MASTERS OF HORROR: SEASON ONE BOX...
Reviewed by: Donny Broussard
What's it about
Mick Garris brings together the greatest directors that horror has ever known to create hour long installments and breath new life into the horror genre.
Is it good movie?
Horror anthologies have always been a source of joy for this horror fan, titles like; “The Twilight Zone,” “Creep Show,” “Tales from The Crypt,” “Amazing Stories,” “Tales from the Dark Side,” and “Night Gallery” hold a special place in my heart. And while “Masters of Horror” doesn’t fit exactly into the same mold as the titles listed above the MOH box set gave me that same feeling of excitement and wonder that comes with watching short horror stories.
MOH creator and Stephen King aficionado Mick Garris brought together the most amazing group of horror legends that each bring their unique vision of terror to each installment, creating one of the most visceral horror experiences ever captured on film.
The first episode in this volume is horror superman, John Carpenter’s “Cigarette Burns” and it is by far one of my favorites of the series. It follows Kirby (Norman Reedus) an art house theater owner who tracks down rare film prints to make extra cash. When Kirby is approached by eccentric millionaire Bellinger (Udo Kier) to dig up a print of "Le Fin Absolue du Monde,” a film that causes any viewer to react violently while watching. Kirby, who needs the money because he is trying to pay back some substantial debts takes the gig and begins hunting for the print. As he searches for the print it becomes apparent that people are willing to die for a chance to view this legendary film. Also the closer he gets to the print the the more complicated his life becomes. He suffers from visions and bloodshed follows him wherever he goes.
Not only is it a unique idea to make the killer a film, but Carpenter creates an atmosphere reminiscent of his early works. The acting is of the highest quality and the cinematography is beautiful and engaging, creating a world that is not so different from our own, yet one that is uniquely chilling. “Cigarette Burns” was the first MOH film that I watched and it is also my favorite installment in this volume, John Carpenter shows that he still has what it takes to bring true horror back to the screen.
Next up is the Stuart Gordon directed “Dreams in the Witch-House,” a surrealistic and spooky vision of the H.P. Lovecraft story. It centers on graduate student Walter Gilman (Ezra Godden) who rents a room in a ratty old house so that he can concentrate on his studies. Not long after he arrives at his new home Walter starts dreaming about a rat with a human face. These dreams become more and more real and soon Walter realizes that he is caught in a dimension of evil where a witch and her servant (the rat with a human face) pray on the blood of children and live within the walls of the house.
This wasn’t my favorite of the series but still not terrible. It was spooky and kinda reminded me of an R rated version of “Tales from the Dark Side” but with a more cinematic touch. Also, actress Chelah Horsdal has a smoking body and takes her clothes off for a pretty hot scene. Overall a pretty cool episode just not my favorite.
MOH creator Mick Garris’ episode, the dark and sensual “Chocolate” was a welcome departure from the other entries in the series. It follows Jamie (Henry Thomas) a loving father who is struggling with a divorce. Jamie leads a pretty boring life until he starts living out moments of someone else’s life. Somehow, Jamie starts blacking out and living moments of a woman named Catherine's life (Katharine Horsman) through her visions, feelings, and senses. He can taste what she tastes, see what she sees, and feel what she feels. One interesting scene has him living through her while she is getting laid. Jamie becomes obsessed with Catherine and even after seeing her kill her boyfriend searches her out to profess his love. This is a sexy episode with a good bit of nudity (Katharine Horsman looks great without her clothes on) and an ample amount of the red stuff as well.
I am a fan of Garris’ work and this one delivered the goods for me. I recommend this installment to anyone that enjoys his previous work.
Director Tobe Hooper’s installment, “Dance of the Dead” showed a return to form after a string of lukewarm features. Jak (Jonathan Tucker) is a bad-ass living in a post-apocalyptic wold, doing whatever he has to in-order to survive. After meeting Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) who along with her mother runs a small restaurant, Jak becomes smitten and invites her to join him for a night of partying at the Doom Room. The Doom Room is a club that is run by the creepy M.C. played brilliantly by Robert Englund, who buys blood from Jak and his partner Boxx (Ryan McDonald). Not long after arriving at the Doom Room Peggy learns the truth about her sisters death and has to make a decision that could tear what’s left of her family apart, and Jak’s way of life is threatened because of this revelation.
I was really happy to see Tobe Hooper step it up with this flick. I know the man has skill but it had been a while since he brought the goods to the table like he did with this film.
Don Coscarelli is one of my favorite directors and his installment “Incident On and Off A Mountain Road” is, in my opinion one of the best installments in the series. Ellen (Bree Turner) is forced to fight for her life against a backwoods killer named Moonface after her car breaks down on a mountain road. Only what Moonface doesn’t know is the fact that Ellen’s survival nut husband Bruce (Ethan Embry) has taught her what it takes to survive under even the worst conditions.
Coscarelli is an amazing director and this movie based on the short story by Joe Lansdale is stellar. Moonface is a great bad guy and I would love to see more of him. He has what it takes to join the ranks of other horror icons like Freddy and Jason. This was a very traditional horror story that was happy to bask in the glow of its slasher film roots.
Last but not least was “Haeckel’s Tale,” which was directed by John McNaughton who helmed the awesome “Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer” and adapted by Mick Garris from a short story by Clive Barker. It opens with a young man distraught over the death of his wife who goes to see an old woman he thinks has the power to raise the dead. The old woman tells the young man that if he listens to her story the Haeckel’s Tale, then she would surly raise his dead wife from her grave. The man from the story, Ernst Haeckel (Derek Cecil) a medical student trying to use science to bring the dead back to life takes a trip to see is dying father and meets a man that invites him to stay at his home so that he doesn’t have to sleep in the elements. The man’s wife Elise (Leela Savasta) who is smoking hot by the way, is very disconnected and continuously looking out the window. Haeckel being the curious soul that he is follows the woman into the graveyard where she and Montesquino (Jon Polito) a man that can raise the dead have brought her dead lover back to life and being the necrophiliac that she is, she is riding him like a jockey on the winning stallion. And man does she look good in her birthday suit, even having sex with a zombie this chick is stupid hot.
This wasn’t the best installment in the series, but it was a really well done and creepy little flick.
Masters of Horror is a much needed return to the kind of storytelling that has been missing in the genre for a while now. I think that the fact that the directors are given free reign to create without worrying about opening weekend has allowed them to bring us the kind of horror stories that have been missing since the 80’s. Props to Mick Garris for creating such a brilliant series that is a breath of fresh air for horror fans.
Video / Audio
Video:The video was beautiful and he colors popped off the screen.
Audio:The sound was stellar.
There is an audio commentary with Stuart Gordon, John Carpenter, Don Coscarelli, Mick Garris and more that offers some pretty good insight into the series.
There is a featurettes about working with master directors that are pretty cool and offer a look behind the scenes of this kick ass series.
There are lots of interviews with directors and cast members as well as other behind the scenes footage.
Trailers, Galleries, Director Bios, Screenplays, Screen Savers, and much more.
This is one of the most loaded packages I’ve seen in a while and most of the content is fresh and has plenty to off fans of the series without boring them.
If you're a horror fan and haven’t heard of this series then run to the video store and pick this one up ASAP, and if you have heard of this series then run to the video store and pick this one up ASAP!