Color, 2011, 76 mins.
Directed by Alex Pucci, Draven Gonzalez, Pete Jacelone
Starring Jim Hazelton, Jaclyn Marfuggi, John Link, Austin Dossey, Niki Rubin, Dylan Cleary, Gianna Hodes, Salvatore DiLorenzo, Edward X. Young, John Link
Independent Entertainment / Camp Motion Pictures (US R0 NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9) / DD2.0

Road HellHorror anthologies are Road Hellnotoriously tricky beasts, requiring a combination of narrative balance and enough variety to keep viewers watching from story to story. You'll at least find the latter in Road Hell, a three-story omnibus with a dire framing device and some fun stories hidden away inside.

Nasty, spiteful married couple Douglas (Hazelton) and Bea (Marfuggi) head out to the Hamptons for the weekend after chewing out a lot of people on the phone, but for some reason when Bea has to go to the bathroom, they decide to just stay the night at a flea pit motel where the desk clerk (Link) in schoolgirl gear is having his way with an inflatable sheep. While Bea goes off and does her business, Douglas kicks back to watch a skin flick on TV that segues into "The One," our first tale. Dwayne (Dossey) is having a passionate night with Callie (Rubin), who sprouts fangs and tears a bloody hole in his neck. Gagged and tied in the closet watching them is his twin brother, Derek (also Dossey), and the story begins hopping back and forth in time showing how they got there and where there destinies ultimately intersect. As it turns out, Callie is something of a motivational speaker among the bloodsucking crowd, and now Derek is out to end her. Sufficiently packed with nudity and gore, it's a diverting little quickie mainly marred by some iffy fight choreography near the end.

Bea winds up having enough and decides to rent another room, where she pulls out a picture of a kid and a stuffed tiger and makes a phone call to her mom. That triggers our second story, "Deep into the Rabbit Hole," which opens with a kid getting mauled in the woods by a growling beast. Road HellYoung Billy (Cleary) loses his dog when it runs off to help, and he vows to find out what was responsible. Along the way he tangles with some bullies and brings along two friends, Roberta (Hodes) and pistol-packing Kyle (DiLorenzo). When the unseen monster tosses a severed arm at them, they realize they may be in over their heads. Very, very gory, this Road Hellone is easily the most surprising of the three as it has no problem with wasting numerous kids complete with entrails and ripped eyeballs aplenty, along with a couple of character developments you might not see coming. That said, the big monster reveal is... well, let's just hope it was supposed to be funny. Bonus points for clever use of kittens.

Finally the miserable couple reunite just in time for story number three, "Zombies Zombies Everywhere," a look at Dan "The Man" Spencer (Mr. Hush's Young) whose pest control job means trapping and taking out zombies. This is easily the most comedic of the bunch as our hero gets called in on jobs and shoots the breeze about his tricks of the trade with a college student documentarian in a diner. However, Dan's tips turn out to get them in more than a little trouble when he finds out that some zombies move a little faster than others... This is basically Young's show all the way as the indie horror regular (who also appeared in films like Sea of Dust and The Green Monster) gets to command the camera as a modern, media-friendly monster hunter, and the zombie attacks fly pretty fast and furious.

Not unlike the Road Hellinfamous Night Train to Terror, this feature was cobbled together using three separate short films which are also presented on the DVD in their complete form (with full opening and closing credits). "Zombies Zombies Everywhere" is quite different as it features a clever opening titles sequence (with theme song), so it's definitely worth checking out. You could actually watch these and Road Hellget about the same experience as the main feature, minus the extra overacting and scatology. The other main extra here is an audio commentary with co-director Pete Jacelone, Hazelton, and (via phone) co-director Alex Pucci; they point out the backgrounds of the various actors, discuss how the project came about when they were all burnt out by working on regular feature-length films (like such past works as Sculpture and Frat House Massacre), and talk about the little tricks of making a low budget horror film, like keeping lots of Good 'n' Plenty on hand and having prospective child actors submit essays about why they want to be in a movie. John Link, who plays the hammy motel clerk, also pops in and out to talk about his indelible role, for better or worse, and instantly turns this into one of the weirdest commentaries you'll ever hear. ("Oh, oh, there I am, screwin' a sheep!") Brian Roberts, director of photography for "The One," also jumps in with Pucci for their segment, and Young makes a welcome appearance in the final stretch to talk about his role and the hazards of whacking co-stars with a baseball bat during an attack scene. Also included are an alternate opening credits sequence (with the title Road Hell: The Happy Couple), a trailer reel for production company Scream Kings (Frat House Massacre, Sculpture, Untold Horror, The Green Monster, Indiscretion, and Violence of the Mind), and bonus trailers for Drainiac, Stash, the Slime City Grindhouse Collection, and Trippin'.

Reviewed on June 10, 2013.