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Hi-8 (2013)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Hi-8 (2013) If you don't have a problem with movies shot with a camcorder, and if you're a fan of this type of thing in the horror - exploitation world, then you should enjoy HI-8, a horror anthology movie that brings together 8 different directors from around the U.S. of A. and lets them show off their talents. You should know if you're a fan of this type of movie if you're familiar with titles like SLEDGE HAMMER, TWISTED ILLUSIONS (one of the first SOV horror anthologies ever made- and this movie features the team of director Tim Ritter and cult actor Joel Wynkoop in separate segments; Ritter is an executive producer of this epic), BLOOD CULT, REDNECK ZOMBIES...you get the picture. If you know titles like this and love them, you'll get a lot out of this flick, which is like a pint-sized offspring of the V/H/S movies, although much different and better, I must say (being a fan of all things SOV myself). There is a sense of enthusiasm behind every segment you see in this movie, something sorely lacking in the majority of ALL releases anymore, especially homegrown movies. There's a wraparound segment that ties the movie together featuring a bunch of teens trying to make a horror movie with a camcorder that's pretty neat. Throughout these proceedings, we go into each director's story as they deliver their visions from the realm of Independent Horror, and there's 8 segments (hence the title HI-8, I guess!). Each segment is varying quality but all are very entertaining and kept my attention. The first one is a rape/revenge story with a husband and wife at the centerpoint with a couple of very unique twists- it's also very graphic in terms of sex and violence and features some pretty brutal special effects, especially when guts are torn out of a victim. It's fast-paced and wicked and I must say, almost laid out like a feature-length movie, I've never seen so much story crammed into a short running time (each segment runs about ten to twelve minutes). Nice payoff, I really liked this one. Next up is an excellent homage to stuff like GORGASM and VIDEO VIOLENCE (again, if you're familiar with these titles, you know what I'm talking about). the origins of a videotape from yesteryear cause problems for a video store clerk obsessed with finding out who made it. Again, ample nudity, splendid gore, old school video lighting, and a sense of loving the horror video genre abound and there's many homages to video directors and movies of the past made by writer Matt Hill, who is obviously a student of this era of moviemaking. A newer director named Tony Masiello directed this one- obviously a diehard fan weaned on the world of SOV gore! Look for cameos by some SOV Folks from the old days in Masiello's segment, if you're a diehard fan of the genre, you will notice them!!!! Special effects legend and accomplished underground moviemaker Marcus Koch delivers a sci-fi style no-budget version of DEADLY SPAWN next, which I found intriguing, and his style goes all the way back to his first SOV movie ROT here and was very entertaining. Legendary b-movie actor Joel D. Wynkoop makes an appearance here and reunites with Koch from the ROT era, so this was a great bonus! Filmmaker Ron Bonk delivers a zombie satire much in the tradition of SHAUN OF THE DEAD as a guy tries to rescue his grandmother (and her friends) from their rest home confines amidst a zombie outbreak. If you're a zombie fan, you will LOVE this one, chalk full of epic gore, one-liners referencing everything from STAR WARS to ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, and just completely professionally shot. Keep in mind, this one is totally comical in tone- it's all about the journey from the back door of the facility to an awaiting van about ten feet away! Silly, yes, but it works with excellent direction. More stories follow, including another rape/revenge tale from director Chris Seaver that's funny and raunchy in tone, a twisted tale of jealous lovers from Donald Farmer (best known for classics like DEMON QUEEN and SAVAGE VENGEANCE) that I really liked---especially the twist ending on that one, and a subtle ghost-revenge piece from director Todd Sheets, best known for his ZOMBIE BLOODBATH movies, which was quite the surprise. Yet it delivers the goods, CREEPSHOW-style. Rounding out the movie is an excellent segment from Brad Sykes, who has brought us the CAMP BLOOD franchise and bigger productions like the most entertaining sci-fi horror epic PLAGUERS. Sykes is also a co-producer of the entire project and really went all-out with his segment, which is set in the middle of the desert, HILLS HAVE EYES style. It's a twisted story of a videomaker and his lead actress going out in the middle of nowhere for a location scout....and involved a video camera...and one of them going insane. Again, great use of locations and super gory ending, ending HI-8 on a high note. This segment, with its use of video camcorder footage, could have easily fit into the V/H/S universe as well, so nice subliminal David Lynch-ish tie-in...So there you have it. Hope I've given you an overview of the movie without giving anything away too much, but if you like this kind of material, well...you like it! If you don't like the video porn look with horror, then obviously, stay away from this flick. It's also available on a most excellent VHS tape version as well, perfect for people who collected movies like this in the '90's, when they became affordable! The DVD includes a commentary track by writer/director/producer Brad Sykes and producer Josephina Sykes. They discuss the origins of the project (including the title), the "rules of the project", and give background information on each of the filmmakers. The Extras also include "The 8 Simple Rules Of Hi-8", a featurette on the making of the film. This is basically interviews with producer/director Brad Sykes and producer Josephina Sykes. They talk about how the project was created and hype each of the contributing directors of HI-8. Additional special features also include a teaser trailer, a photo gallery, and three short promotional clips. Well worth the $10 bucks the DVD costs, folks! Check it out if you're a fan of this stuff, like me.

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