Tag Archives: Jim Dougherty


The Collective Volume 7 goes a long way in proving Andrew Sarris’ comment about the extinction of the horror film as a serious genre. If ‘s Bride of Frankenstein (1935) represents the art form’s apex, then the latest (and hopefully last) Collective anthology is something close to the nadir.

Indiana indie filmmaker Jason Hoover and his Jabb Pictures have been producing and distributing The Collective for several years. The concept is simple: ten films created by ten different filmmakers with a horror theme. These anthologies have actually produced a few halfway decent entries since the first volume debuted, but predictably, the bad has consistently outweighed the good. Even less surprising is the prevailing diminishing quality and enthusiasm over the span of seven collections. This 2014 entry is a wheezing death bed for a corpse that should have given up the ghost at least two collections ago.

Keys are the theme here, and first up is an entry from 3 O’clock Productions. “Avengement” is co-directed by Jim Dougherty and Laura Noel, both of whom also star. Noel penned the dull, pedestrian screenplay, which begins as here we go yet again misogynistic torture fare, and morphs into spectral revenge. Dougherty is an occasionally competent director, but rarely finds enough inspiration to take risks.  More often than not, his work is hampered by a dire need for good writing, which he does not get here. Relief almost comes in the way of woefully campy acting, but it is not enough.

Liberty or Death Productions’ “Chrysalis” is at least wistful enough to be honest about its sense of nostalgia. It clearly pines for the romance of “Dark Shadows.” Director/writer  is an excellent actor. When tapping into his theatrical background or erudite nature, Mannan is capable of producing challenging work, but his primary weakness also lies in writing and a pubescent, fan-like adulation of horror as a genre. Chrysalis holds true to Mannan’s M.O. Unfortunately, he casts other actors, and Brad Good (as the husband) is no Mannan. Kaylee Spivey Good (as the wife) is barely more adequate. Visual homages abound: the grand guignol  soaper “Shadows,”  Dracula (1931), Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Nosferatu (1922) constitute a vampire metaphor for energy-draining abusers, but it is thinly fleshed out, and the result is an unmemorable narrative.

Brian Williams chews on his fingers, rubs his face, talks to himself, and smokes a lot of cigarettes to convince us he is not “Sane”. Of course, there is a key and while it is a Mostly Harmless production, it is also an excruciatingly vapid one.

Athena Prychodko should probably get an A for effort on her moniker alone, which is easily the hippest name of any filmmaker in cinema history.  Her “Open Me” is a pun on volume seven’s theme. It stylistically imitates silent film, but misses the contextual mark. This Silence In The Dead Of Light production tries hard to convey a sense of fun, but inevitably it is one long, drawn-out joke, though aided considerably by Jason Hoover’s score, which is delightfully all-over-the-place music.

We move uncomfortably from Prychodko style to Klayton Dean banality in Terror Visions’ “63P012,” which overdoses on the profundity of primordial, Aerosmith-styled angst. That means a lot of red and green filters, psychedelic closeups with the type of ghouls seen in far too many redneck haunted attractions, gallons of fake blood, needles, bathtubs, and narcissistic mirrors. It is akin to fingernails meeting chalkboard, but not for any of the reasons the filmmaker has the audacity to imagine.

Quattro Venti Scott’s “176 Days To Freedom” is a tedious, derivative  excursion into a macho post-apocalypse that we have seen countless times. It is written and directed by Cameron Scott, who stars from behind a gas mask.

Jason Hoover’s contributions have been wildly uneven, making some of the best and worst throughout the Collective’s oeuvre. “BlueBird” is a stale scraping of the barrel bottom. Hoodies, beer cans, camouflage  jackets,  and baseball caps are all intact hallmarks of dull, low-grade Hoosier horror.  Cameron Scott trades in his gas mask for a bloody ax in this one.

Hoover’s second entry, under the banner of Death Hug Films, finds the filmmaker mimicking his own earlier work, though it’s far less stimulating. Narration is splashed over rolling landscapes.  Think Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” married to an unnecessary medium.

Hoover apparently has had difficulty encouraging filmmakers to participate because he delivers a third entry, this time under the banner of Spiral Filmworks. “Notld” is an entirely pointless recut of ‘s Night of the Living Dead.

The Collective Volume 7John Eric Ballinger mercilessly closes what is by now  an agonizing ordeal, with yet more narration. Actually, it is a stream of four-letter words hovering over a white trash collage of evil clowns, dilapidated baby dolls, and skulls.

After mostly suffering through this shining example of Indiana independent horror, I think my impending move westward may provide much needed relief.

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Indie filmmaker Jason Hoover and JABB Pictures are on their fourth volume of “the Collective.” Each volume contains ten 10 minute short films, each created by a different team. This anthology deals with the themes of emotion. (Volume three, a collection of  shorts directed by women, revolved around the theme “Ten Minutes To Live”; Volume Two was themed around a box, and Volume One explored “the Meat Eater.”)

If Indiana has a reputation at all in the independent film scene, it is for its endless crop of ultra low-grade horror corn. Being an Indiana-based project, The Collective, predictably, caters to that independent horror scene, which limits it. That aside, the selection of films, although naturally uneven, is steadily improving. The first volume was, for the most part, a weak start. Volume Two was a slight improvement, but the ongoing series started picking up steam with volumes Three and Four. At at least there are no zombies this time out (the genre’s tell-tale sign of creative bankruptcy).

Volume Four features two films with exceptional acting, one of which is refreshingly surprising.  was the star of the 2010 indie feature Lethal Obsession where essentially, she played the walking, talking doll that we have seen a thousand times in unimaginative films. I do not know if Duncan has taken acting lessons, privately studied better examples of film acting, or has simply become more introspective, but her performance in Bryan Wolford’s “Myctophobia” is a vast improvement over her previous work. Duncan plays Kelly, a woman who has an almost crippling FEAR of the dark. This has made her sensitive to how her handicap may affect her marriage and suburban life. In the space of a few, brief moments, Duncan impressively balances expressed aspirations, self-doubt, fear of marital and societal expectations, and fragility. Unfortunately, her accomplished acting has a mundane script to overcome. The beginning promise, with Kelly conveying her crippling phobia to a psychologist (Steve Christopher), soon flounders. We immediately see it coming because we have seen Michael Caine in De Palma’s Dressed To Kill (1980), along with countless other films. Soon, Duncan’s Kelly is yet another victim being pursued. One somewhat endearing oddity is Wolford’s decision to use the assigned emotion in a positive light, although the effects conveying Kelly’s fear are kitschy. The camera work and lighting compliments Duncan’s earthy, mature performance. In the opening and closing segments, hiding within the skin of her coat, Duncan sheds all plasticity to reveal an awkwardly vulnerable, real person .This makes her far more Continue reading THE COLLECTIVE VOLUME 4: EMOTIONS (2012)