×

Masters of Horror

Although Showtime has waded into the competition to launch prestige dramas, there's something to be said for recognizing the many subscribers who still look hopefully to pay TV for good old-fashioned helpings of nudity and violence. Enter this anthology series showcasing 13 different directors..

With:
Ellen - Bree Turner Bruce - Ethan Embry Moonface - John De Santis Buddy - Angus Scrimm

A correction was made to this review on Oct. 31, 2005.

Although Showtime has waded into the competition to launch prestige dramas, there’s something to be said for recognizing the many subscribers who still look hopefully to pay TV for good old-fashioned helpings of nudity and violence. Enter this anthology series showcasing 13 different directors, including John Carpenter, Joe Dante and Tobe Hooper. Well-timed pre-Halloween premiere (with multiple plays through the weekend) won’t earn many points for subtlety, but for aficionados of the horror genre it’s the kind of stylish gorefest that should keep them up nights.

Horror, of course, has long been a cable staple, but it’s been awhile since there was a regular franchise a la “Tales From the Crypt,” which became such a part of the TV firmament that it even yielded a misguided Saturday-morning spinoff for kids. So credit Mick Garris for bringing the horrormeisters together, even under this less-than-humble title.

The first installment, directed by Don Coscarelli (“Phantasm”), plays like a mini-feature with all the requisite trappings. Adapted from Joe Lansdale’s short story, the hour focuses on Ellen (Bree Turner), a young woman whose car comes to an abrupt stop on a desolate mountain road, leading to a nightmarish encounter with a sort-of boogeyman called Moonface — basically, Freddy Krueger with better-kept fingernails.

Yet Ellen, as seen through flashback, is not the shrinking damsel in distress that she appears, but rather a woman toughened by an abusive husband (Ethan Embry), a survivalist who loved her not quite as much as his passion for automatic weapons and serrated knives.

With one-time “The X-Files” cinematographer Jon Joffin taking full advantage of the familiar Vancouver woods, Coscarelli (who adapted the story with Stephen Romano) creates a brisk hour oozing atmosphere, along with the customary gross-out shots and a modest little twist.

Hardly an actor’s showcase, Turner nevertheless proves a perfectly plucky heroine, with the one annoying wrinkle being a chatty old man (Angus Scrimm) locked away in Moonface’s lair.

There’s nothing here to write home about, granted, but it’s slickly done and just grisly enough to eclipse anything with which the major nets can counter. Venture also seems tailor-made to DVD for any of those hard-core fans who don’t subscribe to Showtime or actually have something to do on a Friday night.

Masters of Horror

Showtime, Fri. Oct. 28, 10 p.m.

Production: Filmed in Vancouver by IDT Entertainment, Industry Entertainment and Nice Guy Prods. Executive producers, Mick Garris, Andrew Deane, Keith Addis; producers, Tom Rowe, Lisa Richardson; director, Don Coscarelli; writers, Coscarelli, Stephen Romano; based on a short story by Joe Lansdale.

Crew: Camera, Jon Joffin; production design, David Fischer; editor, Patrick McMahon; music, Chris Stone; theme, Edward Shearmur; visual effects supervisor, Lee Wilson; casting, Nancy Nayor Battino, Kelly Martin Wagner, Aikins/Cossey Casting. Running time: 60 MIN.

With: Ellen - Bree Turner Bruce - Ethan Embry Moonface - John De Santis Buddy - Angus Scrimm

More Film

  • Durban Film Fest 2019

    Durban Fest Hails Film as ‘Conscience of Our Nation’

    DURBAN–When Ros and Teddy Sarkin raised the curtain on the first Durban Intl. Film Festival 40 years ago, the odds were long that their scrappy fest would survive its inaugural edition. The apartheid government and its draconian censorship board had a stranglehold on the films that reached South African theaters, banning the sorts of subversive [...]

  • Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell

    Film Review: 'Tiny: The Life of Erin Blackwell'

    “Streetwise,”  the classic and haunting 1984 documentary about homeless street kids in Seattle, is a movie that’s now 35 years old. But for anyone who has seen it, the children it’s about — drifters, hustlers, squatters, thieves, prostitutes — remain frozen in time. And none of them was ever more memorable than Tiny, the 14-year-old [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Revenge Motive May Have Sparked Kyoto Animation Arson Attack

    Japanese media is speculating that revenge was the motivation for the arson attack on Kyoto Animation which killed 33 people on Thursday. Investigative sources quoted by Jiji Press on Friday said that the man in custody had a grudge against the studio. “Since [the studio] stole my novel, I poured out the liquid and set [...]

  • Terminator: Dark Fate Gabriel Luna

    'Terminator: Dark Fate' Cast Proud of Latinx Representation in Latest Installment

    The stars of the Tim Miller-directed “Terminator: Dark Fate” stormed the stage of San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H on Thursday, but it wasn’t until after the panel — which included appearances from Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton — that Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna and Diego Boneta reflected on what makes the upcoming installment in the [...]

  • It

    Producer Sues Warner Bros. Over 'It' Film Adaptations

    A producer who developed the original “It” TV miniseries sued Warner Bros. on Thursday, alleging the studio breached his contract by making the films “It” and “It Chapter Two” without him. Frank Konigsberg and Larry Sanitsky were running Telepictures in the early 1980s when they acquired the rights to the Stephen King novel. They developed [...]

  • Animation Studio Fire

    Kyoto Arson Attack: Animation Community Mourns Colleagues

    Thursday’s deadly attack on Japan’s Kyoto Animation studios left many in the animation community shocked and horrified by the loss of 33 of their colleagues. Another 36 people were injured in the attack, which was Japan’s deadliest ever. A suspect was arrested after pouring a flammable liquid inside the building, which caught fire and trapped [...]

  • Nicolas Cage

    Film News Roundup: Nicolas Cage's '10 Double Zero' Completes Financing

    In today’s film news roundup, financing has been secured for a Nicolas Cage police drama, feature drama “Topside” is unveiled and the late Tom Snyder is getting a tribute from his daughter. FINANCING COMPLETED DCR Finance Corp. has signed a deal to complete the financing for Nicolas Cage’s upcoming crime drama “10 Double Zero.” The [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content