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The Gratuitous B-Movie Column: Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

April 18, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

The Gratuitous B-Movie Column Issue #458: Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

Anthology April: Week 3

Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to the internets movie review column that has never had an alien in its garage, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column, and I am your host Bryan Kristopowitz. In this issue, issue number four hundred and fifty-eight, Anthology April continues with the mega low budget, “SOV” horror anthology Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8), which hit home video in December of 2014.

Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)


Hi-8, or Horror Independent 8, is a mega low budget anthology featuring SOV, or “Shot On Video,” horror stories. Produced by Brad Sykes, Josephina Sykes, and Tim Ritter, Hi-8 assembles eight well known personalities from the “Shot On Video” horror movie world to direct eight short films and a wraparound story using low tech equipment and practical special effects. No CGI, no green screen, no modern filmmaking techniques allowed (the directors were allowed to use whatever editing equipment they wanted, but the movie itself had to be shot on stuff like VHS, Hi-8, Digital 8, or Mini-DV. No High Def). On paper, it’s an interesting experiment as, outside of the technical limitations imposed on the moviemakers and a time limit of no less than 8 minutes and no more than ten minutes for each short, the directors had total creative freedom. It’s cool to see what these directors can put together under the rules set by the producers. At the same time, the movie doesn’t really play as a cohesive unit. Since there’s no real unifying story theme for the shorts to follow, the movies end up all over the place and, as a result, some shorts play better than others. On top of that, the wraparound story isn’t as involving as it should be, making that part of the movie, for the lack of a better word, weird. Hi-8 is still worth seeing, though.


The first short, “Switchblade and Insane,” directed by Tim Ritter, is about a woman who, at first, seems to be stalking her serial killer boyfriend. The woman explains why she’s following him, how she discovered that her boyfriend was a killer, and then, amazingly, she joins in on the carnage. However, the narrator isn’t exactly what you could call reliable, and what’s actually happening is something diabolical. “Switchblade and Insane” has great writing, a great performance by the girlfriend, and a truly fucked up twist that I didn’t see coming. The pacing of this short is also excellent. It doesn’t waste a second of screen time. The special effects are gross as hell, especially the stomach carving scene. There’s also some gnarly as hell intestines here, a bit that we see multiple times throughout the various shorts. Ritter’s short also looks clear and it’s easy to hear the dialogue, something you don’t see all that often in this kind of movie (that’s been my experience, anyway). An excellent short.

The second short, by Marcus Koch, is called “A Very Bad Situation” is a difficult to hear sci-fi horror story about a group of people trying to survive the after effects of a strange meteor shower that has ruined the world, or, at least, hurt the world in some way. While listening to the radio for instructions and information from authorities, the group of survivors debate on whether or not they should allow more people into their shelter. When they’re forced to make a decision on what to do next, the whole thing ends badly for dang near everyone as there are monster aliens out there just looking for a reason to attack people. I like the ambition behind this story, but the movie doesn’t really work. Everything happens too quickly, including the ending, which should have been where the short started. The sound is a bit iffy and it’s often hard to see what’s going on. The special effects, though, are phenomenal, especially the sharp tooth alien thing that pops up out of a person. There should have been more of that kind of thing here. The creature is nightmare inducing.

The third story, by Tom Masiello, is called “The Tape” and involves Tim (Travis Hoecker), a video store employee who becomes infatuated with a weird as hell shot-on-video horror movie called “Bloodgasm.” As far as the employee can tell, “Bloodgasm” was never released to the public and the creator of it is a recluse of some sort. Tim is so obsessed with “Bloodgasm,” both watching it and researching it, he ignores his hot girlfriend Phoebe (Bobbi Beach). When Tim finally finds the director of “Bloodgasm” and goes to meet him, the encounter changes his life forever. In general, I liked the way this short builds to finding the “Bloodgasm” creator, but the way it ends is unsatisfying. Personally, I don’t think the ending makes any sense. With a different ending, “The Tape” would be a classic horror short. As it exists now, it’s a fun disappointment. Still worth watching.


Story four, “Gang Them Style,” is by Ron Bonk and is a hoot from start to finish. Part sort of zombie apocalypse movie, part homage to the genre cinema of John Carpenter and George A. Romero, “Gang Them Style” has a Snake Plissken type character named Mongoose trying to save a group of uncooperative old people from getting eaten by the undead. The jokes and the pacing of this short are spot on, as are the homages. The whole story essentially takes place in a parking garage and the gap from a door to a van that the old people have to cross in order to get away. It’s a great idea executed brilliantly. This is also the best looking of the movie’s nine stories. The ending is a bit abrupt, but it doesn’t really hurt the overall piece. I would love to see Bonk expand this into a full length movie. I bet it would kick ass.

The fifth story, “Genre Bending,” is by Chris Seaver is easily the funniest of the shorts. At first, it’s a movie about a sexy woman being stalked by a weirdo peeping Tom type guy. The weirdo manages to get inside the sexy woman’s house and it looks like he’s about to do something to her, but then the woman is rescued by a guy who, it turns out, is a bigger threat than the stalker. However, the story doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to. “Genre Bending” has a sharp script, crisp, hilarious dialogue, and an ending that will cause to bust a gut laughing. The only drawback to this short is the look, which is a bit too muddy. The sound is fine, but the cinematography is just too scratchy, I know, I know, it’s supposed to be that way, but a clearer picture would have made this easier to watch. Truly excellent.

Story six, “The Request,” is by Todd Sheets and is about an overnight radio show host who, in the midst of taking listener requests, gets a series of weird phone calls that makes him think about a really bad thing he did in his past (I’ll just tell you what the guy did, he murdered his girlfriend and dumped her body in the woods). The DJ character is awesome (he sounds like a real deal radio DJ, and I assume he is one in real life because you just can’t fake that kind of thing) and the bits in the radio station are well done. The flashback part of the story, though, is lacking as I still don’t understand why the DJ killed his girlfriend. It’s not like the guy is a serial killer or deranged or anything like that. So what’s his deal? The last scene is terrific.

The seventh story, “Thicker Than Water,” is by Donald Farmer and is pretty damn strange. At first, it’s a movie about a dude who likes to watch horror movies and his girlfriend who doesn’t. They argue about the violence generally found in horror movies, which then leads to a discussion that shows how the girlfriend is jealous of her boyfriend’s former girlfriends. We then find out that one of the guy’s old girlfriends is tied up in the garage and his present girlfriend wants to kill her because she’s out of her fucking mind. The build to what the hell is really going on is fun to watch, but the ending is less than stellar. The piece just seems to end. And what’s the deal with the shark horror movie the couple is watching on TV? I think I’d like to see that thing play out.

Story eight, “The Scout,” is by Brad Sykes and is about a young couple driving out to the desert. The man is a low budget horror movie director looking to scout a new location for his next movie, and his girlfriend is an actress searching for her big break. She gets a call about a major audition that annoys her boyfriend because she has to get to the audition in a few hours and they’re hours from anywhere. The couple argues about their situation and their relationship, which then leads to a momentary break up (she walks off into the desert and he keeps scouting for a location). The woman eventually walks back to reconcile with her boyfriend, but he’s nowhere to be found. Where the hell did he go? This is another story that really doesn’t make any sense. It has a nice build up until the girlfriend walks into the desert as you get a real sense that this couple has deep problems they need to work on. When she comes back looking for him, though, the short takes a nosedive into bullshit. How can the boyfriend be supernatural out of the blue? A disappointment.


The wraparound story, also by Brad Sykes and called “No Budget Films Presents,” is about a group of friends making a low budget horror movie. There’s a pretty girl, a masked killer, and a director. As they try to make their movie, strange things happen to them, including meeting a deranged homeless man who wants to be in the movie. These segments work well right up until the end, when the story takes a bizarre turn that makes no sense. It almost seems like the wraparound didn’t have a planned out story, that everyone involved was making the whole thing up as they went along, and it ends because it has to. That’s lame.

I’m also not a fan of the movie’s lack of a host. The wraparound segment is just a story that’s broken up into multiple segments. It doesn’t really add anything to the main movies. So why have a wraparound if it doesn’t work, in concert, with the shorts that make up the bulk of the movie? I don’t really understand why the producers didn’t want to do that. Linking the stories together is not a bad thing in an anthology movie.

The opening theme is terrific and is something that you will want to hear again and again. It definitely has that awesome 1980’s synth vibe going for it. And I can’t stress enough how much I like the idea behind Hi-8. Even if it doesn’t quite gel as a cohesive unit, it’s something that horror movie nerds looking for something a little different should check out. I think you will find something you love in it.

See Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8). See it, see it, see it.

So what do we have here?

Dead bodies: Lots.

Undead bodies: Several

Explosions: None.

Nudity?: Yes.

Doobage: A funny warning to the audience, a hot babe running in the woods, a man in a skull mask and carrying a machete, neck scratching, watching video footage, a car that won’t start, a jump scare, rape via knife, car stealing, a box full of drivers licenses and pictures of murder victims, a killing process explained, dead bodies in a bathtub, bondage, a gun switcheroo, stomach carving, throat slitting, blood sex, intestine removal, pool sex, more throat slitting, drowning, cutting up a dead body in the bathtub, a yellow dildo, a weather report on TV, an off screen meteor shower, axe hooey, a badly wounded leg, bullet to the chest, a lack of bullets, a massive nose bleed, a gross monster with teeth, video store hooey, multiple videotapes without covers, bloody fingernail removal, disemboweling, a sext fat woman dancing topless, a hilarious sex montage, a news report on how a famous movie was finished, gut stabbing, more intestine removal, dental surgery via power drill, multiple genre movie homages, zombie hooey, neck biting, bullet to the head, zombie head stomping, arm biting, back of the head biting, even more intestine eating, a purse, a sexy woman jogs, pulse checking, a lack of ail, pool cleaning, bikini hooey, suntan lotion hooey, farting, neck snap, attempted rape, actual rape, forced fellatio, blood puking, multiple weird phone calls filled with static, a phone that refuses to stop ringing, flashback, dancing, backstabbing, dead body dragging, dead body disposal, bloody heart removal, heart eating, chicks in bikinis at the beach, swimming, sunbathing, sandwich making, more bondage, a glass of Drano, attempted nail through the forehead, attempted strangulation, rubber mallet to the back of the head, a dead homeless guy, a very bloody face, desert hooey, a dilapidated building out in the middle of nowhere, multiple stab wounds, knife to the back, even more throat slitting, laughing, glowing eyes, sharp teeth, and an ending that makes no sense.

Kim Richards?: None.

Gratuitous: Bloody intestine removal, bondage, stock footage, off screen apocalypse, an open attack on “VHS hipsters,” talk of 1983 and how the porno section in the video store was so damn awesome, smoking after sex, laughing at intestines, 22 dollars, Michael Merchant, “10 feet,” a They Live reference, a Night of the Living Dead/”Coming to get you Barbra!” reference, racism, dirty dish washing, Hershey bar eating, rape, a rotary phone, telling someone to “Fuck off!,” a Dark Knight Rises movie theater standee in the background, talk of spitting, face licking, use of the “F” word, a rubber mallet, erect nipples, and an ending that makes no sense.

Best lines: “The family that slays together, stays together, don’t you know?” “You know, refrigerators are heavy, sweetheart, we could have used some help,” “That’s what it looks like when they touch you!,” “You just fucking shot her, man!,” “God, it stinks. Don’t tell me we have to do another take,” “A lost SOV!,” “Ooh! What is that?,” “Fuck you, Tim,” “This is the best movie ever made,” “Fuck you, too,” “Have you ever seen those snuff films from Frenchtown?,” “Well, Chester, it looks like we’re finally finishing the movie!,” “You guys make a movie? What kind of movie? I like movies,” “What do you think you’re doing down here, dirt bag?,” “Yeah, save it for the movies, Mongoose,” “You came in that?,” “Hey, who invited the meatball?,” “Move! He’s coming to get you, Barbra!,” “RJ! My purse!,” “Don’t you have some fake blood to mix up?,” “Well, I might as well bounce!,” “It must have just been in the wind,” “You fucking cunt! Would you happen to know what time it is?,” “Girl, I just saved your ass,” “Get that motherfucking candy bar out of my face!,” “Girl! Don’t you realize I’m going to rape you?,” “How do you like chocolate now?,” “What’s the matter? You wanted this!,” “Is this going to stain my teeth?,” “God, what the hell is going on around here tonight?,” “Call now, bitch!,” “Matt, dance for me,” “It’s just a shitty prank. That’s all it is,” “I came to dance to our song, lover,” “We’re not leaving until you get wet,” “You want a sandwich?,” “Ted, I did this for us!,” “Baby, back up,” “I’m sorry, I just can’t handle bloody movies,” “Goddamn, it’s fricken windy up here!,” “Did I ever show you Radioactive Road?,” “Adrian…,” and “Get the camera.”

Rating: 7.0/10.0




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Things to Watch Out For This Week


Deep Blue Sea 2: Finally, after nearly twenty years, we have a sequel to 1999’s super smart shark horror thriller Deep Blue Sea. It’s direct-to-video, but at least the fine folks at Warner Bros decided to do something with the property. According to the plot description, it sounds like it’s all about a rich guy doing some sort of research on bull sharks and, as a result, the sharks get super smart and deadly and suddenly it’s all about trying not to get eaten by them. The biggest name I see in the cast is Michael Beach, good old Darnell from Lean On Me and countless other movies and TV shows. Definitely want to check this out.


The Commuter: I missed this Liam Neeson action thriller when it was in theatres this past winter, which I’m annoyed about because I’m a big fan of Liam Neeson, man of action, and his movies always play better on a bigger screen. This thriller managed to snag some decent reviews, and while it didn’t blow up the box office, it earned okay money and will likely develop an audience on home video and TV. Anyone out there see this? Is it any good? Should I rent it to see if it’s any good?


Mohawk: This is some sort of low budget historical action flick about an American Indian who, around the War of 1812, seeks revenge against some American soldiers for some reason. WWE superstar Luke Harper is in it, as is Night of Something Strange lead zombie Wayne W. Johnson. When I first heard about this movie I thought it was a horror flick, although I’m not sure why I thought that. Anyway, this looks pretty cool, and, really, how often do we see anyone attempt a low budget period movie that isn’t a western? Exactly.


The Soldier: This Blu-ray from the fine folks at Kino Lorber actually came out a few weeks ago, but for some reason I missed it. I’ve never seen this movie, directed by the great James Glickenhaus, but it has an amazing reputation in some B-movie circles, and it’s got Steve James in it, so it can’t be that bad, can it? Ken Wahl, the star of the immortal The Taking of Beverly Hills, also stars in this, and, man, how the hell did I miss this? I need to see this soon, man.


Ash vs. Evil Dead is back!


Check out my reviews for the third season below!

Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6
Episode 7
Episode 8


B-Movie News


Joe Bob Briggs is coming back to TV! It’s confirmed!: Yes, the Joe Bob Briggs, host of The Movie Channel’s Drive-in Theater and TNT’s Monstervision, is set to host a 24-hour horror movie marathon on the streaming channel Shudder in June (check out this story for the sort of official details. We don’t know what day in June this marathon will air (I heard June 22nd but that isn’t confirmed), what movies will be a part of the marathon, at least at the moment, but it has been confirmed by the man hisself that he will be introducing various movies and providing the “Drive-in Totals” for those movies. Joe Bob will also have a few guests, including the Mail Girl (Honey? Reno? Rusty? All three of them?).

Now, is this what we all wanted, the full on return of something like Monstervision on a weekly basis? No. But, I’d imagine that if this marathon is a hit that Shudder will look into actually having Joe Bob on more often, either doing a weekly show of some sort or more marathons. And, heck, if that all works out, maybe Joe Bob will get to host AMC’s Fearfest in October, as Shudder is owned by AMC. That would be cool, wouldn’t it?

Goddamn right it would. That’s what I want to see.

So be sure to keep an eye out on your favorite horror movie websites (like Bloody Disgusting), the Joe Bob Briggs official website, Joe Bob Briggs on Facebook, Shudder, or here, The Gratuitous B-Movie Column. As long as I’m alive and still writing here on 411 and still doing this column, you will know when Joe Bob actually, officially, returns.

Joe Bob is coming back! Yeah!


There’s a trailer for the new Scott Adkins movie Incoming: Incoming, one of the five movies action superstar Scott Adkins has coming out in 2018, is a sci-fi action flick about the International Space Station operating as a floating mega prison and Adkins having to go there to stop terrorists or prisoners from using the space station prison as a missile to blow up Moscow for some reason. It almost sounds like a low budget version of that Guy Pearce movie Lockout but more insane. Check out the trailer below. It doesn’t look slick or anything like that, but it sure as heck looks entertaining.

The movie, set to be released by the fine folks at XLRator Media, is going to get some sort of limited theatrical release starting May 4th while also being available on Video On Demand. Only a few weeks away. Be on the lookout for it.


Who is the Douchebag of the Week? Go here and find out!


Next Issue: Anthology April concludes with Empire State of the Dead!



david j. moore
Jino Kang
Vladimir Kulich
Paul Mormando
Shahin Sean Solimon
Michael Matteo Rossi
Tyrone Magnus
Hector Barron
Jeffrey Orgill
Michael Baumgarten
R. Marcos Taylor
Don “The Dragon” Wilson
Paul Kyriazi
Eric Jacobus
Juju Chan
Luke LaFontaine
Marco Siedlemann
Sam Firstenberg
Amariah Olson
Alexander Nevsky
Mathias Hues
Kristanna Loken
Steve Mitchell
Albert Pyun
Brad Thornton
Mathieu Ratthe
Damien Power
Kelsey Carlisle
Mike Dwyer
Nicholas Bushman
Brahim Achabbakhe
Richard LeMay
Andrew David Barker
Cynthia Rothrock
Leslie Simpson
C. Courtney Joyner
Shahin Sean Solimon (2)
Eric Miller
Alexander Nevsky (2)
Christopher Lawrence Chapman
James Mark
Casper Van Dien
Chris Mark
James E. Wilson
Barry Hunt
Vincent J. Roth
Mathew Ziff
Brandon Tyler Russell
Barry Hunt (2)
Lobsang Tenzin
Dylan Reynolds
Paul Kyriazi(2)
Lincoln Bevers
Nassasin Nuri
Hannah Janssen
Harry Mok


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Well, I think that’ll be about it for now. Don’t forget to sign up with disqus if you want to comment on this article and any other 411 article. You know you want to, so just go do it.

B-movies rule. Always remember that.

Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

“Switchblade and Insane”
Directed by Tim Ritter
Written by Tim Ritter

“A Very Bad Situation”

Directed by Marcus Koch
Written by Marcus Koch

“The Tape”

Directed by Tony Masiello
Written by Matt Hill

“Gang Them Style”

Directed by Ron Bonk
Written by Ron Bonk

“Genre Bending”

Directed by Chris Seaver
Written by Chris Seaver

“The Request”

Directed by Todd Sheets
Written by Todd Sheets

“Thicker Than Water”

Directed by Donald Farmer
Written by Alaine Huntington

“The Scout”

Directed by Brad Sykes
Written by Brad Sykes

“No Budget Films Presents…” (wraparound)

Directed by Brad Sykes
Written by Brad Sykes

Check out the full cast list here

Distributed by Wild Eye Releasing

Runtime– 98 minutes

Buy it here