Do you ever wonder what it was like being a cavemen during the Stone Age? I bet it was pretty similar to modern life. I can picture it pretty clearly. A caveman husband goes out hunting every single day. He has to battle sabertooth tigers, woolly mammoths, harsh environments and even opposing tribes. Mr. Caveman called it quits after a day of slaying and skinning pelts, so he makes his way home to the little lady and kids. He’s tired and beat as he approaches his recently mortgaged cave. Damn kids left their rock toys all over the front dirt!
Instantly upon entering his cave all he sees and hears are his five cave kids that survived last winter and a pissed off wife with a lower lip that is sticking out farther than most cavewomen do. She doesn’t even ask you how your day was, just lays into how much work it takes to maintain a family cave and how much these damn kids exhaust her. Even though you brought home dinner, it’s your fault your one child is failing at rockematics in school. How the hell can he teach his son how to count new rocks? The witch doctor keeps changing the fucking way they do it every year?
Meanwhile your arm has two puncture wounds from when that tiger bit you. Yea, life in the cave is an massive inconvenience compared to fighting against wild fucking cats with giant teeth. Sucks to be you wife. She doesn’t even care that you lost your best friend Gratch today while you attempted slaying a family of mammoth. All the blood and chaos is still like ghostly shadows in your small caveman brain that you think are dead spirits trying to haunt you.
But you let it pass because tonight is a special night. The old wise ones are gathering together for a weekly tribe meeting. The favored event where all the local tribes people come together and the wise ones tell stories. One after another, the wise ones reminisce and tell amazing stories of cavemen past. Heroes like Crag the bone bearer, who slaughtered the tribes that dwell far off into the east. Or Berf the dashing, who had two eyebrows instead of one!
You’re sitting there with your wife and kids you haven’t named yet because likely most of them will die soon. But that’s ok, you can make more. Somehow when you and your wife go boom boom, out comes a new one a couple months later. Everything is pretty nice tonight.
But then elder Crag approaches and everyone shutters. This ass hole wise man is a total caveman cock! He always tells scary stories that freak everyone out. So this night he goes into how his great grandpa Jorak fought the pale tiger in the foggy field one night. After killing the beast, his grandfather took the tiger tooth as a trophy and returned back to his cave.
Later that night his grandpa Joraks throat was gashed open as if someone had bitten it through. But as if from an animal with only one tooth. It was rumored that every time the moon god was in his fullest, you could see the pale tiger without his tooth roaming the land.
Then he goes into a couple more stories and by the fourth one you’ve pissed your caveman tunic so bad that you call it quits. You walk home and think of all the stories you had to endure. Your kids all look scared beyond measure and your wife is pissed off at you for letting them listen. Just another lovely night in the old Caveman cave. No boom boom tonight.
And that my friends is the story of how the first horror anthology was ever made. It’s true, it’s in the Bible! Speaking of anthologies! This would be a good day for day eight of my Horror Movie Marathon to talk about 2013’s V/H/S/2!
VHS 2 is a found footage horror anthology film that was made soon after the first 2012 VHS film. Hence why it has a number two after it. The film was created by Bloody Disgusting and consists of four individual short stories and one wrapper story. Each story was directed by a different director but all have the same cinematic found footage element. The film received mixed reviews but holds a fairly high score on Rotten Tomatoes.
Wrapper – Tape 49
Directed by Simon Barrett
Private investigators Larry and Ayesha have taken a job to find the missing son of a woman. As they enter his home, the discover televisions with VHS tapes scattered everywhere. Ayesha begins watching the tapes and as the strangeness of the tapes unfold, so do events in the house.
Short 1 – Phase I Clinical Trials
Directed by Adam Wingard
After a man named Herman receives a new ocular implant for his missing eye, everything seems awesome. He can finally see and he’s been noticed by a hot girl. But funning things start to happen. Herman begins seeing strange and peculiar people. Maybe this new camera eye is a bad idea.
A Ride in the Park
Directed by Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale
Mike is a bike enthusiast and attaches a goPro camera to his helmet as he rides his bike through a wooded park. Little does Mike know that his recorded trail is going to capture a zombie infestation.
Directed by Timo Tjahjanto and Gareth Huw Evans
A film group consisting of four people have gained access to a secretive Indonesian cult called the Paradise Gates. As the group enters and records the activities and meet their leader, they soon realize there is more going on. Things begin to turn as the cult begins to celebrate “time of reckoning!” The joyous event as they welcome in the cults dark lord!
Slumber Party Alien Abduction
Directed by Jason Eisener
Two brothers have gone up to their parents lake house with friends. While there they attack a camera to their pet dog to capture the party about to commence. But soon the boys and their friends are attacked by strange gray creatures. One by one each person is abducted by what seems to be aliens.
You know what the VHS series does better than most anthology series? They stay true to their word. So every year a new anthology series comes out and they promise to turn their movie into an on-going series. Tales of Halloween is one that promises us this kind of thing. The group of directors were called the ‘October Society’ and supposedly we were supposed to get consistent sequels. We were also supposed to get a Trick r’ Treat sequel as well, but that obviously is not happening. But VHS, this is one anthology series that has already come out with four single films. One of them called VHS94 just came out a few days ago!
I love that they do this because VHS has become a favorite of mine. Sure VHS Viral was pretty bad and you will never see it in any of my marathons. But the series remains a consistent anthology series we can rely on. VHS2 is actually my favorite of the bunch so far. While most anthology movies tend to have a couple stinkers and a real good one. Or a few stories that make you say “ehh.” VHS2 gives you four awesome stories that are all pretty memorable. I mean, some may be more rewarding than the others but they’re consistently good in their own right.
Off the back I will say my favorite is Safe Haven. I love cults and enjoy researching the crazy shit they do. I love how what you are seeing is basically the end of the world as this cult celebrates the coming of this demon god that resembles Baphomet, the bipedal goat man! This one has everything. Demon god, zombies, gore and ever looming dread. Still, I wonder how the entire thing actually ends up? So the dude Adam flees from the scene after all of his friends are killed. The demon has risen and is chasing him. Adam gets into his car and is driving to only have the demon knock him off the road. When Adam is crawling out the head of the demon appears over top and says ‘DADDY’ in this guttural monster like voice. Then Adam laughs and the camera turns off. So ideally I know he dies and the world goes to ruin. But maybe! Just maybe what we get is a lovely relationship between father and demon/son! I would have given anything to see an extra scene of Adam playing frisbee with the Baphomet demon or something. Regardless, it is a pretty brutal video and we’re blessed that they went with the professional video crew on this one.
My tolerance level with found footage does only go so far. One of my most hated movies is Cloverfield because it makes me want to puke. You never see anything in a clear, focused manner. But if done right like VHS2, you can incorporate the shaky camera as a media and not make me sick. You get a clear picture of most of the horror elements and for that it actually makes for scary found footage. VHS2 intelligently sets up good reasons for a camera capturing all the events. Either you get a robotic eye that records everything or a placed camera in the right location. I love the zombie infestation story, it gives you a pretty cool and different approach to how a zombie break out would happen. It’s gory and the birthday party scene is sweet. I will say the alien slumber party one does push the limits of shaky video. I guess trying to get a dog to understand that we want to see a clear shot of aliens is asking too much.
All-in-all I have to say that I love VHS2. It is a little short, consisting of only four stories and the wrapper story is mildly interesting. But the movie stands out alone as a great installment to the series. There’s a good feel of pace with each story. Things start off well and regular, but then escalate into insane events that go beyond crazy. But we get a logical reason behind seeing what we see. One thing I don’t understand is the VHS2 slogan “Who’s Tracking You?” So does this imply each event is being orchestrated by a secret authority? It makes sense, the ghost camera eye guy could be part of an experiment where these scientist have learned how to record ghosts and are only using people to get data. Maybe the trail biker guy is a way to study zombie activity? This is kind of cool but nothing ever leads you to believe the videos are connected to something much larger. It would be cool if in later films, they bring these stories into some larger plot. Like they’re all connected or serve a particular purpose. Could be cool.
I don’t normally do too many anthology series for my marathons. Usually just one in the thirty one day collection. But for this year I proudly suggest checking this movie out. That is why I have chosen VHS2 for day eight of my Horror Movie Marathon.
Thanks for reading!
Check out these past day eight entries!
Also, here is the entire HMM 2021 post so far.