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All Of The V/H/S Segments Ranked Worst To Best

There aren't many horror franchises like the "V/H/S" series. While there exist many found footage movies and many anthology films, this series sees fit to combine them. The "V/H/S" series is originally the brainchild of producer Brad Miska and the folks at Bloody Disgusting. What was described as "kind of like a trust fall, if you will, of moviemaking" went on to become a hit. Such a hit that since its 2012 release, the series has spawned three sequels, a spin-off and a SnapChat series.

The main series consists of "V/H/S," "V/H/S/2," "V/H/S: Viral," and most recently, "V/H/S/94." In total the series has presented sixteen short films, all directed by different horror directors of varying experience. With a catalog that dense there is a lot of content to sift through, and much to discuss. From zombies to cultists to alien invaders to rampant body horror, the series has just about done it all. Still it begs the question, which shorts were the best and which ones should have been left on the cutting room floor? Let's figure that out as we rank every individual "V/H/S" segment from worst to best.

15. Dante the Great -- V/H/S: Viral

"V/H/S: Viral" is widely regarded as the weakest entry of the series, and unfortunately that isn't without good reason. The third installment of the series is home to the most underwhelming short of the series, "Dante the Great." This short takes a radical departure from the rest of the series' shorts by presenting itself first as a faux documentary. We meet John McMullen, a down on his luck illusionist who has struck gold in the form of Houdini's cloak. Going under the name Dante the Great, he becomes an almost immediate success, entertaining thousands. Sadly this cloak requires payment in the form of sacrifices, which John provides through his never-ending parade of assistants. One becomes wise to his sinister games and both battle to the death over the bloodthirsty article of clothing.

Based on that description we are betting you can figure out the problem — nothing about this is scary. The main threat of the short is a sentient cloak, which doesn't exactly strike fear in the hearts of men. Additionally, the faux documentary style makes the short more mundane than scary, completely diminishing any form of dread or tension.

14. Second Honeymoon -- V/H/S

It's always a bit deflating to see a legitimately great director deliver something that isn't up to their usual standard. "Second Honeymoon," directed by Ti West, is the second short presented in the first "V/H/S." We are introduced to a married couple on a romantic trip dealing with what appears to be an unwanted stalker. Things get a bit more sinister when this stalker invades their hotel room in the dead of night, not only filming them in their sleep, but rifling through their things and performing strange juvenile pranks.

Sadly, the main word we can use to describe this particular short would be "boring." Aside from a very solid throat stabbing effect at the short's conclusion, there really isn't much to comment on. It's a shame because Ti West is the man behind "The Innkeepers" and "The House of the Devil." Much like those movies, this short opts for a long slow burn leading to a horrific reveal. Here however, the wait is remarkably more tedious and the ultimate payoff is significantly less satisfying. This is most definitely a romantic getaway that you'd be better off skipping entirely.

13. The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger -- V/H/S

This was an early entry in the sub-genre of Skype horror, predating the first "Unfriended" by exactly three years. That is, however, the only remarkable thing about "The Sick Thing That Happened to Emily When She Was Younger." We meet Emily, a college student who is maintaining a long distance relationship with her boyfriend James. These calls become increasingly stranger due to two otherworldly entities who have entered her home. Additionally, throughout the short we are told that she has had a strange past, including a bizarre childhood accident. As the late night visits become more severe, it's soon revealed Emily might be a part of something much bigger. But the biggest question posed by the short is wondering how exactly a Skype call got on a VHS tape.

Trying to figure that out is probably way more interesting than anything going on in this piece. Aside from the Skype format, there is nothing to write home about in terms of its execution. Both lead performers are very underwhelming and the design of the otherworldly visitors is remarkably bush league. The payoff is mildly intriguing but not elaborate enough for it to really mean anything of substance.

12. Parallel Monsters -- V/H/S: Viral

This is another vignette courtesy of "V/H/S: Viral" that sadly misses the mark in terms of quality. "Parallel Monsters" concerns an inventor named Alfonso who, in his own garage, has made quite the scientific breakthrough. Via a makeshift portal Alfonso is able to open a door to a parallel universe where he meets his doppelgänger. The two mutually agree to cross through to each other's worlds for 15 minutes to document the differences. However shortly after arrival, the main Alfonso quickly learns the parallel world he has entered is a complete nightmare. The denizens of this warped universe sport a major difference to the normal world — that being demonic genitals.

Yes, you read that correctly and no, we didn't just make that up for laughs. Any tension or disturbing intrigue that the short had built up before that reveal is quickly washed away. Majorly disappointing as it is, "Parallel Monsters" has a lot of quality elements, most notably its other visuals. Sans the demonic genitals, the denizens of the parallel world sport legitimately creepy glowing eyes and mouths. This makes for some genuinely disturbing imagery, and deserves to be in a more serious horror film.

11. Tuesday the 17th -- V/H/S

The first "V/H/S" takes a lot of common horror tropes and attempts to mold them into something more subversive. In the case of "Tuesday the 17th," its main influence, given its title, is the "Friday the 13th" franchise. It's here that we meet the classic horror cliché of a group of hapless 20-year-olds alone in the woods. While heading to their campsite their camera is hit with brief interruptions of what appear to be past gruesome murders. This is confirmed when the girl who organized the trip, Wendy, informs the group of the crimes that occurred there. She plays this off as a joke, but her friends very quickly learn that it might very well be true.

Where "Tuesday the 17th" shines is in the presentation of its killer, as you never truly get to see them. Whenever present on screen, the killer is buried under a barrage of digital glitches and camera noise. The killer is such an effective presence that it distracts you from the average acting and the unfortunately clunky pacing. Given its short length, certain revelations are thrown at the audience at warp speed, leaving little time for genuine intrigue. This is one that definitely would have benefitted from five more minutes of runtime to flesh things out more.

10. A Ride in the Park -- V/H/S/2

One of the "V/H/S" franchise's only significant uses of the beloved horror staple known as zombies, this found footage depiction of the living dead comes courtesy of Eduardo Sánchez and Gregg Hale, the duo behind the original "Blair Witch Project." A hapless cyclist takes a ride through the park with a GoPro strapped to his helmet. His ride eventually leads him to a small horde of zombies who attack and subsequently turn him into one. He joins the ever-growing zombie horde and, with the GoPro still on his helmet, helps to attack a birthday party. What ensues is several minutes of gruesome zombie attacks and barbeque tools being used as weapons.

"A Ride in the Park" hits all the beats of a modern zombie story, but doesn't do much in the way of innovation. Aside from the gimmick of filming via a cyclist's GoPro, there isn't much to set this short apart. The zombies resemble every other zombie you've seen in the likes of "The Walking Dead" and "Zombieland." However, there is some definite enjoyment to be had in the anarchy of the undead birthday party massacre. Not one of the strongest "V/H/S" outings, but a fun little short about a daytime bike ride gone horribly wrong.

9. Phase I Clinical Trials - V/H/S/2

Adam Wingard returns for a second jaunt in the "V/H/S" universe and this time he's pulling double duty. Not only does Wingard serve as director, he steps in front of the camera as well. Following a severe car accident, Herman (Wingard) is fitted with an experimental eyeball camera that allows him to see. Upon his arrival home all seems fine, until slight distortions in his sight begin to appear. Not only that, but odd late night occurrences around his house culminate in him coming face-to-face with actual ghosts!

If "Phase I Clinical Trials" has anything in common with another piece of horror media, it would be "The Eye." Directed by the Pang Brothers, the film showcases the story of a woman, also post-optical surgery, dealing with supernatural threats. "Phase I" attempts to tell a similar story in a significant fraction of the time, resulting in a short that — while definitely effective in some areas — stops before it even really gets started. The short is legitimately unnerving at times, especially with Herman running in fear from the various spectres haunting him. But the breakneck pacing and subpar ghost makeup keep this one from truly hitting the mark in terms of quality.

8. Bonestorm -- V/H/S: Viral

Despite the well-founded criticisms many have for "V/H/S: Viral," it does contain one legitimately entertaining segment. A group of skaters, looking to push the envelope in their viral videos, travel down to Tijuana, Mexico. Their excursion lands them in the crosshairs of a skeleton-based cult who they must now battle to survive. Unfortunately it appears these cultists aren't human and aren't so easy to put down. 

Based on that premise "Bonestorm" might not sound like much, but upon closer inspection it's an enjoyable watch. The strongest aspect of "Bonestorm" would be its pacing: it accomplishes its goal without overstaying its welcome, that goal being skater punks fighting skeleton cultists as complete bedlam breaks out around them. It feels like a music video crossed with an underground skater video you'd see online, which is an interesting esthetic. 

Far from the most thought-provoking vignette, "Bonestorm" definitely boasts enough meat-headed fun for at least one viewing.

7. Terror -- V/H/S 94

What "Terror" lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in its presentation and sense of humor. The First Patriots Movement Militia intends to blow up a government building via the use of a special weapon. This weapon involves the consistent daily killing of a seemingly human hostage and the harvesting of their blood. The gruesome daily ritual is intercut with the militia running drills, procuring firearms and acting like beer-swilling buffoons. En route to their intended attack, however, they discover just how strong their intended weapon is — the hard way.

The militia, through their bumbling antics, resemble a retro equivalent to the Proud Boys of the modern era. "Terror" lampoons everything, from their religious fanaticism to their misplaced sense of patriotic heroism. Some of the best "V/H/S" shorts are often the ones that feel the most authentic, and this is no exception. This truly feels like the lost VHS tape of some random drunk idiots, which only adds to its utter absurdity. Add to that an inventive spin on a classic movie monster, plus impressive gore effects, and you've got a winner.

6. Slumber Party Alien Abduction -- V/H/S/2

From ​​Jason Eisener, director of "Hobo with a Shotgun," comes the story of a slumber party gone horribly wrong. This is a short that feels like it was filmed by some creative tweens in their backyards, although truthfully that isn't a bad thing.

"Slumber Party Alien Abduction" serves to close out "V/H/S/2" and it's a crazy one to conclude on. As the title implies, a group of kids are left alone for the night by their parents, resulting in all the usual shenanigans. They quickly partake in all the old sleepover pastimes, including pranks on one of their sisters and her boyfriend. However, things quickly go bump in the night and soon enough the group is menaced by sinister aliens.

What helps this short stand out is its camera, which is mounted on top of an adorably small dog. This helps to make the aliens seem much bigger and more foreboding as a threat. The design of the aliens is simplistic yet legitimately haunting, thanks to the way they are shot and presented. Packed to the brim with juvenile humor and a terrifying extraterrestrial threat, this one stands out as a definite gem.

5. Storm Drain -- V/H/S/94

The stylistic choices utilized by "Storm Drain" help it stand out, and not just within "V/H/S/94." Presented to the audience at first as a faux 1994 news broadcast, the segment introduces us to the Rat Man. The news story details an urban legend about some form of half-rat, half-man creature dwelling in the sewers. We follow a reporter and her cameraman who, while on assignment, decide to venture into the sewers for themselves. However it becomes clear all too quickly that the legend of the Rat Man, or Raatma, may not be a hoax.

"Storm Drain" is very reminiscent of the "WNUF Halloween Special," a horror film made to resemble an old news broadcast. The presentation, as well as the acting, in this one is excellent as it mixes both comedy and horror expertly. Set mostly in the confines of a dark sewer system, "Storm Drain" boasts one of series' most haunting environments. Additionally, the final moments contain perhaps one of cinema's best on-screen face-meltings since "Raiders of the Lost Ark."

4. The Subject -- V/H/S/94

The second "V/H/S" short directed by Indonesian horror auteur Timo Tjahjanto, following "Safe Haven," definitely lives up to its predecessor's onscreen carnage. We are introduced to Dr. James Suhendra, a disturbed and disgraced scientist in the midst of a horrific series of failed attempts at making a human-machine hybrid. He finds success, however, in his 98th and 99th subjects, the latter of which is incapable of normal verbal communication. Things take a turn when a SWAT team storms Suhendra's compound and quickly learns the extent of his disturbing work.

To say this short is chaotic would be an understatement, but it hits the ground running and doesn't stop. The violence is off the charts and will more than satisfy any hardcore gore fanatics watching it. "The Subject" feels like an obscure, hyper-violent 1990s anime you might find hidden in an underground video store. From its absurd level of violence to its downright heartbreaking story, it accomplishes a lot in a very short time. Despite having barely any dialogue, or barely seeing her horrific new form, Subject 99 is very easy to sympathize with. By the end you are fully invested — which, for a film of such a short length, is a definite triumph.

3. The Empty Wake -- V/H/S/94

If you've ever worked a night shift at your job completely alone, then this short will resonate for you with its staggeringly simple premise, undeniably effective execution, and well-maintained suspense. Hailey is entrusted by her employer to oversee a person's wake late into the night as a storm rages outside. Hours go by with only one, rather peculiar, attendee coming by to pay their respects. Things quickly turn sinister as the lights begin to flicker and noises start emanating from the deceased's coffin. The circumstances around the deceased's passing are revealed just as the power goes out and the coffin is left abandoned.

Where "The Empty Wake" excels the most is through its setup, its pacing and its eventual payoff. Aside from the infrequent ambient music played by the funeral home, the only background sound is the storm outside. The two-camera setup, used for the recording of the wake, justifies a second camera angle during the short's climax. The final moments might leave viewers slightly mystified, which does hinder the short's impact slightly, but despite that one minor hiccup "The Empty Wake" is perfect to watch on a dark and stormy night.

2. Amateur Night -- V/H/S

The inaugural segment from the very first film definitely set the bar fairly high right out of the gate. A group of guys, one of whom has been outfitted with camera glasses, head out for a wild night. Their lecherous bar crawl leads them to a curious pair of ladies, one of them being especially unique. Equipped with big porcelain doll eyes and a thousand-yard stare, Lily (Hannah Fierman) is a captivating presence. Things get intimate, which quickly sparks a change in Lily that results in her horrific transformation. The short is an all-killer, no-filler story of debauchery and comeuppance, reminiscent of "Tales From The Crypt" in its execution. The reveal of Lily's monstrous form has become synonymous with the series, used often in the first film's promotion.

Hannah Fierman's sensually sinister portrayal of Lily has found its way onto various lists of horror's greatest female villains. Fierman would later reprise the role in a feature-length version of the short known as "Siren." The film elaborates on Lily's backstory and her various abilities.

1. Safe Haven -- V/H/S/2

It's quite arguable that "V/H/S/2" is worth a viewing based solely on the quality of this one vignette. We're introduced to an intrepid film crew who aim to document the inner workings of a cult-like organization. It doesn't take too long after their arrival for things to spiral into a supernatural and anatomy-based horror.

"Safe Haven" stands out as the strongest short throughout all four of the films for many reasons. Timo Tjahjanto's direction is impeccable; not only are the characters fleshed out surprisingly well for its short length, but the short has a thoroughly unsettling build-up. Just as the film crew investigating the cult is taking in all of their strange habits and iconography, so are the viewers. The short keeps up this impressively maintained level of unease for half its runtime, right up until it finally pounces, throwing us rapidly into a world of viscerally shocking body horror. It all builds to an epic final chase, with all the chaos topped off by a fittingly freaky final line. "Safe Haven" is hands down the best "V/H/S" segment and would make an excellent basis for a feature-length horror film.