Masters of Horror (2005–2007)
33 user 6 critic

Haeckel's Tale 

A grieving widower seeking the help of a necromancer is told the terrible tale of Ernst Haekel, a man obsessed with reanimation.


John McNaughton


Mick Garris (creator), Mick Garris (teleplay) | 1 more credit »




Episode cast overview:
Steve Bacic ... John Ralston
Micki Maunsell Micki Maunsell ... Miz Carnation
Gerard Plunkett ... Dr. Hauser (as Gerrard Plunkett)
Derek Cecil ... Ernst Haeckel
Pablo Coffey Pablo Coffey ... Chester
Jon Polito ... Montesquino
Warren Kimmel Warren Kimmel ... Faron
Jill Morrison ... Rachel
Elizabeth McQuade ... Young Woman
Tom McBeath ... Wolfram
Leela Savasta ... Elise Wolfram
Christopher DeLisle Christopher DeLisle ... Elise's Dead Husband


In the nineteen century, a man seeks help from a necromancer, asking her to revive his beloved wife. The woman advises him that the process could be dangerous and proposes that he listen to Haeckel's story to help in him understand what he is asking. Ernst Haeckel is a cocky medical student fascinated with resuscitation. In his search for true reanimation he meets the necromancer Montesquino, who claims to have the ability to bring the dead back to life. Shortly after this meeting Haekel learns that his father's illness has become terminal and travels to seen him. One night while preparing to spend the night near a cemetery, an old man Walter 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 young beautiful woman, but soon discovers the couple have a dark secret. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




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Parents Guide:

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Canada | USA



Release Date:

27 January 2006 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


George A. Romero was originally going to direct, but couldn't fit it in his schedule. Then Roger Corman was approached to helm the episode, but health issues came up and he was then replaced by John McNaughton. 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
See more »

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User Reviews

Necromance in the Necropolis
3 December 2006 | by Jonny_NumbSee all my reviews

'Haeckel's Tale,' one of the last "Masters of Horror" episodes to be released on DVD, is a strange concoction of contradiction. Plot-wise, the film begins on a serious note but dives further and further into B-level silliness; visually, the costumes and sets run the gamut from impressive accuracy to jaw-dropping cheapness; the FX have a slapdash obviousness (the puppet-dog in the basket to the 'budget zombies'); and finally, it doesn't seem typical of any party involved (which, in this case, really isn't a good thing). John McNaughton, pinch-hitting for George Romero, directs a script by Mick Garris, based on a short story by Clive's hard to imagine where such a fine teaming would go wrong, but it does. After the introduction of a poorly conceived (and unnecessary) framing device, we focus on Ernest Haeckel, a young upstart med student with delusions of Frankenstein-ian grandeur; on the way to see his ailing father, he comes across an old man and his attractive bride, who has a strange fixation with the residents of the local cemetery. Even for a 60-minute episode, the plot feels stretched, and the twists and revelations run the gamut from dumb to simply insulting (the ending being the worst offense). While the faux-Hammer period setting and costumes would have made this one of MOH's more ambitious episodes, McNaughton and Garris ultimately transform a promising premise into the type of Saturday-afternoon cheese-fest Vampira would be right at home hosting.

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