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Masters of Horror - Dance of the Dead

episode 1.3

USA 2005
produced by
Stephen R. Brown (executive), Morris Berger (executive), John W.Hyde (executive), Mick Garris (executive), Keith Addis (executive), Andrew Deane (executive) for IDT Entertainment, Nice Guy Productions, Industry Entertainment/Showtime
directed by Tobe Hooper
starring Jessica Lowndes, Jonathan Tucker, Ryan McDonald, Marilyn Norry, Lucy Guest, Robert Englund, Emily Anne Graham, Genevieve Buechner, Margot Berner, Sharon Heath, Don MacKay, Kaen Austin, Erica Carroll, Fraser Aitcheson, Julia Barrick Taffe, Leah Wagner, Kylie Furneaux, Melena Rounis, Virginia Dee Mayne, Darren Moore, Misty Dawn Meeler, Brock Johnson, Clay Virtue
screenplay by Richard Christian Matheson, based on the short story by Richard Matheson, music by Billy Corgan

tv-series
Masters of Horror

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The USA, post World War III: Most of the country is destroyed, many US-citizens have turned to mutants or something, in short, this is a world where ... Kate (Marilyn Norrie) runs an old-fashioned coffee-shop and sees to it that her teenage daughter Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) falls in with the wrong crowd, since she has already lost one daughter, Anna (Melena Rounis), to drugs ... or something.

But just like most teenage girls, Peggy falls for a bad boy, albeit one with a heart of gold, Jak (Jonathan Tucker), and soon enough he has introduced her to soft drugs and taken her to one of these notorious underground clubs (or rather to something a second-rate Hollywood director imagines an underground club has to look like - yup, it's that ludicrous).

In this club, run by the sinister MC (Robert Englund), dead girls wearing very little are reanimated for a couple of minutes and electroshocked so that they appear as if they would be dancing - why that would interest anyone is of course at anybody's guess, but whatever. The point is that Peggy recognizes one of the dead dancers to be her sister Anna, and she persuades Jak to help take Anna away from all this ... with the MC naturally in hot pursuit, because then as now, club owners are reluctant to let their best Go-Gos go.

When making their escape though, Jak and Peggy bump into Kate who has gone after her teenage daughter to drag her home ... which is when the MC tells the true story of Anna: Anna was high on drugs night after night, and night after night, Kate came and dragged her home, until one day she grew tired of it and sold strung-out Anna - who wasn't yet dead - to the MC, to make her part of his Dance of the Dead act ... ouch.

The whole story ends with Peggy and Jak being allowed to keep dead Anna, but instead the MC gets Kate to feature in his show ...

 

Part juvenile delinquency saga, part post doomsday narration, part coming-of-age story, this episode of Masters of Horror is ALL TRASH. The Richard Matheson-story it is based on might actually be quite intelligent (I haven't read it so I don't know) and certainly features a few thought-provoking concepts, director Tobe Hooper - who has yet to make a movie that even comes close to his astoujnding debut Texas Chainsaw Massacre from three decades (!) earlier - however doesn't even make the slightest effort to pick up the more subtle elements of the story, instead he turns it into a piece of trashy sleaze held together by shots of naked boobs even at occasions where they make no sense at all. And when he some meagre makes attempts at storytelling, Hooper never rises above cheap clichés that almost want to make you puke.

So no, a good episode this is not. However, a lover of bad trash (like me) might find himself kind of liking it in spite of everything - emphasis though is on kind of here..

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD