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  • Rev Horror

Dark Zone Thirteen

Dir. Joe Sherlock, Filip Hanzek, Jon Stone, & Joseph Voegele (2019)

A collection of stories from the lost, unpublished thirteenth issue of the pulp magazine Dark Zone.


Indie anthology films are so much damn fun. From the minds of prolific PNW indie filmmakers comes Dark Zone Thirteen, a collection of stories purporting to be from the pages of a mysterious and long-forgotten pulp magazine filled with strange tales of the macabre. This one is a bit more involved than a lot of others, as there are four directors responsible for the multiple stories within. Covering everything from Lovecraft to haunted dolls, Dark Zone Thirteen provides an excellent pulpy feel that could have come right out of the old EC Comics.


The shorts in the film, as with almost all anthologies, differ in both length and quality. The first short, The Doll, is a fairly interesting tale of a woman who is stalked by a mysterious doll that she receives in the mail. It's well done, and the doll is actually creepy, feeling like a reference to Trilogy of Terror and it's African Zulu doll. The larger theme of people behind the scenes running the show is an intriguing one, and I'd love to hear more about that side of things. The second short, Boris, is about a ghostly child that haunts a home. Taking place entirely in Russian (I think?), it's a "short short" that's good for a few scares despite not having a lot of meat on the bones.

The third short, entitled Just Beyond the Corner of your Eye, is on the longer side, featuring Jackey Neyman Jones from Manos: The Hands of Fate. It's got a nice twist to it, providing a pretty eerie take on the Lovecraft mythology and the mysterious forces just beyond our comprehension. Next up is Bath, about a woman who begins stalking two friends that she sits behind in a movie theater. Donna Rooney's Roberta is very Single White Female, and it's a disturbing and deliciously creepy short that makes the film worth watching by itself.

Assisted Living is about a home health nurse named Ella (Roxxy Mountains) who takes care of a pervy old man named George (Dale Wilson) who spies on her in the shower and tries to entice her into "extra" work beyond her regular duties. George has a few more appetites than it appears, however, and the short takes a bizarre turn halfway through that is a whole lot of fun. The Hunter follows a woman who goes jogging and comes across monster hunters in the forest. It's a short short, but it's entertaining, and adds a bit to the sci-fi cred of the film as well.

Dark Zone Thirteen is a pulpy selection of shorts that work really well together, and it's an entertaining and well made indie horror anthology. Sherlock, Hanzek, Stone and Voegele all do a great job behind the camera, and the actors all do their jobs very well. If you enjoy the type of stuff that Skullface Astronaut puts out, you'll enjoy this one as well, because it fits very well with the rest of their filmography. Sherlock made the flick to get screened at Crypticon, and I'm glad that there are festivals around that can feature his work, because SA's films are always a hell of a lot of fun. If it's your thing, as it's mine, you should definitely give it a look.


Who this movie is for: Skullface Astronaut fans, Anthology horror lovers, Dark Zone subscribers


Bottom line: Dark Zone Thirteen is an inventive and interesting anthology with some fantastic stories within. The directors do a great job with their shorts, and the actors are all pretty decent for indie horror. While a couple of the shorts aren't as good as the others, it's still a highly entertaining film that's definitely worth checking out. If you're a fan of indie horror, you know how important supporting this type of film can be, so I definitely recommend that you do so. You can check out the film streaming on Skullface Astronaut's website, or grab a physical copy as well.

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