Vulcan Video, the store thanked in this film’s’ credits was shuttered because of the CCP-Virus shutdown (thanks again, Xi). Yet, the archetype of the horror movie nerd-video-store clerk persists. At least it does in the horror-comedy anthology-mash-up Scare Package, which premieres today on Shudder.
Package sets the ironic-meta tone early and often in Emily Hagins’ “Cold Open,” where we meet a struggling actor, coincidentally named Mike Myers, who is desperate to stay in his next film past the prologue set-up. Of course, it does not work out as he hoped. This segment segues into Aaron B. Koontz’s “Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium,” which sort of acts as a framing device for the other constituent stories that will be introduced as films-within-the-film, playing on the store’s monitors.
Weirdly, Chris McInroy’s “One Time in the Woods” and frequent genre thesp Noah Segan’s directorial debut “M.I.S.T.E.R.” would probably be funnier if they were in separate anthology films, because they both start out pretending to be about one sort of monster, before revealing the more pressing horror is something else entirely. Still, the ensembles for both (including Segan portraying a frustrated husband) are impressively energetic (even manic, in the case of “Woods”).
Perhaps the funniest segment is Anthony Cousins’ “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill,” where we see the Fourth of July Killer’s favorite victim try to turn the tables on her tormentor, yet again. Thematically, this is a lot like Shant Hamassian’s short film, Night of the Slasher, but Cousins and co-screenwriter John Karsko take it to much gorier and more absurdist extremes.
Courtney & Hillary Andujar’s “Girls’ Night Out of Body” has an appealing retro vibe, but they do not have a chance to fully develop their concept before the abrupt O.Henry-ish ending. Baron Vaughn’s “So Much to Do” also earns considerable style points, but the tale of shadowy figures and a struggle for control over an earthly body does not make a lot of sense.
Like many comedic horror films, Scare Package is a bit uneven (and several featured characters are rather annoying), but it definitely scores more hits than misses. Strauss-Schulson’s The Final Girls remains the funniest take on this kind of thematic material, but genre fans should still get a kick out of it. Easily recommended for viewers with a sense of nostalgia, who do not take their slashers too seriously, Scare Package starts streaming today (6/18) on Shudder.