So one of the things I did whilst avoiding that circle of hell known as the holiday weekend was catch up on some series. Serieses? One that jumped out at me was the first season of Deadhouse Dark on Shudder. Not a bad little series at all. One thing I liked about it was its length–six shorts by six different directors, each one between 13 and 16 minutes long.
You can therefore “binge” the whole thing in just around 90 minutes without repeating “Okay, just one more then bed,” and suddenly discovering that it’s 3:41 in the fucking a.m. I mean, I hear that kinda thing happens to people.
Anyway, Deadhouse Dark has an interesting take on the anthology format. Lemme ‘splain. Anthology flicks often have some kind of framing device that “contains” or links all the stories.
Often a group of people gets thrown together in one place: Dead Of Night, Asylum, Tales From The Crypt, Vault Of Horror, Dr. Terror’s House Of Horrors, etc. Sometimes they come full circle: The Twilight Zone Movie. Or the stories themselves overlap: Southbound. Other times there’s a recurring link the stories share: Cat’s Eye, Creepshow I and II, Heavy Metal. And every so often, the stories stand alone: Trilogy Of Terror I and II (ok each has one lead–Karen Black and Lysette Anthony respectively).
Deadhouse Dark tries a little different. Of the six stories, it seems like half of them are pretty standalone. I could be wrong. I’ve only done one viewing thus far so I may very well be missing a few things. Episode 5, however, calls back unmistakably to Episodes 3 and 4. Like I said, there may be other connections, so I definitely need a rewatch. Here’s what I know so far:
Ep. 1 DASHCAM_013_20191031.MP4
This is all dashcam footage. Two women leave a party and happen upon an accident. There’s a timeloop. That’s all I’m gonna say.
Ep. 2 No Pain No Gain
This was my least favorite but has an entertaining little twist. An athlete turns to an extreme but high-level coach with unexpected results.
Ep. 3 The Staircase
One of the series standouts in the sense that it recalls the kind of things that happened in the V/H/S franchise. Paranormal vlogger finds bad place. Bad stuff happens.
Ep. 4 A Tangled Web We Weave
Rats…that’s all I can say without giving anything away.
Ep. 5 Mystery Box
Oddest of the lot. A woman who A) doesn’t like being alone and B) is apparently agoraphobic receives what I assume is a dark web box. It includes items we’ve seen in the two previous episodes. Other than that, it’s difficult to say what’s actually going on with this one.
Ep. 6 My Empire Of Dirt
My least favorite after No Pain No Gain. A home hospice nurse has more than her charge to deal with. It’s never made clear whether or not the nurse is really doing her job or just killing somebody. Weirdly, this doesn’t actually matter.
And that’s it for Season 1. It’s entertaining but fairly predictable if I’m honest. Most of the endings you can see pretty well in advance, so there’s precious little new ground broken here. That said, Deadhouse Dark is still fun as hell to watch. Despite being tech-forward for the most part, there’s a vein of Tales From The Crypt nostalgia (TV as well as comics) with these endings, and seeing them coming doesn’t diminish their satisfaction.
If you like Black Mirror, give Deadhouse Dark a try, the major difference being a supernatural element that Black Mirror lacks. As a frame of reference, maybe think of Deadhouse Dark kinda like Black Mirror meets The Twilight Zone meets EC Comics.
BODIES- 2 onscreen, 6 off