Alex Magaña's Weekly Tales of Terror: Inmate 666 and Be Careful What You Wish For Movie Reviews

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

Released by ACM Films via YouTube

inmate 666 poster large

Written and directed by Alex Magaña
Released every Wednesday at ACMOfficial on YouTube

Katy Ford as Young Woman
Sabrina Kroeber as Friend
Rory Ross as Inmate
Ashley Elliott as Birthday Girl

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Alex Magaña needed to take a little break apparently. Let’s face it – 2020 is a real bitch, and it’s hard to make a film every week no matter how short it is even in a “normal” year. Thankfully, he’s back and showing off some new skills that he’s learned while wandering the wilderness or whatever it is he was doing on hiatus from his weekly mini nightmares.

Alex Magana’s Weekly Tales of Terror have been fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable to watch because you’re watching a filmmaker sharpen his knife and learn how to use it over the passage of time. Every week brings a new style to try out, a new subgenre to lovingly exploit. It’s clear that Magaña has a taste for horror, and now he has two more tiny tales of the bizarre and the inexplicable to properly thrill you with.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Inmate 666 (1:48): A young woman (Katy Ford) is waiting for her friend in a deserted parking lot. Across the darkened lot, a man in an orange jumpsuit stands motionless and stares at her. When she flicks on her lights, he disappears. When she turns them off, he’s back. It’s deeply unnerving, but the arrival of her friend (Sabrina Kroeber) should help…except she sees him too. Once the radio broadcast comes in (on station 666!) about the escaped inmate, it’s already too late. This short is trope heavy (lights off trick, radio broadcast, jump scare with the friend), but it’s used effectively. It’s another essential part of the modern horror filmmaker’s toolkit. They’re in a great everyday location that feels quite isolated, and the radio frequency is a cute touch with just enough camp to it.

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Be Careful What You Wish For (2:00): The birthday girl (Ashley Elliott; When We Dance) is preparing to blow out the candles on her 21st birthday cake. Her friends are all standing around and celebrating. Once the lights go out and all the balloons pop, though, it becomes clear that something is amiss. The lights return, but the sanity doesn’t – her friends are frozen in terror as she compulsively eats the entire cake to everyone’s horror. It’s grotesque, it’s gluttonous…and the cake doesn’t even look that good! When the lights go out again, what happens after they come back on is somehow more awful than before. I have to say, this is far and away the strongest of his shorts to date. The premise is simple, but the payoff is so ludicrous and yet so plausibly awful that you’ll feel that grin as it spreads across your face. The creep factor is there from the get-go, but it really gets weird when you see the party-goer's expressions. Another big step up this time is the music; it’s practically a character in this short. What Be Careful What You Wish For ultimately does is prove that horror is extremely subjective. Without blood, a monster, or even a jump scare, this is horrifyingly freaky!

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Inmate 666:
Be Careful What You Wish For:


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Stuart D. Monroe
Staff Reviewer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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