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Vampus Horror Tales (2020) Review

Vampus Horror Tales is the third anthology film to come up for review in the past couple of days, and I have to admit that after the wretched Free to a Bad Home and disappointing Doomsday Stories, I didn’t have great expectations for it. But, they say the third time is the charm, so I pressed play and hoped for the best.

It opens with Sr. Fettes, or as he prefers to be called, Vampus (Saturnino García, Day of the Beast, Killer Housewives), stealing a little girl’s Halloween candy on his way to work. He’s a gravedigger by day, and by night he digs the bodies back up. Not to sell to shady medical schools but to feed Toby (Alberto Rivas, Wax, Sex, Party & Lies)the creature he keeps as a pet. Something a YouTube influencer finds out the hard way in the introduction. He’ll serve as our host, a somewhat human version of the Crypt Keeper, if you will.

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The first segment “La Boda”, written and directed by Manuel Martínez Velasco, Todo es Verdad, Pirata)opens with a couple, Marta (Elena Furiase, Venus, Forbidden God) and Santi (Félix Gómez, High Seas, Charles, Emperor King) trapped in a basement beneath a wedding hall. The shocks come as we find out who they are and why they’re there.

An effective story of madness and obsession, it gets Vampus Horror Tales off to a good start. The odd setting, the cellar serves as a storeroom for various props along with the black-and-white cinematography gives it an extra dose of atmosphere as well.

“Cumpleaños”, directed by Erika Elizalde from a script by Ignacio López (The Nanny’s Night, Killer Brownie) is up next. Two young women, Arlin (Montse Plá, A Remarkable Tale, Wave of Crimes) and Daniela (Dunia Rodríguez, X27, Future Shock) on a birthday date find themselves trapped when the power goes out on a carnival scare ride. And they’re not the only ones in there.

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This is a fairly straightforward slasher with a nice twist at the end. Unfortunately, a throat cutting is ruined by some of the least convincing CGI blood spray I’ve seen in a long time.

The third segment “Segunda Cita”, written and directed by Isaac Berrocal (Today is Sunday, Killrats) pits Margot (Erika Sanz, Broken Day, Fly, Dance, and Dream) who is blind against Alex (Nacho Guerreros, Dark Girls, Deus Ex Machina) who is not nearly as sane as she thought when she accepted his invitation to his country house.

This segment was a bit of a letdown after the previous two. It never really manages to make its extended buildup as creepy as it should be. And when it finally decides to go the route of See No Evil and Wait Until Dark, it’s over way too fast.

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“Linaje” from writer/director Piter Moreira (Laberinto, El Guardián) wraps up Vampus Horror Tales with the story of Marcos (Federico Repetto, Años Luz, Obnubilante) a man caught in a vampiric pandemic who is trying to not only hide the fact that his wife (Vicky Jorge) has become infected, but to keep her fed as well.

This one isn’t bad, but it is very familiar. The two differences are that she’s a vampire rather than a zombie, and the plague is the result of contaminated hot dogs. It does lead up to a nice resolution though.

The segments featuring Vampus himself were directed by Víctor Matellano (Vampyres, Stop Over in Hell) and his co-writers Victoria Vázquez (Valley of Concavenator) and Diego Arjona (Llámame Vampus, Thalion Ltd.). They exhibit a strong dose of very dark humour as they chronicle his homicidal, and cannibalistic, activities.

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The stories that make up Vampus Horror Tales however are played straight, which causes a bit of a conflict in tones as the viewer goes from having murder presented as funny to having it presented as horrifying and back again. The darkness of the humour keeps it from being a major issue, but it is noticeable.

If you don’t mind that though, Vampus Horror Tales is an enjoyable collection of stories. The black-and-white cinematography may not be to everyone’s taste but I thought it looked good and helped set the film apart. The fact it’s in Spanish with subtitles might be a bigger issue to some viewers, however.

Vampus Horror Tales is available on VOD and Digital platforms via Uncork’d Entertainment. If you’re looking for more tales of terror, FilmTagger will be happy to offer some suggestions.

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