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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Masters Of Horror - Series 1 - Vol.2 [2005] [DVD]
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VINE VOICEon 4 July 2007
This is my review of the 2nd box set of Masters of Horror Season 1, which has received a lot of overly harsh (in my opinion) criticism, but which stands up pretty well - especially as a TV series. I wouldn't necessarily call most of it frightening, but it has its moments and is an interesting curio.

JENIFER (Dario Argento)
Another strong piece which ups the gore factor (already high from the first box set). Argento goes as far as he can in the gruesome stakes and breaks a few taboos (murder of children, etc). The story is an odd gem based on a comic book about a murderous cannibal woman with a beautiful body but the face of a monster. The make-up effects here are excellent as is the wordless performance by Carrie Anne Fleming. The supporting cast aren't always so hot (and there are a few clunky lines in the script), but then no more than other episodes. Plus argento isn't directing in his native language, and he cares more about the visuals than anything else. Still, it's one episode that pushes the envelope further than most, and despite being less flamboyant stylistically than many would expect from Argento, there's enough to make you squirm - guys, if you really want to squirm, check out the deleted scenes to see what was edited out!

This post-apocalyptic vision of the future sees a nice girl meet a bad boy and fall in love. She wants to see more of the world than her protective mother wishes, but when she accompanies her new beau to underground club The Doom Room, she sees more than she expected... This episode isn't bad, and Hooper tries out some experimental techniques, but the club is yet another "grumpy kids in leather and make-up listening to dodgy metal" scene that Hollywood would have you believe is menacing. Really it looks like they should all be drinking cider and smoking in the bike sheds pouting. Plus Robert Englund camps it up onstage too much as the MC - he's a lot more menacing when he's being less OTT. The background for the story is intriguing (the biological weapon; old folk mugged for their blood), but the blurb in the packaging gives far too much away, so don't read it before you watch the DVD!

HAECKEL'S TALE (John McNaughton)
This is the one clunker of this set. It starts out promisingly, but slowly slides into silly camp. Again it breaks taboos, but it just doesn't gel as a narrative, taking too long to get going. In this historical tale, a doctor wishes to find a way to raise the dead. He discovers a dark side to necromancy when he meets a strange couple living next to a graveyard. I soon got bored with this episode, then annoyed as it got sillier and sillier.

FAIR HEADED CHILD (William Malone)
This was a stand-out for me, and genuinely creepy in places. A girl is kidnapped and thrown into a cellar by a strange couple. Her only companion is a mute boy with a dark secret. She finds creepy hints of her intended fate ("Get away before it wakes up" carved into the wall), and when the monster of this episode does turn up it really is unsettling. A gem.

PICK ME UP (Larry Cohen)
Two serial killers meet on the lonely road, having between them decimated the passengers on a broken-down bus. The hitcher and the lorry driver engage in a duel, the prize being the only survivor, tough girl Fairuza Balk. This jet black comedy is clever and pretty nasty in places, putting the viewer through their paces. It also boasts a killer twist.

IMPRINT (Takashi Miike)
The most talked-about episode, this wasn't even shown on US TV. Easy to see why. Miike is no stranger to controversy, and this elegantly shot tale features scenes of torture more graphic than many horror films. It is also beautiful to look at - though narratively it is all over the place, and Billy Drago's acting began to grate with me after a bit. It is still a startling, daring and challenging piece of film though.

As with the first set, there are plenty of extras and behind-the-scenes featurettes. And the presentation is lavish, with each disc getting its own synopsis and "front cover". Highly recommended for fans of the genre.
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on 11 January 2015
i love horror movies buy these didn't impress me at all
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on 10 June 2016
Disappointingly corny and not at all eerie or scary. This is reminiscent of the Twilight Zone series, or Hammer House of Horrors, only minus the humour or kitsch value.
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on 26 February 2013
Masters of Horror Series 1, Vol 2 continues on the dreaded horror path of bleakness, sexuality and gore- and does so well enough. Vol 1 for me was better- but Vol 2 isn't so bad. Of course these all form the same season.

The good news with Vol 2 is that there are no terrible episodes- the bad news is that there isn't a fantastic episode that you can single out- however all in all, all is good.

First episode out of this box set is Dario Argento's Jenifer. I love Argento's work, even his new stuff, like Stendhal Syndrome and Sleepless are great films. Jenifer is neither great or bad. It's right inbetween. The story is about a horribly disfigured woman who seemingly casts a spell on anyone that wants to care for her- she has animal instincts. The level of blood and gore is really ramped up in this episode- which includes seeing a cat eaten alive, and a child dismembered. The faults for me and unanswered question is why did she have animal instincts? Being disfigured isn't a great excuse, Mr Argento. Also Jenifer at no point 'feels' like an Argento picture. However, lets be honest, Jenifer is quite a ride and is a good episode. Note of caution, it doesn't bother me at all but there are 4 quite strong sex scenes in Jenifer. Which some people may find a little crude.

I wasn't looking forward to the next episode, Dance of the Dead- mainly because of all the poor reviews I had heard about it. It currently has a ranking of 5.1 on IMDB. However, trust no one but yourself it seems- Dance of the Dead is a wonderful episode- possibly the best on this pack. Great acting, dialogue, it's all here, except I must say blood. It's true that this episode has a more sci fi feel to it than horror, but the theme is still horrific- about what society we live in after a natural disaster. One special mention must go to Robert Englund who plays a sleazy, slimy MC in a nightclub. He is fantastic. Though I like the Elm Street movies almost everything Englund has done since then like 976 Evil and Zombie Strippers has been dreadful- and I was expecting him to ruin this episode. I was dead wrong, he adds volumes to it. Well done Tobe Hooper who directs supremely well here- the drug trip out scene in the car is delighful. The only snag I have with this one, is the final minute- can't say what it is for fear of major spolier.

Pick Me Up is an interesting episode, directed by horror legend Larry Cohen. The plot revolves around two serial killers in the back woods, who don't know each other but are killing off tourists one by one. One of those killers is played by long time Cohen associate Michael Moriarity- the guy is literally stunning in this performance. A cold hearted trucker killer. His lines are wonderful. Much credit should also be given to the other killer, a younger cowboy type played by Warren Kole. It's a good episode, possibly spolied a little by a Twilight Zonesque ending that doesn't quite have enough bite.

Next up is the infamous Imprint, directed by Takashi Miike. You can see why even cable bulked at showing this on TV. It's pretty hard stuff. The torture scene didn't bother me- but the piles of dead aborted babies did. Seriously if you don't like to see babies being ripped out of women and some dumped in bins and rivers- avoid. Of course it's all make believe, but the effects look so real- This is certaintly not for any women out there who are pregnant. As for the story, again it's a good one but not great. It was filmed in Japan and has a real sense of the country. The climax for me was knock out material but the story can drag a little.

The Fair Haired Child has got some rave reviews- so I was excited by this. However what we have is nothing spectacular. It's a fair- excuse the pun, episode. Dealing with a strange couple who son has died in a lake, but wait they can bring him back if 12 people are sacrificed. The ending was a complete let down for me. I probably in fairness just didn't get it.

Haeckel's Tale is the final episode on the box set. This is a good one, a period piece, thrown back to the days of Victor Frankenstein. The plot revolves around just that, bringing the dead back to life. The first half of the episode is excellent, but it does dip slightly. However this is well done by director John McNaughton most famous for Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer.

All in all I really enjoyed Vol 2- it's full of chills, gore, sex and well horror. It's hard to look at some reviews that don't like the series. It is what it is and it does a fine job of being a good not always great horror anthology. Here are my rankings for best to worst episodes on this volume.

Series 1 Vol 2

Dance of the Dead 4/5
Pick Me Up 4/5
Haeckel's Tale 4/5
Jenifer 3/5
Imprint 3/5
Fair Haired Child 3/5
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on 29 March 2007
There are six short films here, all of which are made for American TV. As television, all six are fairly commendable being as they are quite unusual and origional. The series is like of a horror version of 'the twilight zone' with gore and shares many of the flaws and triumphs of that series. The films are often fairly violent and disturbing as far as mainstream TV goes (imprint has dreadfull scenes of torture). If you are familiar with the work of the directors involved in this project then you may be either pleasantly suprised by the appearance of familiar themes and ideas from previous work or dissapointed by the lack of a more cinematic style. Some of the directors seem to benefit from the constraints of this medium (Argento is kept nicely under control!) while others seemed to me to be more limited by it (Mc Naughton's film is dreadfull, in a bad way). All things considered, if you are a horror fan you really should watch these films.
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on 23 October 2013
Wary of Argento, as so much of his work has been all style, no substance, I approached jenifer with tredipation. Shouldn't have. Dead scary. The other contributions were uniformly cool from mcnaughton to hooper, and the DVD extras are a must. Exhaustive and enlightening. A thoroughly enjoyable few nights as the darkness and the rain seeps in.
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on 30 January 2014
I'm a big fan of Masters of Horror. There's such a wide variety of episodes that everyone is bound to have at least a couple favourites in there. There's quite a few series too, so plenty Halloween movies if you're sick of the classics!
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on 15 September 2015
Enjoyed most of the stories, except one, which had a lot of screaming and the wife moaning and asking me how I could watch such stuff. Well it's not supposed to be Emmerdale farm is it?
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 28 February 2008
Like the first box set this starts off with two good stories, the first one Jenifer is a brilliant piece of work by Italian master Dario Argento based on an old comic story.
Tobe Hooper dircted the second tale "Dance of the Dead" which like Homecoming from the first volume has the dead coming back to life after a war, this time after a biological attack on civilians. It centres on a club where the dead are used to entertain. This episode also has a lot of deliberate quick fire scene changes and flashes that almost make you dizzy as you watch it.
Imprint by Japanese director Takashi Miike was just too disturbing a tale with graphic torture scenes that were a little over the top for my liking so I fast forwarded past them. It is an interesting idea though it just needs toning down a notch or two. Fans of the director may love it but it certainly would not entice me to seek out any of his other movies.
Larry Cohen's "Pick Me Up" is a return to form with suggested torture as Fairuza Balk just gets caught up in a contest between two serial killers, this one has a truly dark, but fitting finale.
Fair Haired Child is another great tale where a couple wanting to bring their dead son back to life kidnap children to bring him back by using witchcraft, it has a nice twist at the end.
The closer Haeckel's Tale, based on a short story by Clive Barker is a reasonable enough tale to end on and is the most erotic oriented episode in this collection, a little reminiscent in parts of Dellamorte Dellamore (Cemetery Man). It's no masterpiece but then again most of the other tales here are overshadowed by Jenifer anyway.
On the whole this is a more solid collection than the first volume, Takashi Miike's tale did spoil it somewhat for me and that is one episode that will not have many repeat viewings, this is purely my personal opinion.
Once again the extras are plentiful with lots of interviews and behind the scenes shorts that offers great value for money.
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on 10 January 2013
I dont know english very well.
Very beatifull Good Series... Good box...You sent very quickly ...Tank you very much... See you...
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