The original Scare Package anthology came out in 2020, when the Covid pandemic was raging and life seemed very much like a horror movie. It offered a fun distraction from real-world fear, lovingly spoofing a few of the genre's many tropes and clichés. I wasn't sure a sequel would work as well, but Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge pleasingly ups the ante on its predecessor's mix of in-joke comedy and outrageous practical gore effects
In the wraparound story, directed by Aaron B. Koontz, video store owner Chad Buckley (Jeremy King) is dead. Several carefully chosen mourners awaken in a dingy room and are forced to endure goofy “traps” like in the Saw movies, including a potentially deadly game of beer pong. Among them are characters played by Mad Men's Rich Sommer, current horror favorite Graham Skipper (Beyond the Gates), and fright flick icon Kelli Maroney (Night of the Comet, Chopping Mall). In between games, the abductees must watch movies. Those movies are the heart of Scare Package II, and they again spoof familiar conventions:
“Welcome to the '90s,” directed by Alexandra Barreto, features a masked killer confusing a group of “final girls” with the sorority full of “sure to die” girls next door. It makes some shrewd observations about the historical portrayal of women in '80s horror, where they were either sexpots whose murders were fetishized or plain Janes who survived because they were asexual.
In Anthony Cousins' “The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back,” a Laurie Strode-esque young woman discovers she's just as indestructible as her Michael Myers-like brother. There's a really great capper to this sequence, which mocks the way slashers like Michael, Jason Voorhees, and Freddy Kreuger are incapable of dying, no matter what happens to them.
“Special Edition” starts with a group of girls discussing the Three Men and a Baby ghost rumor and ends with them watching a cursed laserdisc. Director Jed Shepherd pulls off some superb gore effects.
Rachele Wiggins directs “We're So Dead,” a clever mash-up of Stand by Me and Re-Animator wherein a bunch of kids discover a dead body and then bring it back to life. This one is my favorite of the bunch, thanks to several unpredictable twists and turns.
Scare Package II has lots of subtle (and not-so-subtle) references to classic horror movies, including an extended sequence that pays tribute to Hellraiser and a great gag spoofing a notorious scene from A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. More than anything, that's the joy of the film. It was made for people who love horror movies by people who love horror movies. Reverence for scary films from the '80s - when you could walk into a video store and be both awed and intimidated by the grotesque images on the boxes in the horror section - permeates this sequel, adding an additional layer of entertainment.
Of course, as with every anthology, some segments will work better than others for each particular viewer. Overall, though, the mixture of clever jokes, witty performances, and inventively gruesome violence serves to celebrate what horror films have meant to their admirers over the decades. I really hope there will be a Scare Package III.
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge comes to Blu-ray with a healthy assortment of supplementary material. First up is an informative and funny audio commentary from director Aaron Koontz. He provides tons of anecdotes about how the movie came together, the casting process, and the desire to work in as many references to other horror films as possible. You can also choose to watch the movie with a pop-up track that gives on-screen tidbits of trivia and points out those references.
“Making of the Film, But Still Not Making Sense” is a 22-minute behind-the-scenes documentary. The directors and actors appear to discuss their individual stories and how everything is connected together. Following that are seven minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes. Nothing substantial here, although there are some amusing cast flubs and ad libs. A 2-minute fake ad for Rad Chad’s video store is included, as are two trailers, one running 60 seconds and the other 90 seconds.
Picture and sound quality on the Scare Package II Blu-ray are excellent. All in all, the disc offers plenty to keep horror buffs entertained for a few hours.
To purchase a copy from Amazon, click here.
out of four
Scare Package II: Rad Chad's Revenge is unrated, but contains graphic violence and strong language. The running time is 1 hour and 38 minutes.