Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge – Photo Credit: Shudder
In the first Scare Package—the often hilarious, sometimes scary horror anthology from way back in 2019—the owner of Rad Chad’s Horror Emporium regales us with tales of terror to highlight the sacred rules of the horror genre. When Scare Package II begins, Chad (Jeremy King) is no longer rad. He’s dead. Subtitled as Rad Chad’s Revenge, the direct sequel is already paying homage to ’80s cult fave, Phantom of the Mall: Eric’s Revenge. The references, thankfully, don’t stop there. Aaron Koontz (The Pale Door) and his various cohorts, including creator Cameron Burns, are back with another fantastically clever series of stories that remind us all why we fell in love with horror in the first place.
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge isn’t just fun to type. It’s fun to watch. Going full meta, each segment highlights a different group of endangered horror fans that use their knowledge of the genre to stay alive. Beginning with the wraparound (directed by Koontz), all of the characters find themselves suddenly trapped at Chad’s funeral service. After the mourners come to after being gassed, a shadowy figure appears (as masterminds tend to do) on a television screen. The mourners are informed that they’re all a part of a sick game. Using Chad’s favorite horror movies as clues, they try to survive the sequel in hopes of reappearing in Scare Package III (fingers crossed).
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Going way beyond the usual wraparound framing device of the anthology structure, Scare Package II is daring you to go back and watch the first Scare Package for reference. It’s not required viewing. However, the jokes will land a bit better if viewers do their homework. The extensive spoof on the Saw franchise is really a movie within an anthology, making the wraparound an integral part of the plot instead of an afterthought.
First up, the final girls riff Welcome to the 90s firmly plants the characters in a post-80s horror landscape. Two sororities exist side-by-side. One house shelters all the strong female characters that became final girls; the other house features all the cliché victims who will inevitably die at some point. Toying with expectations, the tables are definitely turned when a serial killer comes knocking. Written and directed by actress Alexandra Barreto, the initial story of Scare Package II is a perfect way to start the party.
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Fans who consider themselves the keepers of canon should get a kick out of the next story, The Night He Came Back Again! Part VI: The Night She Came Back. Embracing the direct sequel approach, this is actually a continuation of a story from the original Scare Package. Lampooning the messy chronology and confusing timelines of Halloween and other beloved franchises, director Anthony Cousins delivers a clever send up.
Special Edition is the third entry, written and directed by Jed Shepherd, the screenwriter of Host. Starring Haley Bishop, Radina Drandova, Jemma Moore, and Caroline Ward, Special Edition focuses on a group of women tormented by a haunting image of a boy’s shadow. The J-horror revolution kicked off by filmmakers like Takashi Shimizu is the focal point here. The terrifying, ghostly imagery of J-horror is put to great effect in Special Edition. Shepherd uses that atmosphere to carve out the most scares of any of the four segments in Scare Package II.
Lastly, the fourth and final entry, We’re So Dead, is directed by Rachel Wiggins and written by Scare Package creators Aaron Koontz and Cameron Burns. Inspired by Stand By Me, a group of kids uncover a dead body. Without the advice of River Phoenix and Wil Wheaton, they decide to try and resurrect it from the dead. Interestingly, We’re So Dead is an example of the Scare Package formula essentially eating its own tail. The first Scare Package was a meta-commentary on ’80s horror. Now, with We’re So Dead, Scare Package II is commenting on the wave of nostalgia that’s hit pop culture in recent years. It’s enough to make your head spin.
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The finale assumes you’ve seen the first Scare Package, so beware. In fact, it may be a fun experiment to watch the end of the first Scare Package and go right into the ending of Rad Chad’s Revenge. The filmmakers are clearly having a blast upending the anthology formula. So, why can’t we?
Be sure and stay for the fantastic end sequence featuring a neon-soaked VHS player. There are even a few gags just after the end credits.
Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge is now playing on Shudder. Be kind. Rewind.
- Scare Package II: Rad Chad’s Revenge
An anthology horror film that makes fun of itself and every genre trope imaginable.>
Test Tags: Aaron B. Koontz Scare Package 2 Shudder
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