In the spirit of "Creepshow" and other "Tales From the Crypt"-ic anthologies of fright, "Trapped Ashes" is a multisegment lark featuring the work of five different directors, all (alas) stuck with the same screenwriter. Joe Dante handles the wraparound segments with some panache. On a nearly deserted Hollywood studio back lot, a wizened tour guide (Henry Gibson) traps himself and a handful of tourists inside a haunted house. (One good early line: "If this is a joke, an interactive whatever...")
With its gore-comix sensibility and self-conscious flashes of nudity, "Trapped Ashes" clunks along, and (to be completely petty) never really overcomes its clunky title. I enjoyed bits of it, but the whole affair feels like the spotty handiwork of veteran horror geeks geeking-out as best they can, with the material they have. Dante and Hellman in particular deserve far better.
Running time: 1:45, 8:15 p.m. Fri.; 2:15, 6:15 p.m. Sat.; 5 p.m. Sun.; 8 p.m. Mon.; 6 p.m. Tue.; 8:15 p.m. Thu. at Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.; 312-846-2600 or siskelfilmcenter.org. No MPAA rating (parents cautioned for violence, nudity, sex and language).