Reviewed by: Ryan Doom
Meat Loaf Aday
What's it about
Fur traders discover a priceless batch of raccoon skins only to find that these animal hides are out to skin them.
Is it good movie?
Like many of the Masters of Horror episodes, Pelts has an ulterior motive: a social issue addressed through absolutely disgusting yet completely entertaining horror and gore. Nearly all the directors of the series thus far have enjoyed hammering a social point the way that most narratives should inherently do, and this series have allowed some of the greats in horror to do just that. Whether it’s John Carpenter addressing abortion or Brad Anderson attacking obsession with media noise, Pelts gives Italian master Dario Argento (Suspiria) a shot at the fur trading industry. Of course, a scathing, highly intellectual attack this is not, but it does bring cruelty to the forefront by showing the “horrors” of the underground upstart traders hoping for that special batch. It is politics hidden in B-class horror and Argento knows how deliver. For not only is there the sleazy fur merchant (played by a decidedly nasty Meat Loaf), but Argento also throws in hot stripper action, bloody good-old-fashion gore and a pair of backwoods trappers to keep our attention. And it works. For even with the possible social inhibitions, Pelts emerges as a tale of obsession and the dangers of lust for forbidden things. Nevertheless, when the flick gets down to it this is an old school splatter fest with one of most disturbing endings I’ve seen since Hannibal Lector ripped off that sap’s face in Silence of the Lambs. Argento holds nothing back. He delivers brutal murder and mayhem that will wet the sickest of appetites.
Out of all the objects a person could obsess over – cars, women, jewelry, fame – the characters in Pelts yearn for pelt, animal fur (in this case raccoon) that are beyond special and are according to Meat Loaf, “Unbelievable,” as the furs glow in an hypnotic fashion. In fact, these are much more; found and slaughtered on sacred land, these raccoons exact revenge on anyone who comes into contact with the fur and die in the same manner that the person mutilated the skin. This makes for some great death scenes, such as the poor Chinese immigrant whose job it was to sow the skins. For revenge, the woman very convincingly sows her own eyes and mouth shut. That’s amateur time though in comparison to the deaths of the trappers (one played by John Saxon in a disappointingly small role) which really hit a homerun with a baseball bat. Sorry, bad pun. Meat Loaf, while creepy, seems much better suited for smaller characters than leads. He works here, but overall I don’t believe he has the acting chops to carry to a true feature (each MOH runs 60 minutes). With that said, he remains a ball to watch and as he appeared to truly enjoy the role. He plays an excellent psycho jerk, but there’s no depth. Sure, perhaps I’m looking for something more than Mr. Loaf was given to work with. Or maybe I’m the jerk. Despite my trivial bitching, Pelts is another great entry into Masters of Horror. For once the credits roll, sales on slaughtered haunted raccoon furs will surely drop.
Video / Audio
Video: Widescreen Presentation (1.77:1)
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround.
All Sewn Up: Mastering the Effects Sequence: Good, but disappointing as it only showcases one death scene out of all the good ones in it. Cool to see digital horror at work.
Fleshing it Out: The Making of Pelts: Great behind-the-scenes that really shows how much people enjoy making this series.
Audio Commentary with writer Matt Venne: Good one that sounds as if Venne is proud of the end result. He should be.
Storyboard Gallery: Standard stuff.
Still Gallery: Standard stuff.
Dario Argento Bio: Standard stuff.
Screenplay (DVD-ROM): Standard stuff.
Another great entry into Masters of Horror with enough gore, sick characters and bizarre horror to keep any fan happy.