Masters of Horror: Pick Me Up
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I've always been a big fan of Larry Cohen's. Not so much for his directorial eye, but his movies in general. These are staples of great cheesy horror. I mean, you have Q, Bone, It's Alive and it's sequels, etc. I mean these are all fun movies. Seeing that he had a Master's of Horror episode definitely brought a smile to my face. Seeing that Michael Moriarty was starring in it made me toss all other DVDs aside so I could get started right away on this. Well, as I guessed Pick Me Up is Moriarty at his best, and Cohen has another winner on his hands. Not a great Masters of Horror episode, but one hell of an episode for maybe Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside. I'll explain more in a moment.
A bus pulls over to the side of the road after breaking down. Everyone files out of the bus wondering what to do now. Our heroine Stacia (Fairuza Balk) starts walking the 14 miles to the closest motel. Moments later a truck driver Wheeler (the brilliant Michael Moriarty) pulls up to take a few of the folks to a local truck stop. After the truck pulls out a young man Walker (the also impressive Warren Kole) strolls up talking to the bus driver. Well, the bus driver bites it. See, Walker is a serial killer that kills those that pick him up and Wheeler is a serial killer that kills those that he picks up. Get it? Wheeler and Walker. Wink-wink.
Now, Walker makes it to the motel that our young Stacia is at after a metal-head couple picks him up. In fact, Wheeler also makes it to the motel when he finds out that there is another killer working his turf. Due to Stacia's unlucky nature I guess, she gets stuck in between these two killer's game. This all leads up to an unbelievable twist ending. Not unbelievable because it was stunning, amazing or anything good, but an ending that just seemed too convenient and not horrific.
This was my one complaint about this addition to Masters of Horror. Pick Me Up is not horrific at all. There were moments of clever, humorous dialogue, but nothing horrific. The only thing that could be construed as anything horrific was Wheeler and Walker's profession. Well, that and the walking plastic surgery that is Laurene Landon playing Birdy.
One thing that I want to make clear is that the acting of Michael Moriarty and Warren Kole is the stuff that should win awards. Their dialogue back and forth was spot on and made watching this episode a blast. None of that is in question. In fact those two made the episode. Balk also does a good job of the tough girl, who ends up not being so tough. Again, the problem was the lack of horror and the humorously cheesy twist at the end. It had me laughing out loud instead of cowering in fear. When you think about it though, isn't that like many of Cohen's films? I can't say It's Alive or any of the sequels had me cowering in fear. Same thing with Q. Aztecs and winged serpents just don't have me very scared. I did have a good time with those though, along with this one.
Another problem is that many of the Masters of Horrors seem like short films. This seemed like a good episode, but not a film by any stretch. This is where the Tales from the Crypt or Tales from the Darkside comes into play. (See how it all comes full circle?) Maybe I'm being too picky. Who knows? Masters of Horror is just a television show after all. This wasn't much of a masterpiece, but I can definitely tell you all to check this one out, if anything for the great acting. Overall this was an addition to pick up. Get it? Pick....screw it. 3 1/2 cans.
Added: Wednesday, October 18, 2006
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