Horror movies are to phobias, what art is to emotions; the latter being residual evocations of the former. Have you ever walked into a bathroom and were suddenly overcome with intense anxiety at the sight of a closed shower curtain hanging over the tub? While not yet clinically specified, it is a common fear among Horror fans that can be traced all the way back to Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 Psychological-Horror classic, Psycho. Maybe you caught Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Clown in the 1990 TV Mini-Series It when you were a little too young and it stuck with you and evolved into coulrophobia over the years. As much as Horror exploits our deepest, most inherent fears, it also creates dread of, or aversion to, some of the most irrational things. So, sit back, relax, and prepare yourself for a disturbing probe into peculiar phobias that will haunt you long after the movie is over.
A Taste of Phobia is the unsettling International Indie Horror Anthology set to be released on VOD and DVD June 26th via Artsploitation Films. It includes 14 different shorts created by various directors and writers from the UK, USA, Italy, England, and Nigeria. It was produced by Vestra Pictures and Enchanted Architect, and made in collaboration with Trash Art Pictures.
The film explores an array of odd and outrageous fears, with each short focusing on a specific phobia. Segments included “Pharmacophobia (Fear of Medication),” “Coprophobia (Fear of Feces),” “Mazeophobia (Fear of Being Lost),” “Astrophobia (Fear of Stars),” “Mageirocophobia (Fear of Cooking),” “Gerascophobia (Fear of Aging),” Politicophobia (Fear of Politics),” “Somniphobia (Fear of Sleep),” “Nyctophobia (Fear of the Dark),” and “Hemophobia (Fear of Blood).”
Now, watching and analyzing Horror Anthologies comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks; one of the advantages being variety, and disadvantages being quantity that sometimes sacrifices overall quality. In other words, viewers are going to have segments that they love, others they enjoy, and some they absolutely hate, but diversity will keep them watching in the hopes of coming across a gem of a short. On the flipside of that though, too many pieces may also mean reducing the value of the film because its sections are critiqued individually and then averaged for a more inclusive and complete rating.
With that being said, there were some really strong stories for which every component came together perfectly and allowed for a quite brilliant execution, but unfortunately they were often outshone by the mediocrity and disappointment associated with the remaining majority. From gaping plot holes to poor special effects, some of these cinematic pieces failed to complete the puzzle that was A Taste of Phobia. Others would start off intriguing and entertaining, and then fall off right at the end. Consistency is seldom ever present with this type of film, but they are always worth a watch.
Some truly standout segments included Lorenzo Zanoni and Alessandro Sisti’s “Chaetophobia (Fear of Hair),” Alessandro Redaelli’s (Tortoise 2011, Alice is Beautiful 2012) “Parthenophobia (Fear of Virgins),” Poison Rouge’s “Mysophobia (Fear of Germs),” and Sam Mason-Bell’s (Home Videos 2017, Right Here Right Now TV mini-series 2016-2018) “Oneirophobia (Fear of Dreams).” The success of these particular mini-movies can be attributed to their perfect storm of complementary components, which included plot, theme, cinematography, acting, special effects, writing, and directing.
The Shock Horror of other segments made them almost unwatchable for anyone with a weak stomach, as vomit, phlegm, and feces found their way onto the screen. Then, in others, it was the gore that may have been a bit graphic and extreme at times, but which was ultimately much easier to handle than the revolting presence of body functions and the products of such. It is for these widely varying reasons that CrypticRock gives A Taste of Phobia 2.5 out of 5 stars.