HIFF 2014 presents Hi-8 (Horror Independent 8)

VHS nostalgia forever!

Reviewed by: Alicia Glass
Published on: March 2, 2022

Review Rating: 7.5

Exactly as the program says it is, Hi-8 is an 80’s-style V/H/S-inspired anthology featuring 8 unique horror stories and a wraparound!

The wraparound story, appropriately titled No Budget Films presents…, that which brings these different stories together like glue, is your rather standard horror movie device – a couple of kids and a hottie are trying to make a low budget horror flick, using whatever camera they’ve got and creepy landmarks for shots, they’re free after all. So while we wait for our heroes to establish mood, off to the first story!

Welcome to Switchblade Insane, the short directed by Tim Ritter, narrated by your everyday adoring and loving wife. Or is she? How far will an obsessed wife go to be with her husband in all things, especially when she catches him cheating? This fine little opening romp short received a rating of 8.

We poke our heads into the wraparound and then it’s off to A Very Bad Situation, where we happen to be stuck in a garage with some other horrid night survivors. Meteorites are coming down out of the sky and turning people into things and if we’re not careful we’ll all be next! Given a rating of 7 for adorable special effects.

Well of course there’s a short about a lost VHS tape inside the 80’s-style VHS-tape anthology movie, a bit dully titled The Tape. This one is known as “Bloodgasm” and our Protag has apparently been hunting for this lost gem, as he’s a gore-phile, for years. But when he and his skeptical girlfriend track down the films original director and he invites them to help him finish the movie, the blood will splatter and the gore will fly! The Tape got a rating of 7, simply because torture porn, even done well, isn’t necessarily my favorite sub-genre of Horror.

The wraparound is still wandering along, attempting to scare the would-be female lead with stories of haunted caves and whatnot. What the hottie needs is a hero, and she can find him in the next segment, Gang Them Style. Mongoose, at least that’s what he calls himself now, has to get his grandma and all her senior friends away from the zombie plague that’s broken out – how many one-liners and references to classic Horror films can he make while accomplishing this task! This particular segment, for the adorkable campiness and homage to other Horror greats, gets a rating of 8.

Genre Bending is more or less exactly what it sounds like, though I’m not real sure the inherent themes of turnaround-rape and stalking could be considered anything more than black comedy. (No color pun intended.) And because sadly I didn’t think it was even very funny, this vignette received a rating of 6.

The hottie and the guys in the wraparound have managed to scare themselves with what appears to be a homeless person, so we’re going to hurry on into the next vignette! Magic Matt West is a radio announcer for KJKI, and he keeps getting The Request to play a certain song for someone who purportedly died a long time ago. Why does Matt know this? Well, it’s possible he killed Lillian himself. Our righteous ghost and her radio demands got a rating of 7.

Next, we learn that Thicker Than Water can sometimes be a real killer! The girlfriend, she just can’t get it through her head that the boyfriend wants her and only her, she wants him to prove it. How, we ask? Executing a former girlfriend seems like a great start! This vignette got itself a rating of 7 as well.

A peek into the wraparound tells us that the would-be scary homeless guy (surprise!) isn’t actually the killer monster, and while digesting that, we’re off to see The Scout in the last vignette. A pair of would-be actors from L.A. are out in the desert scoping potential sets and such, when the car breaks down and there’s one last thing that needs scouting – the role of the victim. A little predictable at the end, the last segment gets a 7 rating as well.

And finally the wraparound story is wrapped up, with a not-so-surprising monster attacking the folks of No Budget Films, who of course have the standard filmmaker reaction – “Get the camera!