Sleazy fur trader Jake Feldman will do anything for quality skin. When Jake crosses paths with fur trapper Jameson offering raccoon pelts caught at the sight of an ancient burial place, Jake jumps at the chance to cash in by stealing them in order to win the heart of a stripper named Shanna. But little does Jake know is that the raccoon pelts are cursed and will bring bloody revenge against anyone who touches them. Written by
As A "Master Of Horror" Dario Argento "Wears" His Title Well...
Watching a lot of the Season One episodes of MOH, I found myself wincing quite often...from painful embarrassment. Sure, some episodes were extremely gory as a horror buff might expect, but usually it's employed as a distraction to keep the viewer from contemplating how bad the writing is or how uneven the direction on some episodes.
However, the occasional segment has come up that's had me wincing and cringing for all the RIGHT reasons, and it's usually due to a true "Master Of Horror" who deserves to be invited back every season. Now, I've only heard that Takashi Miike's "Imprint" was the episode to raise the bar for sheer, overwhelming horror. But since it was never broadcast, I never got the chance to view it, so I can only go by what I've seen. And for my money, the goriest and most disturbing episode in the entire series was Dario Argento's rendering of the classic horror tale, "Jenifer." This is one director who's shown that he's not afraid of testing the limits of what this series can achieve, not to mention stretching the talents of makeup FX wizards KNB Studios to the very snapping point.
And he's managed to do it again. If anyone not in the know is wondering why Argento is most remembered for his magnum opus, SUSPIRIA, he provides a juicy, shocking reminder by once again kicking it old school with a 'giallo'-styled tale of ancient curses, based on "Pelts," a short story by genre master F. Paul Wilson (THE KEEP.)
Marvin Lee "Meatloaf" Aday plays amoral furrier Jake, who lusts obsessively for Shana (Ellen Ewusie), a beautiful exotic dancer who tauntingly reminds him that unless he can "make her happy", he can never have her. Which means that he has to find a way to become filthy, stinkin' rich or die trying.
Meanwhile, a backwoods fur trapper (John Saxon) and his son have been poaching on someone else's land for their latest haul of raccoon pelts. But this is no ordinary hunting ground, and these are more than just wild animals. The resulting fur pelts from their illegal activities are some of the most beautiful, hypnotically captivating pieces that they've ever seen. Of course, that's the way it works when something is as cursed as these pelts are, and woe to anyone and everyone who comes in contact with them...as the unlucky poachers will soon discover, followed by Jake and his associates...
It's amazing how powerful Argento's command of lighting, angles and cutting is, even now all these years after SUSPIRIA. And even though you can pretty much try to intellectualize about the top-notch quality of Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero's FX work, it's still shot in such a way that you can barely look at the screen without wanting to run out of the room. And I haven't felt that way since...well, SUSPIRIA.
With just two episodes contributed to this series, Argento moves to the front of the line as the predominant "Master Of Horror" amongst his peers. I might have nightmares after watching PELTS (which doesn't happen often), but even so, I hope he'll be invited back for a third season, and I can't wait to see what he comes up with next...
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