Tuesday, July 18, 2006

MASTERS OF HORROR: INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD

Fortunately, MASTERS OF HORROR: DON COSCARELLI – INCIDENT ON AND OFF A MOUNTAIN ROAD (2005) is nowhere near as difficult to review.

Based on a short story by Joe Lansdale, Coscarelli's (PHANTASM, BUBBA HO-TEP) entry was the first in the series to air, and is a remarkably atmospheric, gory and suspenseful 70's styled thriller, and possibly the scariest thing he's ever directed.

The plot is classically simple horror fare: When Ellen (attractive Bree Turner) survives a car accident on an isolated mountain road, she encounters a hulking man-monster called Moonface (John DeSantis, BLOODSUCKERS) who is intent on capturing, torturing and crucifying her. Using skills taught her by her obsessive, survivalist husband, Ellen refuses to be a victim, and fights back.

There's a bit more to it than that, but to say more might give away some of the episode's many surprises.

Beautifully shot, edited and acted – with a particularly great performance by Coscarelli's PHANTASM "Tall Man," Angus Scrimm, INCIDENT is a taut, troubling 51 minutes, and my favorite in the series so far.

As usual, Anchor Bay provides a pristine1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a robust Dolby Digital 5.1 audio mix. (A 2.0 Dolby stereo track is also included). And also like usual, the disc is loaded with 3 hours or so of bonus features. There's the usual slew of featurettes, with the requisite cast and director interviews, behind-the-scenes montage and career retrospective. There are two audio commentary tracks – one with Coscarelli and screenwriter Stephan Romano, the other with Coscarelli and author Joe Lansdale. The bonus material is rounded out with a still gallery, MASTERS OF HORROR trailers, a Don Coscarelli text bio, and a DVD-ROM screensaver.

Highly recommended.

BUY: Masters of Horror - Don Coscarelli - Incident on and off a Mountain Road