killing sort of hurt it more than helped. I respect all that Walter tries to do with his films, but I feel that he needs to really stick with his strengths, and that is his absurd humor that really works. There is another short about zombies that David Hayes plays the disc jockey who tells us about this plague that has happened. I felt the premise was clever, I liked the old school feel it had and just the newspaper articles that really told the bulk of the story. The first short is called Tape 36 aka Suburban She Freak which is about Mary who is disfigured and drinks a special potion and is beautiful. Again, Scarlet did great with the script and creating the tension but it just feels like another low budget cheapie and nothing special once things go down. As the film goes on, it just seems to feel so redundant. I respect him for sticking with the anthologies, and not conforming to what others are doing. This feels like one of those cheapies that came out in the 80’s during the Creepshow craze. I hate to be negative to this because it has some decent qualities, and is definitely a step above what he did last time. I feel Nightmare Alley has been a curse for him, because so many people liked that film and he seems to be trying to replicate it. I feel the horror aspect on his budget may need to be rethought, and stick to script writing and characters that is where he seems to really have a knack for creating something. He has a flow and humor that the horror aspect seems to damper. I feel for people who are into low budget cheapies, you may find a few things in this to keep you glued to the screen and have a decent enough time with some of it. Horror fans I do not think you would get behind the majority of this film. I am glad that Scarlet is doing better work, but I just feel we have not seen his true talent yet, but I know he is only going to keep getting better. I hate to be negative because the film has heart and at times a personality, but this is a tough film at times to get thru.

4 out of 10