A Taste of Phobia, 2017.
Directed by Domiziano Cristopharo, Jason Impey, Sunny King, Sam Mason Bell, Tony Newton, Lauand Omar, Rob Ulitski, Sophia Cacciola, Michael J. Epstein, Dustin Ferguson, Alessandro Giordani, Chris Milewski, Alessandro Redaelli, Alessandro Redaelli, and Lorenzo Zanoni.
Starring Roberta Gemma, Edwin Garcia, Michael J. Epstein, Mark Thompson-Ashworth, Karen Lynn, and Lianne O’Shea.
An international team of directors join forces to present 14 terrifying stories in this gruesome horror anthology each surrounding a particular phobia.
Whether it be anthology TV shows like Black Mirror, The Twilight Zone and American Horror Story or cinematic efforts like the cult classic Creepshow, I bloody love anthologies, and I always get a kick of seeing how a limited run time or resources can often bring out the most creative instincts in writers and directors.
Unfortunately, we’re not here to talk about any of those examples – we’re here to talk about A Taste of Phobia, an anthology film that takes the brilliant potential of its concept and squanders it on mediocrity.
One of the reasons I love the anthology format is that even if one particular segment/episode doesn’t quite hit the spot then one need not worry too much for the next one will hopefully make up for it. Sadly, with A Taste of Phobia, the film hits you right out the park with disappointment and really only sinkis in quality from there.
The reason why this film is so disappointing to watch is that on paper I love the general concept, with the potential for an anthology film based around various phobias, both well known and obscure, being almost limitless. And this disappointment is only compounded when you can see some shades of this potential shining through in some of the segments.
For instance segment entitled “Astrophobia” (which is defined as a fear of stars) is a rather intriguing look at a man’s descent into madness due his irrational fear of stars, which seems to attempt to look at the power of charismatic internet personalities on otherwise fragile minds, although I might be reading a bit much into with that one. On the other hand, it’s easily the best segment, and also has the best acting of the film as it doesn’t make me long to drive a screwdriver into my eyes and ears.
The film’s other segments are largely dull and forgettable, such as “Pharmacophobia” (a fear of medicine) which is such a waste of potential that it boggles the mind as to why it was even included. It’s just a guy drinking cold medicine and then foaming at the mouth. Oooh, scary.
Others are just odd like, also have the “Politicophobia” (fear of politics) which essentially acts as the worlds weirdest party political broadcast, with what an attempt at what I think is political satire being about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the teeth. Still better at encouraging people to vote most actual party political broadcasts, I suppose.
While another segment, “Germophobia” (fear of germs) is essentially a retread of the familiar “guy who hates germs” horror concept that has been done before and far better, perhaps most notably in Creepshow. Please, just go and watch Creepshow, at least in that film you get to see Stephen King being consumed by alien plant life.
Also, in one of the oddest segments is “Parthenophobia” (fear of virgins) in which a porn star of all people is so terrified of doing a scene with a woman who admits to being a virgin that he is driven to commit murder. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this segment is not the content, but mainly the fact that (and I actually had to look this up ) is that a fear of virgins is a real thing apparently.
And don’t get me started on “Coprohobia” (fear of faeces) which is easily the film’s worst segment, not because it’s disgusting (that would at least make it memorable), but because it’s just a middle-aged guy wrestling with what is clearly chocolate covered teddy bear. It’s just bad and not even in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way. It’s just bad.
A Taste of Phobia while having an intriguing concept behind it, is a deeply disappointing entry in the horror anthology genre. While there are shades of creativity trying to break through some the segments, the sheer amount of uninteresting and forgettable work on display leaves little to praise about the film. With perhaps fewer segments, longer runtimes and just generally more money to play with the film could have been something worthwhile, but sadly this is not the case. Give this one a miss.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ / Movie: ★ ★