Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mike The Boss - Films of 2010 - Film the Twelfth: Masters of Horror: The Screwfly Solution

Masters of Horror: The Screwfly Solution (2006) (dir: Joe Dante)

Since we are supposed to be watching a movie a day I have naturally gravitated towards the shorter movies since I can fit 1 or 2 in much more easily that way. I had not watched any of the Masters of Horror collection expect for the one by Takashi Miike which is acknowledged to be one of the best and was actually banned from US television.

The Masters of Horror collection was the brain child of Mick Garris and ran on the Starz cable channel in the USA. The concept was to get directors, who have made great horror films in the past, to do 50 minute TV movies a la Twilight Zone. Since it was to be on a cable channel, nudity and gore could feature prominently. The idea sounds like a good one but the constraints on the series (length, money, actors) resulted in an underwhelming collection of movies. However, if you are able to twist things around in your head to realize that these aren't really movies, they are episodic television shows, then they begin to shine a little brighter. None of them are great but there are quite a few that are fun. And since most of the DVDs only feature 1 episode on it, they are only half price to rent and definitely worth your time at that price.

I started with The Screwfly Solution, directed by Joe Dante, mostly because I know Dante has a good sense of humour and has been underused in Hollywood these days. I'm glad I did because Joe does a fine job of taking decent short story and working in some fine killing and a bit of sex to boot. It is based on a 1977 short story by Raccoona Sheldon who is also Alice Sheldon who wrote under the name of James Tiptree Jr. since sci-fi readers seem to have an aversion to female authors. If you don't know the story of the Screwfly, it is an annoying pest in South America that lays its eggs in human hosts which then begin to eat the living flesh while they grow. They were controlled by breeding sterile males and then releasing them in the wild to compete with the fertile males thus reducing the population.

Sheldon took this concept and applied a variation to humanity so that men become increasingly violent towards women as a result of this plague. Dante uses the obvious male violence theme to great effect having even the most well-meaning individuals hurt the ones they love the most. It is a well put together story with a bit of cheesy special effects for the grand finale but still an above average television production. Dante still has what it takes to shock us but knows full well that a bit of humour is always appreciated with our horror.

No comments: