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Series / Masters of Horror

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Their wildest dreams are your worst nightmares.

Masters of Horror was a Genre Anthology on Showtime, created by horror film director Mick Garris.

The idea sprung from a series of dinners that Garris had held with other horror film directors, and the satisfying experience and the directors' admiration of each others works lead Garris to create this series in 2005. The basic idea was a series of one-hour films, each directed by a well-known horror director. The series featured contributions from directors as diverse as Dario Argento, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter and Takashi Miike, and received wide critical acclaim.

The series ran for two seasons on Showtime. Fear Itself, another Genre Anthology in the same format and created by the same team, premiered on NBC in 2008, and was cancelled after its first season. Another similar show called Masters of Science Fiction (again from the same creators) premiered on ABC in 2007, but only ran six episodes before being cancelled. Masters of Italian Horror is also in the works, focusing solely on Italian directors. IDW Publishing is also adapting several of the episodes as comic books.


The episodes, in order of broadcast, and the tropes they contained were as follows:

General tropes:

  • Black Comedy: And a lot of it. Certain episodes can easily pass as an Affectionate Parody of similar stories, while others are clearly made with pitch-black comedy in mind.
  • Fan Disservice: Fanservice scenes often blended with gore or other horror tropes.
  • Fanservice: Quite a lot of episodes feature nudity or sex scenes.
  • Gorn: Loads of it. Takashi Miike (who else?) had so much in his episode that it was banned from broadcast.
  • The Hero Dies: Many a Downer Ending would end up with the hero being killed by the episode's monster or villain.
  • Playing with a Trope: What is of much interest to us Tropers is how the series play with standard Horror Tropes. Take "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road"; at the beginning, it looks like a typical hapless-female-chased-by-a-psycho. Then it turns out she is not that hapless, being the wife of a Crazy Survivalist. And so on.
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  • Something Completely Different: Each season of the anthology (usually set in modern day Everytown, America) had one episode set in the early 19th century and another filmed in Japan and directed by a Japanese director.
  • Torture Porn: Several episodes, especially in the second season.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Both this show and its successor Fear Itself had 13 episodes per season.


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Season One

    Incident On and Off a Mountain Road 
Directed by Don Coscarelli and based on a short story by Joe R. Lansdale. While driving in the night by a lonely mountain road, young Ellen (Bree Turner) suffers a car crash and comes across a deranged, monster-like Serial Killer nicknamed "Moonface" (John deSantis). In order to survive, Ellen must put in practice the lessons she received from her Crazy Survivalist husband Bruce (Ethan Embry).

  • Action Girl: Ellen was trained by her survivalist husband to be prepared for anything. She proves Moonface that she's not the easiest prey and even ends up killing him in a one on one fight.
  • Asexuality: Moonface is not interested in "sexual things" according to his longtime and crazed prisoner Buddy. He just enjoys inflicting pain.
  • Asshole Victim: Ellen murders Bruce after he rapes her.
  • Bald of Evil: Moonface is a bald serial killer.
  • Bookends: The film begins and ends with a closeup of Ellen's eye as she drives down the road.
  • The Brute: Moonface is a behemoth of a man and clearly enjoys killing people.
  • Crazy Survivalist: The heroine's husband Bruce is so obsessed with survivalist skills that he eventually drives his own wife away. It borders on Properly Paranoid, since the things he taught his wife did end up helping her when she was actually attacked by a psycho.
  • Disney Villain Death: Moonface meets his end after the heroine knocks him out of his mountain cabin and he falls into a ravine.
  • Damsel in Distress:
    • Subverted with Ellen. When the killer tries to hunt her down, she shows that she's a survival expert who lays several traps for him and outsmarts him several times.
    • Played straight with the Young Woman, who unlike Ellen isn't able to defend herself and becomes easy prey for the psycho.
  • Domestic Abuse: Bruce becomes an emotional abuser towards Ellen as their marriage disintegrates. Then, after she leaves him, he resorts to physical abuse, including rape.
  • Emotionless Girl: Ellen, after all the shit she's been through, becomes this at the end.
  • Eye Scream: Moonface uses a drill press to remove the eyes of his victims. While still alive.
  • Going Commando: Ellen, after using her panties for a Booby Trap.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Bruce taught Ellen all he knew about survival and how to defend herself. So when he raped her, she uses those skills to overpower and kill him.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The camera quickly cuts away before any actual eyeball penetration is shown, though the blood-soaked drill is shown afterwards.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Ellen eerily takes on many of Moon's mannerisms at the end. She gives her dead husband the same treatment Moonface gave to his victims and kills Moonface's insane captive Buddy to tie up all loose ends.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Young Woman is impaled through the thigh by one of Ellen's traps, which was intended for Moonface.
  • Ironic Echo: Ellen echoes Moonface's signature "Sssshhhh...!" when she shoots Buddy at the end.
  • MacGyvering: Ellen manages to quickly fashion a booby trap for Moonface using some sticks and her own panties.
  • Rape and Revenge: A crazed Bruce beats Ellen up, ties her hands and rapes her. She strangles him to death in retaliation.
  • Serial Killer: Moonface lives on a remote mountain top where he indulges in serial murder. He attacks passersby on the lonely nearby road (mostly women) to take them to his cabin where he drills out their eyes and uses their corpses to decorate around the place.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: Buddy became incredibly loyal to Moonface after being his captive for so long. He initially helps the heroine escape, but immediately yells at Moonface to come down and recapture her afterwards.
  • Talkative Loon: Buddy has clearly lost his mind after being Moonface's captive for so long, joyfully asking Moonface's new victims if they want to sing with him or brought any candy with them before Moonface comes back. Ellen eventually shuts him up with a well-placed blow to the head.
  • This Is a Drill: Moonface kills his victims by strapping them to a table and drilling through their skulls with an industrial drill, eyes first.
  • Torture Cellar: Moonface performs all his kills in his dungeon underneath his cabin. He typically carves his victims' eyes out with an electrical drill.
  • Twist Ending: Ellen killed Bruce and was going to dispose of his body when she suffered the accident. She ends up making it look like Bruce was another victim of Moonface.
  • Silent Antagonist: Moonface fits the typical mute serial killer character. His only sort-of dialogue is shushing his victims to be quiet while he tortures and murders them.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Courtesy of Ellen after she wakes up in Moonface's cabin.
  • Would Hurt a Child: A dessicated baby corpse is amongst Moonface's "trophies".

    Dreams in the Witch-House 
Directed by Stuart Gordon and based on the short story "The Dreams in the Witch House" by H. P. Lovecraft. Modern-day college student Walter Gillman (Ezra Godden) rents a room in a colonial house looking for a quiet environment wherein to study his grade on String Theory. However, he soon begins to experience some weird and very vivid dreams till he is convinced that a 17th century witch wants him to sacrifice the baby of the woman next door (Chelah Horsdal).

    Dance of the Dead 
Directed by Tobe Hooper and based In Name Only on a short story by Richard Matheson. Peggy (Jessica Lowndes) is a 17 year-old girl who lives with her overprotective mother Kate (Marylyn Norry) in a post-apocalyptic US 20 Minutes into the Future. Her father died in World War III and her older sister Anna went missing some years after that. Shortly after meeting a teenage punk named Jak ([[Jonathan Tucker), Peggy ignores the advice of her mother and accompanies him to The Doom Room, a nightclub in the nearby town of Muskeet run by an eccentric manager known only as "the MC" (Robert Englund), where the main attraction is the so-called Dance of the Dead.

  • After the End: The setting.
  • The Dead Can Dance: A group of young people in a post-World War III future visit a nightclub where corpses are made to "dance" through the use of a nerve-gas spray.
  • Death by Pragmatism: Used, although the victim's pragmatic decision was unquestionably one of the coldest things on this list. A mother of two sold her older daughter, who was a strung-out junkie in the process of overdosing to a man who would reanimate her lifeless body to dance in his freak show, so that she could support her younger daughter. In the end she was killed and the surviving daughter traded the mother's body for the sister's so that the sister could be buried.
  • Den of Iniquity: The Doom Room.
  • Fanservice: Many of the workers in The Doom Room go topless.
  • For Science!: Used as an apparent legal cover by the MC, as he likes to remind the audience before showing them some reanimated cadavers that his assistants make "dance" with electric shocks. This is present in the short story, as well. It's legal, so long as it's preceded by the "educational" disclaimer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jak joins Peggy against the MC and helps her "rescue" her zombified sister Anna. Ironically, this act sets off the chain of events that ends with Peggy becoming one of the regulars at The Doom Room, and her dead mother becoming the Doom Room's newest "dancer".
  • Human Resources: Jak and his friends are blood harvesters, who steal fresh blood from hospitals (and occasionally from live people) and sell it to the MC.
  • I Love the Dead: The MC performs oral sex on an animated female cadaver, and then later receives oral sex from a different animated cadaver.
  • Jerkass: Kate, hands down.
  • Large Ham: Robert Englund, a master of the trope.
  • My Beloved Smother: Kate.
  • My Nayme Is: Jak spells his name with no C.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: In this case they are only vaguely reanimated corpses.
  • Phlebotinum Dependence: In order to "dance", the Doom Room's zombie dancers need to be regularly injected with fresh blood — preferably from older people who are unlikely to have ever done drugs or have an STD. Additionally, the MC keeps a private stash of blood for his own purposes.
  • Shout-Out: The bouncers at the Doom Room are dressed in the "droog" style (derby hats, white jumpsuits, etc.) featured in the film A Clockwork Orange.
  • Sissy Villain: The MC. He wears makeup and is pretty flamboyant.
  • The Reveal: Kate, fed up with Anna's hard-partying lifestyle, allowed her to die of a drug overdose and sold her corpse to the MC. Trouble was, she wasn't quite dead when her mother sold her.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future
  • The Unfavorite: Anna.
  • Wretched Hive: Cruising down the main drag of Muskeet at night makes Dodge City look like Disneyland.

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 as he is attempting to kill a model-body gorgeous, but also hideously disfigured and apparently mentally retarded woman, Jenifer (Carrie Fleming). When informed that she will be interned in a mental asylum, Frank takes pity of Jenifer and brings her home instead, something that his family doesn't take very 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.
  • 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 the man 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 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, possibly to the point of exaggeration, in that her face looks downright monstrous while still having a model's body.
  • Death of a Child: Jennifer eats both the neighbourhood girl and Frank's cat.
  • Evil Detecting Cat: A clear indication that Jenifer is evil is Frank's cat being 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 also eats people, including children. Several sex scenes are featured with her and the man she enchants that deliberately invoke this trope.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: 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 clearly isn't enjoying.
  • Gorn: Jennifer's hunger fits.
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Jenifer attaching herself to yet another ignorant man whom she plans to use to cover up for her continuing murders after he kills the hero to save the "helpless" woman.
  • The Hero Dies: Jenifer manipulates the hero 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.
  • Idiot Ball: Frank, when a lady eats your cat alive in front of you, it's time to kick her out of home.
  • 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 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. Not particularly noticeable except in a few close ups of her mouth.
  • Nightmare Face: Again Jenifer.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: Literally, although it wasn't somebody important to the main character.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Jenifer devours a little girl. This is when it finally gets too much for Frank.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: This is how Jenifer attracts her new caretakers, by making it seem like the previous one is a deranged psychopath who is trying to brutally murder a bound woman.

Directed by Mick Garris and based on his own short story. Jamie (Henry Thomas) works in a laboratory that develops flavors for a food company. One day, he begins to suffer a series of apparent hallucinations until he realizes that he's actually living the experiences of a woman in another city as if they were his own.

  • Asshole Victim: The woman's boyfriend was a domineering prick who became physically abusive when she made known her displeasure at his attempts to get her in a threesome (with a girl he was being intimate with when she arrived at his place). Possibly the woman herself as well, as she agrees to let Jamie into her home solely to kill him because He Knows Too Much and gets killed in the ensuing scuffle.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Jamie falls in love with the woman before actually meeting her.
  • Fanservice: A man, looking through the eyes of a woman... it was bound to happen.
  • How We Got Here: The episode begins with Jamie covered in blood and being interrogated by the police.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Jamie gets through the final scene and tells the whole story with an untreated shot through the leg.
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: The premise of "Chocolate" is that a man suddenly starts seeing what an unfamiliar woman living in another part of the country is seeing. He becomes alienated from his family and tracks the woman down, thinking that they must be Mindlink Mates, but it turns out that she's just a criminal and immediately tries to kill him for knowing enough about her to put her away.

Directed by Joe Dante and based on a short story by Dale Bailey. America is fighting an unpopular war as the next presidential election is nearing. When confronted by the mother of a fallen soldier on live TV, David Murch (John Tenney), a publicity agent for the current government whose own brother was killed in The Vietnam War, declares his conviction that the fallen soldiers would support the war if given the choice to come back. Unfortunately for him, they're about to. And they don't.

  • The Atoner: David becomes this after his own people cross too many lines trying to stop the zombie soldiers from having a say in the election and finding out the truth about his brother's death.
  • Black Guy Dies First: An interesting variation. The return of the first zombies is witnessed by a young black serviceman. The zombies slowly approach him, shrug off his bullets, corner him against a wall... and then he gets gunned down by the crossfire of another serviceman. The zombies leave without killing anyone.
  • Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: Jane Cleaver, played by Thea Gill.
  • Casual Kink: David's phone rings while he is having a BDSM session with Jane. He answers the phone, but she keeps whipping him a bit just to embarrass him in front of his boss.
  • The Cavalry: When the incumbent president's campaign team pulls strings to annul the malcontent dead soldiers' votes (and, it's implied, use other shenanigans to turn the election back in their favor), not only do said soldiers come back to life again... but so does EVERY OTHER DEAD AMERICAN SOLDIER. (It's unclear whether only those who died violent deaths come back to life, but David's brother being one of the revenants means that even those who didn't die while fighting a war did come back; at the very least all the dead at Arlington rose back up.)
  • Coconut Superpowers: At the end, every dead American soldier, even going back to the Revolution, comes back to life...but we still only see the more recently dead ones since there's no budget for a bunch of skeletons.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: There are references to the Iraq War, Guantánamo and the 2000 Florida voting controversy.
  • Ghostly Goals: The undead soldiers only drop dead after being allowed to vote. They come back to life again when the government decides to not consider their votes as valid.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: President Shelly is an obvious stand-in for George W. Bush while Jane is a parody of Ann Coulter.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Talking (though it hurts), fully conscious, can't be killed and do not want brains.
  • Post-Mortem Conversion: Deconstructed. The Invisible President makes a wish in one of his speeches to the nation, wishing for the dead American soldiers of the Iraq war to come back and express how they feel, implying that they would all support him. Cue the zombies! The dead soldiers are coming back, but they are not here to eat brains. Instead, they are here to vote... for the other guy!
  • The Reveal: Philip didn't die in the war. He was accidentally killed at home by the infant David, who was playing with his gun.
  • Revenant Zombie: The episode is about dead US soldiers rising from their graves to vote the Straw Conservatives out of office.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Philip and, arguably, several of the undead soldiers.
  • Strawman Political: Several characters, with Jane being the most notable.
  • War Is Hell: Invoked in the final line of the episode.
  • The War on Terror: Not directly named, but clearly set during it.
  • Writer on Board: Duh.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Double Subverted. The undead soldiers make it pretty clear they aren't mindless bodies there to eat people. They're entirely civilized (though a little grumpy for obvious reasons) and the only people they are shown killing did something to deserve it. In a hilarious turn, they settle for occupying Washington D.C. and forcing the re-elected Shelley to flee as a way to show their continuing discontent.

    Deer Woman 
Directed by John Landis. In a small town, disgraced detective Dwight Faraday (Brian Benben) and his friend Officer Jacob Reed (Anthony Griffith) are given the opportunity to investigate a series of mysterious deaths where the victim was apparently trampled by an unknown animal. All the victims were male and were last seen while in company of a mysterious, beautiful, Native American woman (Cinthya Moura).

  • Bittersweet Ending: It's unclear whether it's either this or Downer Ending. Reed has been killed, the Deer Woman has claimed her victims, and vanishes when Faraday tracks her down. There's no indication that she won't come back in a few years, but at least won't kill any more people for the time being.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Faraday seems like a well-adjusted guy for most of the episode, but when a guy on the street tries to rob him, he plants the guy's own knife in his shoulder after overpowering him, even forbidding him to take it out instead letting the doctors do it. Makes for a great Brick Joke later on.
    • Forbidding him to take the knife out is actually the nice coming back out - the robber could cause himself further injury by taking the knife out himself.
  • Black Widow: One of the quickest examples with the Deer Woman.
  • Brick Joke: "Do any of you guys know anything about this guy who claims he was attacked by a cop with a knife?"
  • Butt-Monkey: Detective Fuchs.
    Every other character, including his partner: Shut up, Fuchs!
  • Coconut Superpowers: We only see the Deer Woman's deer legs for quick glimpses at a distance.
  • Cute Mute: The Deer Woman (before she reveals her intentions).
  • Death by Sex: The Deer Woman's MO is to lure out men with the promise of carnal relations, but stomps them to death before it can get to that point.
  • Fanservice: The Deer Woman always goes topless before she kills.
  • For the Evulz: Just like in the original legend, the Deer Woman kills horny men for absolutely no reason. This is lampshaded by Faraday when he is first introduced to the legend.
  • Gorn: The Deer Woman's victims, most notably when Faraday picks up what's left of the trucker's lower jaw at the beginning.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Deer Woman has the upper body of an attractive Native American woman, and the lower body of a deer.
  • Imagine Spot: In a particularly funny bit Faraday muses about the possible scenarios that could have resulted in the crime scene where the trucker got stamped into a bloody pile. The first involves a skimpy girl beating the inexplicably helpless trucker to death with a fake deer leg ("...Stupid"), another the girl and the trucker being attacked by a Bambified deer ("...Retarded"), and the third the trucker being killed and the girl abducted by a humongous deer man ("...Fuck").
  • Magical Native American: Subverted. While the person that provides the clue to solving the mystery is a Native American, he's just a casino owner who thinks that the legend is stupid.
  • Mugging the Monster: The street robber who tries to hold up Faraday.
  • Native American Casino: Faraday and Reed go there on their off time, but actually manage to solve the mystery because one of the staff knows about the old legend.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: The Deer Woman is a vengeful Native American spirit who seduces men in the guise of a beautiful woman, then tramples them to death with her powerful deer legs.
  • Oh, Crap!: "Have you seen her feet?"
  • The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: The first indication to the Deer Woman's identity.
  • Shout-Out: Suspecting an incidence of animal transformation, Faraday cites the events of An American Werewolf in London, also directed by Landis, as a documented case.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Reed, knowing full well that there might be a mythological monster woman running around killing hapless men, doesn't bat an eye when a gorgeous, mute, girl whose feet he hasn't seen swoons over him, and wants to come back to his place with him. When Faraday calls him up and points this out he finally realizes, but it's already too late.

    John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns 
Directed by John Carpenter. Kirby (Norman Reedus) is the owner of a run-down cinema whose girlfriend Annie (Zara Taylor) recently committed suicide. In order to pay a debt he owns to Annie's hateful father Walter (Gary Hetherington), Kirby accepts the request of eccentric millionaire Bellinger (Udo Kier) to locate the only surviving copy of Hans Bakovic's La Fin Absolue du Monde (The Absolute End of the World) for him, a film Shrouded in Myth that is said to be the ultimate Brown Note. It's sort of a contemporary version of Robert W. Chambers' anthology The King in Yellow.

  • Anti-Hero: Kirby is the "brooding hero with a dark past" type. Formerly a drug junkie who got his girlfriend addicted and eventually drove her to suicide, he still has few heroic qualities in the present day, and is only doing the job for the money and his obsession with the film. He still cares for his dead girlfriend, though.
  • Artifact of Death: Pretty much anyone involved in the production of La Fin Absolue du Monde killed themselves and each other because of it, as do people who go after it or see it.
  • Artifact of Doom: La Fin Absolue du Monde was turned into an evil artifact whose corrupting influence drives people to murder and suicide.
  • Ate His Gun: Kirby eats a bullet under the effects of La Fin Absolue Du Monde.
  • Bald of Evil: Dalibor is a bald Snuff Film director. He demonstrates this by murdering someone in front of the protagonist.
  • Bath Suicide: Kirby's late girlfriend Annie killed herself by slicing her own wrists in the bathtub when they both lived together as heroine junkies. Kirby has to relive the event during one of his visions.
  • Blood Is the New Black:
    • Annie is covered head to toe in blood when she emerges out of the theater screen at the end.
    • Downplayed with Dalibor after he decapitates the taxi driver.
  • Broken Angel: The main character encounters a pale, gaunt, vaguely male figure with healed stumps at its shoulder blades kept by a deranged art collector. It is strongly implied that this was the angel that was mutilated in La fin absolue du monde, the short film that the protagonist seeks. As revealed by the Snuff Film director Dalibor, the sheer sacrilege of this act was the key to the late Bakovic's success and turned his film into a madness-inducing Artifact of Death.
  • Brown Note: La Fin Absolue du Monde drives people crazy just from thinking too much about it.
  • The Collector: The millionaire collector Bellinger collects various films depicting extreme acts. He's also keeping a mutilated angelic creature locked up in his gallery as part of his collection of La Fin Absolue du Monde.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Bellinger's suicide. Intestines + film projector = not a pretty combination.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Kirby's dead girlfriend Annie appears before him to remind him what he's lost. Subverted when Kirby sees through the illusion and realizes she's not real.
  • Decapitation Presentation: Dalibor creates a Snuff Film by filming himself decapitating Kirby's taxi driver right in front of Kirby, and presenting the severed head to him.
  • Driven to Suicide: Bellinger cuts out his small intestines and inserts them into a film projector. We don't see him breathe out his last breath, but not much else could have come of it.
  • Eye Scream: Bellinger's butler cuts out his own eyes after seeing the film.
  • Fan Disservice: In a hallucination near the end, Annie is completely naked... and completely covered in blood.
  • Fingore: Henri reveals that he was the original projectionist at the bloody premiere of La Fin Absolue du Monde. When he tried to stop the film all his fingers on his left hand fused together.
  • The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: When La Fin Absolue du Monde is shown at the end, Kirby's dead girlfriend Annie emerges from the screen covered in blood and hungry for human flesh. Subverted when it turns out to be another hallucination.
  • Gorn: Quite possibly the most Carpenter has ever put into a single feature since The Thing.
  • Haunted Technology: La Fin Absolue du Monde is a haunted movie.
  • The Hero Dies: Kirby ends up killing himself under the cursed film's influence.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: When the film is presented at the end, Annie emerges out of the theater screen. Her father comforts her, but she's "hungry", and takes a bite out of his neck. It turns out to be another hallucination.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Annie's father. Kirby treats him like an unreasonable jerkass, but Kirby did get his daughter killed by indulging her drug habit, abysmally failed to get her on the right track despite agreeing with him to do so, is still massively in debt to him, and just evades him whenever the topic of repaying the loan comes up. It's only when he resolves to kill Kirby that he crosses the line into outright villainy.
  • Kill 'Em All: The only character present at the climax to survive is the angel.
  • Le Film Artistique: The film is pretty much an exaggeration of this trope.
  • Murder-Suicide: At the end Kirby kills his late girlfriend Annie's murderously unhinged father under the evil film's effects because they both keep bringing her back with their remaining love for her. Moments afterwards he eats his own gun after pleading at another vision of her that he's sorry for everything.
  • Only in It for the Money: Initially Kirby only takes the job offer to look for La Fin Absolue du Monde to pay off his enormous debts. Subverted later on as he becomes increasingly obsessed with the film itself due to its corrupting influence. This is lampshaded by Bakovic's widow who notes that the money is just an excuse.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In this case, angels are corporeal creatures and can be tortured, and the one seen in the episode is quite uglier than one would expect at first. It's heavily implied that the film's evil is the result of documenting the desecration of said angel.
  • Posthumous Character:
    • Kirby's late girlfriend Annie is seen only in flashbacks and periodically appears before him as an apparition during his search.
    • La Fin Absolue du Monde's director Hans Bakovic has died long before Kirby set out on his search. His film was so evil it even killed its creator.
  • Sanity Slippage: Anyone who watches or is involved with La Fin Absolue du Monde.
  • Snuff Film: Kirby visits a Snuff director called Dalibor while searching for the film, while La Fin Absolue du Monde features the torture and mutilation of an angel. Dalibor explains that this was the secret to Bakovic's success — blood spilled on film grants it supernatural power and Bakovic took this to the ultimate extreme by doing so to a sacred being.
  • Shout-Out: The film playing at Kirby's cinema is Dario Argento's Deep Red.
  • Shrouded in Myth: La Fin Absolue du Monde has been buried years ago after the initial massacre at the premiere and is nearly untraceable. Kirby remarks that everywhere he goes to look there's a wall of silence surrounding the topic.
  • Spiritual Successor: To In the Mouth of Madness. It also bears more than a few similarities to The Ninth Gate.
  • Vancouver Doubling: Late in life, La Fin Absolue du Monde's director moved to Vancouver because he thought it would be a good place to make movies and would be cheaper than Hollywood. His widow notes that he was proven right twenty years later.

    The Fair-Haired Child 
Directed by William Malone. 13 year-old Tara (Lindsay Pulsipher) is kidnapped by a couple of retired musicians, Anton (William Samples) and Judith (Lori Petty), and imprisoned in their run-down basement. While in there, she learns that she is to be sacrificed as part of a Deal with the Devil in exchange of resuscitating the couple's teenage son, Johnny (Jesse Hadock).

  • Deal with the Devil: Twelve children for your son. Two adults for Tara are okay too.
  • Decapitation Presentation: The monster keeps the heads of its victims in a drawer in the basement.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Johnny is so sick about the whole thing that he makes another Deal with the Devil himself to take his parents in exchange for their latest victim.
  • Human Resources: The garden corridor used during the ritual to bring Johnny back to life is made of human bones.
  • Human Sacrifice: With Virgin Sacrifice implied.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The plot involves a grieving couple appealing to an otherworldly force to resurrect their dead son. They in turn, have to feed him twelve children. The child shows his um...gratitude to them in a similar way.
  • Room Full of Crazy: The basement Tara is imprisoned in, which is littered with the last messages of its previous prisoners.
  • Tome of Eldritch Lore: The couple finds out the ritual through writings on black magic that once belonged to one of their students.
  • This Was His True Form: Johnny looks most cadaveric when he walks down the garden corridor.
  • Ultimate Evil: The entity signing the pact. Is it any surprise it is kind of an asshole?

    Sick Girl 
Originally going to be directed by Roger Corman, who was later replaced by Lucky McKee, and based on the short story The Feather Pillow by Horacio Quiroga. Shy Dr. Ida Teeter (Angela Bettis) is a lesbian entomologist that can't find a companion that also shares (or merely tolerates) her love for bugs before she meets the weird artist Misty Falls (Erin Brown, a.k.a. Misty Mundae). That same day, Ida receives a package from Brazil containing a newly-discovered insect that is a parasite for warm-blooded animals. Hilarity Ensues.

  • Adorkable: Both Misty and Ida are cute but socially awkward.
  • All Gays Are Pedophiles: Ida's landlady discovers she's gay, and accuses her of eyeing up her ten year old granddaughter. Ida is understandably offended.
  • Asshole Victim: The landlady. She was an all-around homophobic Jerkass who was going to evict Ida and Misty simply because they were gay.
  • Body Horror: After being infected by the parasitic beetle, at one point, Misty transforms into a grotesque bug-woman. It's in this state that she kills the landlady.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A synopsis in IMDb described it as a metaphor of "the dangers of moving too quickly into a relationship".
    • Also, STDs.
  • Boy Meets Girl: Lesbian variation with Girl Meets Girl. Then they both get infected by a parasite.
  • Express Delivery: Played for horror at the film's ending. Ida and Misty are seen laying in bed together with huge, exposed pregnant bellies full of parasitic beetle larvae, cheerfully talking about their condition and how quickly they're growing.
  • Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: The parasitic beetle feeds on Ida's blood and infects her with its eggs by using is proboscis in her ear. At the film's ending, it's shown alternatively doing this to both Ida and Misty, both of whom are visibly swollen with its spawn; it's left unclear if they'll give birth naturally or if the beetles will... take a more direct approach to delivery...
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Of the "Lesbian U-Haul Syndrome" type.
  • Friend to Bugs: Ida is an entomologist (and a lesbian) who keeps a huge collection of various insects in her apartment. This quickly scares off most girlfriends she invites into her apartment.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Ida's partner Max constantly pokes fun at his colleague's sexuality and begs her to tell him everything about her dates in time for the morning shower. He also keeps his hand in a "special place" while talking to her on the phone.
  • Horror Hunger: One of the signs of Ida's developing "pregnancy" with her new pet's larvae is the disappearance of pets from her apartment complex.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Ida has a most unladylike fascination with insects and her apartment filled with various insectoid pets. It creates a lot of friction with her landlady and makes it downright impossible for her to land a date.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The happy music at the end.

    Pick Me Up 
Directed by Larry Cohen and based on a short story by David J. Schow. A bus containing a small number of passengers breaks down in the middle of nowhere. They are soon visited by a trucker, Wheeler (Michael Moriarty) and a hitchhiker, Walker (Warren Kole). Both of them are serial killers. When the passengers are reduced to only one left, Stacia (Fairuza Balk), the hunt also becomes a feud between the two.

  • Black Dude Dies First: The black bus driver is the first person to be murdered by one of the killers.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Stacia, near the end.
  • Death by Sex: A rocker and his girlfriend unknowingly pick up Walker from the road. The girlfriend flashes her panties to Walker, pissing off the boyfriend. Walker kills them both, but the girl specifically for being skanky (and he tortures her to death whereas the boyfriend got a quick death); he actually abhors sex.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Just after causing a road accident and getting rid of Walker and Wheeler, Stacia is picked up by two paramedics who turn out to also be serial killers themselves.
  • Evil vs. Evil: A serial killer versus another serial killer, perfectly fitting each other's MOs. This is exploited by the heroine at the end when she goads them to kill each other instead of her. Taken even further at the end, when they're both killed by a pair of killer ambulance drivers.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Wheeler looks down on Walker for being what he terms a "poacher", a killer who roams around in another's territory surreptitiously. He also dislikes him for going after easy prey, when in fact he does much the same thing.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: Near the end Wheeler relays Stacia and Walker the story in the form of a snake and a blonde woman. Walker already knows the punchline because he's heard the "scorpion and the frog" version. The point Wheeler makes is that he knows full well that he picked up another serial killer and expects him to show his true nature. The subversion is only that he's also a serial killer, so it'd be a scorpion helping another scorpion.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Both Walker and Wheeler leave Marie alive, chained to a tree with barbed wire so she will die of prolongued exposure instead.
  • Flaying Alive: Walker ties one of his victims up in a motel room and cuts off large parts of her skin until she dies.
  • Gorn: "You sure are more confortable without all those clothes... and all that skin..."
  • Hostile Hitchhiker: Wheeler is a truck driver who kills hitchers that he picks up, Walker is a hitchhiker who kills people that pick him up.
  • Impersonating an Officer: If any victim asks Wheeler too many questions or questions his credibility, he just shows them a sherrif deputy's ID to convince them that he's actually an off-duty officer.
  • Improvised Weapon:
    • Walker strangles a person with a dead snake.
    • Wheeler decapitates another with the door of the bus' suitcase compartment.
  • Karmic Death: Walker and Wheeler become the victims of two other serial killers.
  • Kill Steal: The conflict between the two serial killers revolves around this, with both fighting over the prey they both have set their sights on.
  • Mad Doctor: The ambulance crew are an unrelated pair of serial killers who drive around looking for wounded people whom they can take as prey.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Walker walks the road looking prey to pick him up.
    • Wheeler drives around a truck looking for prey to pick up.
  • Offing the Annoyance: Wheeler decapitates one of his victims because the guy was basically annoying him with his frenzied panic after he sees the leftovers of two of Walker's victims.
  • Off with His Head!: Wheeler knocks one of the bus passengers out with the but of his gun and then decapitates the guy with a bus bagage compartment door. Walker, who was watching this on from a distance, is quite impressed with this creativity.
  • Properly Paranoid: Marie's first thought about Walker and Wheeler is that they are serial killers. She's right. Ironically, both of them decide not to kill her... but leave her tied to a tree with barbed wire in the middle of nowhere instead.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Walker seems to have a thing for snakes as predators. He wears snake leather boots, strangles someone to death with a dead snake and skins one of his victims to "shed her skin".
  • Serial Killer: The drifter and the truck driver. And the ambulance crew.
  • They Look Just Like Everyone Else!: Walker and Wheeler both look fairly inconspicuous as a young drifter and a middle-aged trucker, respectively. Walker discusses the trope proper:
    Walker: Your genuinely dangerous individuals — they almost never look crazy. They don't have any weird tattoos, they don't have any weird stitches on their face, funny-shaped heads. They are NOT predictable.
  • This Is the Part Where...: Walker is a pop-cultured serial killer. When he chases down one of his victims through the woods, he notes that she must know how this scenario ends if she's seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre — both versions.
  • Villain Cred: Two rival serial killers called Walker and Wheeler pick off the passengers of a bus crew that they come across in the northwest. They both despise each other for their respective kill steals and treading on the other's "territory", but are also quite impressed by the other's ingenuity and brutality. Walker in particular prizes Wheeler on decapitating one of his victims with a baggage compartment door.

    Haeckel's Tale 
Directed by John McNaughton and based on a short story by Clive Barker. At the end of the 19th century, a man who has just lost his wife comes to the house of Miss Carnation, the Necromancer (Micki Maunsell) and begs her to bring his love Back from the Dead. She hesitates, but when he insists she proposes to revive her if he still wants her to do so after he hears the tale of medical student Ernst Haeckel (Derek Cecil), that happened 50 years before.

  • Ascended Extra: In the original Clive Barker story, Montesquino is only a necromancer some tavern patrons scoff, which prompts Haeckel to recount his story. Here, he's a Composite Character, taking on the role of the unnamed Englishman who arranges Elise's "meeting" with the dead.
  • Brain Bleach: One word: Necrophilia.
    • Also: Pederast's juice.
  • Darkest Africa: Montesquino claims to have learned necromancy from "the Shaman of Zanzibar".
  • Death by Adaptation: Thanks to his ascended role, Montesquino suffers this fate. As does Haeckel, which is foreshadowed by the adaptation giving the narrator's role to Miss Carnation.
  • Fan Disservice: There's a sex scene involving a healthy young woman and the zombified corpse of her late husband.
  • Hollywood Atheist: Haeckel, a medical student, doesn't believe in God, the soul, or the supernatural, and tries to reproduce Dr. Frankenstein's experiments. This is clearly linked to his materialist view of things, which is proven entirely, horribly wrong by the end. Oh, and he shares a name with the real biologist Ernst Haeckel, the 19th century German scientist who proposed racist scientific theories and was a materialist (though not an atheist, but a pantheist-he's often mistaken for the former).
  • I Love the Dead: And the dead love you, Elise!
  • Shout-Out: In the beginning, Haeckel and his teacher discuss the experiments performed by some German doctor called Frankenstein. Haeckel tries to replicate then his attempt to revive a cadaver using electricity but only manages to burn it. Also, he shares his name with a famous German biologist noted for his racist scientific theories.
  • Twist Ending: Miss Carnation is Elise.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Wolfram and Elise, as he admits himself. Even moreso when he becomes a zombie.

Directed by Takashi Miike and based on a novel by Shimako Iwai. In 19th century Japan, an American journalist named Christopher (Billy Drago) arrives at a remote island looking for Komomo (Michie), a woman he's in love with that was sold to a brothel by her adoptive family. While there he comes across a disfigured prostitute (Youki Kudoh) that tells him the story of her life. This episode was filmed in Japan by Kadokawa Pictures and was never broadcast unedited due to its ridiculously high Brain Bleach quotient.

  • Abusive Parents: The disfigured prostitute's father was a violent drunk who beat her mother and raped his inbred daughter, prompting her to kill him.
  • Alcoholic Parent: The prostitute's father turned to drinking to drown his sorrows from living in poverty due to his incestuous relation with his sister.
  • And Show It to You: After Christopher shoots Komomo through the head in his madness, she picks out a few pieces of her brain in shock before she dies.
  • Bad Boss: The madame is suggested to torture her prostitutes for the sake of it, Komomo in particular. Due to the ambiguous nature of the story it's hard to tell what kind of person she really is.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The disfigured prostitute's siamese "sister" is clearly the one in charge.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: The nicest thing to say about the disfigured prostitute's one. The father and mother were incestuous siblings who lived in poverty. The father beat the mother, while the mother aborted or murdered all her inbred infants, except for the resilient girl who eventually became the prostitute. The father raped the girl during one of his violent stupors and she beat him to death in return. The mother sold her daughter into sexual slavery because she couldn't care for her anymore with the father gone. Finally, the girl has a mutant, evil twin sister growing out of the side of her head.
  • Black-and-Gray Morality: The only character that is good in the episode is Komomo, and she is dead before it begins.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The disfigured prostitute tells how her father eventually coughed up blood after a prolongued illness and promptly died in a river.
  • Body Horror: The disfigured prostitute's "sister" is a hand with a mouth attached to her head.
  • Brain Bleach: From beginning to end.
  • Brother–Sister Incest:
    • In a major twist it's revealed that the disfigured prostitute's parents were actually siblings. They were run out of their town and lived in poverty for the rest of their lives. The brother turned cruel and abusive towards his sister and was killed by his inbred daughter after he is implied to have raped her.
    • Christopher had a relationship with his younger sister. It's later implied that he raped and killed her and was driven insane due to it.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Inflicted on Komomo after she is falsely accused of robbing a ring.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The disfigured prostitute has blue hair and clothes, the other prostitutes red, and the madame greenish-black.
  • Creator Cameo: Watch for Shimako Iwai, writer of the original novel. She plays the torturer.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: The prostitute's backstory is composed of one trauma after the other, getting more disturbing with each revision of her story.
  • Death of a Child: The Woman's mother has murdered dozens of her own infants and Christopher is suggested to have murdered his little sister when they were young.
  • Domestic Abuse: The disfigured prostitute's late father was cruel and violent and constantly beat his wife because they were both cast out for being incestuous siblings.
  • Driven to Suicide: The disfigured prostitute claims first that this was what happened to Komomo, who hanged herself when Christopher failed to return. After Christopher says he doesn't believe her, she admits that she actually killed Komomo (and was also the one that committed the robbery and falsely accused Komomo in the first place).
  • The Ending Changes Everything: Christopher is eventually revealed to be insane and haunted with nightmarish visions due to his sister's murder. This calls into question most of the events of the story — only the opening and the ending can be said with fair certainty to be real at all and only partially so.
  • Evil Twin: The disfigured prostitute reveals at the end that she has a twin "sister", a mutated abomination attached to her head as a result of her parents' inbreeding (they were brother and sister). The mutant forced her sister to do evil things like steal a valuable ring and set up another prostitute to be tortured for it.
  • Facial Horror:
    • The disfigured prostitute has the features on the right side of her face stretched out.
    • The dwarf pimp is missing part of his nose.
  • Fingore: Komomo is tortured by the madam by getting needles shoved underneath her nails.
  • Glasgow Grin: The disfigured prostitute has half of one as a result of a genetic defect.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The prostitute Komomo is explicitly described as this. She lingers on to the promise Christopher made to take her away from her hard life. Which makes it all the more tragic that he murdered her in his insanity.
  • Immune to Bullets: The disfigured prostitute and her evil mutant twin shrug off being shot and taunt Christopher that they'll follow him everywhere. This is because they're part of his deranged visions.
  • Kill the Ones You Love: Christopher believes the prostitute Komomo to be the love his life. He ends up accidentally murdering her during his hallucinations.
  • Little People Are Surreal: One of the pimps on the hellish island is a dwarf with a missing nose, signifying how the episode is gonna be one long decline into surreal horror and insanity.
  • Mercy Kill: The disfigured prostitute claims to have murdered Komomo to spare her the life of a prostitute and being tortured by the madam. She believes that she sent Komomo from Hell to Heaven.
  • Made a Slave: All the women (in particular, the disfigured prostitute was sold to a brothel by her mother).
  • No Name Given: The disfigured prostitute, who is credited as "woman".
  • Offing the Offspring: The disfigured prostitute's mother repeatedly threw her own infants away to drown in the river because they're inbred children — her husband is also her own brother.
  • Parental Incest: It's strongly implied that the disfigured prostitute was raped by her abusive father when she was a child. She was herself also a product of incest, as her parents were secretly siblings.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Christopher hires the disfigured prostitute for the night to learn more about what happened to Komomo, not to sleep with her. He makes it clear that her face doesn't frighten him, but he turns her down when he discovers that Komomo has recently died and is too distraught about it.
  • Posthumous Character: The episode begins with the prostitute informing Christopher that the girl he's been looking for, Komomo, recently died. The rest of it is spent with the prostitute telling him of Komomo's final weeks and her own life story. Subverted at the end when it turns out that the prostitute is Komomo after Christopher murders her.
  • Rape and Revenge: After the father raped the Woman as a child, she beat him to death when he's drunk.
  • Rape as Backstory: The prostitute eventually reveals that a big part of why she's so emotionally scarred is her horrific youth, where she was seperately raped by both her father and a local Budhist monk.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: Single character variety — the disfigured prostitute tells different versions of the same tale as Christopher continues to dig deeper for the truth. Subverted at the end when it turns out that Christopher hallucinated all the prostitute's stories and is just insane.
  • Self-Made Orphan: The disfigured prostitute tells Christopher how she beat her father to death after he raped her when she was still a child.
  • Sex Slave: In one of the versions of the story, the disfigured prostitute was sold into forced prostitution by her mother after the father died.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: After all the horrible events that the disfigured prostitute tells Christopher and the revelation of a siamese Evil Twin, he shoots the prostitute and it turns out to be Komomo all along. He was actually driven completely insane from what's implied to be guilt for raping and killing his sister and the entire story was part of Christopher's hallucinations.
  • Translation Convention: The episode is set in 19th century Japan with a single American main character. Unlike the second season's "Dream Cruise", this episode was filmed in English but with all the characters presumed to be speaking Japanese the entire time. Christopher is first thought to be Dutchnote .
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: Period Japanese make-up is used in the brothel (specifically the bleached skin/blackened teeth style) apparently to further unnerve the audience.
  • Wretched Hive: The remote island is "only inhabited by demons and whores".
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: A few scenes depicting the disfigured girl have her with dark blue hair, especially noticeable in her childhood.

Season Two

    The Damned Thing 
Directed by Tobe Hooper and based on a short story by Ambrose Bierce. In 1981, a peaceful family man in a small Texas town went crazy the night of his 40th birthday and killed his wife before being killed himself by an invisible force. Twenty four years later, his still traumatized son Kevin (Sean Patrick Flannery) is sheriff of the same town and nearing 40 himself when the same unknown force seems to appear again and turn his fellow countrymen against each other.

Directed by John Landis. On the surface, Harold (George Wendt) is a friendly man that lives alone in a quiet Midwestern neighborhood. But underneath, he's a crazed Serial Killer obsessed with forming the perfect "family" and he has set his eyes on the new young couple, the Fullers (Meredith Monroe and Matt Kesslar) that have moved across the street.

  • Action Girl: Celia Fuller.
  • Batman Gambit: Everything the Fullers did was part of a plan to capture Harold.
  • The Bait: Celia, as it turns out, was actively playing on Harold's interest in her.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The Fullers' professions.
  • Disposing of a Body: Subverted, Harold is introduced while using acid to disolve a corpse, but it's because he wants it Stripped to the Bone to keep the skeletons.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Harold acts like a really nice guy, but it's a thin veil over the fact he's a murderous psycho.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The Fullers keep Harold alive for two weeks, torturing him from beginning to end before they kill him.
  • Imagine Spot: Harold has several when he talks to Celia. He also has full conversations with his "family".
  • Freudian Excuse: Harold's excuse for killing is, essentially, that he had a lousy family as a kid, so now he wants a better one.
  • Metaphorically True: When the Fullers confront Harold about his murder of their daughter, he recalls that they told him she died of cancer. Their reply: "You ARE a cancer."
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: A variation of this trope, whereby George Wendt's character kills random people, melts off their flesh, and uses their skeletons as mannequins to create his vision of the perfect family. This counts as an example due to the repeated conversations and arguments he holds with them, including when he "murders" his "wife".
  • Oh, Crap!: The film ends on a shot of Harold's horrified eyes, upon hearing the Fullers' intent to further his torment.
  • Replacement Goldfish: The Fullers argue if they should have another child, while Harold sees Celia as a better "wife" than the one he has now.
  • The Reveal: The Fuller's daughter didn't die of cancer. She was Sarah, the little girl that Harold "adopted". Everything they did was part of a plan to capture Harold and unleash their bloody vengeance.
  • Screw Politeness, I'm a Senior!: Harold's "mom" during one Imagine Spot.
  • Serial Killer: Harold, with the modus operandi of murdering people and preserving their corpses in his basement as a replacement "family".
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: The Sociopath Harold is introduced with the uplifting gospel song "Jesus Gave me Water". (but it wasn't from the well)
  • Stepford Suburbia: Harold's home looks like any sweet, normal suburbanite home, but is really home to a serial killer and outfitted for his needs. And then the neighbors turn out to be the parents of one of Harold's victims, so they manipulate him into their home, where they imprison, torture and finally murder him.
  • Take That!/Stealth Pun: The camera highlights The Sociopath Serial Killer has a portrait of Dick Cheney in his living room.
  • The Oner: The episode starts with a long camera shot from Harold's house door to his basement.
  • Undercover When Alone: A happy couple move in next door to a Serial Killer Villain Protagonist who is later revealed to have murdered their daughter and everything was part of a plot to get revenge on him. However, despite their knowledge of his true nature they seem to take no caution whatsoever, still acting completely blissful and don't discuss their plan even when they're not in his presence.
  • Villain Protagonist: The narrative follows Harold Thompson, who welcomes his new neighbors and collects victims' skeletons to create a family.

    The V Word 
Directed by Ernest R. Dickerson. Two bored teenagers, Kerry (Arjay Smith) and Justin (Branden Nadon), sneak into a morgue one night and are attacked by a vampire, Mr. Chaney (Michael Ironside).

    Sounds Like 
Directed by Brad Anderson, the director of Session 9 and The Machinist, and based on a short story by Mike O'Driscoll. Larry Pearce (Chris Bauer) is a supervisor in a tech support company that begins to descend into madness as his fine sense of hearing only gets better.

  • Alas, Poor Villain: Larry arguably crosses the line when he murders his wife in her sleep, to silence the sounds her body creates and his hearing enhances. But by the end, everything he's been through leaves him completely broken. So much that he graphically deafens himself and wanders absentmindedly to the beach with his son's boat, where he'll presumably caught and arrested by the police.
  • Blessed with Suck: Larry's superhearing makes him discover that his son has a cardiac affliction, but only too late to save him; it also makes him better at his job, but not good enough to meet his boss' expectations, while his subordinates hate him for it; and finally, it drives him crazy as it just keeps getting better, and better, and better...
  • Ear Ache: Larry eventually frees himself from the burden of his enhanced hearing by carving his ears off, leaving him completely deaf.
  • Hope Spot: Larry hopes that with his sense of hearing becoming superhuman he may finally be able to "hear" his son's ghost. Near the end he thinks he's finally heard it, but it just turns out be a tree branch scraping against his son's bedroom window.
  • Jerkass: Larry comes as this several times.
  • Meaningful Name: Larry Pearce. And, yes, it's pronounced "pierce". As in "ear-piercing".
  • Messy Maggots: In the otherwise psychological horror-themed episode, the main character's wife disappears halfway through the episode. At the end, the cops burst into his house when he goes fully mad, finding her rotting, maggot-eaten corpse in the bedroom.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In a total break with his usual character, Larry acts too friendly to one new employee that he sees as a Replacement Goldfish for his son. The employee is creeped out and resigns the next day.
  • No Antagonist: There's no antagonist in this episode; the conflict revolves entirely around the main character's acute sense of hearing becoming increasingly unbearable.
  • The Nothing After Death: Larry's main source of angst is that while he only keeps hearing better and better he never manages to hear his son's ghost
  • Psychological Horror: This is probably one of the creepier episodes due to the slow-paced source of the horror. There are no monsters or killers to run away from, it's just the main character slowly growing mad because his sense of hearing keeps getting better and better and everything around him becomes intolerable.
  • Sinister Scraping Sound: After a while, literally everything. This effect leads to Larry slaughtering a nest of baby mice and murdering his sleeping wife.
  • Workaholic: Larry, to the point of refusing a leave when his son dies. He also keeps mentioning stuff from work when talking to his wife.

    John Carpenter's Pro-Life 
Directed by John Carpenter. 15 year-old Angelique Burcell (Caitlin Wachs) arrives at a remote abortion clinic convinced that she is pregnant with the spawn of the Devil. Shortly after, her Christian fundamentalist father Dwayne (Ron Perlman) and three brothers come with the intention of getting her out and stopping the abortion at any cost.

  • Badass Normal: Dr. Kiefer faces the Burcells alone and wins the first two assaults against them.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Not one, not two, but three of them!
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The Burcells cut the clinic's phone line before getting in. Still, it was very convenient that nobody was carrying a cellular.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Dwayne Burcell does this to Kiefer when he finally gets him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: "The Father" clearly breaks down when he sees that his baby has died, and leaves, carrying its body, without killing more people. Dwayne seems to genuinely love his children as well.
  • Express Delivery: Angelique goes into labor less than a week after conception.
  • The Fundamentalist: Dwayne.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The baby.
  • Killed Offscreen: Some of the staff, one of the brothers, and Dwayne are subjected to this fate by the demon. Curiously, its kills are pretty much all presented like this, as opposed to the far more graphic kills undertaken by Dwayne and his family.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Both Dwayne and one of his sons are killed by The Demon, the former after it reveals itself to be "God". And the demon father pays for his rape of Angelique and the murders he set forth when he's left to carry his child's corpse back to Hell. Even better, the one to slay his child is the very person he violated.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The Demon reveals itself to be "God", which leaves Dwayne in a horrified stupor long enough for the monster to kill him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Dwayne's torture above-mentioned torture of Kiefer has shades of this, given his political beliefs and his mission to save Angelique.
  • Space Whale Aesop: "Support abortion, or else Satan's child will be born."
    • How 'bout this one: "If you hear a voice telling you to do things like torture a doctor or shoot up an abortion clinic, then maybe you shouldn't listen to it"?
    • Another option: "If the pregnancy is clearly a result of demonic rape, your pro-life stance probably does not apply".
  • Strawman Political: Dwayne's a rather typical Christian Fundamentalist portrayal.
  • Teen Pregnancy: A teenage girl get raped by a demon and has to go have it aborted. Her father (Ron Perlman) and brothers attempt to stop it.
    Docs: How old are you?
    Girl: Eighteen.
    Docs: In how many years?
    Girl: Three.
  • Womb Horror: A sheltered, heavily pregnant teenage girl runs away from her deeply religious relatives to request an abortion at a local clinic. An armed stand-off ensues when her father and brothers show up to take her back so she can deliver her child. Then at the end it's revealed that she was literally impregnated by a demon, who shows up purely to collect his demon spawn.

Directed by Dario Argento and based on a short story by F. Paul Wilson. Sleazy small time fur trader Jake Feldman (Meat Loaf) gets his hands on some priceless raccoon pelts that might be his ticket to win a fortune and with it the attention of sexy stripper Shanna (Ellen Ewusie). Too bad the furs are not just priceless, but cursed.

  • Blood Is the New Black:
    • Larry Jameson isn't all that disturbed about all the blood on his face and arms.
    • Feldman, the twist being that it is all his own blood. He skinned himself.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Either this or Karmic Death depending on whether you belong to the "Fur is Murder" crowd or not.
  • Ethnic Menial Labor: Feldman's workshop is staffed by exactly one Hispanic employee and a lot of Chinese women.
  • Fingore: Shanna's hand gets crushed by an elevator.
  • Freudian Slip:
    Feldman: I've gotta find something sharp.
    Shanna: What?
    Feldman: I've gotta freshen up.

    The Screwfly Solution 
Directed by Joe Dante and based on a short story by James Tiptree Jr.. A Michigan family tries to survive while a pandemic of unknown origin expands through the world turning the male population into woman-murdering psychopaths.

  • Alien Invasion: It is revealed in the end that the plague was engineered by glowing aliens presumably as part of a plan to take over Earth without actually having to fight for it.
  • All Men Are Perverts: The plague explicitly switches the men's sexual urges to violent ones. The only way for men to resist it is by different types of castration (chemical or actual, to be specific). Once all the women are dead they turn their attention to the younger boys with a man shrugging off the fact that he murdered his teenage son.
  • Angelic Aliens: It is revealed at the end that the human extinction was engineered by this type of alien. The last surviving woman encounters them while fleeing from hunters in the woods. They kill by shooting jets of fire from their hands in a manner similar to a Bible passage quoted by a hunter, and are referred to throughout the segment as "angels". Although they appear to be hostile to humans, it's implied that they decided to wipe humans out as punishment for their immoral nature.
  • Brand X: The episode had plenty of examples, like "East Coast Airlines" and "Flazzle Cola" (in a red can, no less), and in the shop scenes they make sure to keep the camera zoomed out (though a Budweiser sign comes up in the edge of the shot, so they forgot at least one thing). They also have nameless "Kidney Beans" cans and an internet search engine with no marker at all.
  • Daydream Surprise: Alan heads home on a flight, and arrives there at night. He and his wife Anne put their daughter to sleep, and then have sex. Alan becomes violent, starts strangling Anne, and pulls a knife on her. Then he wakes up back on the plane.
  • Downer Ending: The episode ends with the last woman on earth freezing to death around a fading campfire and thinking back to her happy memories.
  • Dying as Yourself: Alan when he realizes he's been infected (in the midst of groping his 15-16-year-old daughter) and tells Anne to shoot him. Unfortunately, she can't bring herself to finish him off and only shoots him in the legs, allowing him to later kill their daughter when she goes back for him.
  • Fanservice: The sex scenes and the strip club.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Firmly on its way by the end. By December all women on the planet are either dead or dying, leaving the men to slowly die off one by one.
  • Gendercide: Of the women.
  • Hate Plague: A male-centered one, engineered by aliens.
  • Human Resources: Anne, disguised as a man, reveals herself to the male clients of a hunting shop when she can't hide her horror at looking at a bag made out of a woman's breast. This prompts the men to go after her.
  • Ignored Expert: Alan and Barney have a meeting in Washington D.C. with members of the government and the military. They explain that the ongoing gendercide is a concerted attempt to exterminate the human race, that the women in the infected areas need to be evacuated, and that the men, especially those in important positions, need to take medication that will cause chemical castration to prevent them from turning into murderers. All their advice is ignored.
  • Instant Marksman: Just Squeeze Trigger!: Used completely straight, as a mother trains her daughter to fire a gun.
  • Jailbait: Amy, deliberately so. She even shakes her ass at a group of catcalling construction workers right in front of her mother.
  • Neck Snap: Used by a male flight assistant to "control" a scared woman.
  • Not Himself: Anne's husband after he becomes infected. Defied with Barney, who, while gay, chemically castrated himself to prevent this.
  • No Woman's Land: Quite literally in the "liberated" areas of the world.
  • Pet the Dog: After the aliens at the end extract brain matter from several of the men, they are shown playing fetch with the group's dogs.
  • Religion of Evil: The Sons of Adam are a psychotic fundamentalist Christian cult who claim they are dedicated to 'freeing' the world of all female presence and restore it as it was in the Garden of Eden before God created Eve.
  • Shout-Out: In one scene, a group of test subjects is shown different types of porn to investigate the development of the disease. The violent porn movie is actually footage from season one's Imprint, an episode that was censored from broadcast in the US.
  • Sinister Minister: The priest in the Canadian hospital euthanizes female patients against their will while preaching the "fundamentally evil" nature of women.
  • Spreading Disaster Map Graphic: A mystery plague is causing men to become murderously violent towards women and inadvertently destroying humanity's ability to reproduce. The scientists analyzing the phenomenon graph the spread on a digital map and discover that is progressing north and south along the world's latitudes from the equator.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Anne disguises herself as a man to prevent being murdered on sight by the next infected man.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Amy is oblivious to the situation from beginning to end, to the point of abandoning her mother in the forest to come back to her already deranged father, who promptly murders her.

    Valerie on the Stairs 
Directed by Mick Garris and based on a short story by Clive Barker. Rob Hanisey (Tyron Leitso) is a young man who has just gone through a terrible break up, and who is struggling to publish his first novel, when he is accepted in the Highberger House for aspiring writers. Soon after moving there he begins to have repeated encounters with a mysterious woman, Valerie (Clare Grant), who pleads him to save her from the demon-like creature known as The Beast (Tony Todd). However, none of the other residents believe him and think that he's just crazy, although a small group led by the oldest resident, Everett Neely (Christopher Lloyd), seems to know more than they say.

  • All Women Are Lustful: Both Valerie and Patricia. Valerie seduces pretty much anyone she sees, while Patricia talks very openly about her sexual life. Valerie appeals to the latter's interests long enough for The Beast to kill her.
  • Author Appeal: In-universe example, since the story is set in a boarding-house for aspiring writers.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Despite being a Damsel in Distress, Valerie is also extremely vindictive towards her creators. Her murder of Patricia alongside The Beast perfectly demonstrates this.
  • The Brute: The Beast.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: In literally the last minute Rob's quest to save Valerie fails when she ceases to exist, and Rob realizes that he too is actually just a figment of someone else's imagination.
  • Damsel in Distress: Justified with Valerie, who was created by the writers in the boarding house as a fictional character whose only reason for existing is to be saved from The Beast. She vanishes completely after she's rescued, having finished playing her role.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Rob is rather drawn to Valerie, the woman who begs him to save her from a monster, even though he knows nothing about her. This is later explained to be because they're both fictional characters who were written that way. Valerie specifically has no personality attributes beyond her status as a damsel in distress, barring a few moments of vindictiveness against her creators, because she's defined solely by her relation to Rob.
  • Fanservice: Valerie's nude scenes.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: It begins as your average Haunted House story but turns out to be a Refugee from TV Land plot.
  • The Hero: Rob wants to become a published author and strives to save Valerie from her situation. Like her, it's because he was literally written into this role.
  • Kill It with Fire: The Beast is slain when Rob knocks him into a fire. Not that it saves Valerie or himself in the end.
  • Mars Needs Women: The Beast collects women and is particularly interested in Valerie.
  • Most Writers Are Writers: The episode "Valerie on the Stairs", which is based on a Clive Barker short story, concerns a writer moving into a boarding house for struggling writers and coming face to face with characters who escaped from a Round Robin story written by the other residents. Finally, he realizes that he was also invented by the residents and ceases to exist when the story finishes, making it a case of a writer writing about writers writing about a writer.
  • Neutral Female: Valerie never attempts to free herself, and just stares at Rob and The Beast during the final battle.
  • Noticing the Fourth Wall: At the end, Rob ignores Valerie's pleas that she can't exist outside the house, only for her to vanish. Shortly afterwards Rob realizes that he is a fictional character as well and everything he did was written by the boarding house residents. He dissolves into a pile of written papers, the last line of which is "And so it came to pass that Rob Hanisey never became a published author".
  • Old Shame: invoked Everett's only published work was the script of a B-Movie starring a Man in a Rubber Suit.
  • Perverse Sexual Lust: Rob falls in love with Valerie, who turns out to be a fictional character come to life with literally no personality of her own outside Rob's championing for her Damsel in Distressness. Even later he finds out that he's a figment of someone's mind himself.
  • Rage Against the Author: Valerie and The Beast target their creators, the former being uncharacteristically vengeful about the situation Patricia put her in.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Valerie, The Beast and Rob himself are fictional characters created by the house residents.
  • Rewriting Reality: It's a Round Robin story which, unbeknownst to its authors, was causing real people to be murdered. Eventually, the story's characters broke from the script and killed the authors.
  • Self-Deprecation: Rob tells Everett that he is crazy, prompting him to reply "You too! We are writers."
  • World Limited to the Plot: When the main characters manage to escape the building they are confined in, they realize that they are fictional characters that are not expected to exist outside and vanish accordingly.
  • Writer's Block: After moving, Rob can't write beyond the first line.

    Right to Die 
Directed by Rob Schmidt. The marriage of Cliff Addison (Martin Donovan) and his wife Abbey (Julia Anderson) is going through dire times when the couple suffers a dramatic car accident. Cliff only gets minor wounds but Abbey is burned alive completely, losing all her skin and senses and falling into a coma. Resolved to end his wife's suffering, Cliff disconnects Abbey's life support, only to discover that her ghost has come back with a vengeance.

  • Spooky Photographs: Trish sends some erotic photos to Cliff's cell phone, with Abbey appearing behind her.
  • Twist Ending: The car's combustion wasn't spontaneous. It was actually done by Cliff with the explicit purpose of murdering Abbey - who, to make things worse, was pregnant with his child at the time. This completely changes the viewer's opinion about Cliff and his early actions, as it is now obvious that his intention to disconnect Abbey wasn't because of her will, but his.
  • The Un-Reveal: Cliff's fate. After taking in ice chest filled with the skin he harvested from Trish to the hospital in a crazed attempt to heal Abbey, he is informed by the doctors that she died last night. He drives home dejectedly and finds Abbey's ghost waiting for him at the door. He hesitates briefly before entering...but only to wipe his shoes on the doormat.

    We All Scream for Ice Cream 
Directed by Tom Holland and based on a short story by John Farris. Layne (Lee Tergesen) returns to his childhood neighborhood just as his former friends begin to disappear one by one, leaving nothing but their clothes soaked in a milky substance. The reason seems to be linked to an ice cream delivery clown, Buster (William Forsythe), who died around that time.

  • Asshole Victim: Virgil, who was responsible for Buster's death as a child, and is strongly implied to have grown up to become a pedophile. Nobody would be saddened by his demise, no matter how horrible it may have been.
  • Ax-Crazy: Buster's mental state has definitely deteriorated following his resurrection. In the climax, he even pursues Layne with an axe.
  • Back from the Dead: Buster is back... somehow. His desire for revenge likely plays into it.
  • Bad Humor Truck: It's about a demonic, undead clown who works in an ice cream truck. His method is to sell ice cream to children, who then cause their parents to melt into a colored mess not unlike that of melted ice cream as soon as they bite into it.
  • Batman Gambit: Buster is defeated when Layne creates a voodoo ice cream in his likeness and gives it to his kid.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: The young Virgil pissed his pants when he discovered that Buster had no real nose under the fake one.
  • Deadly Prank: The episode starts with a childhood prank gone deadly wrong.
  • Death by Irony: Virgil declares himself untouchable, since he doesn't have a family. Unfortunately for him, Buster locates Virgil's kid out of wedlock. And for bonus points, Virgil graphically melts in a hot tub he spends a lot of time in.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Virgil readily states he's done...things.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The episode kicks off with a pretty dark one when Buster gives one of the voodoo ice creams to the son of Kent, one of children that killed him. Kent begs his son not to eat it, but the boy does anyway. And after watching his father literally melt away in front of him, Kent's son, with little to no remorse, coldly says, "You shouldn't have grounded me." Jesus Christ, kid! Though maybe being under Buster's influence or control also had to do with it.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Buster the Monster Clown shows up again for a last pre-credits scare after being seemingly destroyed.
  • Friend to All Children: When he was alive, Buster was a friendly ice cream salesman who loved to entertain children as a Non-Ironic Clown.
  • Ghostly Goals: Buster wants to kill the children (now grown men) that killed him.
  • Hate Sink: Virgil. He was a bully in his childhood, and the Token Evil Teammate to his friends who was responsible for the death of Buster. As an adult, he's just as bad, and heavily implied to be a child molester.
  • An Ice Person: In addition to the voodoo ice creams, Buster emanates cold air that can be turned to ice. Layne briefly manages to turn it onto him, but Buster soon breaks free.
  • I'm Melting!: The narrative utilizes Type A on the victims and Buster, as the consumption of ice creams in their likeness cause them to graphically melt.
  • Killed Offscreen: Inverted. In the original tale, the deaths of Buster's victims, barring Papa Joe, are mentioned after the fact. The adaptation, however, shows us more of the details (especially in Virgil's case).
  • Monster Clown: Although he started out as a Non-Ironic Clown, Buster became this post-resurrection when he started seeking revenge.
  • Musical Trigger: The children go into trances when they hear the ice cream truck music.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: In death, Buster's maturity and mental development is just as stunted as it was in life. That doesn't stop him from being responsible for several gruesome deaths.
  • Sole Survivor: Layne is the only one of the targeted parents who survives.

    The Black Cat 
Directed by Stuart Gordon and based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Set in Philadelphia around 1840, Edgar Allan Poe (Jeffrey Combs) is going through a bad case of Writer's Block as he begins to hit the bottle more than usual and his young wife Virginia (Elyse Levesque) contracts tuberculosis. To make things worse, their pet black cat Pluto begins to act a lot meaner than usual.

    The Washingtonians 
Directed by Peter Medak and based on a short story by Bentley Little. Mike Franks (Johnathon Schaech) moves with his family into his late grandmother's house in rural Virginia. There he finds an ancient portrait of George Washington, and hiding behind it a fork made of human bone and a letter where the first president of the United States declares his love for eating children. Soon they are the target of The Washingtonians, a secret society devoted to keep alive and hidden the "tradition" set by their founding father.

  • Adaptational Heroism: A mild example, but in the original story, Harkinson is part of a Redcoat-styled group who are implied to be a likewise clandestine (but not cannibalistic) organization that does unspeakable things to The Washingtonians. Here, he's a regular educator who summons a SWAT team to take them down.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Parodied and somewhat downplayed, considering the original story also revealed things like Benjamin Franklin being a Composite Character.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: George Washington was a cannibal. Also, the secret clique he founded ate Thomas Jefferson.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the last minute, Professor Harkinson (Saul Rubinek) brings a three-person SWAT team to rescue the Franks family and kill all the Washingtonians.
  • Cannibal Clan: A whole village of them.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: One of the Washingtonians says that Washington found cannibalism gave him great physical power and clarity of mind.
  • Child Eater: The Washingtonians prize children as a meal, due to having a particular...fondness for virgin meat.
  • Corrupt Hick: The two cops that answer Mike's call are Washingtonians themselves.
  • Historical In-Joke: The reason for that torn section of Washington's portrait? It contained his confession to cannibalism.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: President Washington was apparently a cannibal.
  • Human Resources: Washington's special cutlery.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: George Washington as well as several other founding fathers and their descendants. This was due to Washington and the founding fathers eating some of the troops (causing an acquired taste for human flesh) during the Valley Forge incident in 1777.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty:
    • While Washington seemingly never suffered any repercussions for his actions during his lifetime, his cult and his legacy (which he intended to perpetuate through a nation of cannibals) are utterly destroyed by the story's end.
    • The Washingtonians themselves face karma by means of an armed SWAT team.
  • President Evil:
    • George Washington became a cannibalistic madman after he was forced to eat some of his men during a harsh winter. He started regularly killing and eating people (including several members of his own administration), ate children and made household items out of their bones and skin, and was apparently intent on founding the United States as a "cannibal republic". A reporter claims that Washington's monstrousness was covered up by his followers.
    • The ending implies that George W. Bush is a member of the Washingtonians as well.
  • Reality Ensues: While The Washingtonians do prove a threat in their numbers and their lack of restraint, they're decidedly no match for a SWAT team wtih automatics.
  • Rock Beats Laser: Averted. See above.
  • Slasher Smile: The Washingtonian by the window.
  • Wendigo: Obliquely referenced. The Continental Army turned to cannibalism to avoid starving at Valley Forge and Washington personally found that human meat gave him great physical prowess and clarity of mind.

    Dream Cruise 
Directed by Norio Tsuruta and based on a short story by Koji Suzuki. Jack Miller (Daniel Gillies) is an American lawyer in Tokyo who is deathly afraid of water and has recurrent nightmares about the drowning death of his brother Sean when they were children. He's also having an affair with Yuri Saito (Yoshino Kimura), the wife of his colleague Eiji (Ryo Ishibashi). When Eiji invites Jack to a cruise on his yacht, he finds soon that Eiji already knows about the affair, but that's not the biggest of his and Yuri's problems.


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