Masters of Horror - Family Review
Written by: Goon
So far Season 2 has not thrown anything at me that I felt was really great. Argento did some pretty good work on Pelts but it wasn't anything real top notch. Now the last person I expected to put some life back into the Masters of Horror series was John Landis. After his last outing with Deer Woman I thought that he had probably lost touch with the genre. Of course he will probably never topple An American Werewolf in London but he did create a smart and fun episode with Family.
The story takes place in a nice little suburban gated community where everyone greets each other and have nice little trimmed lawns. But little does everyone now that the lovable Harold played by George Wendt is a psycho. Harold goes around outside of town to capture people and then he burns them up with acid until all that is left is there bones. After that he puts them back together to create his "family members". All of which is shown in gruesome detail. Another neat trick that is accomplished within the episode is that Harold has gone crazy and actors stand in for the bones and speak to him. A little hard to explain but it is very effectively used during key parts of the story.
One day a new couple moves in next door to start a new life. Harold is soon faced with a beautiful woman who he feels would make a terrific wife in his "family". While doing his research and making nice nice with the new neighbors he discovers that they have moved in to help start a new family after there daughter died of cancer. So he uses that to his advantage to try and lure her in to his snare. Does he accomplish this deed? Or is something more sinister in store for our old Uncle Harold?
The thing I think I loved most about this episode is that it reminded me so much of an old Tales From the Crypt episode. A series that George Wendt appeared in as well. Its full of plenty of macabre and crazy twists to keep you watching throughout. But I must say I think this episode lacked alittle from KNB. This was definetly not there best work and was probably the only bad thing I can say about the entire episode.
Rather than having John Landis and his son write the script like he did with Deer Woman. Frailty screenwriter Brent Hanley came on board and wrote a fantastic tale of terror. I was a big fan of Frailty so to see him write another script for the genre was great. Especially with John Landis on board it all worked out very well. We did however get a different side of Landis in this episode however. He did this rather odd opening shot that even he himself admits he never likes to do. It was odd but it definetly was a great shot to open up the film with. Showing the outdoors with all the people running in the streets and whatnot to Harold in the basement melting bodies. All that in one shot, it really worked well.
The DVD was just about like every other Masters of Horror DVD that Anchor Bay has put out. A special behind the scenes featurette which are always fun in the Masters of Horror series. There is also a featurette about the music used in Family which is also very interesting. Along with that you get a commentary from screenwriter Brent Hanley and some storyboards. So overall I would definetly recommend picking this one up. Family is a fantastic story done in a very distinct E.C. Comic book style.