Tales for the Campfire 3 is the third and final instalment of the trilogy from Dustin Ferguson/Dark Infinity. I haven’t seen the other two films, but if they’re like this then that’s probably a good thing. It’s also a depressing thing as after seeing and reviewing several of his films I know he’s capable of much better.
Running a mere forty-two minutes Tales for the Campfire 3 doesn’t even qualify as a feature film by most standards. Granted Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognizes anything over forty minutes as a feature, but this is no Oscar contender. What it is are five segments and a wraparound squeezed into under three-quarters of an hour. That’s seven minutes each so we’re talking short shorts.
Our storytellers, Ken (Ken May, 5G Zombies), Ronnie (Ronnie Angel, Axegrinder 2), Rebecah (Rebecah Rye, Night Mistress), Amber (Amber Jenna Bohac, House of Pain) and Shawn (Shawn C. Phillips, Bad Girls, Rise of the Mummy) gather around the fire. The stories they tell are:
Obviously a short version of Karen Black’s famous Trilogy of Terror segment. It’s passable but has way too much stock footage of an African marketplace for such a short piece.
This barely even qualifies as a story. It looks like they inserted a couple of shots of the two actors into footage from a location scouting trip. IMDB credits Julie Ann Prescott as Julie in this segment but she’s not in it. It also doesn’t list Dustin Wonch who plays The Creep.
In the next segment Dawn, listed as Danielle on IMDB, (Dawna Lee Heising, Bad President, Lake of Shadows) is “The Prisoner”. An agoraphobic woman is trapped in her house after reports of an escape from a nearby mental institution.
Despite being set at night, Halloween Eve no less, when she looks out of the window it’s a bright sunny California day outside.
“The Bitter Half” is probably the best of Tales for the Campfire 3’s segments. Jason (Noel Jason Scott, Blade: The Iron Cross, Slice & Dice) has been told by his doctor (Mel Novak, Stale Popcorn and Sticky Floors, The Beast Beneath) that his mental condition has improved enough that he can go home. The voice in his head doesn’t agree.
This segment works up some atmosphere and features a nice central performance by Noel Jason Scott as the tormented protagonist.
The final segment “The Gateway” is a variation on the urban legend surrounding the yearly appearance of the Devil in Kansas’ Stull Cemetery. Tom (D.T. Carney, Moon of the Blood Beast, Apex Predator) and Aria (Geovonna Casanova, Angry Asian Murder Hornets) decide to check it out for themselves.
This segment features the film’s only gore, a pale imitation of the intestine vomiting scene from Fulci’s Gates of Hell.
And then the wraparound concludes the story of the storytellers themselves.
The back cover of the DVD says Tales for the Campfire 3 features locations from Child’s Play 2, House, Halloween III, Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and Tales from the crypt: Demon Knight. That doesn’t mean they were filmed in these locations. We just get a quick look at them, usually standing in for the exterior of wherever the segment was actually shot.
Overall, Tales for the Campfire 3 is a disaster. So little care was put into it that it was submitted to IMDB as “Tales From the Campfire” with credits listing at least one actress who is not in the film. Normally I’d be annoyed at something this short being passed off as a feature. In this case, however, it’s a blessing in disguise.
You can check SCS Entertainment’s Facebook page for details on Tales for the Campfire’s availability.