Monday, September 10, 2007

Masters of Horror: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road

This is a repeat post. It originally went live December 18, 2006.

This is another busy week for me, but I plan to get at least three posts up, and I'm hoping at least one of them will be an original review. To give you a taste of what might (I stress might) be in the works here at Gravetapping over the next few weeks, I just finished Steve Hockensmith's terrific novel Holmes on the Range, and last night I started Andrew Neiderman's latest horror novel Unholy Birth.

I recently discovered—or more aptly put, remembered—the Showtime series Masters of Horror. I know nothing about the actual series, other than it was created and is produced by Mick Garris, and airs on Showtime; I'm one of the remaining three or four dozen people without a cable or satellite connection in my home. (It's expensive, and hell, it leaves me more time to read.)

I have, however, been watching the individual episodes as they are released on DVD, and while the series is a little uneven, a few of the episodes have been terrific. One such episode is, Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. Incident is based on a short story written by Joe R. Landsdale and directed by Don Coscarelli, who also directed the wonderful Bubba Ho-Tep starring Bruce Campbell, which also just happens to be based on a Joe Landsdale story.

Incident is a tour-de-force horror film. It is part slasher, part psychological thriller, and completely and outlandishly entertaining. The cinematography is beautiful, the acting is better than competent, and the direction is great. Incident On and Off a Mountain Road is very nearly the perfect horror film--its length, at just under an hour, is ideal for the story, and the story is told with a sharpness and style that slasher films rarely exhibit.

While I have never read the Landsdale short story on which Incident was based, I can only bet the film served its interpretation well, and I hope, oh how I hope, to see Coscarelli and Landsdale team-up again. Rumor has it, they are in the process of putting together a sequel to Bubba Ho-Tep.

While the DVD-version of Incident On and Off a Mountain Road is a little overpriced at $16.98, you should make an effort to find it in a library or at your local video store. It's well worth the rental fee. At least, I think it is.

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