YMMV / Masters of Horror

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Harold in "Family". Interpretations of the ending can vary wildly depending on whether or not you view him as responsible for his own actions or not. On the one hand, we see that he does have hallucinations...on the other hand, his crimes show clear premeditation, and he hides them well enough to indicate that he knows other people would not approve.
  • Anvilicious:
    • While the series tends toward good old-fashioned gore and nudity, Season One's "Homecoming", directed by Joe Dante (of Gremlins and The Howling fame), is anvilicious to the extreme. For no clear reason, the soldiers killed in Iraq rise from their graves as shambling zombies — not to eat us, but simply to vote against the current president. The supporting characters are all pastiches of Real Life political heavyweights (Karl Rove becomes "Kurt Rand," Ann Coulter is "Jane Cleaver"). When the zombies garner enough sympathy to sway public opinions, and the election outcome favors the opposition, the zombies' votes are thrown out to skew the results (in Ohio and Florida, natch). Of course, the zombies won't stand for this, and suddenly all of America's war dead (all the way back to the Civil War) rise from the grave to get revenge.
    • Some say "Pro-Life" as well. Doubly so because it crosses over into a Fantastic Aesop as it appears to make a pro-abortion stand before arguably turning it into a pro-life one. A young girl from a deepy religious family takes refuge in an abortion clinic when her fundamentalist father and his sons proceed to first hole up outside, and then storm the building. In the end it turns out that the girl was raped by some sort of demon and gives birth to a baby hellspawn which then shares an endearing moment with its father.
    • "Pelts" is a particularity cynical look at the Fur industry, with it's Cruella to Animals overtones and every one of the characters dying in quite a disproportionately gruesome manor which 'karmically' mirrors each of their respective jobs. What really pushes this over the edge is that even the relatively harmless role of a seamstress gets included with one of the most gruesome deaths (she ends up being possessed into sewing her own eyes, nose and mouth shut, which also causes her to then slowly suffocate to death).
  • Complete Monster: The horror anthology series usually has various monsters and serial killers as villains, but there are those who eclipse any others on the show in terms of sheer evil:
    • "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road": In the premier, the silent Evil Albino Serial Killer dubbed "Moonface" lives in a remote cabin in the woods. He periodically kidnaps people from the nearby road to brutally torture and murder them, taking care to dispose of their cars so no one will catch him. He typically uses an electric drill in his torture cellar to perforate his victims through the skull, eyes first. Then he crucifies the corpses and displays them around his lawn. He has also kept an elderly man captive for an untold amount of time to the point that the guy went completely crazy and became slavishly devoted to him. There are even some infant skeletons stashed around his cabin, still in their baby carriages.
    • "Dreams in the Witch-House": The Wicked Witch of the episode habitually sacrifices babies for her magic rituals. She uses her abilities to force various men to kill them for her, destroying countless more lives in the process. She also uses a Shapeshifting Seducer trick to have sex with the protagonist by impersonating his neighbor, apparently to further mess with his mind for kicks. It's later discovered that there were at least 80 baby corpses hidden in the walls of the house going back all the way to the 1600s, so she has been willingly doing this for centuries and for seemingly no other reason than For the Evulz.
    • "The V Word": Mr. Chaney is a bloodthirsty vampire who sees his new transformation into a creature of the night as a great opportunity to murder people to his heart's content. He was also a pedophile before his undeath who sexually abused many boys at the school he worked at. He slaughters a mortuary's entire staff, turns two teenage boys in the age group he previously targeted to become his new obedient vamp minions and tries to force one of them to murder his little sister to prove himself to his new "master".
  • Ear Worm: "Jesus Gave Me Water" song from "Family". Hear
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: "Sick Girl" plays its ending completely straight... except we know the bug's offspring explode out of their parents, so the girls are going to die horribly in a matter of days. You call that liberating?!?
  • Fridge Brilliance: In "Family", when David (who is a doctor) casually meets Harold in the hospital waiting room with a nasty cut in his forehead after having suffered a car accident, he lets him jump the line saying that Celia wouldn't forgive him if Harold bled to death because that would deprive her of the chance to torture and kill him herself.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In 2017, on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Trevor Noah mocked allegations by the new President Donald Trump of massive voter fraud because dead people were registed to vote, commenting that "Dead people getting up to vote? That's the weirdest episode of The Walking Dead ever!" That's essentially the whole plot of this series' episode "Homecoming", made about a decade earlier, in which zombified U.S. soldiers rise from the dead to voice their discontent through the electoral process.
  • Hollywood Homely: Women try to distract male attention by wearing unflattering clothes, with varying degrees of success in "The Screwfly Solution".
  • Ho Yay: Dalibor and Kirby in "Cigarette Burns".
  • Love to Hate: Harold from "Family" is genuninely sweet, almost Adorkable old guy from the neighbourhood, who in the same time is a completely deranged serial killer. It reaches the point when viewers can giddly watch Fullers' executing their Cold-Blooded Torture by the end of the episode without feeling bad for anyone.
  • Narm:
    • In the episode "Right to Die", there's a tender scene in which a married couple - not hugely wealthy, not in showbiz or anything, just an ordinary married couple - take a bath together. They're gazing into each others' eyes, smiling gently in close-up... and then the camera pulls back to reveal that the wife is sporting the most comically enormous set of breasts imaginable. If you didn't know better, you'd think this was a The Naked Gun-style sight gag. As it is, it destroys any claim the scene might have had to emotional realism. It also lets you know just why this particular actress was hired; the rest of the episode demonstrates it wasn't for her thespian talents.
    • Brown Jenkin camps hilariously in "Dreams in the Witch-House", even going "boo!" at a passing police officer for no reason whatsoever after brutally murdering the main protagonist.
    • While "Imprint" is supposed to be a serious story, some of the actors' thick accents make it kind of hilarious.
    • "The Screwfly Solution" is rife with this, especially Amy, who's got to be the most suicidally stupid teenager ever portrayed in fiction.
    • "The Washingtonians" was roundly mocked for a premise that should be horriffic - a secret society of cannibals who even eat children. However, they have to dress up as snarling colonial-era Americans for their dinner parties, and George Washington himself being revealed as a cruel monster who wanted to create a "cannibal republic" is so outlandish that there's no way to take it seriously.
  • Narm Charm: John Landis was fully aware what sort of project he's participating in and what budget he will have at his disposal. This, combined with his trademark tongue-in-cheek attitude, makes his episodes twice as good, because they are perfectly self-aware about being cheaply made TV horror spoofs.
  • Older Than They Think: While not too famous a subject, John Landis did not make up the "Deer Woman" legend.
  • Seasonal Rot: Season 2 is held up as this. And with solid justification - when the first season was made, nobody knew if second one will get green-lighted. Thus all directors picked stories they wanted to do the most, creating a string of solid episodes one after another. Thus season two was made from literal leftovers, ending up with really uneven quality. It also didn't sit well with fans how much more humorous it is in general.
  • She Really Can Act: Erin Brown, previously known as Misty Mundae in a lot of softcore lesbian videos (often Mockbusters), does a surprisingly good job in "Sick Girl".
  • Squick:
    • The title character of "Jenifer" somehow has an incredibly seductive effect on the male characters, despite being a horribly deformed Child Eater who may not even be human.
    • "Sounds Like" has lots of worms. And the worse thing is that you can hear them eating flesh.
  • Strawman Has a Point: For all the other blatant lies of the administration in "Homecoming", they do have a point when they declare zombies a potential risk to public health.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: "The Screwfly Solution" had a rather nice psychological thriller vibe to it, at least till you get to the end. Where it is revealed that the virus was created by aliens.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs: "We All Scream for Ice Cream" is about a ghost clown that kills people by giving voodoo ice cream of them to their children.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: In "The V Word", the vampire Justin commits suicide by exposing himself to the sun while being strapped to a cross-shaped table. His last words are in fact "God, make it stop soon".
  • The Woobie:
    • Stacia in "Pick Me Up". Fresh out of an abusive relationship, she hits the road—and her bus gets a flat tire, forcing her to get out and walk. Shortly thereafter, she gets kidnapped by a serial killer, used as bait to catch a rival serial killer, survives a truck crash, and promptly gets kidnapped again, when the two paramedics who show up at the crash site turn out to be serial killers themselves ...Jeez, this girl just cannot catch a break.
    • The angel in "Cigarette Burns" has been tortured and mutilated to make an Artifact of Doom, and kept in chains by a deranged art collector for years. He ends up regaining his freedom and taking the film with him to prevent further destruction.
    • The elderly tenant in "Dreams in the Witch-House". Years prior, he too was seduced by the witch and forced by her to sacrifice several children, something he is understandably regretful of, and has spent his remaining years as a recluse in his apartment (which is filled with crucifixes), praying every night and trying to drive the witch away. In the end, he hangs himself after the sacrifice of Danny goes ahead.
    • In "Imprint" The disfigured prostitute's life story is astoundingly tragic. First of all her face is horribly disfigured due to a genetic defect. She is abused as a "freak" by everyone around her and was sold into sexual slavery by her own mother. Then it's revealed that the parents were incestuous siblings and the defect is because she's an inbred child. The father was a violent man who regularly beat her mother and also raped his daughter during one of his violent episodes. A local Budhist monk also raped her. And she has a mutated evil "sister" growing out of her head who hurts her and forces her to do evil things.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/MastersOfHorror