Every once in a while I’m contacted by someone who has made a horror video series that is just amazing. This time, it was Scott W. Perry wondering if I would review the second season of his horror anthology series “In Fear Of.” And naturally I said yes, because I enjoyed the first season and I wanted to see where they would go with the second.
“In Fear Of” is a unique independent horror anthology show, made in the same vein as “Tales from the Crypt” and “Tales from the Darkside.” There were even some points in the episodes where if it were “Tales from the Crypt,” the Cryptkeeper would pop up and say some cheesy, tongue-in-cheek puns about being dead like he always did. (Hey Scott! Get a horror themed host for next season like the Cryptkeeper! It’d be hilarious!)
There are 13 episodes a season, each one covering a different phobia, hence the title “In Fear Of.” Each episode presents a unique interpretation to present how an individual would experience and express a particular fear. Not only is this clever in terms of story telling, but it’s smart from the business side of the equation as well, because if they were to ever run out of fears, they could return to their list and write another story about a character experiencing the same fear in an altogether new and terrifying way.
Since I don’t scare easily, so I didn’t find any entry in Season 2 to be terrifying, but damn did I find them entertaining! They run the gamut from weird and quirky to downright sinister in theme. Everything you’d want from an episode of “Tales from the Darkside,” you’d find here.
Season 2 is 13 episodes, so I’m only going to cover my absolute favorites here: episodes 5, 8, 12 and 13; in order of appearance in the series, but in not order of importance.
Episode 5: Agraphobia Fear of Sexual Harassment
There were two episodes that just blew me away in terms of artistic style and vision. This one and episode 12, which I will be talking about in just a little bit.
Episode 5: Agraphobia is about Nina Thompson, a tough-as-nails ball-buster of a female boss who is working alone, late at night at the office when she is visited by a former employee whom wishes to teach her a lesson, but he is the one that gets schooled instead. It’s epic! Nina just works him over! I actually started to feel sorry for him after a while, but only a little bit, because he is a sexual predator. It was almost like watching the burglars get the snot beat out of them by Kevin in “Home Alone.”
This episode is total 1980’s B-movie; from the outfits to the computers in the office. It’s glorious to watch.
Before I start waxing poetically about Bradley Creanzo’s auteur aesthetics, let’s take a moment here to talk about the real stars of the episode: the wigs.
The wigs are AMAZING! They are so outstanding that they are characters in and of themselves.
I call this one Suzy Sparkle (blonde sparkle wig).
This one is Shemp (black messy shaggy wig).
Just like the glorious wigs, the bad acting in this is just wonderful. Instead of being painful to watch, it’s actually quite fun. Reminds me a lot of the old low-budget slashers from the ’80s. It seems like the actors really had a good time making this.
“You don’t own me Nina! Your days of torturing me are over. Now it’s my turn.” — Martin
“A fitting place. I could use a good shower, after I dirty myself…(insert cheesy pause) with you!” — Martin
Nina isn’t a very convincing screamer. It’s rather funny, because she sounds like she belongs in a porno instead of a slasher flick. (Sorry Genoveva Rossi! But it’s true! *runs and hides defensively in the corner* Please don’t beat me up!)
The set pieces in this one are characters in and of themselves; it has a very noir feel to it, and I think that’s pretty damn cool!
The lightning has a definite Dario Argento vibe, with alternate uses of blue and red, sometimes in the same scene for great effect. There are some very beautiful shots to behold; definitely true auteur territory here.
Blue light is a “cold” color and is simply but effectively used here to create a sense of darkness, shadow and suspense. It is effectively combined with a synth pop soundtrack that is reminiscent of John Carpenter’s scores.
“Go to hell Martin”
What’s even more impressive is that Bradley Creanzo is a one man maestro, a true Renaissance man of film. He directed, starred, and wrote all the musical compositions of this piece. He’s like a modern John Carpenter. How cool is that?
Beneath the cheesy exterior lies a work of art that shouldn’t be missed!
Episode 8: Glossophobia Fear of Acting or Speaking in Public
One word will get your interest piqued for this episode: ZOMBIES!
Main actress Debbie Rochon (Sgt. Stone) reminds me of the lead actress from “Day of the Dead” and that’s great!
One thing I love about the series is that it’s not afraid to show the strength of women in its variety of characters.
The zombie makeup is amazing. I love the crazy eyes that the zombie actors make.
It’s such a fun episode; the twist ending is hilarious. You have to watch it, I don’t want to ruin it for you. All I can say is that it does indeed have to do with being afraid of public speaking. Trust me on this one.
Possible teaser trailer for Scott W. Perry’s next magnum opus?
Episode 10 Disposophobia: Fear of Throwing Things Away
This is an episode that could very easily been on “Tales from the Crypt”, especially because of its tragic, ironic ending. Disposophobia is about a woman who is desperately trying to run away and leave her hoarding mother behind. She’d rather be homeless than live with her. Because of the hoarding, she has become neurotic about messes and wants to life a simple life in wide open spaces where she can breathe.
“You had a cat mom. I found the bones.”
This one is deep. It’s much more than what it appears to be, thanks to some very sophisticated script writing by Anne Bobby, who also stars in this and plays the daughter of Barbara Rosenblat’s character June. These two ladies have acting chops! Their mother/daughter character relationship feels so awkward and suffocating. I can’t say more about this one, as it would totally spoil it for you. Needless to say, I was very impressed with their work.
Episode 12 Taphaphobia: Fear of Being Buried Alive
Episode 12 is one of the best entries of the entire series. It’s so fun and grabs your attention as soon as it starts. Taphaphobia is about a guy, Brendon (played by Zack Locuson) who has brutal nightmares/night terrors about being buried alive by a hag/witch. They’re so bad he wakes up in terror and tries to kill his significant other because he thinks that she is the hag. Turns out that the hag in his nightmares is his dead grandmother.
Memaw (Brandon’s grandmother) is a monster. Brandon believes that even though she is dead, she is still going to come and kill him. Lori (played by Jamie White) convinces him to go to her grave to see that she’s really dead. But then a hand comes up from grave and his worst fears come to pass!
Directed by Stolis Hadjicharalambous, and written by P.J. McIlvaine, “Taphaphobia: Fear of Being Buried Alive” is another one is right out of the “Tales from the Crypt” playbook. And I loved it!
Episode 13: Autophobia Fear of Abandonment
Autophobia is another entry with a strong sense of place, and by that I mean setting. The main character Mickey is a drunk and sick of being alone. He wanders through utterly empty streets which bring to mind the opening scene of “28 Days Later”; no one is around, everything is closed and abandoned.
Mickey pines for his friend Sharon, and waits every year for her to return to their home town. She comes back, but not the way you’d expect. The twist ending is strong, and everything is handled expertly in this one. Where some people would fumble when the story demands confusion and illusion to occur, this episode flourishes. It is very well done and a great end to the season.
My only suggestion is to cut down the intro from 00:50 to 00:20 or 00:25. After a while it became tedious to sit through what is almost a minute long intro for each episode. There is also a sound quality issue. Some of the episodes are louder than others, and sometimes the intro music is louder than the rest of the episode, like in Episode 9: Merinthophobia: Fear of Being Bound. But these are my only complaints. Overall, it’s a great series.
The second season of “In Fear Of” is much stronger than the first; with deeper stories, a solid cast and a more cohesive vision throughout. Scott W. Perry and co. have really solidified what this series is and what should be included in it. Steven-Mark Glassner is a fantastic cinematographer; his work is real top-notch stuff, and the camera angles change depending on the mood and subject matter in subtle, albeit important ways. He is a true artist with the camera and makes this season of “In Fear Of” a beautiful, and amazing thing to behold. If you know what to look for in terms of camera angles and visuals, you’ll see his touch on the episodes he worked on when you watch it. The cinematography is brilliant, going beyond the normal artistic limits seen in mainstream horror shows.
The makeup is amazing for low-budget filmmaking; not to say that it can’t be good, but often in low-budget material, the makeup is where the lack of money really shows. My hat is off to whomever was in charge of creating the zombies and the horrible hag Memaw!
“In Fear Of” is great, a must see for horror lovers, and those that enjoy independent horror movies.
You can rent it on Vimeo here: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/infearof