Masters of Horror

2005, TV Show

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January 5, 2007: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Woman Scorched

Rob Schmidt's Masters of Horror episode Right to Die is the first in 2007, and now my third-favorite Season 2 entry. Although it didn't have the serious socially aware intensity of my first two favorites, Pelts and Screwfly Solution, it provided a seriously twisted and darkly comedic examination of the right-to-life debate. Right to Die brings an effortless, deadpan sense of irony to this issue, which is what I'd hoped John Carpenter's Pro-Life would do, but did not. The story is surreal and satirical enough not to offend, yet offers a bit of a pinch through grandiose displays of human selfishness and greed. It was just enough to make me wince, and just enough to make me feel a bit self-deprecating over how silly and predictable our species can be when rubber meets the road (in this story, literally).Now, Schmidt's name sounded familiar, but I have to admit that I couldn't remember what his prior work had been. I did extensive research prior to Season 2's premiere, drafting a huge b... read more

January 5, 2007: My Ghost Whisperer Is Back!

Ahhhh, yes. Red eyes and a tear-streaked face feels so good after meandering through a couple of consecutive "dry" Ghost Whisperer eps over the holidays. I can't help it. I like to cry during this show, because it's quite cathartic. Whenever I watch an episode that doesn't make me cry even a little, I feel rooked. But I'm a classic romantic. A certified sap. And I make no apologies for being a horror nerd that also enjoys a little tenderness in my shows here and there. With Ghost Whisperer, I get just enough dark and creepy with just enough tears shed *to keep me in touch with my inner sentimentalist. *I draw the line with my music collection. Not a single Celine Dion or Air Supply CD in the bunch, I swear. Would the soundtrack to Pretty in Pink be considered a sappy CD to own? A Ghost Whisperer's Best Friend"OK, Bob, you lead." Tsk, tsk, Miz Gordon. The Dog Whisperer could teach you a thing or two about "calm, assertive energy!" Well, you've never claimed to be a dog whisperer (at ... read more

December 31, 2006: Valerie Drive-By

After a two-week holiday hiatus, it felt like home to watch the first glorious blood splats, and that eerie piano in the Masters of Horror opening sequence. It isn't often that horror fiends get their "own" TV series, so I really feel like I'm going through withdrawals when MoH is over, or even on break for a couple of weeks. Now that Dexter has become a favorite series among the horror crowd, it looks like Showtime's really got the goods for my most beloved genre. I've gotta say, once Masters of Horror is over this year, it's going to be a hellish wait for Showtime's horror audience, or at least, for this horror fan. First of all, I haven't heard whether or not a third season is on the books for MoH, and it's probably going to take a good year for season two of Dexter. At least I'll have Battlestar Galatica, Heroes and Lost in the new year, but they can't take things nearly as far as Dex and "The Masters." Ah well. I'll just have to break out the Buffy DVDs for the 200th time (how ... read more

December 8, 2006: Apocalypse Wow

I am so relieved. Last week, Dario Argento's Pelts provided a pivotal turning point in what I was starting to lament to be a disappointing Masters of Horror Season 2. After finding great satisfaction in maestro Argento's masterpiece, the big question for me was: Could the remaining masters keep this new momentum going, and would the second half of the season redeem the first? I had hoped so.Well, Joe Dante's The Screwfly Solution is now my second favorite episode of this season, stepping up pretty closely in line next to Pelts. Furthermore, Pelts and Screwfly Solution have now taken their places in my Top 5 favorite episodes of both seasons combined, and Screwfly is definitely the best sci-fi/horror gene-splicing of the lot. Actually, The Screwfly Solution is a far more sophisticated and significant work than many of the feature-length science fiction films I've seen over the years. Last season, Joe Dante had opted for politically challenging, sardonic horror with the zombie electio... read more

December 1, 2006: Dario Argento's Pelts

My fellow horror fiends, I apologize for the late posting. Between my city’s first-ever-in-history blizzard last week and a trip to the ER (I’m fine now, no worries), I’ve been a bit behind. While recovering over the past weekend and attempting to stay warm, Dario Argento’s fur-fringed Masters of Horror episode, Pelts, seemed a fitting theme.I haven’t held back from admitting that so far, I’ve been underwhelmed and disappointed with Masters of Horror this season. Knowing that Italy’s horror maestro Dario Argento was up next, I still had some hope for the rest of the season, yet I also cringed because I wasn’t too fond of his season 1 episode, Jenifer. One of the main reasons I didn’t like Jenifer was that Argento departed from his trademark style to try a grittier perspective, and I just didn’t feel that it worked. The Showtime website synopsis for Pelts did indicate that Argento would be returning to his legendary vividly colored, o... read more

November 26, 2006: What Have You Done to His Eyes?

John Carpenter's entry, Cigarette Burns, was my second favorite Masters of Horror episode from season 1. (My all-time favorite MoH to date is William Malone's The Fair-Haired Child). Cigarette Burns had everything in it that makes a horror film (even a short one) great: A unique, darkly mystical story; gorgeous photography; a deep feeling of dread; extremely shocking, perfectly-placed gore; an atmospheric musical score; and Udo Kier. If you have not yet rented or purchased Cigarette Burns on DVD, I highly recommend it. The episode itself remains one of the best of the series, and the DVD contains some interesting extras, including commentary by the master himself, John Carpenter.See, I had to begin this entry by praising J.C., because I hate feeling "meh" about any of my favorite directors' work, and I don't like blogging about disappointment. Considering the title alone, Pro-Life evokes a hot-button issue, and I expected to feel at least a bit stirred up, no matter which side of th... read more

3 LBS Star Weighs In on Storytelling Controversy

Mark Feuerstein, 3 LBS

Mark Feuerstein, whose credits to date are vast and varied — including TV's The West Wing, Once and Again and Good Morning, Miami, and the movies Woman on Top and In Her Shoes — is exploring new, undiscovered territory these days as Dr. Jonathan Seger, the idealistic young surgeon serving as a fellow to Stanley Tucci's brilliant brain man on CBS' 3 LBS (Tuesdays at 10 pm/ET). We invited the actor to flex his gray matter and weigh in on the new medical drama's strengths — as well as one perceived weakness. TVGuide.com: If I may steal from the show's ad campaign, some may say that acting isn't brain surgery, but in this case it is.Mark Feuerstein: [Laug read more

November 19, 2006: Big Brother's Listening

I had a feeling Brad Anderson's Masters of Horror entry, Sounds Like, would be grim. Anderson's critically acclaimed low-budget thriller, Session 9, remains one of the most grim and cerebrally horrifying movies I've ever seen. Whenever I recommend Session 9, I describe it as one of those movies that made me hear things at night. Only two other movies to date have had that effect on me: The Exorcist and The Blair Witch Project. The Exorcist stands out as way more "in the face" (in more ways than pea soup) of the three, but Blair Witch and Session 9 both delivered that subtle, "crawl in the brain and haunt me for days" effect, which is my favorite kind of horror.I believe the most powerful link between these three films is the masterful use of sound, both subliminal and overt. It's no surprise that The Exorcist is known for using subliminal sound throughout the film, as well as huge contrasts between silence and audio assault to increase the feeling of terror and dread. For me, the mo... read more

The President's Daughter, Pregnant with Demon Baby, Visits Shark!

Caitlin Wachs in Masters of Horror

How is that for a headline? And it's actually kinda sorta true. Caitlin Wachs, who played first daughter to Geena Davis' Mackenzie Allen on ABC's Commander in Chief, has a flurry of fun gigs coming up, roles that find her, at separate times, expectant with Satan's offspring, and channeling a teen Great Gatsby. First up, though, is a guest spot on tonight's episode of Shark (10 pm/ET on CBS). The in-demand ingenue gave TVGuide.com a call to preview her varied ventures. TVGuide.com: Hey, guess what. You, little miss Boston Legal fan, are being recorded on the same tape as William Shatner read more

November 10, 2006: The V Word

Masters of Horror creator and writer Mick Garris said that The V Word wouldn't be a romantic depiction of vampires, and that's definitely true. However, these vampires are not the breed found in cynical, doom-and-gloom existential metaphors like The Addiction or Habit, which is what I was anticipating. Instead, Garris himself wrote a pretty straightforward "teens explore crypts, get bit, get undead, get hungry, get gone" type of story. Michael Ironside, the ugly, angry vampire, was about as entertaining as Jack Nicholson in The Witches of Eastwick; too bad we didn't see more of him. I don't know why he carried a parasol in the graveyard, but what I don't know probably won't hurt me.Even though The V Word wasn't misted, shadowed and full of velvet and candelabras, Garris paid his respect to the romantic vampire by writing in some noticeable nods:— Ironside's character, "Mr. Chaney" (pretty obvious), is a nod to Lon Chaney, who was first considered for the role of Dracula (1931)... read more

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Premiered: October 28, 2005, on Showtime
Rating: TV-MA
User Rating: (8 ratings)
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Premise: An anthology of one-hour horror films directed by masters of the genre.

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