Masters of Horror: Season 1, Episode 1

Incident on and Off a Mountain Road (28 Oct. 2005)

TV Episode  -   -  Horror | Thriller
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 4,013 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 27 critic

While driving in the night in a lonely road through the mountains, Ellen distracts with her radio and hits a car parked on the road. She faints and she looks for help since her car does not... See full summary »

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Title: Incident on and Off a Mountain Road (28 Oct 2005)

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Episode complete credited cast:
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Ellen
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Buddy
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Moonface (as John De Santis)
...
Bruce
...
Young Woman
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Storyline

While driving in the night in a lonely road through the mountains, Ellen distracts with her radio and hits a car parked on the road. She faints and she looks for help since her car does not start again. She meets in the woods Moonface, a deranged monster-like man that collects human bodies pulling a woman. She is abducted by Moonface, but she recalls the survival lessons of her husband Bruce facing and fighting back the killer. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Horror | Thriller

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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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28 October 2005 (USA)  »

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1.78 : 1
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During the chase scenes through the forest, there is thunder and lightning heard all the time, but never any rain. There are also pictures of a full moon on a clear sky, despite the thunder and lightning. See more »

Quotes

Bruce: Well, if you're going to act like a whore, I'm going to fuck you like a whore.
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If Ever
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Performed by Gratitude
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Allow me to Disagree with the Majority
28 November 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A young woman, Ellen (Bree Turner) hits a parked car on a mountain road and stumbles across a serial killer. With a survivor's instinct, she decides to fight back. Also, we gets glimpses of her past relationship with Bruce (Ethan Embry).

I skimmed a few reviews of this film, and the same words keep popping up: "predictable" and "derivative". Even my friend Jason, whom I respect as a master of horror, had warned me the film was quite predictable. Please allow me to address this with regards to "Incident on and off a Mountain Road".

Is it derivative to have a woman chased through the woods by a killer? Yes. Was the film predictable? For the most part, yes (though I was not entirely sure till the end which predictable ending they'd run with). But as someone who has seen more than his share of horror films, aren't most horror films derivative and predictable? You see one slasher, you've seen them all. And don't tell me you can't predict who will and won't survive after the first ten minutes? (Hint: the minority always dies first, the young female lead survives.) The point is this: you have to take the predictable and derivative, and put a new spin on it or do it as skillfully as possible, like no on else has done. This film accomplished that goal, which impressed me since I've seen the director's "Beastmaster" and would not say that it really stands out as movie genius.

The opening scene had me hooked: Don Coscarelli uses very tight shots of a dark road. Close-ups on Ellen's face, focusing on her eye. A hood's view of the road (rather than wide shot) to give us the impression of being trapped in the car. Obviously, I knew that something or someone was about to be hit, but I also knew with the angles used there was no way I could escape being right in the impact. If you've been in a serious accident, you don't want to relive it.

Also, the killer's lair was great. Sure, we often find abandoned shacks with corpses in horror films, but the police sirens and lights were a nice touch. Did he kill the cops? Was it a taunting, letting his victims know there was no escape? I really enjoyed that. And the drill press... so much more frightening than a hand drill.

Bree Turner was great as Ellen. Her past roles have apparently been all comedies, but she showed here she was more than capable of being a strong heroine in a tense role. And, personally, I want to say Bree Turner is one of the most beautiful women ever to appear in a horror film since the dawn of time. Strong, smart and attractive... the very perfect example of a "final girl".

I found Ethan Embry (best known for "Can't Hardly Wait") a little out of place, but he showed he could be dark and menacing and maybe I ought to give him some credit. I couldn't stop thinking "gee, he really looks like crap... he's gotten all pudgy and bald", but if I looked past that I might have found a good actor. Maybe. After listening to the commentary, I was able to better appreciate how seriously Embry took the role, allowing himself to actually be strangled and stabbed to get the part right. That's dedication.

Angus Scrimm was amazing. I have seen Coscarelli's "Phantasm", so I have seen Scrimm play "The Tall Man"... probably his best-known role for horror fans. (If someone wants to call blasphemy on me for not seeing the sequels, call it... I'm in the process of fixing this.) I did see Scrimm in "Satanic" and that role was so pointless, it could have been played by anyone old or young, male or female (see separate review). But here, oh my, he was such a well-devised character that I don't think anyone else could have given this film what he was able to do.

I have no complaints about this movie, other than wondering about Moonface's origin. He seems to have a very talented dentist and a unique knife dealer. But obviously the time simply did not permit that story to be told... maybe a flashback in a future season of "Masters of Horror". This episode, I'm pleased to say, was one of my favorites of Season One, and I'm glad they kicked off the show with it. Maybe I stand alone on that, but that's a chance I'm willing to take.


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