DON COSCARELLI'S INCIDENT (ON AND...
Reviewed by: Rees Savidis
John De Santis
What's it about
A late-night car accident leaves a woman (Bree Turner) stranded on said mountain road and battling for her life as she is staked by a deformed mountain man (are there any other kind?) with a penchant for drilling out his victims eyes.
Is it good movie?
I covered my feelings on the whole Masters of Horror phenomenon (?) when I reviewed Stuart Gordonís Dreams in the Witch House entry a week or so ago so I wont saddle you with my gripes a second time around. The prognosis remains the same now as it did then - I am not a fan of the series. While some episodes are certainly better then others (take Gordonís for instance), the series as a whole feels cobbled and disappointingly retread. And hey, speaking of retreadÖ
Don Coscarelliís Incident (On and Off a Mountain Road) is just about as been-there, done-that as the genre should allow. The idea, from a short story by Joe R. Lansdale, has been told - and re-told - so many times (and in much better films) that itís very existence seems moot. I understand that the horror genre is a rather incestuous one, but címon manÖ how many times do we need to see misshapen throwbacks from the Ozarks hunt, trap, flay and display hapless victims? Donít get me wrong kids, Iím a fan of this sort of stuff from way-back, but when the central theme has been gone-over so many times (with films like The Hills Have Eyes, Jeepers Creepers, Wrong Turn and countless others) maybe itís time to move the hell on and rethink things. Of course I would never accuse the Masters of Horror series of being overly (or even remotely) original, but this is just plain ridiculous Ė how many times can we go back to the well?
For me, the most saddening aspect of Incident (aside from its slapdash script) would have to be the wasted talents of both Don Coscarelli and Joe R. Lansdale. Being a fan of both of these menís individual works Ė as well as their first collaborative effort Bubba-Ho-Tep - I had high-hopes that Incident (On and Off a Mountain Road) would buck the trend and rise above the dreck that the other ďmastersĒ were passing off, but alasÖno dice. Not even the goofy and against-type-turn from Coscarelliís go-to creepy old man Angus (The Tall Man) Scrimm could help to elevate this clunker out of the crapper.
Video / Audio
VIDEO: A very nice 1.77:1 transfer.
AUDIO: Mutated-knife-wielding-by-products of incest always sound good in Dolby Digital 5.1.
Even though the series sucks-ass, the DVDís Anchor Bay is providing for each separate installment still manage to impress. Hereís the list:
Predators and Prey: These little career retrospectives on the directors behind each installment of the series are fast becoming my favorite part of the Masters of Horror DVDís. Theyíre well put together, and rich with information we genre fans may otherwise not be privy to.
Working with a Master Ė Don Coscarelli: Angus Scrimm, Reggie Bannister, Marc Singer (no shit), Bree Turner and Joe R. Lansdale reminisce about working with all-around awesome dude and (except in this case) gifted filmmaker Don Coscarelli.
On Set Ė An interview with John De Santis: The actor behind the madman waxes on about what itís like playing a moon-faced psycho.
On Set Ė An interview with Ethan Embry: Actor Embry discusses his part in bringing this installment of Masters of Horror to life; he didnít do much - my sentiments, not his
Behind the scenes Ė The making of Incident (On and Off a Mountain Road): Exact in nature to the rest of the making of segments in the Masters of Horror series, we get a handful of minutes from the set cut to some sort of techno temp track.
Audio Commentary with Ė Don Coscarelli and Stephen Romano: Screenwriter (Romano) and Director (Coscarelli) yammer on about the nature of the beast and their efforts to inject this tried-and-true tale of backwoods mayhem with some semblance of originality. For all intents and purposes gentlemen, you failed.
Audio Commentary with Ė Don Coscarelli and Joe R. Lansdale: While Coscarelli has nothing new to say on the subject, itís nice to hear master scribe Lansdale discuss his work, ideals and what he feels makes for a successful horror film.
The rest of the disc is rounded out by a pound-and-a-half of trailers for the likes of Chocolate, Cigarette Burns, Dreams in the Witch House, Homecoming, Deer Woman, Jenifer, Dance of the Dead and of course, Incident (On and Off a Mountain Road) as well as well as the triple threat of Room 6, Demon Hunter and The Tooth Fairy. And, so as not to outdo themselves, Anchor Bay has also included a bio for Director Don Coscarelli as well as DVD-ROM features that include the original screenplay for Incident and well as a few Masters of Horror themed screensavers so every one at the office can know how much of a horror geek you are.
It seems to me that mediocrity is fast winning the battle when it comes to Masters of Horror with Incident (On and Off a Mountain Road) being just another example of horror films working against horror films by propagating redundancy.