If someone were to ask me my biggest fear, I’m not sure what I would answer. It would probably be a typical response, like most — Something like fear of heights or spiders and other creepy crawlers. I guess I’m lucky in the sense that I really don’t have any crazy, irrational fears. The same cannot be said for the characters featured in the short films comprising the horror anthology, A Taste of Phobia.
A Taste of Phobia features 14 short films all dealing with a different phobia, directed by directors from all over the world. Everything from the fear of cooking, mageirocophobia, to the fear of sleep, hypnophobia, are covered.
Like most anthology films, A Taste of Phobia is a mixed bag of great acting and not some not-so-good acting, impressive practical effects and some really lackluster effects, and superb writing mixed with some dull storytelling. That is what makes these films so interesting though. One segment that I may love, you may hate; one that you really didn’t like, may be my favorite. There is something for everyone and that is pretty great.
This 90 minute feature starts off strong with Lorenzo Zanoni and Alessandro Sisti’s co-directed “Chaetophobia,” or fear of hair. It continues pretty strong with shorts dealing with fear of medication, “Pharmacophobia,” and fear of virgins, “Parthenophobia.” Things then get pretty strange with “Coprophobia,” fear of feces, directed by Jason Impey. Things don’t stop there, as we continue our terrifying journey with stories of fear of mazes (“Mazeophobia”), fear of germs (“Mysophobia”), fear of politics (“Politicophobia”), and many more.
There were quite a few shorts that I could have done without, the least enjoyable being Jackson Batchelor’s “Politicophobia.” This segment dealing with politics, while certainly anxiety-inducing, just seemed more annoying than anything else. My favorite, however, was Alessandro Giordani’s “Astrophobia.” The longest segment in the entire anthology, this story is about Adrian and a girl he meets, Laniakea. After his new love interest tells Adrian to go on her YouTube channel to see why she has so many followers, he comes across another YouTuber, Astroviking, who posts videos about the universe, its vastness and all of the stars that make it up. Adrian becomes obsessed with his new knowledge and his new obsession quickly turns to an irrational fear of exactly how unimpactful his existence is in the entire universe. It takes him to the point of being afraid of photons [from sunlight], boarding himself in the dark, and fear of gravity, taking everything in his apartment off of any kind of surface, other than the floor. He can no longer bear even the thought of his new girlfriend’s name as it is also the name of the supercluster that houses our Milky Way galaxy.
“Astrophobia” is certainly the most creative film featured in A Taste of Phobia, but there really is something here for everything. Some of these directors, from the UK, Italy, South Africa, etc. may never be heard of again, but some of them may go on to become the next big thing in this genre we love so much.
Amidst all of the carnage and gore shown throughout this 2017/2018 anthology, perhaps the craziest part of all of this is that these fears do actually exist. While I’d hope that most people who suffer from these fears don’t actually cope with them the way the characters in this film do, it is quite possible that some of these reactions may not be so far-fetched. That in and of itself is pretty damn horrifying.
Can you imagine having the fear of sleep or the fear of dreams, both of which are featured in this film? How about the fear of feces? I mean, how is that even possible? These are things that every single living creature on the face of the earth has to deal with on a daily basis and to have fear of said inevitabilities is surreal to me.
If you are a fan of anthologies, you should definitely give A Taste of Phobia a watch. While it isn’t necessarily one of my favorites of its format, it is certainly deserving of your time. You can pick up a copy of the film on DVD this Tuesday, June 26, coming to us from Artsploitation Films.
I give this one a final Repulsive Rating of 3 poop monsters out of 5.