• A Taste Of Phobia (Artsploitation Films) DVD Review

    Released by: Artsploitation Films
    Released on: June 26th, 2018.
    Director: Roberta Gemma, Edwin Garcia, Michael J. Epstein, Mark Thompson-Ashworth, Karen Lynn
    Cast: Michael J. Epstein, Domiziano Cristopharo, Jason Impey, Sunny King, Sam Mason Bell
    Year: 2017
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    A Taste Of Phobia - Movie Review:

    A Taste Of Phobia brings fourteen filmmakers together to create an anthology film bound together by one premise – each short contained herein deals with a phobia. Put together by Italian director Domiziano Cristopharo and UK-based producer Tony Newton, the picture emphasizes visuals and shock value over atmosphere but for those with a taste for the grotesque, it will have some appeal.

    Subjects over the movie’s hour and a half long running time are Caetophobia (fear of hair), Pharmacophobia (fear of medication), Partenophobia (fear of virgins), Coprophobia (fear of feces), Mysophobia (fear of germs), Mazeophobia (fear of mazes), Astrophobia (fear of stars), Mageirocophobia (fear of cooking), Gerascophobia (fear of ageing), Politicophobia (fear of politics), Somniphobia (fear of sleep), Oneirophobia (fear of dreams), Nyctophobia (fear of night) and Hemophobia (fear of blood). You can see how some, or even all, of these concepts would be ample fodder for a horror picture, and some of them are exploited quite nicely by their respective directors. Some, however, is not all.

    A few of these are interesting – Caetophobia, for example, is genuinely weird enough to work. It’s stylish and unnerving and even a little scary. Others are just gross – Coprophobia is probably the best example of that, as you can well imagine. Mazeophobia is just plain weird, but that’s not a bad thing, at least it’s interesting, while Politicophobia has a good idea at its core but fails when it comes to executing that idea. The rest fall somewhere in the middle, less memorable than those mentioned but interesting enough to watch once.

    The project tends to emphasize gore and shock value over building tension or atmosphere, but given the short nature of the various chapters, that’s not all together too surprising. These were all made on modest budgets but the different filmmakers involved with the production do manage to get some decent looking material. That said, some of the visual effects work is less than convincing at times, and there are moments where you wonder why the filmmakers didn’t leave their politics at the door (which, when it comes to Politicophobia at least, would admittedly be tough to do). Still, there’s enough polish here and enough interesting ideas at work that, even when the short doesn’t live up to its potential (Astrophobia being a good example – had this been stretched out and given a longer running time it could have been much more effective), the feature is still worth seeing.

    A Taste Of Phobia - DVD Review:

    A Taste Of Phobia looks just fine on DVD, framed at 2.35.1 anamorphic widescreen. Shot digitally, the movie is very crisp and clean looking, obviously there are no print damage issues to note. Color reproduction looks fine though some stylistic choices have been made and there, and when those come into play it’s clear that some tweaks were made to give things a less than natural look. It’s all well and good, however – the transfer is free of compression issues and would seem to be a perfectly fine representation of the source material.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track on the disc is fine. Optional subtitles are provided in English and Spanish (and during Mazeophobia, when Spanish dialogue is used, English subtitles appear on the screen automatically). There’s decent channel separation in a few spots, the levels are properly balanced and the track is free of any hiss or distortion.

    Extras on the disc include a few brief featurettes starting with the one-minute Behind Te Scenes: Pharmacophobia segment which brings us on set of that short as it was being made. We get a similar behind the scenes segment for Somniphobia which runs four-minutes. There’s also a two-minute Special FX: Mageirocophobia segment and a two-minute Special FX: Partenophobia, both of which are quite interesting if you’ve got an interest in seeing how SFX work is done.

    Artsploitation also include a five-minute collection of interviews with the producers entitled Phobia Interviews where they talk about the origin of the project and working with the different directors that came together to create it. There’s also a five-minute bonus short found here entitled Achluophobia (fear of the dark) that is interesting and worth watching.

    A trailer, a still gallery, menus and chapter selection close out the supplements on the DVD.

    A Taste Of Phobia - The Final Word:

    A Taste Of Phobia is an uneven but occasionally intriguing ‘extreme horror’ anthology likely to appeal more to fans of stronger underground horror than to those with more mainstream tastes. Not all of the shorts work as well as they could or should have, but there’s enough here that if the premise appeals to you then you might want to give it a watch. Artsploitation’s DVD release looks and sounds quite good and contains a few extras. Hardly an essential watch, but likely to be of interest to some.