Thursday, February 04, 2010
The Offspring (aka From a Whisper to a Scream) (1987)
"The history of Oldfield is written in blood on pages of human skin."
There are but a handful of people that could pull off a line like that, Vincent Price being one, so I suppose credit should go to the casting director as he is our narrator for this anthology of horror. Oldfield, Tennessee has a rather macabre history, we are told, and as the resident slightly off-kilter librarian, Price knows all of the stories and is more than obliging when a reporter comes to visit. I will admit this seemed like a bit of an arbitrary location choice for the epicenter of evil, but then I, too, live in the Bible belt so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.
The opening tale is the strongest and follows a lonely older gentlemen who has spent most of his adult life caring for his sister (including bathing her which nobody needed to see). Even his fantasies are turning on him as his dream girl with whom he works with keeps showing up in some stage of decomposition. He does finally convince her to come out for dinner at BJ's Family Restaurant (insert first date joke here), but things don't quite work out. He does get some action the following night, but only because she's not exactly in any state to fight back. Some months later, a little bundle of joy bursts out of the ground seeking vengeance for its incubation six feet deep. Add this to my list of reasons to never have children.
Unfortunately, the remaining stories are of varied degrees of mediocrity. A small time hood in the 1950's learns a valuable lesson about messing with an undead voodoo priest, a carnival glasseater gives new meaning to the phrase "love will tear us apart," and Civil War orphans take their revenge on any soldiers who unwittingly come their way. There are inspired moments in each, such as the twist on pin the tail on the donkey that the children engage in, but all come off as rushed and too similar to any number of other short horror stories. The middle story could have been easily excised in favor of fleshing out the other two. There is also a bookend tale involving Price that isn't really worth noting.
I love a good anthology. Too bad this wasn't one.