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Case Number 14186: Small Claims Court

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Trapped Ashes

Lionsgate // 2006 // 104 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 1st, 2008

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson likes telling scary stories. Mostly about evil clowns and the women that love them.

The Charge

Five tales of terror.

The Case

Well, technically it's four tales, with the overall plot tying the anthology together counting as one. That plot: some folks are on a tour of a haunted Hollywood mansion and find themselves trapped in the bowels of the building. Their only exit—according to the strange little tour guide—is to tell true-life horror stories. And so they do…

• "Attack of the Killer Boobs"
Our first story involves a beautiful young actress who can't catch a break in the industry and blames her moderately-sized breasts on her lack of success. A trip to the cosmetic surgeon introduces her to a cutting-edge procedure that involves the fusion of cadaver tissue to the bosom, leading to an intensely-creepy, yet natural-looking set of newly augment breasts.

Following her surgery, he career immediately picks up. And it's all because of her new…enhancements. Too bad for her and her lovers that the nipples consume human flesh.

T&A RATING: It's about man-eating boobies. What do you expect?
GORE RATING: Not bad, but mainly nipple-centric. The most uncomfortable moments were actually when the doctor was leafing through pages of fake breasts gone awry.
OVERALL STORY RATING: A stupid premise leads to a stupider payoff. Amusing, but narratively saggy.

• "Undead Horny Chinese Monk"
Next we have a married couple vacationing in the Orient, trying to rekindle a flagging marriage. What starts as a benign, culturally-rich romantic adventure turns into a horrifying trip to Buddhist Hell. Literally.

His wife seduced and captured by a Hell-bound monk, the husband descends into a weirdo amalgam of live-action and anime, complete with howling demons and tentacle penises.

T&A RATING: Some playful, nighttime demon fornication.
GORE RATING: Fairly tame, though during the above tryst, said demon is a mess of rotting flesh and exposed ribs.
OVERALL STORY RATING: Bizarre and borderline incoherent, this tale is salvaged by some cool animation and the first-ever theatrical glimpse into Buddhist Hell.

• "Helo from Battlestar Galactica Boinks His Best Friend's Girlfriend"
So these two friends, a screenwriter (Tahmoh Penikett) and a director, form a long-lasting relationship, until a mysterious woman comes between them and, well, the boinking commences. Turns out there's more to this girl than meets the eye.

T&A RATING: Subdued and implied.
GORE RATING: Non-existent.
OVERALL STORY RATING: The most boring and predictable of the lot. The big twist at the end is about as surprising as the outcome of an episode of Full House.

• "Girl Gestates with a Big-Ass Tapeworm"
Our final story is about a girl who cooked in her mother's womb along with a tapeworm. The two formed some sort of freaky-deaky kinship and apparently kept up their psychic relationship outside of the uterus.

During her stays with her emotionally abusive stepmother, the girl calls upon her worm brother to slither into dad's bedroom and engage in improper relations with mom.

T&A RATING: Forcible worm rape.
GORE RATING: Again, more implied than shown, but implied forcible worm rape is still pretty unnerving.
OVERALL STORY RATING: Slow and disappointing, up to an including the hardcore CGI worm action.

Trapped Ashes is a fairly entertaining horror anthology, never scary, but sometimes outrageous and disgusting and once in a while unsettling. I'd say about half the stories are good (bloodsucking boobs and Buddhist cartoon Hell). The other half not so much. So you're looking at about a 50-50 split return on your entertainment dollar.

The transfer looks fine (1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen) and the sound mix is up to the task (5.1 Dolby Digital). A solid selection of extras includes a feature commentary, deleted scenes, director's cuts of two of the tales and a detailed five-part making-of documentary.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 65

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English
• Spanish
Running Time: 104 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Horror

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentary
• Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Director's Cuts


• IMDb

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