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Recap / Masters of Horror S1E4 "Jenifer"

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Directed by Dario Argento and based on a comic by Bruce Jones and Bernie Wrightson. While out on assignment, Detective Frank Spivey (Steven Weber) shoots a deranged homeless man attempting to kill a model-body gorgeous, but hideously disfigured and mentally challenged blonde woman, Jenifer (Carrie Fleming). Informed that she will be interned in a mental asylum, Frank takes pity and brings her to his home instead, which his family doesn't take too well. It only gets worse after that, as Frank becomes obsessed with Jenifer's body while she begins to show her true colors.


  • Adaptation Expansion: The last act of the episode includes a Hope Spot where Frank seems to be getting his life back on track only for Jenifer to ruin it again.
  • Ambiguously Human: Jenifer is considered human by the other characters, but her actions don't make it quite as clear to the audience.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Jenifer manipulates Frank into getting himself killed by attacking the cannibalistic woman in broad daylight and getting shot for his trouble by a man who thinks he's just a crazed psycho. The cycle starts anew with Jenifer latching on to another hapless puppet who tries to care for her.
  • Black Eyes of Evil: Jenifer's eyes are completely black.
  • Book Ends: The episode begins and ends with a man dragging a tied-up Jenifer to a seemingly secluded location so he can hack her to death, only for an armed stranger to notice their struggle and shoot him before he can swing the blade. Her rescuer rushes over to her just in time to hear her would-be killer say her name with his dying breath. In the beginning, the protagonist is her rescuer. In the end, he's the one trying to kill her.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: A deconstruction. Boy warms up to Ghoul first out of pity, then becomes sexually obsessed with it. Ghoul pretends to love Boy to provide for it while Ghoul keeps murdering people.
  • Butterface: The eponymous Jenifer, to the point of exaggeration. Her face is downright monstrous while having a model's body.
  • Child Eater: Jenifer eats a little neighbor girl and Jack, the son of Frank's would-be shot at a new family.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: A hunter sees Frank trying to kill Jenifer and shoots him, setting himself as Jenifer's new pawn and restarting the cycle.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: An indication that Jenifer is evil is that Frank's cat is terrified of her.
  • Fan Disservice: Jenifer is an Ambiguously Human creature who has the body of a gorgeous woman and the face of an inhuman monster. She eats people, including children. Several sex scenes are featured with her and the man she enchants that deliberately invoke this trope.
  • Gorn: Any scene where Jennifer's hunger shows up.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: A subversion, obviously. Part of Jenifer's alluring body is a mane of wavy blonde hair.
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Jenifer attaching herself to yet another ignorant man whom she plans to use as cover for her murders after he kills Frank to save the "helpless" woman.
  • The Hero Dies: Frank is killed while trying to kill Jenifer, restarting the cycle.
  • Hope Spot: Frank settles in a new town and gets a job for a single mother that might be interested in him. Then Jenifer eats the woman's son.
  • Idiot Ball: Frank, when a lady eats your cat alive in front of you, it's time to kick her out of your home.
  • Living Aphrodisiac: Jenifer, at least from the neck down, is seemingly capable of bending any man to her will.
  • Lust Object: Jenifer quickly becomes one for Frank, even before his wife leaves him.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Depending on one's interpretation, Jenifer could either be a Siren or some kind of demonic temptress who lures men to their doom, or she could just be a severely disfigured and severely disturbed young woman. In particular, her Living Aphrodisiac ability to repeatedly make men lust and obsess over her (oftentimes to the point of insanity) despite her monstrous face is something that can be interpreted in quite a few different ways. Shredding people to pieces with her bare hands (or teeth), even the armed man who was hired to catch her seems to be more supernatural than manipulating men with sex.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: Jenifer has a mouth full of supernumerary, fang-like teeth. This is not particularly noticeable except in close-ups.
  • My Nayme Is: Jenifer, not Jennifer.
  • Nightmare Face: Again Jenifer, due to her deformed mouth, fang-like teeth, and black eyes.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Frank saves Jenifer from death at the hands of a homeless man and life in a mental asylum, and he soon discovers that he should have done neither, as his whole life collapses because of Jenifer's actions and influence on him.
  • Unfocused During Intimacy: The first indication that Frank is becoming obsessed with Jenifer is when he can't stop fantasizing about her while having a bout of rough sex with his wife, which she isn't enjoying.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Jenifer devours a little girl and Jack, the son of Frank's new boss and possible love interest. This is when it finally becomes too much for Frank and he decides to get rid of Jenifer.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Jenifer attracts new caretakers by making it seem like the previous one is a deranged psychopath who is trying to murder a helpless bound woman.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Frank becomes homeless after Jenifer kills the neighbors' little girl in his basement rather than deal with the fallout. Then Jenifer kills Jack in almost the same fashion, prompting Frank to finally snap and kill Jenifer.