Directed by Aaron B. Koontz, Courtney Andujar, Hillary Andujar, Emily Hagins
Written by Aaron B. Koontz, Cameron Burns, Hillary Andujar, Courtney Andujar
Starring Jeremy King, Noah Segan, Toni Trucks, Chase Williamson, Joe Bob Briggs
Oh, 2020. You were a canker sore of a year, weren't you? If 2020 left you mourning pretty much every form of video entertainment ever created, you were not alone. Far from it, in fact. But despite the fact that the video store is now pretty much dead--so long, Family Video, gone but not forgotten--and theaters aren't too far behind, there were still some rays of hope. One of those was from Shudder, who pumped out originals to DVD with an almost shocking rapidity, and one of those celebrates the video store as we once knew it, "Scare Package."
"Scare Package" Takes us to Rad Chad's Horror Emporeum, the kind of place that most of us probably never would have left when we were 14. Rad Chad himself is taking a new applicant on a tour, and introducing said applicant to the basics of horror film, as presented in a series of titles currently available for rent at Rad Chad's. The titles will range in content, but they'll all seek to teach the basics of horror. The end result, though, may not be what you'd expect.
Yes, that's right; Shudder has taken a step back into one the greatest horror sub-classes of all time: the multi-vignette movie. From "Cold Open" to "So Much to Do" to even, God help us all, "The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill", we've got a whole string of movies to catch in a wonderfully meta affair that's heavily laced with comedy.
And by "heavily" laced, I mean, "mostly." I have to admit, I've seen plenty of horror-comedy hybrids over the years, and some of them have been hilarious. This one was a laugh-a-minute riot. The plots bounce around in a strange lack of coherence that actually makes the whole thing even funnier. On the one hand, you've got actual jokes about horror tropes, and on the other, you've got the sheer hilarity of a movie that seems to have no idea where it's going half the time or what it plans to do when it gets there with the other half.
It's disjointed, it's incoherent, and it's balls-out hilarious. Before the end of the hour mark, I found myself wondering if this was a good movie trying frantically to look like a bad movie, or a movie that was so bad, it swung back around to good. Regardless of the final verdict, the base elements were still the same: this was a fine piece of work.
The ending will crib so hard from "Cabin in the Woods" that it almost isn't funny any more. Almost. The sheer lack of budget coupled on to such cribbing, meanwhile, makes it just a little more appealing. The fact that they spend a surprising amount of time recapping the plot of "Game of Thrones", meanwhile, is wholly representative of the kind of delightful incoherence we're going to be dealing with here.
Special features include your choice of English or Spanish subtitles, a 5.1 surround audio track, a preview for Shudder itself, as well as a bonus segment dubbed "Locker Room Z," a blooper reel, the original "Not-as-good" ending, an advertisement for Rad Chad's, and a creator's commentary track.
"Scare Package" delivers. It's a wonderfully comic work that takes advantage of a ream of horror tropes to mock them incessantly and produce a genuinely surprising result. Stuffed with laughs and bringing a few genuine surprises with it, it will remind us what horror movies, and video stores, were all about.