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Heartland Horrors: Volume 1 (DVD)

Heartland Horrors DVD (click for larger image)Reviewed by Uncle Creepy

Starring Ari Bavel, Roger Strong, Craig Boyd, Sally Bremenkamp, Ashley Kaczorowski

Directed by Patrick Rea and Kendal Sinn

Distributed by Elite Home Entertainment


Me? I’m a sucker for anthologies. There’s just no time to get bored! If one story sucks, it’s never too long before the next one starts. Except of course in the case of the ever-so-abysmal Creepshow III (review here). I guess that would also make me a fan of short film compilations as well. Hey, as long as they’re good, I am there. Such is the case when talking about the series of quick flicks known as Heartland Horrors from up and coming directors Patrick Rea and Kendal Sinn. It’s always good to see some new talent flexing the old indie muscle, and despite a few stumbles here and there, they pretty much nail it.

What we have here are ten films:

  • The Thing about Bannon’s Lookout
  • Copy
  • The Last Laugh
  • Woman’s Intuition
  • A Few Miles Back
  • Smoked
  • Shed out of Luck
  • Out to Pasture
  • Bitter Sweets
  • Café at the Crossroads

    The combined runtime of this collection ends up clocking in at around an hour and forty minutes, and honestly? Things shaped up pretty well. While not exactly the same caliber of, say, a season of Tales from the Crypt or even The Twilight Zone, Heartland Horrors manages to deliver some rock solid, albeit at times cliché, chills.

    Heartland Horrors DVD (click for larger image)Like any indie effort, Heartland Horrors truly has its ups and downs. I’d be lying if I claimed that all of the flicks contained here are winners, but keep in mind you have to take the bad with the good. There’s no doubt that while there are a couple of true stinkers included here, there are also some diamonds in the rough. In fact, I’d venture to say that quite a few of these shorts are well worth your time with “Copy”, “Woman’s Intuition”, “Smoked”, and “Café at the Crossroads” (review here) offering the best bang for your horror loving buck. Shooting on an ultra low-budget, it’s pretty impressive what these cats managed to pull off.

    In terms of supplemental material each short film has a commentary track by filmmakers Patrick Rea, Kendal Sinn, Sally Cummings, Josh Robison and Ryan S. Jones. Always insightful and energetic, these commentaries make even the worst of the flicks seem very watchable. We also get a rather standard look at some behind-the-scenes material for the longest short included here, “Shed out of Luck”. Then as if the ten films included weren’t enough, an additional four shorts are included to round out the extras. I have to say, one of them called “Mime Away”, which is more or less a mock commercial for a cleaner that gets rid of mimes, is one of the funniest goddamned things I’ve watched in some time. Hell, I’d buy this DVD just for that, but I’m a fucking lunatic. What can I tell you?

    Heartland Horrors may be low on cash and semi-light on gore, but it’s big on heart and ambition. Rea and Sinn are likely to be two directors that will be here for a long while to come. They’re out there living the dream, and with a little more splat and polish, they just may end up at the top of their game. Here’s to things to come!

    Special Features

  • Audio commentary for each film by Patrick Rea, Kendal Sinn, Sally Cummings, Josh Robison and Ryan S. Jones
  • “Shed out of Luck” behind-the-scenes featurette
  • Four additional shorts including “Mime Away”
  • Still gallery
  • Trailer

    Film Collection:

    3 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    2 1/2 out of 5

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  • Steve Barton

    You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.

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