With Halloween long over, cravings for horror and gore aren’t as strong, but Showtime is keeping the Halloween spirit alive with it’s newest and highly anticipated series, “Masters of Horror.” Taking top directors and producers of horror movies such as “Halloween,” “Bubba Ho-Tep,” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” every week, for 13 weeks, there will be a one-hour episode on various horror stories. If the first episode, “Incident On & Off a Mountain Road” has any preview of what’s in store for the rest of the season then I suggest going to your local video store and renting the classics instead.
“Incident” starts off simple enough, with a girl named Ellen driving down a country road and only gets worse from there. She gets distracted by something in her car and when she looks up is one second away from a head-on collision. This causes the first of what must be at least four blackouts, some random, some reasonable. Each blackout brings us to a flashback of her past with a wilderness man who Ellen meets and falls in love with. He teaches her survival, which of course comes to good use later in the story. She wakes up at the wheel and exits the car to examine what happened; this is when the true terror begins.
The creators of this show have been known to make some classic iconic villains from Michael Myers to Leatherface, but here they just seemed to be lazy with the character of Moonface. Named Moonface for his white skin, he also features a mouth full of silver, which makes him look like he visited Lil Jon’s dentist. Also, it seems like the writers have seen “Jeepers Creepers” one too many times because he dresses almost exactly the same way as the villian. Bad guys are supposed to be ruthless, unstoppable creatures, but almost immediately Ellen fights him off and is able to get away.
Moonface finally gets his chance to shine when we see his trademark weapon, a specially curved knife, but after countless misses we never get to see the weapon in action. And while the back-story on Ellen is intriguing. The back-story on why people become killers is always so much more interesting, and we are given nothing here. How did he end up with white skin? And how did he manage to kill so many if Ellen can defeat and get away from him so easily?
Horror movies are not known for great acting, and this trend continues in “Incident,” but it prevents viewers at cringing for most of it by not putting a lot of dialogue in and using action to tell the story. Too bad,the action isn’t great either.
Being on Showtime, a premium cable channel, cursing and gore are a normality (i.e.: “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood”), but as we get to potentially great gore scenes (for instance: a power drill to the eye), the camera cuts away and we are left to our imagination and boring sound effects. Why not just air the show on ABC? The creators need to take advantage of what they’ve been given and really deliver.
Horror on TV is very hit or miss as proven with many other series, the most successful being “Tales From the Crypt.” Other shows like “Freddy’s Nightmares” and “Friday the 13th” have failed miserably and unless “Masters of Horrors” doesn’t pick up the pace, it will have the same fate as the others: cancellation. With the nightly news packing more horrors than “Incident,” it’s time for horror writers and directors to catch up with the times and deliver better stories, more convincing villains, greater amount of goreand stop “Sixth Sense”ing us, the twist endings have become so predictable that I would be surprised to see a happy ending in one of these episodes.