Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: Masters Of Horror: Jenifer

From the canceled too soon horror anthology series Masters of Horror, Italian king of blood Dario Argento directs the scares in the lovely episode "Jenifer". Steven Weber who stars in this episode adapted the tale from a "Creepy" comic book story originally written by Bruce Jones. This episode is one of my favorite episodes due to the interesting story, subject matter, gore, and use of liberal nudity. Jenifer's terrifying allure will keep you thoroughly captivated and the ending twist will leaving you wanting more.

                                       Those eyes are just damm creepy.

Our tale starts when Detective Frank Spivey (Steven Weber) happens upon a man leading a tied up young woman to a secluded location for who knows what. The disheveled man lifts a meat cleaver to end this woman's life and Frank is forced to shoot him. Before the man dies he utters the words "Jenifer". Those words will turn out to be quite prophetic as our lead will find out. Frank unties the woman and is greeted by her horribly disfigured face. Huge black eyes, a huge deformed mouth filled with sharp teeth, and yet the body of a goddess. A strange mixture indeed. This is Jenifer (Carrie Anne Fleming). Frank is disgusted but seems somehow intrigued. Jenifer huddles against him and whimpers as if some innocent thing that has been abused. We soon learn that Jenifer is more than we know or may ever know. Frank soon becomes obsessed with thoughts of this strange woman and is ultimately consumed by visions of her day and night. He takes her from a mental institution and has her stay with him and his family. People do that right? Things starts to go very bad for him and others when Jenifer starts craving an appetite for flesh. People and animals will fall victim to her and we find that nobody is safe. He tries to get rid of her time and time again after each bloody event but he just can't seem to do it. She has this sort of dark enchantress vibe going on and she has no qualms about using sex to her advantage in this situation. Frank is helpless to her sexual overtures and ends up losing his family, job, house, and possibly his sanity all while Jenifer gleefully murders and devours victims. A true love story right.....Will Frank be able to break the spell and release himself from this succubus, or wil he end up another one of her victims?

                                      Jenifer finds herself a midnight snack.

Steven Weber did a great job here with his slow descent into near madness and alcoholism to cope with the madness going on around him. He really makes you believe his plight and I hope to see more of him in horror films in the future. Carrie Anne Fleming as Jenifer I must say does a phenomenal job here. While she isn't able to do much with her face due to the makeup, she makes up for with raw energy and body movements. Very cat like I would say. Carrie is able convey a lot of emotion with very little effort and that's quite a feat given she doesn't speak one word. There are some other minor characters that are fine, but they are all pretty much all interchangeable due to Carrie and Steven strongly carrying the episode.

                             Jenifer and Frank having an intimate moment.

Dario Argento does a good job with directing this episode. He brings us back to what he knows best. Blood and gore. He doesn't pull any punches here. The blood and intestines flow frequently from everyone and everything. He also manages to capture great performances here by Steven and Carrie, although he does that well most of the time with his actors. Steven Weber did also did a good job with adapting the story to a teleplay. The story moves quickly and keeps you involved to the very end. While there are no particular kills that stand out because you really only see the aftermath, they are all well done and gory fun. Most people are a little disturbed by a particular animals death, but I find it a fitting start to the bloodshed. Unfortunately there was also a scene cut out involving some castration that peaks interest, however you can see it on the DVD.

                        Jenifer left a little leftovers for Frank. How nice.

Overall this is one of the best episodes from the entire series in my opinion. We get a good story and direction, plenty of blood, some beautiful nudity, and good acting. What more can you want? Argento did return for the second season to direct "Pelts" which is a good episode as well. Though it would have been nice to see him return for a third season, but alas, maybe another time and place. Be sure to check this one out my friends. 4/5 skulls.

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