Masters of Horror: Or How I F*cked Up a Golden Opportunity

I don’t need a horror channel to remind me I’m a horror fan. I don’t need a channel to play the same old bullshit movies I have in my collection, and then turn into a quasi-horror channel months later playing music videos, and wrestling programs. A channel doesn’t make me an automatic solid horror fan.

I’ve been one since I was four.

But I wanted a great horror show god damn it. The show I wanted to be great, ended up being one giant dry hump sans the stained pants, while the show I expected to flop, ended up being damn good. I speak of “Dexter” in that last comparison.

“Masters of Horror” is a lot like that really hot chick you met in high school. She was good looking without or without makeup, presented many possibilities, you imagined every such situation, and position, and when you and she were finally alone, she really wasn’t much to talk about. And then you’re left with nothing but disappointment.

“Masters of Horror” had that possibility. It had the ability to take some of the best minds and artists in horror, and bring them together to collaborate and create an amazing series of the sickest folks spinning yarns for the general public…
And what do we get in return?

The director of “Wrong Turn,” and the director of “Child’s Play” are “Masters of Horror.” And from it? William Forsythe as a demonic clown stalking adults he has a grudge on that ends in him being frozen. Michael Ironside as a gay vampire stalking teenage boys. And a cannibalistic cult of Washington fanatics dressed in powdered wigs banging on a man’s door for a confession that Washington ate little kids.

Now normally, after a first season of mediocre stories, the second season really would pack a wallop, but with season two, the kicks just kept on coming. Flat political commentary and camp abound in occasional intermissions of pure quality.

In season two, for every rarity of entertainment, there was sheer idiocy. Season Two began with a bang bringing about the intense and rather dark “The Damned Thing,” followed by the brutally sick and morbid “Family,” which starred George Wendt as a Norman Bates pedophile who kidnapped folks, burned their flesh off in acid baths, and paraded their skeletons around his house as the perfect family, and Dario Argento returning for the entertaining “Pelts.”

But then, the shit rose to the surface. Most disappointing of which was John Carpenter’s utterly horrid hack job in “Pro-Life” a safe entry that sat cozily on the fence in the issue of pro-life versus pro-choice. Both sides were mocked, both sides were spoofed, and neither came out pretty in Carpenter’s worst directing job period.

Season two became consistently worse with an awful finale “Dream Cruise” which was a typical Asian horror shit fest starring a green ghost with long black hair and a blank stare (original), a nonsensical story, and a typical happy ending.

How did Showtime fuck up a series with such potential? Lack of creativity? Or perhaps they were just unwilling to push the envelope, tackling dated political commentary a la “Right to Die” with the issue of Terry Schaivo, and even “Homecoming,” a crude satire of the Iraq war.

Basically, “Imprint,” an entry that showed some cojones, was banned, and with it Showtime used that as an excuse to shy away from anything subversive, or truly groundbreaking.

Garris, the show’s creator, was also allowed to come on board with episodes that were neither horror, nor suspense. “Chocolate,” was basically a neo-noir, while “Valerie on the Stairs,” was so utterly confusing and demented, that defending it felt like a waste of time.

Probably the most offensive, based purely on sheer lack of quality, was “The Washingtonians.” This was an episode I hated so much, I literally screamed into the heavens. Hyperbole, folks. “The Washingtonians,” in case you didn’t know, is the worst piece of dog crap this series has ever spewed.

And then, horror fans were left out in the cold with a series that literally accomplished nothing. For once Romero made a wise decision, pulling out from the series early on, and left behind folks like Joe Dante, Wes Craven, and John Carpenter to basically feed us this garbage that showed too many cooks in the kitchen.

Whether or not it was Showtime’s stranglehold, horrible scripts, or just a plain misstep in ideas, “Masters of Horror” ended season two without much to show for. For a series hyped on Halloween, aired like a world series, and granted with so much talent behind it, it was only able to go away with a few great episodes, and a lot of criticism regarding the creator’s failings.

You’re ultimately then left with a big “What the fuck happened?” at the end of this junk, and that’s a shame.

Rather than learning from their mistakes, Showtime just continued their brain dead antics. Instead of casting actual directors, looking for actually original scripts, they just branded us with the same garbage, and called it a day.

I’m not sure if it’s coming back for a third season, and personally I don’t give a damn. Showtime fucked up an utter golden opportunity, and I couldn’t be more crushed. It’s not a surprise these episodes are being touted as “short films” from these directors and sold individually as such, because there’s not a lot to be proud of with the “Masters of Horror” label.