In its debut season, Scott W. Perry’s 6 episode horror web series “In Fear Of” chronicles a variety of phobias, many of which I never even knew existed until now. Fear of being alone, fear of feet, fear of the moon, fear of death, fear of being touched and the strongest entry, fear of the dark. I found the narrative driven episodes, the first and last in particular, to be more effective than the more abstract and nearly silent efforts.
“Monophobia: Fear of Being Alone” opens with beloved scream queen Debbie Rochon as a woman who feels a strong connection with her date during dinner. Her feelings aren’t reciprocated and she begins to unravel, leading to death, necrophilia and of course, video games.
There’s a nice current of black comedy in this episode that unfortunately is lacking in the rest of the season. If all the episodes had kept the same crazy tongue-in-cheek humor like Monophobia, it would’ve been a solid set of stories.
“Podophobia: Fear of Feet” is a surreal black and white exploration of one woman’s fear of feet, stemming from a childhood trauma. As her husband attempts to seduce her, she retreats into confusing flashbacks and begins freaking out. Despite some fairly creepy images of the heroine having feet smothering her face, I’m not exactly sold on this one.
“Selenophobia: Fear of the Moon” continues this trend towards abstraction, although the segment has a potentially brilliant story about Lycanthropy, silver bullets and the troubled relationship between a husband and wife on the night of a full moon. I love the concept but not the muddled execution.
“Thanatophobia: Fear of Death” or the fear of death, stars Debbie Rochon’s “Won Ton Baby” co-star Suzi Lorraine as a party girl actress giving a radio interview while we see the consequences of her wild lifestyle play out in a cemetery. A solid entry addressing a fear that seems too rational to be considered a phobia.
In a segment similar to “Podophobia,” we have “Apehephobia: Fear Of Being Touched” up next.
The fear of being touched is explored via a blonde woman being followed by dozens of grasping hands. Black and white and dream like, it treads ground already covered by the second episode. Silent screaming, looming shadows, claustrophobic huddles of creeping limbs.
Finally, we have “Achluphobia: Fear of the Dark.” I have often found in this genre that the greatest rewards can be reaped from the simplest concepts. A babysitter terrorized by a man in a mask, a group of campers butchered by backwoods monstrosities. In this closing episode, a woman is chatting away on the phone in her candle lit apartment after the storm outside knocks out the power. An unseen presence extinguishes the wicks one by one until our heroine comes face to face with the intruder. A primal fear of being trapped in the unknown world of darkness takes me back to when I used to flip off my light switch and run to the magic protection of my bed’s covers, leaping the last few feet or so to avoid being dragged under the bed by monsters I was sure dwelled in the blackness.
“In Fear Of” works when it drops artistic pretenses and tells a simple scary story well. Anthology series like this often rely on ironic, darkly humorous endings a la “Tales From The Crypt,” and a sense of humor would do wonders here.
You can watch the first season free on Youtube at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/user/InFearOfWebSeries/videos