I am a lifelong hardcore horror fan. Movies, books it doesn’t matter. I love a good horror film. I also love a good black comedy. Very few horror films creep me out most are just funny. The last movie that I can honestly say gave me the creeps was “Ju-on”, the original Japanese version of “The Grudge”. So now when I want creep me out horror I look east the to Asian horror film industry. But I want to talk about a little anthology series that I just started watching on Netlix called Masters of Horror.
I sat and watched 3 episodes back to back and with the first two episodes I wasn’t thinking masters of horror, I was thinking original kings of comedy. The first one “Family” starring George Wendt, was side splitting funny and by the plot you could tell that it was meant to be a black comedy. I like black comedy when it is done right, meaning it’s a black comedy because it was meant to be, not because a horror film simply turned out funny.
The second one “Jennifer” starring Steven Weber, was even funnier. I admit it was by Dario Argento, I was expecting a lot. After all “Susperia” is one of my favorite horror movies. Although I suspect it was intended to be serious all I could do was laugh at the complete lack of intelligence shown by Steven Weber’s character in the film. Sorry but there is really fine line between horror movie victim stupidity and complete moron. Weber came off as a complete moron, I couldn’t even grant this one the kindness of black comedy it was just a mess.
Well thank goodness I had seen Family first or I would have missed a true horror offering “Cigarette Burns.” Brownie points to this for the casting, two of my favorite actors, Norman Reedus and Udo Keir. I have loved Udo ever since I saw Mark of the Devil. But I have to say that this was truly horror. It’s a bit intense for some because it is truly a dark piece and it remains dark through the somewhat predictable ending. But somehow John Carpenter managed to refrain from adding those elements of stupidity that would have made the film funny.
The characters aren’t stupid, they are driven by an outside force. In fact the character of Kirby is even pretty smart (a rarity in horror movies); he opts to do the smart thing but is pressured into doing the stupid thing. The one point in the film where things could hove gotten humorous was Udo’s final scene. Instead of funny it came off as twisted, thanks to Udo’s skill.
I will be watching more of this series. While I think I’m going to find a lot more unintentional black comedy, I’m really hoping to find more gems like Cigarette Burns and Family.