Archive for the ‘Dario Argento’ Category

mastersofhorror

This is it skiddies, the final day of our three day Thankskilling weekend extravaganza, and I saved the best for last. A cold scoop of frozen blood nestled atop a slice of scary-pie for you to sink your fangs into.

I mentioned Mick Garris yesterday in my Nightmares and Dreamscapes post in a less than pleasant manner in regards to his Stephen King adaptations, but that doesn’t mean I loathe all of his work. In fact, he’s responsible for many cult classics I adore, such as ‘batteries not included, Hocus Pocus, Critters 2: The Main Course, and the subject of today’s post the 2005 anthology horror series, Masters of Horror.

Conceived during an informal dinner hosted by Garris in 2002 for his director friends, John Carpenter,  Larry Cohen, Don Coscarelli, Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, and Bill Malone the name originated when Del Toro told a woman at a neighbouring table that the masters of horror wished her a happy birthday.

The dinner turned out to be such a satisfying experience for the directors that Garris began organizing them regularly featuring more esteemed members from the horror community including Fred Dekker, Dario Argento, Eli Roth, David Cronenberg, Tom Holland, Ti West, and many more.

These dinners laid the groundwork for the series, and many of the members in attendance went on the either write or direct their own episodes of the show.

Masters of Horror is rough stuff. There are no happy endings, there’s buckets of gore, and viscera on display, and no taboo is left untouched. There are even a few episodes that make me cringe, and I’m not one who cringes easily, (I’m looking at you Imprint).

Masters of Horror lasted for two seasons on Showtime, before being cancelled, but that didn’t stop Garris, who went on to make a quasi third season/ spiritual successor in NBC’s Fear Itself. Unfortunately due to network regulations, Fear Itself paled in comparison to its predecessor, lacking the punch that made the original run so successful, and was axed after just one season.

It’s difficult to pick favourites as the twenty-six episodes are all incredibly well made, but for the sake of this post I’ve chosen, Takashi Miike’s Imprint, Dario Argento’s Jenifer, John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns. Believe me, picking three was no easy task.

Imprint

 

imprint

Imprint follows an American journalist, Christopher, (played by the inimitable, and ever creepy Billy Drago) searching for a lost girlfriend who he promised to rescue from prostitution. After landing on an island populated by whores, and their masters, Christopher meets a badly disfigured girl who shared a deep connection with his beloved, and offers him the dark truth of her whereabouts.

Like most of Miike’s body of work, Imprint is hardcore, so hardcore in fact that Showtime shelved the episode for fear of offending people with its disturbing, and extremely graphic content.

Jenifer

jenifer
Jenifer, based on a black and white graphic novel by Bruce Jones, and Berni Wrightson follows police officer Frank Spivey, who, after saving a horribly disfigured girl from a crazed man wielding a meat cleaver finds himself drawn to her. As his attraction for her grows Frank soon finds his mundane, yet happy existence torn to shreds.

Argento is fantastic at blending the erotic, and repulsive with captivating imagery, and Jenifer is no exception.

Cigarette Burns

cigarette-burns

First off, I love John Carpenter, the man makes up one third of the unholy triumvirate of my favourite horror directors, (the other two being David Cronenberg, and Alfred Hitchcock) but for many years he evaded the Limelight. That is until Masters of Horror of course.

Cigarette Burns, is a return to form for Carpenter, who after the under-performing misstep, Ghosts of Mars had soured from making big budget films, and faded into relative obscurity for most of the 2000’s.

The story follows a pre Walking Dead Norman Reedus on his journey to find a copy of an infamous film that apparently turns its viewers into savage, blood thirsty madmen.

This episode has everything a diehard Carpenter fan could ask for, an eerie synth soundtrack, unsettling imagery, and tension thick enough to cut with a knife.

That’s all for the Thankskilling weekend. I do hope I’ve offered you enough organs, and entrails to satiate your appetites.

Until tomorrow my dearest darklings, stay scared!

Advertisements