- Entertainment and Media
Masters Of Horror - Season One
Reviewing 13 Short Horror Movies
A whole series of stand-alone single serving horror films. What more could a fan of the genera ask for?
Masters Of Horror ran from 2005 - 2007 and received mixed reviews, however I think that it's very important for people to realize that each short film is unique and not connected in any way to the others. I agree that there are some awful episodes but there are a lot of brilliant ones as well, and though it's unlikely to be resurrected as a series, Masters Of Horror does NOT deserve to disappear into obscurity.
All of the episodes are now available for purchase as DVD's and downloads which means that instead of buying a boxed set blindly like I did, you can pick and choose your favorites. I've put together this page to list all of the episodes of the first season individually along with my opinions of them. If an episode strikes your fancy you can click on the secure Amazon buttons. Some of the used prices are outrageously low (under a dollar!!!), however they do fluctuate with the market so I am unable to list prices on this page. Additionally I've done a bit of extra research to include books or links to short stories when the screenplays are adapted from short stories if you happen to be curious.
(This page is a Spoiler Free Zone for those who prefer to experience a taster of the story without knowing how it ends. If you want to know more about any of the dvd's read a few amazon reviews, however consider yourself warned that many DO contain spoilers.)
Please Note That These Films Are NOT Suitable For Young Eyeballs
Are You Familiar With This Series?
Incident On And Off A Mountain Road - Directed by Don Coscarelli
This story starts off with a young woman who is run off the road in the middle of the night (in the middle of nowhere) by a trap set by a reclusive psycho killer...
I know you're probably thinking that you've seen that plot done to death (har har) however, there are some wonderful twists and turns that make the story unique and worth watching.
In an hour of cut film time it becomes a fine art to achieve a balance between action and back story and I think that the balance in this episode is perfect. There is plenty of action, but instead of it just being all thrasher-tastic and relying too heavily on shock gore it is coupled with flashbacks which elaborate on a much more complicated story.
In the end you are left with the satisfaction of having watched a full length film.
Incident On And Off A Mountain Road is available for purchase in both DVD and digital (AKA instant gratification) forms through Amazon.
Featuring the short story (Incident On And Off A Mountain Road) from which the film was adapted.
This rarely happens but, I think that this is one case where I actually prefer the film to its written counterpart. I honestly can't say if my opinion would have been different if I'd read the story first however having said that the story is fabulous and it adds a few new facets to the characters.
I've sampled Joe Lansdale before and his style is very much his own. One of those authors where after a few paragraphs you recognise the storytelling. He is raw and abrasive and I think he's wonderful. This is a really great collection, and from the perspective of someone who buys a lot of books but only keeps the ones she loves, it's a keeper.
Dreams In The Witch House - Directed By Stuart Gordon
I adore the works of HP Lovecraft. I think that the man was brilliant and have a deep appreciation for his literature. Unique dark imagination combined with a superb talent for storytelling, far ahead of his time.
Dreams in the witch house is about a man who is targeted by an evil witch who has worked out how to travel between our dimension and another to carry out her evil practices using a specific house as a conduit.
It is absolutely one of those short stories that every horror fan should read. When you're finished it leaves you feeling pleasantly disturbed somewhere deep in the back of your brain.
This short film is a modern adaptation of the story and it is fairly true to the written version on the whole, however for me the story is still superior and more detailed. I think that I would have rather seen it as a non modernized adaptation.
If you have never read the story, read it HERE for free.
Dreams In The Witch House is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
This book has been one of the best purchases I have ever made. In fact, I've gifted several copies as well. It is a giant hardcover (over 800 pages) featuring an incredible collection of short stories from an absolutely brilliant mind. Lengthy biography in the back as well.
Dance Of The Dead - Directed By Tobe Hooper
This is a typical nice girl meets bad boy story set in a post-apocalyptic village in the not so distant future... featuring reanimated corpses.
I admit, it sounds potentially lame but... it's one of my favorites. No zombies or ghouls just reanimated corpses. Wholesome action packed entertainment... assuming you ignore all the dead people and the substance abuse and the nudity... but who would want to? It has a sort of Crow - City of Angels feel to it actually I think.
Dance Of The Dead is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Jenifer - Directed By Dario Argento
Jenifer is absolutely haunting. The film is a fragment of a story outlining the cycle utilized by a hideous creature with the mind of a child, the body of a goddess and the face of a nightmare.
Jenifer develops a chemical and psychological hold on men with pheromones and seduces them, using her sex to persuade them into providing for and protecting her.
I'd have to agree that parts of this film are rather predictable, however I still find it to be quite a gem.
The makeup effects are wonderful and all together it is another one that will have you wanting more while still leaving you quite satisfied.
Jenifer is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Chocolate - Directed By Mick Garris
If ever you wondered to yourself "Gee self, I do wonder what a man would look like if he was having a woman's orgasm", buy this film for a penny and find out.
However, if the thought doesn't much appeal to you then just walk away. It's a pretty weak story about a man who spontaneously develops a psychic connection with a woman and oddly enough didn't really do a lot for me in all honesty as you may have assumed given my previous statement.
In short, this film is very uncomfortable to watch (endure)... and not in a good way.
Chocolate is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Homecoming - Directed By Joe Dante
Let's make a statement about the war in Iraq with zombie soldiers who come back to vote for new leadership.
I don't know about you, but I like to keep my undead and my politics separate thank you ever so much. For those who love a good zombie film, this is not one of them. Good makeup, weak script. Film fail.
Homecoming is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Deer Woman - Directed By John Landis
This is a film with plenty of death and some silly twists about a Native American Mythological figure who randomly manifests and seduces men so that she can trample them into hamburger. The story focuses on the police detective who is trying to catch what he believes to be a serial killer and his journey to discovering the truth.
I laughed so hard that I very nearly cried. It's not the best film in the bunch however it's HIGHLY entertaining and I did enjoy it.
Deer Woman is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Cigarette Burns - Directed By John Carpenter
This story has a relatively basic premise about a man who is seeking out an extremely rare film for an eccentric and reckless collector.
The film that he is seeking is said to have supernatural qualities which have a profound impact on the psyche of the viewer. Watching the film drives whoever views it to commit grievous bodily harm to themselves and others, often resulting in quite gruesome and horrible death.
This short film contains some outstanding imagery and a positively captivating story. The acting lets it down in places but I think that overall it's rather brilliant.
Thank you John Carpenter.
Cigarette Burns is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Fair Haired Child - Directed By William Mallone
Underneath all of the intense creepiness, this story is about misguided, unconditional love. It fits into an hour nicely and leaves you with some rather disturbing imagery which you will not soon forget.
There isn't much that I can say that won't give the ending away. It's a pretty short journey through a not so original plot however the way that it's acted and executed in addition to the special effects makes it stand out as something not half bad which, if added to your film collection you'd probably watch more than once.
Fair Haired Child is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Sick Girl - Directed By Lucky McKee
What more could you ask for than a delightful lesbian romance coupled with killer tropical insects who reform their hosts at a genetic level?
This is actually a really decent creature film with an adorable main character, some disgusting (occasionally cheesy) special effects and one seriously awesome monster.
Sick Girl is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Pick Me Up - Directed By Larry Cohen
I genuinely adore this short film. It makes me smile for its cleverness.
Two very experienced serial killers with opposite strategies going head to head for "prey". It's all a game to them and may the best man win!
It's just such a good idea and it's so watchable. A tiny bit of humor mixed with a whole lot of blood.
The plot could very easily carry its self out nicely over a full length film however this is still a tidy little package as it is, and it couldn't have been ended more perfectly.
Pick Me Up is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Haeckel's Tale - Directed By Roger Corman
This film takes place in the 1850's and it's about a traveler who stumbles upon a tale of necromancy as well as a woman who has a thing for dead guys. I can't really elaborate any more than that without giving away too much.
The film has a very distinct Tales From The Crypt feel to it in that the story isn't very complex but it caries a strong sexual theme coupled with horror elements running simultaneously.
Haeckel's Tale is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
You probably don't want to see the price tag on this book. It is however the only place I could identify that had the short story the film was based on published within.
Imprint - Directed by Takashi Miike
This one is pretty intense. In fact it was so intense that it wasn't ALLOWED to be broadcast on Showtime because of its gruesome content.
It plays out sort of like a sick dream and contains some of the most deeply disturbing imagery I've ever seen on film. The story isn't complicated but it is confusing and raw, full of gore and rape and torture and to be honest, I found it unsatisfying and depressing.
I think this is one that you really need to judge for yourself.
Imprint is available for purchase in both DVD and digital forms through Amazon.
Season 1 Box Set
Every DVD listed for season 1 is contained in this box set. The packaging is quite unique and despite Amazon reviews endlessly complaining that it is made of cardboard with cardboard inserts I rather like the fact that they actually put some effort into making it a bit different than your typical DVD box set. The disks are secure and protected so I don't understand what all the whining is about.
Season 1 Soundtrack - 2 Disks
This is the soundtrack (30 tracks) which tipped me off to the series, a fabulous assortment of artists and musical styles. I would say that it's about 50% awesome, 20% great 20% listenable but nothing special and 10% Meh. It's interesting seeing (or hearing) how the songs are used throughout the series however I don't know how much that would interest someone who isn't me... At the end of the day, what else can I say besides... LOOK at the price... you can't exactly go wrong!
Please note that there IS copy protection on both of these disks and despite many an Amazon review whine, cry and moan about it you CAN get the tracks onto your MP3 player of choice.