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THE MASTERS OF HORROR Series – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, USA with tags , , , , on June 30, 2009 by goregirl

Masters of Horror is Thirteen, one hour long tales of the macabre, filmed by some of Horror’s greatest directors. How could I not be excited about this?!! The Showtime series lasted two seasons and 26 episodes. I haven’t had cable for years so I eagerly anticipated the series arrival on DVD. The first disc I rented had two episodes, Dreams in the Witch-House and Cigarette Burns. Even after having seen all 26, these are still two of my favorites. So I was hooked right off the bat. I
ended up renting the entire season and watched them all in a matter of days. Now I was going to have to wait forever before Season two came out! Unfortunately, after much anticipation, I found the second season overall, pretty mediocre. Yes, there are a few duds here, but there are also some outstanding examples of horror done right. When you have thirteen directors with different visions and styles you are going to get a pretty mixed bag of goodies. Everyone is going to have their personal favorites. Below is a list of every episode and who it was directed by as well as the Dungeon’s TOP 4 episodes. Honorable
mentions should go out to Larry Cohen’s ‘PICK ME UP’ and Takashi Miike’s ‘IMPRINT’, which features one of the most vile and ugly scenes of torture and humiliation I have laid eyes upon.

SEASON ONE

Incident on and Off a Mountain Road – Directed By: Don Coscarelli
Dreams in the Witch-House – Directed By: Stuart Gordon
Dance of the Dead – Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Jenifer – Directed By: Dario Argento
Chocolate – Directed By: Mick Garris
Homecoming – Directed By: Joe Dante
Deer Woman – Directed By: John Landis
Cigarette Burns – Directed By: John Carpenter
The Fair Haired Child -Directed By: William Malone
Sick Girl – Directed By: Lucky McKee
Pick Me Up – Directed By: Larry Cohen
Haeckel’s Tale – Directed By: John McNaughton
Imprint – Directed By: Takashi Miike

SEASON TWO

The Damned Thing – Directed By: Tobe Hooper
Family – Directed By: John Landis
The V Word – Directed By: Ernest R. Dickerson
Sounds Like – Directed By: Brad Anderson
Pro-Life – Directed By: John Carpenter
Pelts – Directed By: Dario Argento
The Screwfly Solution – Directed By: Joe Dante
Valerie on the Stairs – Directed By: Mick Garris
Right to Die – Directed By: Rob Schmidt
We All Scream for Ice Cream – Directed By: Tom Holland
The Black Cat – Directed By: Stuart Gordon and Stuart Ortiz
The Washingtonians – Directed By: Peter Medak
Dream Cruise – Directed By: Norio Tsuruta

CIGARETTE BURNS (Season One, Episode Eight)

cigarette burnsDirected By: John Carpenter
Starring: Norman Reedus, Udo Kier, Gary Hetherington, Christopher Britton and Zara Taylor

A theater owner, who specializes in rare films is haunted by memories of his wife’s recent death. He is approached by an eccentric collector who wants him to track down the only existing copy of an obscure French film. The film was only shown once, and the audience become violent and it was never shown again. Low on funds, he decides to take the job and becomes entrenched in a horrifying mystery he had not bargained for.

Mr. Carpenter is indeed a “horror master” but his films from the last several years have really lacked. This is the best work I’ve seen from him in a long time. This brilliant little hour long film is reminiscent of the directors earlier work. It is well filmed, well directed, and has an intriguing story that keeps you in suspense. It also horrifies with some
beautifully executed scenes of blood and gore. Norman Reedus who plays the main character was perfect in this role. The film builds up a great momentum and doesn’t let up. The freaky finale left me thoroughly fullfilled. This one is the creme de la creme of THE MASTERS OF HORROR SERIES.

HOMECOMING (Season One, Episode Six)

homecomingDirected By: Joe Dante
Starring: Jon Tenney, Thea Gill, Wanda Cannon, Terry David Mulligan and Robert Picardo

It is election time in the US. Political consultant David Murch comments during a television interview that he wishes that deceased soldiers were able to come back from the grave and vote. In a bizarre turn of events, his wish comes true and soldiers do indeed come back from the dead. They don’t want brains though, just the right to vote.

It’s been a long time since Dante has done a horror film. I wouldn’t exactly say that ‘HOMECOMING’ is a return to the genre. This is smart, funny, political satire…with zombies. If you are expecting a straight up horror film, you are not going to get it here. These aren’t your run of the mill entrail eating zombies. This really is an imaginitive and crafty screenplay. It is often humorous, a bit campy and extremely clever. Those who lean left as well as zombie fans should be able to appreciate this one. Extremely entertaining and completely original.

DREAMS IN THE WITCH-HOUSE (Season One, Episode Two)

dreams in the witch-houseDirected By: Stuart Gordon
Starring: Ezra Godden, Jay Brazeau, Campbell Lane and Chelah Horsdal

A socially inept college student rents a cheap room in an old house. Strange neighbours who pray at the top of their lungs, strange sounds in the wall and a single mother with a baby who is being terrorized by a persistent rat are just some of the fun and frivolity. Then there is the bizarre nightmare about a witch and a rat with a human face. His cheap room turns out to be no bargain at all.

I love Stuart Gordon. His films are Funny, creepy and outrageous. The man certainly does love his H.P. Lovecraft and this is one of many adaptations he has brought to the screen. It is more the mythos he brings from Lovecraft than true adaptation. He definitely bends it to his will, but does so with respect. He is obviously a fan and has a genuine respect for the man’s work. It doesn’t take long for the story to get rolling and keeps up an energetic pace throughout to its wonderfully bloody ending. For a man always working on a snug budget he always offers some great visuals. The witch is great but I really loved that crazy rat!

SICK GIRL (Season One, Episode Ten)

sick girlDirected By: Lucky McKee
Starring: Angela Bettis, Misty Mundae, Jesse Hlubik, Marcia Bennett and Mike McKee

Ida Teeter is a shy scientist who is obsesssed with insects. She receives an anonymous package on her doorstep containing an insect from brazil. A blossoming new relationship with a young woman named Misty is dampened considerably when she is bit by Ida’s new insect friend.

If you loved May, you absolutely should see this. Not only does Lucky McKee team up again with Angela Bettis but the story is equally as twisted, tragic, fun and original. Bettis is such a facsinating woman to watch and is excellent as the scientist. A large killer insect is the catalyst for the action but the story is really about the relationship between Misty and Ida. A solidly entertaining episode with a great story and great performances.