Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review for Season 1 of Masters of Horror

Hey you horror nuts, I just got done watching all of the aired Masters Of Horror T.V. series on Showtime. Last year Spooky Dan, Mr. Disgusting and I were all chomping at the bit thrilling to see what Mick Garris and friends had up their collective sleeves while we were throwing down booze at the Fango con. Which Director would deliver the gory goods? Which one would serve up a whopping plate of stinky ass? Will there be tits? What will Showtime allow?
Well ya freaks...here's my two cents worth broken down into each episode. If you don't agree with me that's fine, email Spooky Dan and tell him what you think. If you're looking for thesis material, sorry, no intelligence here folks. And I'll probably get my ass roasted on the bulletin boards by "HOBBIT_HORROR_DUDE0021" and "JADED_HORROR_GEEK" but I don't care.

A pretty good episode. Neither great nor assy. The story was written by Joe Lansdale, an amazing writer who writes very graphic horror. The story deals with a hot chick (Bree Embry) being terrorized by a guy named Moonface who likes like a bald albino with metal teeth and vampire makeup from any ol' episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has this fun hobby of drilling peoples eyes out and making them into scarecrows, which equals family fun viewing! The thing I liked about this episode is how the main heroine turns out to be one hulluva badass. It was a blast to see Ethan Embry who played Rusty in Vegas Vacation play a survivalist butt-humper.

DREAMS IN THE WITCH-HOUSE: Directed by Stuart Gordon
H.P. Lovecraft rules all. I've read all of his stuff. I don't care if he was a racist who wrote in really, really long prose. The shit he came up with in the 20's smoked. And any schmuck knows Stuart Gordon did Re-Animator, easily one of the most "holy shit they did not do that!" zombie movies ever. The story revolves around a college student who rents a shithole room in a spook house that glows trippy colors and manifests an evil Witchy Poo and her little human headed rat. Is it a dream? C'mon...you should know better by now. This episode has the Gordon/Lovecraft sensibilities intact. Trippy lighting, naked chicks, blood in the gallons and a fucked up ending. I also liked the rat guy...OK, I know a ton of people who hated it, but it's cheapness reminded me of the good ol' days of Full Moon Productions. And it's tons better then some overly animated C.G.I. creature.

DANCE OF THE DEAD: Directed by Tobe Hooper
Remember how I mentioned the term "assy"? Well, this episode just plain ate it in my not too humble opinion. The story takes place after the nuclear holocaust (funny...it looked like large clumps of ash falling from the sky that make you burn up) where dead girls are loaded up on a drug and "dance" (actually more like jerk spasmodically) on stage at The Doom Room while Robert Englund plays an MC who hams it the fuck up and out of the park. "Why do you hate this one, D?" you ask? Mainly the horrible editing technique where they have double, triple and sometimes quadruple exposures flopping around the screen at the same time coupled with shotgun editing that gives me a total migraine. The other thing that made this almost too much to watch was the fat black haired guy who tried to act like Jack Black only to be a completely annoying asswipe. I wanted to kill this bastard in EVERY frame of film he was in. There's the mom who's just way too shitty so you know bad shit'll befall her soon enough. I can see how this episode would have relevant social commentary, but I just couldn't get past these issues to notice.

JENIFER: Directed by Dario Argento
Dario Goddamn Argento! This episode was from Bruce Jones and Berni Wrightson's friggin' super-duper rock-your-ass-off comic. As a kid this comic scared the crap outta me, so when I saw that Dario was directing it I nearly peed my clown suit! Steven Weber plays a cop who rescues Jenifer, a mute chick with a rocking body and a face like a morlock that's mostly naked through the entire episode. As with the rest of this series shit goes haywire when Weber brings that kinky deaf chick home. This one has it all...two kids are eaten. Not off camera mind you...on screen graphically! In full empty stomach cavity glory! It has tons and tons of nudity and even has sodomy! Hooray!

CHOCOLATE: Directed by Mick Garris
Speaking of sodomy...I thought this show was called Masters of Horror? This episode was less Masters of Horror and more Twilight Zone. It's about Henry Thomas (Elll-eeeeot... from E.T.) who tests artificial food flavors for a living who starts having flashes of a strange woman's life. He sees, hears, smells, and even feels the woman's experiences, including...you guessed it...sex and murder! The best part of this episode is when Thomas is in bed with some new girlfriend and starts to have his outer body experience of the woman who's life he's been experiencing, only now she's bumpin' uglies with her rasta boyfriend and ol' Thomas starts to trip out and "do the motions", thus freaking out his new lady. Add to this odd scene his ex-wife showing up with kid in tow and you've got the makings for some spicy comedy. There's only one really horrific moment in this but it's too CG to be scary. Oh well...there's always the nudity.

HOMECOMING: Directed by Joe Dante
I really liked this one. Whereas Dance of the Dead had social commentary (huh?), this one has social commentary that's as subtle as a brick in the head. This one has the zombies of soldiers from Iraq coming back from the dead? OK...I'm with you so far. Zombie soldiers from Iraq coming back from the dead to vote Bush out of office?!? Get out! That's just too rad! The zombies are actually the good guys in this one! The bad guys are Republican scumbags who lack any morals or compassion. This one takes a shot at Ann Coulter, cable news shows, the spin-room, the Christian right (which is neither...sorry...I saw the bumper sticker yesterday), Rumsfeld and all of those loveable fuckers in our Gov'ment. This episode even has one of the most touching and heartwarming moments you'll ever see with a zombie soldier, a dog, and a couple who own a small diner. Sniff...

DEER WOMAN: Directed by John Landis
Wow! Spooky Dan and Jovanka from Rue-Morgue REALLY hated this one!!! I got it from them both one night about just how bad this one was (we were on our way to do some serious ''mon it was Christmas)! And I quote Spooky Dan "Even the rad tits in this episode couldn't save it from being really shitty!" Said tits belong to Cinthia Moura, who plays Deer Woman. Who, with her deerlike powers, fights a never ending battle for truth and justice! OK...actually she pounds guys into hamburger when they see her deer like hooves. The tagline for this episode should have been "Keep looking at the tits! Dear God! KEEP LOOKING AT THE TITS!!!" The episode could have been an episode of The X-Files. Brian Benben (Or Ben Brianbrian as I call him) plays Mulder and Anthony Griffith plays a tall male, black Scully. The only thing differentiating it from X-Files are those titties...those magnificent titties. I know...you're sick of hearing that word...but...TITTIES, TITTIES, TITTIES, TITTIES !!!

CIGARETTE BURNS: Directed by John Carpenter
This episode is a small masterpiece and easily the best in show! Give Mr. Caprenter a prize 'cause this one is a nihilistic freakout about a movie that makes people go insane. Not a good insane mind you, like when people watched "Jackass: the Movie", but a psychotic murderous kinda insane (like when I saw "Cabin Fever"...I coulda killed Eli Roth!). So Norman Reedus (who's one of the brothers in The Boondock Saints, the only movie to watch during St. Patrick's Day) is hired by always creepy but loveable Udo Kier to find it. Cue really, really weird shit! Cue the best decapitation in television history! Cue Udo's unfortunate gut-mating with a film projector! This one is amazing!

FAIR HAIRED CHILD: Directed by William Malone
Remember Lori Petty? She rocked in "Booker" and "Tank Girl". No...YES SHE DID! QUIET! Ok...she's in this ep about a cute 13 year old girl who's kidnapped and taken to a house to live with a nice couple and their pleasant son and live happily ever after. No...scratch that...OK...she's kidnapped by a tweaked couple to be fed to their pleasant son and then live happily ever after. There...got it. Actually this one has a creature that was really creepy. It reminded me of Tom Savini's "Lizzy" creature from the "Tales From The Dark Side" episode "Inside the Closet". This episode has all of the William Malone camera tricks that jar you out of your head. All in all an enjoyable episode.

PICK ME UP: Directed by Larry Cohen
Two serial killers go head to head in this episode. In one corner you have a truck driver who picks up people and kills them who reminded me of an evil Archie Bunker. In the other corner you have a guy who hitchhikes and kills people who reminds me of Matt Damon with a snake on his hat. In the middle you have Fairuza Balk who looks like she can bite both of the serial killer guys to death with her big chompers. This isn't a really bad episode...it's just kinda there. The scariest thing in the one is the blonde woman who leaves with the truck driver in the beginning. I thought she was going to be some evil creature with some badass special effect makeup. Turns out she just had really bad plastic surgery. I mean really bad plastic surgery. If she has a pubic goatee I wouldn't have been surprised.

HAECKEL'S TALE: Directed by John McNaughton
This episode is a doozy. I was watching the opening credits when I read "Screenplay by Mick Garris" and I remembered his "Chocolate" episode and shuddered a bit. What's this one going to be about? The dangers of cooking? Then the credits said "From a Story by Clive Barker" and I sat up and said..."OK...now I'm listening..." This episode starts with a guy riding a horse up to a the shack of an old lady who's a necromancer. He wants to raise his recently deceased wife. So said old lady necromancer tells him a tale...that's right, about some joe named Haeckel. Haeckel has a sidekick named Jaeckel and they fly around and taunt people because they're magpies....wait...that's the cartoon. Sorry. Haeckel is training to be a scientist. He even tries to raise the body of a hot redhead ala Frankenstein with Kentucky fried results. He gets word that his Pappy's sick so he goes to visit. On the way he stops to rest and a nice guy lets him stay at his house. Nice guy has a really smoking hot wife. Nice guy tells Haekel that no matter what he hears, he cannot go outside. So Haeckel, much to my pleasure, disobeys this instruction. He finds hot wifey in the cemetery with zombies...giving it to them hard and nasty on a slab! Hot damn! Thanks Clive! You never disappoint!!! Let me tell you...Leela Savasta who plays the hot wife really could make the dead stretch their bacon. Note: So far in this series is how they get really hot women to get naked. If I had a mutant power I pray to god that it would be that one.

SICK GIRL: Directed by Lucky McKee
Ooooohhhhhhhh man... I loved "May". Angela Bettis really made that film. If you're a total freak all weirdo like me you can't help but be empathic towards her in that film. After that film I developed a bit of a crush on Angela, and Angela...if you're reading this...don't think that I'm gonna stalk you or something. My previous arrest record makes it impossible for me to do that now. So when I saw that she was going to be in an episode of MOH I was excited. Then I saw that Erin Brown AKA Misty Mundae was going to be in that episode as well, in a lesbian story no less! Thus making me as excited as a wee puppy with a crayon. Remember my previous arrest record? Well screw that! For Erin AKA Misty I'd eat my own feet and run a marathon. OK...this has gotten really creepy...sorry gentle reader, forgive my exuberance. It's the diet pills talking. So Misty gets bitten by a big ugly bug and becomes Spiderbabe....goddamnit! wrong movie! No...she just becomes a werebug in really bad makeup and eats a couple of people. Sorry Angela and Erin...this episode wasn't that good. The story was mediocre and lacked any sophistication (Yeah, like this stupid review is sophisticated), It's totally telegraphed. The characters who are assholes are the ones you know are going to be Erin chow. Also the dialog is really stilted and weak and...gulp...boring. I did like how Erin is all-innocent at first and becomes really, really nasty later in the episode. Hopefully Lucky McKee will do a better job in upcoming projects. I don't want his resume to be a one hit wonder.

IMPRINT: Directed by Takashi Miike
And last but far, far from least is the episode that Showtime didn't air. I could just see the reaction when the episode was received to air.

Guy 1: "Hey, here's the episode from that Japanese guy Takishi Mike..."
Guy 2: "Nawww...you got it all wrong...It's not Mike...it's Miike...with two i's."
Guy 1: "Ok...whatever...let's watch it..."
Guy 2: "Lemme put it in the dvd player here..."
Twenty minutes later...
Guy 1: "..."
Guy 2: "What...the...fuck?!?"
First, Miike is one of my favorite directors in the world. This man never ceases to shock me. So I waited patiently for this episode. When I had heard he was involved in the series it got a lot more credibility with me as far as being really "horror".
Very few societies are as twisted as the Japanese (girls' underwear vending machines? Naughty tentacles? Yeah, I thought so...), and very few people can film to that level of twisted ness as Miike. I was hoping he would burn some American retinas with his entry in the show.
And boy! Whoo hoooo! He doesn't disappoint!
All of Miike's cinematic thumbprints are here! Incest, rape, torture, fetuses, urine, strange things coming out of peoples bodies, strange things going into peoples bodies...everything!
Youki Kudoh plays a deformed prostitute who spends the episode telling Billy Drago about the death of the woman he loved who too was a prostitute. The tale goes from odd, to strange, to deranged, to finally fucking craklin' cannonball goo-goo apeshit.
The acting is otherworldly. The Japanese cast doing English makes everything even creepier and alien. And then you have Billy Drago, who acts just as creepy and alien as the rest of the cast. The pacing and style of the acting reminds me of a David Lynch film...but just mush more hard core with more dead babies.
So if you're a gentle soul, don't watch this one. If you do watch, expect such things as turn of the century Japanese abortion techniques, putting needles under fingernails in graphic close up, hands erupting from heads and talking, a young girl getting felt up by a Buddhist monk, tons of abuse towards women, and the grand finale...a bucket full of aborted fetus chum that Billy Drago sings to sleep! Fuck yeah!
All in all, I have to say that Masters of Horror season 1 was some good watching. Even the drek was fun to watch. Can't wait to see what they have planned for next season. I'm kinda bummed that the Ewe Boll rumor was fake...that would have been a blast.
Until next season you sick bastards!!!


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