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Trapped Ashes (2009)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Trapped Ashes (2009) A group of six people, on a VIP Tour of an old movie studio backlot, asks their tour guide (Henry Gibson) to take them to the "Hysteria" haunted house set. He warns them that it may be dangerous but agrees. It turns out that all of the special effects in the old house are real and they all find themselves trapped in a strange room that changes its position in the house. This is the very same room in which the notorious director, Desmond Hacker, had forced his cast to tell their true horror stories, recalling their most horrifying moments. So the tour guide suggests that's how they might get out, by telling their own personal horror stories. And this got me to thinking that this tour guide probably isn't really a tour guide. These wraparound segments are directed by Joe Dante (THE HOWLING).

In the first story, "The Girl with the Golden Breasts", a hopeful actress who looks like a cross between Sarah Michelle Gellar and Alicia Silverstone is frustrated that she's not getting any callbacks. That is, until she goes to a plastic surgeon and gets some strange breast implants made from human cadavers. She immediately begins getting work. But there's a catch--her breasts are vampires and they need to be fed! I found those lamprey eel-like nipples very unsettling. Director Ken Russell also portrays one of the creepy plastic surgeons, "Nurse Lucy".

In "Jibaku" (directed by Sean Cunningham) a guy recalls a business trip to Japan with his wife and how she becomes involved with a dead guy/demon and transforms into a monster. This is pretty cool because it does a good blending with live-action and anime. The scenes with her having sex with the zombie are repulsive, almost like something out of the NEKROMANTIK movies. In "My Twin, the Worm", a young woman talks about how her pregnant mother had a huge tape-worm growing in her the same time she was pregnant--and how the two of them became friends in her womb. In "Stanley's Girlfriend", a washed up screenwriter named Leo (John Saxon) talks about the worst mistake of his life, when he became involved with his best friend's gilfriend. This is all told in a flashback and Tahmoh Penikett (DOLLHOUSE) portrays the young Leo.

This is down and out one of the most entertaining horror anthologies in years, along the lines of the Amicus Films from the 70's. Don't be fooled by the crappy DVD box and the generic title. TRAPPED ASHES is highly recommended.

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