Showtime’s Master of Horrors series was one of my favorite quick horror fixes when I didn’t have time to watch a whole movie. It ran for two seasons before the plug was pulled on it for a variety of reasons – depending on who you listen to. Some of it was really good. Some of it, not so much. Here are my opinions, but I recommend you grab some of these and check them out for yourself. I’m going to give some quickie reviews here – starting with season one, episode one.
Incident on and Off a Mountain Road (2005)
Directed by: Don Coscarelli
Starring: Bree Turner, Ethan Embry, Angus Scrimm, John De Santis, Heather Feeney
Based on Joe R. Lansdale’s short story, this film pits Ellen (Bree Turner), a seemingly defenseless young woman, against Moonface, a deformed and demented serial killer. (from tv.com)
It starts with lots of promise. You have one of the true genre greats in the big chair, Don Coscarelli, who’s last big outing before this was the great Bubba-Hotep. But not even four minutes into the movie, the red flags pop up: rain-slicked road, the “No gas or services for 75 miles” sign, the crappy pop song on the radio. You know something bad’s about to happen. Sure enough, she looks away for a second and another car appears, stalled in the middle of the road, she hits it and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad night begins for Ellen (Turner).
This is my second time watching this and I don’t remember enjoying it as much as I did this time.
The Good: The acting – Bree Turner is great as Ellen who transforms from mousey yuppie chick to stone cold killa. Angus Scrimm makes a alternately creepy, endearing and funny turn in this and is easily worth the price of admission. The remainder of the cast is solid. Cinematography – nicely shot. The cool stuff looks cool and the creepy stuff looks creepy.
The Bad: Moonface – It’s like they spent all their production money on, I don’t know, cheesy poofs and had nothing left to develop the bad guy. So, they sat Big John in the makeup chair, slapped some pancake makeup on him and a leftover grill from “Tales from the Hood.” Disappointing.
The Ugly: – I hate to say this, but THE STORY! Pieces of this have such potential but pieces of this just mire the rest in great, vomitous pits of stupid. Maybe it’s just me. I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who marry guys who are violent, paranoid survivalists. And maybe they’re dumber than a bag of hammers. But these vignettes just seemed to drag the rest of the episode down. Unfortunately, they play an important part of the story. Turner and company ALMOST overcome it, but I can only imagine how much more awesome this would have been if they’d re-written that – and a few other bits – so that they made sense.