I must at some point have heard of Trapped Ashes, the 2006 horror anthology film, but when I spotted it as one of those titles expiring on Netflix streaming at the end of the month, I knew I had to check it out. It's always good to see old stalwarts like Henry Gibson, John Saxon and (however fleetingly) Dick Miller, but it was the talent they'd lined up to direct each segment that really caught my eye: Joe Dante, Sean S. Cunningham, Monte Hellman, John Gaera (better known as the effects guy for the Matrix movies), and Ken Russell...wait, Ken Russell?
Yes, for who better than Ken Russell in his late batshit-crazy period to take on the subject of vampiric breast implants?
As for the rest, you have Joe Dante tackling the wraparound segment, where the members of a tour group are compelled to relate the scary stories that make up the the remainder of the movie. Monte Hellman, who it's good to see anything from, has a really evocative piece set in the Fifties about a wunderkind filmmaker named Stanley, and the real explanation for his exile. Gaera's piece is about a Goth chick and her tapeworm twin, but it's Cunningham, of all people, who turns in the eeriest work, a Japanese-set piece replete with demons, undead cuckolds and Stendahl Syndrome.
The problem is that despite the varied creative forces on board, the whole thing was written by Dennis Bartok, and he doesn't really give enough time for each story or its characters to be fully developed. So, all in all, worth a look even if it's not likely to be regarded as each director's masterpiece...although, okay, actually it may well be Cunningham's best work, and the Hellman piece is pretty darn cool. Richard-Bob says check it out. (Looks like Netflix may well continue to carry the DVD.)
Bonus Random Movie Quote of the Day:
"I want the old me back...without these bloodsucking tits that you gave me!"