SICK GIRL: MASTERS OF HORROR

Sick Girl

 Masters of Horror: Sick Girl

Let’s play that old Sesame Street game, One of These Things Is Not Like the Others. John Carpenter, John Landis, Joe Dante, Lucky McKee, Larry Cohen, Tobe Hooper. If you chose Lucky, have a cigar. As you can tell from this review’s title, the Showtime horror anthology series is supposed to be reserved for the masters of the genre, those who made some of the most horrifying films from the 1970s through today and are acknowledged as the greats of the industry. So what the Hell is Lucky doing here? Here’s a man who directed a handful of horror flicks, and he’s keeping company with some heavyweights here. Does he deserve to? Read on and see.

Sick Girl is an offbeat film that features: a lesbian entomologist, a lesbian tryst, some frightening interludes with a rather bizarre insect, and one of the most bizarre births this side of Rosemary and her baby. If those factors sound appealing, this is the flick for you. It’s certainly different from your average horror film, and that works to its advantage. It’s not your stock serial killer or monster flick, and it kept me interested for the full hour. A big reason for that is the acting of Angela Bettis. Here is one of the must underrated characters in the genre, and she carries this film. Her character tics make for a bizarre screen presence; if you doubt me, just give Mckee’s project May a view. She plays psycho better than Anthony Perkins ever could.

The extras on every episode of the Masters of Horror season one are impressive, and they live up to that billing here. Unfortunately, because of his severely small catalogue, the Working With a Master featurette and director interview are lacking (though the title Blood, Bugs and Romance is really neat). Three onset interviews with the cast amount to your typical promo stuff. There’s a 5 minute behind the scenes which you can skip without feeling guilty, and trailers for most of Season One of MOH. The commentary track with Lucky, the composer and some of the cast is the best special feature on the disc, if only because Lucky and Bettis are both seriously offbeat people. And I learned that the opening scene was actually an homage to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Who would’ve figured?

Series producer Mick Garris’ comments on why he chose Lucky for the MOH series are revealing: he wanted some young up and comers and, even more importantly, George Romero and Roger Corman dropped out at the last second. Those men have long careers and are true heavyweights in the genre. Lucky hasn’t done enough to prove himself worthy of that company yet, but if he continues to make challenging films like Sick Girl and May, perhaps one day he’ll fulfill his potential and earn the title.

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–Phil Fasso