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Stories of a Gravedigger: Chapter I The Deadtime Stories 1 - Digger Films Print E-mail
User Rating: / 7
Written by Chris Mayo   
Sunday, 20 January 2008

Directed by: Steve Villeneuve, Simon Geraghty, David Aubin, David Therrien
Written by: Steve Villeneuve, Simon Geraghty, David Aubin
Producer: Steve Villeneuve
Cinematography by: Pierre-Hugues Piché, Simon Geraghty,
Editing by: Steve Villeneuve, David Aubin
Music by: Alex Adm, Benolt Babin
Cast: Glen Alexander, Alexandre Fournier, JC Côté, Magenta Baribeau, Alexandre Fournier, Amelie Paul, Karl Reinhard, Martin Dansky
Year: 2005
Country: Canada
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 84 minutes

Severed Cinema - DVD Logo
Video: NTSC R1
Aspect Ratio:
1.85:1 Widescreen
Audio: LPCM 2.0
Distributor: Digger Films

In the tradition of horror anthology films like “Tales from the Darkside”, “Trilogy of Terror” and “Creepshow”, Digger Films brings us their take with “Stories of a Gravedigger: Chapter I The Deadtime Stories”.  More akin to “Creepshow 2” than anything else, only in the fact that both films contain introductory animations, “Stories” compiles three “deadtime” stories with “Just another Night”, “La Diable” and “Room 66”.  Excited about first hearing of this anthology and its inclusion of animated sequences, does the film hold up to the mentioned anthology films of the past?

The film begins with an animated segment.  Two kids dressed in Halloween costumes enter a graveyard to take some pictures, to show some kids from school.  They stumble upon a tall dark disheveled man, the film's narrator, The Gravedigger of the cemetery, who tells the two boys the three stories the movie contains, ala The Creep from “Creepshow 2”.  This animated footage is completely lacking the capacity of a professional production, with as little actual “animation” as possible, producing a very amateurish look and feel.  Its uninteresting character design and immensely annoying voice actors in the parts of the two children, hinder these segments even further.  The humor between the two is incredibly dry and crippled at best with such groan inducing cracks like, “Are you sure that your last name isn’t little?  As in Stuart Little?  Get it?”  This is not looking pretty.

After refraining from pressing the fast forward button we reach our first short, “Just another Night”, which follows John, a security guard at a mental hospital.  John is an all-around asshole, and makes everyone’s life miserable from total strangers to his fellow co-workers and the patients of the hospital.  John however, is hiding a violent past, full of anguish and torment.  Apparently he has been killing the hospital’s inhabitants.  One night while doing his usual rounds of the facility he begins having visions of past victims, one of which, a clown.  Through an odd and goofy “Welcome to the Clown Theatre” sequence (which comes across as weird for weird’s sake), has the clown victim bringing awareness to John of his past evil actions.  John seems to forget or refuses to remember but he is quickly reminded when victims begin returning from the grave.

The second short (and the worst of the trilogy) “La Diable”, centers around a group of friends on a backwoods camping trip.  The night begins with campfire tales and beer.  Chris tells the story of two feuding Indian tribes that battled for centuries around the area.  He continues with the story that some years ago two people were camping in the same area and heard the tribal drumming of the Indians.  They never returned home and were never found.  After the story the group retires to their tents for the night.  The next day they are awakened by screams of terror from their friend Jim who is mysteriously burned alive from inside his tent.  Next their friend Kathy is found dead and tied to a tree.  The rest of the group decide to canoe out of there but the journey back into civilization is too far and one by one the group is picked off by a murderer.  Possibly the curse of an Indian tribe, or is a member of the group the culprit?  The result will be obvious and will hold no suspense, with an eventual copout with the short's finale.

Lastly we are taken to “Room 66” with Bruce McNeil, a writer who has rented the room for the evening to finish writing his novel.  It wasn’t an easy task to get a room at this particular hotel, for all the rooms were booked up due to an AA conference.  After some persuasion he has the ability to rent “Room 66” which was slated for “renovation”.  It turns out the reason for its unavailability was not for renovation at all, but due to a man who went crazy in there after hearing voices.  Bruce retires to his laptop and bottle of gin and fires away at the rest of his novel.  This footage is edited with flashes of his story (narrated by the same electronically deepened voice of The Gravedigger) and in “Room 66”.  Bruce starts to hear noises himself and after some time of investigating finds a demonic creature, resembling that of The Creeper from “Jeepers Creepers”.  The horrors continue, but not before he is greeted in his room by a horny chick that may not be who she appears to be.  What follows is a completely out of place ending with a robotic spider, created with CG worse than that of “The Mummy Returns”.

Stories of a Gravedigger” is probably the worst anthology film I’ve ever seen.  I didn’t much enjoy “Trilogy of Terror” either, but that film had a lot more redeeming qualities.  Stylistically it is well made, but the editing went over the top sometimes with blur effects in an attempt at a more distorted feel.  The cinematography however, is first-rate for a DV film, with some great shots.  The music for the film is also commendable with a fantastic and catchy theme song.  “Just another Night” is by far the best short, but when the other choices range from terrible to awful, it doesn’t give that sentiment much strength.  “Just another Night” did deliver a decent storyline making it a more effective short but the hokeyness of the “Welcome to the Clown Theatre” sequences left something to be desired.

 “La Diable” completely fell flat from the get-go. The Indian story should have gone someplace but it was used to merely sidetrack the audience, enabling far too much canoeing footage instead of some cool Indian murderers and gore.  Don’t get me wrong, the scenic forestry visuals are stunning, but this is supposed to be a horror film after all, and not a tourism promotional tool.  Another thing that bothered me about the film was that is was shot in English when the cast and crew are predominantly francophone.  With “La Diable”, why the hell would six French friends go on a camping trip and speak to one another in English, when French is blatantly their native tongue?  Even if one or two of them were English, wouldn't the French people speak French amongst themselves?  My French friends don’t speak English to one another.  The only two of the group that could successfully mask their French accent into being English were Ed (JC Côté) and Chris (Karl Reinhard).  The other accents were painfully obvious.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike French accents, I just believe that expecting the viewer to believe that these French speaking friends, who are struggling to speak English is ridiculous.  What is the reasoning for shooting the film in English?  To reach a broader audience?  The Hollywood horror crowd would never go for this film anyway, so that audience is out.  The independent horror crowd either hates of loves DV films and the people that enjoy them could care less about reading subtitles.  In a Catherine Breillat film she uses both English and French speaking actors when the need arises.  Maybe I’m wrong in thinking francophone friends speak French to one another while camping but for me, I believe they do.  I would have preferred the film shot entirely in French with bright pink English subtitles.

I was so hoping that “Room 66” would be better than the pervious short, and it was, but not by much.  It had the makings of an entertaining short, but dragged far too long, and the narrated footage of McNeil’s novel was out of place and hindered the pacing of the film.  The creature could have been cool, but instead writer/director David Aubin decided to disregard everything the viewer has just watched, substituting a great possible ending with a CG mess.

This viewer did not go into “Stories of a Gravedigger” with ill intent.  In fact, I was excited about the premise of a new attempt at anthology horror.  Regrettably, without a solid storyline for “La Diable”, and “Room 66”, a lack of consistent acting ability, a practically non existence of gore, and the choice of less than mediocre “animation”, “Stories of a Gravedigger: Chapter I The Deadtime Stories” cannot be recommended.  This film is dubbed “Chapter I” meaning this is a first of many.  Let's hope that this review brings some light to the errors of their ways.  How about visiting Newgrounds for a large variety of first-rate talented animators that would probably animate sequences for ”Chapter II” pro bono.  Just don’t show them “Stories of a Gravedigger: Chapter I The Deadtime Stories”.


- Behind the Scenes Documentary
- Trailer
- Photo Gallery

VIDEO: 1.85:1 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
AUDIO: LPCM 2.0 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
DVD: Digger Films 1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed Cinema1 Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema
MOVIE: "Stories of a Gravedigger" 1 Skull - Severed Cinema Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed CinemaNo Skull - Severed Cinema


Stories of a Gravedigger - "Menu"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Bad CG Graveyard"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Two Annoying Characters"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Hospital Hallway"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Hospital Hallway + Zombie"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Lame Clown Vignette"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Yes"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Open the fucking door!"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Burned Alive"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "The goriest shot in the film!!"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Canoeing is fun!"

Stories of a Gravedigger -"Forest"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Chris did it"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Woods"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "I want room"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Soapy Tits"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "The Creeper"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "More tits, but they still can't save the film!"

Stories of a Gravedigger - "Totally awesome and well crafted CG out-of-place robotic spider"

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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

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