Masters of Horror: Damned Thing, The
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Tobe Hooperís Dance Of The Dead entry into the Masters of Horror collection was one of my favorite episodes from last season. Heís back again for Season 2 with The Damned Thing. While this could have been another one of my favorites, some issues showed up making this still a great bloody episode, but just missing the mark of its potential.
Taken from an Ambrose Bierce story, The Damned Thing is strong on characters and sure as hell doesnít shy away from its gore. We first get introduced to a normal happy country family sitting around a table. Itís País birthday so boy and Ma head to the kitchen to light the candles on the birthday cake. In walks Pa, looking a little off and brandishing a shotgun, and pumps Ma with buckshot. All he can say is that something found him. The son takes off with the father in hot pursuit. Now hiding in a tree, the boy sees his father thrown into their truck by an unseen monster, lifted into the air and flayed open like a fish.
Now, I thought a kid walking in on their parents having sex would jack them up, but damn. The kidís psych bills must be huge after seeing all this. Flash forward years and the boy is now the town sheriff. Obviously, the past messed him up so his marriage is on the rocks, heís a little on the depressed side and his house is riddled with security cameras and monitors. Itís his parentís deaths anniversary and the town begins to slip into madness. With no answers as to why, the sheriff needs to try to keep the town and his family safe from whatever unseen force is changing the town folk.
Tobe Hooper does a great job keeping this episode moving along. Even with establishing the characters, this episode moves fast and furious. A guy bashing his head with a hammer is something you might have seen before, but seeing him turn the hammer around and scrape his face with the claw part is brutal and just a smidge of what the episode shows you. Like I said, this episode was strong as hell and moving along swimmingly untilÖ.it blew it at the end.
Remember the TV movie The Langoliers? Steven Kingís story had some tension, good acting and a mysterious sound in the background. Oh shit! It is the Langoliers! What do they look like? My mind is racing! Sadly, when you saw what they looked like, the whole entire movie became a dollar bin waste. Enter The Damned Thing.
Iím sorry, but the invisible force driving the town mad was great. There is a monster out there, but what could it look like? I couldnít wait. Sadly, when I saw what it looked like I almost turned the TV off. Damn you CGI! The ironic thing is that there is a special on this disk about creating the oil monster; the worst part of the episode. The film starts to unravel at the end of the film also, with a loss of build up or much pay off.
I still will stand by this episode and say it is good. It has some damn bloody scenes, some great acting and a strong tension build up on the front half. It sadly unraveled at the end making it not what it could, but it is still a damn fine addition to Tobe Hooperís resume and your Masters of Horror collection.
Added: Friday, November 09, 2007
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