Television: June 2008 Archives

I don't know why I got my hopes up about this week's Fear Itself. Maybe it was because I had actually seen some of director John Landis's previous work and liked it very much. Sure, before the Masters of Horror series came along a couple years back he didn't have that many horror credits to his name (unless you count 2 1/4 as "many"), but An American Werewolf in London is a classic of the genre and is, in my estimation, one of the best werewolf movies ever made. I confess that I have yet to see either of Landis's Masters of Horror episodes, but I certainly hope they're better than "In Sickness and in Health," which probably could have used a werewolf or two to spice it up.

As usual with this series, the problems start with the script and this one just so happens to have been written by Victor Salva, the writer/director of the Jeepers Creepers movies and a convicted child molester whose work I've managed to avoid up until now. I'm not saying he's incapable of making scary movies because of his checkered past (quite the opposite, in fact), but some people simply don't need to be encouraged. And if this teleplay is any indication of his talents, he won't be. Who knows? He may have the great American pedophiliac werewolf story inside him, but who's going to want to get it out of him?

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Attentive readers will recall from last week's article my harrowing ordeal at the hands of alleged thespian Eric Roberts via his televised appearance in last week's episode of Fear Itself. What I neglected to include in my review, however, was the aftermath of this shameful incident. Apparently, in an Roberts-induced state of delirium, I began wailing and howling in a manner more befitting an animal than a man, and these odd vocalizations of mine were audible throughout the apartment complex in which I currently reside.

I was, as they say, "pretty far gone" by the time the local police knocked on my door to make inquiries as to my safety and sanity. These law enforcement officials were responding to a 911 call made by my neighbor, an elderly widow named Viberta Wigfall. Fortunately, Mrs. Wigfall is one of my oldest and dearest friends, and her call to the police was merely an act of motherly concern rather than one of spite or malice. Regaining my composure under these admittedly embarrassing circumstances, I managed to convince both the police officers and Mrs. Wigfall that everything was perfectly all right, and we all adjourned to our respective dwellings.

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After last week's dismally derivative "The Sacrifice," the horror anthology series Fear Itself bounces back with a sophomore effort that is a refreshing change of pace. Far from your ordinary haunted house story, "Spooked" is a touching drama about a damaged man coming to terms with a tragedy in his past. Of course, as a sop to the show's presumptive fan base it has to couch its hard-won emotional revelations in supernatural terms, but it's no less effective for that.

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From greatness comes greatness. From gods come gods. As Dionysius sprang from the loins of Zeus, so Breck Eisner sprang from the loins of Michael Eisner, and we the viewing public are all the luckier for that fact. While Eisner the Elder's triumphs are many and myriad, it is of the younger Eisner I now write, for it is he who directed "The Sacrifice," the inaugural episode of Fear Itself, a new horror anthology series currently airing on the National Broadcasting Company. Reader, I tell you, a more stirring curtain raiser this series could not have asked for. "The Sacrifice" is beautiful and grotesque, a phantasmagoria of horrific delights for all five of the senses. If there were any lingering doubt even after Sahara, "The Sacrifice" proves that Breck Eisner is a master. This episode is a masterpiece, truly a master's piece.

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This page is an archive of entries in the Television category from June 2008.

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