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Doomsday Stories (2023) Review

Doomsday Stories opens with a narrator telling us how mankind was all but wiped out by a series of viruses that caused food shortages and high gas prices before a final virus called “Meanies” reduced the Earth’s population to a mere 8,000 people in 2025.

Zorack (Phil Herman, Easter Bunny Bloodbath 2: No More Tears, Amityville Thanksgiving), a loner who has survived by avoiding what’s left of humanity, reads several stories from a notebook he took from a dead woman. His reading those stories and ranting about “Balrog” from Doomsday Stories’ wraparound

The first story “A Broken Promise”, written and directed by Derek Braasch (Mutilation Massacre, Murder for Pleasure), is the story of Rick (Justin Bauer, Slay Ride, Death is the Only Option), who lost his pregnant wife (Lillian Lamour, Hell’s Half Acre, Night Hunt) to the virus. Now he survives as a scavenger with one last task to complete.

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This segment gets off to a horrible start as we hear the well-fed Rick comment about food being scarce before being attacked by a man with noticeable rolls of fat. Maybe it’s scarce because they ate it all? Also, this is another of those films where the world has ended, but everything is still clean and shiny. Zombies may roam the planet, but the cleaning service still shows up. It’s too bad because this could have been a very touching segment if done right.

Next up is “Bomb Threats”, directed by James Panetta (Merc Force, Hollywood Warrioress: The Movie) and written by Debbie D (Alien Autopsy, Earth Girls Are Sleazy) who also stars as Katrina. When violence breaks out she gets in touch with Alvin (Jim Ewald, Nacho Mountain, Death in the Dark) who she blew off when he asked her out. But now she remembers he said something about having a bomb shelter.

Even if you aren’t familiar with Ms. D’s work for WAVE Video back in the day it’s pretty obvious where this segment is going right from the start. Adding insult to injury it just plods along lifelessly, staging its mayhem with a total lack of energy or conviction.

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Zorack remembers the fate of his sister Kate (Constance Payne, After We Collided, Esther’s Will), an MMA fighter who thought her conditioning would protect her from the virus. Unfortunatly relying on a strong immune system works sbout as well here as it did against COVID.

Doomsday Stories’ third segment “Forever Man” written and directed by Marcelo Fabani (Smartest Creature, After Last Day) concerns the president (Heather Carson, Demons at Dawn, Silence) of an unnamed country who decides to use the poor as a living organ bank. But as horrible as that sounds, the motivation behind it is even more gruesome.

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Fabani has a good idea here and there are a fair number of effects, even if they are fairly primitive. It’s certainly an improvement over the first two segments.

Finally, Joel D. Wynkoop gives us “187 Times”. In order to prevent the virus and save his wife Dana (M. Catherine Wynkoop, Family Snapshot, Dinogore) scientist James Kirk (Joel D. Wynkoop, Ouija Mummy, Chaos A.D.) journeys back in time. But we all know how well meddling with the past usually ends.

The best of the segments, “187 Times” is also probably the least related to the theme of Doomsday Stories, being more concerned with time travel paradoxes than the virus itself.

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I liked Phil Herman’s horror anthologies Horrortales.666 Part 2 and 3 and was hoping for something of similar quality in a post-apocalyptic setting. But despite sharing several members of both cast and crew the segments here just don’t measure up. They get better as the film goes on but it never manages to dig itself out of the hole the first two put it in.

There’s also little sense of cohesion among the segments, which didn’t matter in the Horrortales films as they were meant to simply be collections of scary stories. Here they’re supposed to be chronicles of the apocalypse, but they feel more like seperate shorts dealing with different versions of the end of the world, undercutting the theme of Doomsday Stories. The result is an uneven, and unfortunatly unsatisfying, film overall.

Doomsday Stories will be available on DVD later this month. You can check the film’s Facebook group for more information. If you’re looking for more apocalyptic tales, FilmTagger can suggest some titles for your viewing pleasure.

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