Sunday, April 22, 2007

Review: Masters of Horror Episode "Sick Girl" by Lucky McKee

Hmm...I don't think I've previously mentioned my obsession with the work of director/screenwriter/actor Lucky McKee yet. One, I know his cousin, and thanks to knowing his film May, did very well in a forensics tournament once upon a time. Two, May is one of the best horror films of the last ten years, deftly combining black humor, wonderful realistic characters, and a twisted concept to a simultaneously sympathetic and horrifying conclusion. Three, he got screwed over big time with his film The Woods, once thought to be strong enough to demand that M. Night Shymalan rename his then titled The Woods to The Village, only to shelve the film for the better part of, about, two years and then release it straight to DVD, stripping it of all special features the week before it's release and it's still better than most of the crap films out there. Four, he stepped in at the last minute to direct what is still my favorite episode of Showtime's Masters of Horror series Sick Girl.

Sick Girl tells the story of entomologist Ida Teeter (the always wonderful and lovely Angela Bettis) who receives a strange specimen from a professor in Brazil. She eventually has Misty Falls (horror queen Misty Mundane, aka Erin Brown as credited here), a talented young artist, move in to her apartment, and all hell breaks lose.

A twisted horror comedy (what else) of a lesbian romance turned wrong at every step, the dialogue will have you laugh till you cry, while the practical effects and gore will have you cringe. The screenplay is intelligent, witty, and utterly disturbing, and McKee shows off his ability to pull out fantastic performances from his actors through understanding and collaboration that has endeared him to repeat contributors, like Angela Bettis. The true break out performer in this is Erin Brown, who is known in some circles more for her sex appeal than her acting ability. Erin fills Misty Falls with a sort of vulnerability and innocence that truly makes her turn for the worse all the more effective. Plus, she was very kind to me when I met her last year and even signed an autograph for my brother's friend who kind of has a huge crush on her (well, her work anyway).

If you are on the fence about which episode of Masters of Horror to pick up, I would personally say there are two strong choices. If you want straight horror with only a bit of dark humor, go with Cigarette Burns from John Carpenter. If you want dark humor with a nice bit of horror, go with Sick Girl.

Oh yeah, it also has Patricia Clarkson, another repeat contributor to the work of McKee. Told you he's popular.

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