ESCAPES (1986) Reviews and overview



‘Join Vincent Price on a suspense-filled journey to the supernatural!’

Escapes is a 1986 American fantasy horror feature film made for TV. It was written, produced and directed by David Steensland. The ‘film’ is actually an edited together anthology of six supernatural video shorts, each originally produced separately and shown on HBO and the Sci-Fi Channel: “Something’s Fishy,” “Coffee Break,” “Who’s There,” “Jonah’s Dream,” and “Think Twice.”

Wraparound footage of Vincent Price, who allegedly received $10,000 for a few minutes of work, was later added to link the individual tales together to provide an overall running time of 69 minutes. A “director’s cut’ with sixteen extra minutes was also released on VHS.


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On May 30, 2017, Intervision Picture Corp. released the film on DVD double-billed with Dark Harvest

  • Patti Negri remembers Dark Harvest
  • Dan Weiss remembers Dark Harvest Via Video Skype
  • Distributor Tom Naygrow on David Steensland, Writer/Director of Escapes


Escapes is a portmanteau film topped and tailed by Vincent Price (who naturally gets top billing, even though he’s only in the film for a few minutes), this crams 1986 movie six stories – originally made as cable TV fillers – into 87 minutes, so there is little time for anything to become dull. These stories are Twilight Zone / Stephen King-inspired morality tales, some of which work better than others – the ideas could do with fleshing out more, to be honest, and some just don’t work. But it’s better than contemporary TV shows such as Monsters, which I know isn’t saying much, but still…

This is an unexpectedly wholesome fantasy – only one story features a death scene and the scares are strictly PG-rated – but it’s none the worse for that, and director David Steensland probably should’ve gone on to bigger things.

David Flint, MOVIES and MANIA


“Young Matthew (Todd Fulton) receives a mysterious videotape in the mail titled, you guessed it, Escapes. Hey, it stars Vincent Price, he figures, so how bad can it possibly be? As it turns out, pretty damn bad.” The Bloody Pit of Horror

“I can’t fault Vincent Price for anything, as he’s on screen for a grand total of maybe four minutes, but if he hadn’t been it at all, I would definitely not have suffered through till the end. There is no violence or gore, no outright scares, weak scripts, a pitiful budget, etc.” Satanic Pandemonium

“Overall, this anthology is tamer than the entire series of Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark and possesses even less creative storytelling. If you pass this one over, you’re not missing much, but if you’re an anthology buff, you may want to suffer through it.” Hollie Horror, Letterboxd

“Five stories in the tradition of The Twilight Zone but not as satisfying.” John Stanley, Creature Features

“The end concept is copied from Dead of Night … Price wasn’t choosing his projects with much care at this point.” Michael J. Weldon, The Psychotronic Video Guide


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