One of the most buzzed about independent releases last year, the anthology Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories, a sequel to 2015’s Volumes of Blood, is out on Blu-ray this week, featuring a new gathering of indie genre talents delving into a fresh collection of shorts that more than live up to its name.
The seven Horror shorts are effectively interwoven with each other, with numerous nods to the first film for fans of the franchise, as the wraparound story “Killer House,” directed by James Teakle, is that of a young couple being taken on a tour of an hold home they are considering purchasing. As the creepy realtor shows them around the house, various rooms present flashbacks, usually to a holiday years ago, to one of the many horrors that happened within these walls.
There’s also a framing story that begins and ends the anthology, while the wraparound actually twists in and out of many of the other stories. There’s definitely a lot going on within the new Volumes, and it may take more than one viewing for it all to really come together as its meant to, but that just makes repeat viewings that much more fun.
And you probably want to check out the first Volumes of Blood before watching the sequel, so you’ll become acquainted with the handsome fellow pictured below, who makes a welcome return and whose mythology is expanded.
Among the segments included is “Trick or Treat,” from director Sean Blevins, which is set on Halloween night and features a masked killer stalking a teen girl who finds herself home alone, but that’s just one of the tasty flavors in this treat bag.
Featuring another Halloween-set slasher-within-a-slasher, “Murder Death Killer,” directed by Nathan Thomas Milliner, offers some fun commentary and a familiar debate on slasher remakes and the current state of the genre, while creating a new icon of its own in a killer scarecrow named Atticus Crow.
Milliner also delivers one of the most disturbing of the shorts in “Fear, For Sinners Here” a colorful Christmas story that’s begins all too normally only to slowly descend into a violent and wickedly evil twist.
“Feeding Time,” from John William Holt, is a Thanksgiving ode to the importance of family, as a stressed out salesman discovers a hidden hunger when he makes the wrong house call, while John Maynard’s “Blood Bath” brings the gore its title promises.
Justin Seaman’s “Deathday Party” has fun with a pair of soulmates celebrating his birthday as she gives him an extra thoughtful present.
The film as a whole boasts stellar production value, especially considering it was made with such a low budget, and it all feels like a studio-financed film.
While the Halloween segments in both this and the original Volumes are great, all of the shorts pay homage to many of the classics with obvious affection for the genre.
Highly recommended as one of the most ambitious anthologies and independent horror releases in recent years, get in on the latest Volumes now before the third installment of the trilogy, Devil’s Knight, arrives next year.
official rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Volumes of Blood: Horror Stories is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD.
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