While not perfect throughout, the three vital elements of drive-in cinema are present in this one

Jordan (Kristen Adams) looks for her pal Lexie, who has gone missing at the end of their Terror Tour, which serves as the interstitial story for Hi-Death. (Photos courtesy Nightfall Pictures)

Filmmakers take a big ol risk when they decide to do an anthology film.

Some of em end up being classics, spawn sequels and TV shows (hola, Creepshow and our pals over at Shudder).

Some of em, even though they were pretty damn good, get forgotten for whatever reason (I can’t be the only one who remembers Nightmares, the one with Lance Henriksen and Emilio Estevez which was long out of print and going for a bundle on eBay at one point).

Some of em are solid, but just slip a little bit below revered status (John Carpenter’s Body Bags was pretty fun, but obviously it’s going to be ranked in the middle of the pack of his body of work because this is the guy who put out The Thing, They Live, Prince of Darkness).

There’s been an anthology resurgence the past few years in indie horror with the VHS flicks and the ABCs of Death as two of the biggies – and Art the Clown, that killer clown of Terrifier fame, got his start as the connective tissue in an anthology as well.

But, as I said, when you get a bunch of creative folks together to make a movie, especially when it’s an anthology, you’re taking the risk that, well, one part isn’t as good as the others.

And that brings us to Hi-Death, the second anthology film put out by Nightfall Pictures, and it has every necessary element that we Drive-In Mutants are in the game for. It’s a follow-up to Hi-8, Horror Independent Eight, which I got from Joe Bob, but I haven’t reviewed yet because I have about 68 flicks to go through.

Anyway, Hi-Death has stuff in it that I didn’t know I had never seen before until I saw it in this flick. If Joe Bob gets to showing this on The Last Drive-In, we’re talking about six pages of totals.

The three Bs are represented throughout and there’s enough borrowing from solid classic elements (Demoni, Hannibal, The Ring) that we know the filmmakers are with us. Yes, we have blood. We have breasts, and we have beasts.

There are five stories in all plus the connecting scenario which is about these two women who are visiting Los Angeles for the first time and get handed a flier for something called a Terror Tour.

We don’t have Michele Soavi in a mask available to hand out tickets, but they get this paper, zap the QR code on it and away we go into the first of five segments that the two woman (one of them says she’s a horror junkie) watch.

Summarizing them: A woman who’s looking for a drug score barfs, watches cartoons and then is menaced by supernatural forces in a cursed hotel room. A collector of “murderabilia” steals from a drug dealer. A video store clerk encounters a mysterious flick while closing up. An actress snaps at an audition after running out of meds, and an artist is enslaved by a demonic muse to do her evil bidding.

Hey, it’s the Switchblade Bandit (Marty Lustig) from the second story segment “Dealers of Death.” Anyone else think looks like he ought to be banging a pair of coconuts together?

In the segments we get: vomit; demon leeches; a switchblade-wielding robber who dresses up like Patsy, King Arthur’s squire in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (see above), and listens to folks aardvark; a nice horror montage and a video demon that aardvarks a guy in half; a revenge tale that anyone who has ever had to audition for anything will appreciate; and an artist who broke bad worse than Walter White. All these had enough in em to keep this humble mutant reviewer entertained.

But that’s not to say this anthology did not have weak points. The second segment, “Dealers of Death,” was by far the weakest of the bunch, starting out with promise but then rambling on for way too long in the middle before leading up to a Hannibal-style payout at the conclusion. Also, the payoff for “Terror Tour” (the connective story) ended up being a bit mundane when compared with what had come before it. Some choices made in the sound design with vocal effects during key points toward the ends of the first and second segments also made it tough to make out what was going on. But since the movie runs only an hour, 40 minutes, wait your way through the flaws because there’s better stuff ahead. Speaking of…

Death (Craig Kelly) laments that he’s stuck in a crummy motel room with four leech-mouthed demons that don’t even know how to put their masks on right.
Auditioner Juliana (Fabiana Formica) expresses her mild dismay to Caitlyn (Julia Vally) after finding out that her tryout was for nought in the segment “Cold Read.”

Hi-Death has something for every mutant. Most definitely worth checking out, even with some of its flaws.

Three and a half stars, but really close to four, depending on how critical a mutant you are.

Hi-Death is available on DVD through many fine retailers and is streaming on Amazon Prime and elsewhere. Its official Facebook page is www.facebook.com/hideathmovie