Masters of Horror: Season 1, Episode 12

Haeckel's Tale (27 Jan. 2006)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
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Reviews: 31 user | 18 critic

While on his way to see his sick father, a man takes shelter with an elderly man and his young wife but soon discovers their horrible secret.



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Episode cast overview:
John Ralston
Micki Maunsell ...
Dr. Hauser (as Gerrard Plunkett)
Ernst Haeckel
Pablo Coffey ...
Warren Kimmel ...
Young Woman
Tom McBeath ...
Leela Savasta ...
Christopher DeLisle ...
Elise's Dead Husband


In the nineteen century, a man seeks help with a necromancer, asking her to revive his beloved wife. The woman advises him that the process could be dangerous, since she can bring the body back, but not necessarily the spirit and proposes him to listen to Haeckel's story to help in his decision. Ernst Haeckel is a cocky medical student fascinated with resuscitation. When the illness of his father becomes terminal, he travels to visit him and in his journey he meets the necromancer Montesquino, who claims to have the ability to bring the dead back to life. While preparing to spend the night nearby a cemetery, the old man Wolfram offers him shelter in his home, telling him that it would be very dangerous to stay near the necropolis. Haeckel accepts the invitation and meets his young wife Elise Wolfram. He feels seduced by the sexy woman, and sooner he finds her eternal love for her deceased husband. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Horror | Thriller


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Release Date:

27 January 2006 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The legendarily obscure ensemble The Residents made a complete soundtrack, which was not used in the broadcast version, but made available as download in 2010. See more »


The supposedly dead body that Chester brought to Ernst clearly shows breathing chest movements. See more »


Hush, Little Baby
Performed by Leela Savasta
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User Reviews

Haeckel: Portrait of a Serial Necromancer
12 August 2006 | by (the Draconian Swamp of Unholy Souls) – See all my reviews

Having directed the one classic horror milestone "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" apparently was enough to include John McNaughton in the whole Masters of Horror project. This was originally meant to become George A. 'father of all zombie movies' Romero's episode, but McNaughton does a great job and the opening credits still refer to Romero as being some kind of inspiration source. That's cool. And it only gets better, as the writer of "Haeckel's Tale" is no less than Clive Barker; creator of such brilliant genre efforts like "Hellraiser" and "Candyman". So, is this really one the best entries of the entire first season? Well it's not in the top 3 but, yes, it is another very solid and worthwhile horror adventure with a neat Gothic atmosphere and a handful of genuine shocks. The script lacks a bit of structure and continuity but overall it's compelling and refers to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein quite often. The mini-movie opens with a little wraparound story about a young man that requests the help of an elderly witch to bring back his beloved bride from the dead. The witch wants to help him but warns him about the dangers of necromancy by telling the tale of Ernst Heackel... He was a talented and obnoxious young scientist, on his way home to visit his ill father, until he made acquaintance with a bizarre couple in the woods. Raising the dead was an important part of their lives every night and that had terrible consequences for Mr. Haeckel. This tale is a strange combination of stylish Gothic thrills, morbid science, Fulci-esquire zombie splatter and sleazy sex scenes. The film is occasionally scary, but at other times very humorous and truly eccentric. For a good half hour, you have no real idea where the story is going! It initially looks like Haeckel is another amateur-Frankenstein and his obsession with science will drive him one step too far, but then suddenly he becomes the victim in a dark world of black magic and the occult. The make-up effects are terrific and especially the supportive characters of the film are highly memorable. Notably the always-reliable Jon Polito and the breathtaking young actress Leela Savasta. Another very recommended Masters of Horror episode.

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