Pray You Don’t Live Here: “Psycho Street” (2011) Review

Anthology horror fans has always been my favorite horror subgenre. The creators of each short story are given free reign to do anything as wild and crazy as they would like…as long as the running time for each story doesn’t exceed 20 minutes or so. In recent years we have seen some incredible anthology horror flicks (“Trick ‘R Treat” has instantly become a new Halloween classic for me) and some incredibly bad anthology flicks (I’m telling you “The Telling” is quite terrible…don’t be suckered in by the Girls Next Door). With all that in mind, I sat down and watched the latest entitled “Psycho Street.” Are the stories were digging into or does this film deserved to be buried alive?

The film starts with our wraparound segment entitled “Come on Down” in which a feisty and cheerfully insane homemaker named Leyla Barker (a deliciously demented Tiffany Shepis) is keeping something in her basement..something altogether strange and altogether evil. When a young man goes missing (hmm…I wonder where he could be), his wife goes to Leyla for help. Leyla shares with her the terrifying stories of just what strange things have taken over the small town of Kronanburg.

In our first story, the 2010 Philly Terror Fest Award Winner, “Hypochondriac” we meet a doctor who has escaped from the hectic big city life to start a practice in beautiful Kronanburg. Little does he know, the inhabitants of this small town are more bizarre and psychotically weird than anything he has ever seen in the big city. A horny nurse, a old woman who thinks everything and anything is going wrong with her body, and a built young man with an action figure stuck where no action figure has gone before are the highlights of this piece. Very goofy and cheerfully over-the-top but Raine Brown as Nurse Amber Loverjoy had me rolling with fits of uncontrolled laughter. Brown is terrific in this small role and she is such a dynamic screen presence it would be nice to see an entire movie centered solely around her.

In our next story, the very strange “Cronenberg-eque” “Anti-Bodies” centers around a young woman named Aimee who has been tied to a bed and sold off to young men for sex by her deranged mother. What the men do not know is that Aimee is part of a strange species that, well let’s just say it doesn’t take long for them to reproduce. The effects in this short story are gruesome and the rape of poor Aimee is done in a matter-of-fact style that doesn’t try to gloss over the fact that she is having horrible and terrible things done to her. This story gets a little repetitive in nature and the rape scenes and birthing scenes left me more than a little sick. Of the four segments, this is the one done most for shock value and on that level it works. I don’t want to give too much away here but let’s just say that it is something you have never seen before. Once again, I must commend the Fx work in this story, it is truly exceptional.

In the final story, the 70’s style occult thriller “Lewis” we meet Amanda Reece, a thirty-something mother, who arrives to town after many years with her daughter Aubrey to try to unravel mysteries surrounding her youth and the death of Amanda’s mother. Enter Father Lennox and Sister Louise who may be there to help Amanda but also many know far more than they are letting on regarding Amanda’s death. This story, like “Anti-Bodies”, depends a crucial surprises in its final minutes that will likely shock anyone watching it. I loved the hazy, dreamlike feel of this story and this is the most overtly serious of the three stories as it doesn’t play up the camp value like “Hypochrondriac” and “Come on Down”. The effects are stellar and the performances, especially Susan Adriensen as Sister Louise, are some of the best I’ve seen in independent film recently.

Overall, I highly recommend “Psycho Street”, it is one of the more entertaining anthology horror flicks I’ve seen lately with some wonderful performances and a few ghoulishly delightful twists.

To buy a copy from Amazon: “Psycho Street” by MuscleWolf Productions (DVD)

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