Masters of Horror – television series – USA, 2005 – 2007

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Masters of Horror is an American anthology-style television series created by director Mick Garris (Sleepwalkers; The Stand; Bag of Bones; Psycho IV) for the Showtime cable network.

In 2002, director Mick Garris invited some director friends to an informal dinner at a restaurant in Sherman Oaks, California.

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The original ten “masters” attending were John Carpenter, Larry Cohen, Don Coscarelli, Joe Dante, Guillermo Del Toro, Stuart Gordon, Tobe Hooper, John Landis, Bill Malone, and Garris himself.

The dinner was an extremely satisfying experience for the directors: a welcome night of camaraderie, humor and mutual admiration of one another’s work. Del Toro coined the name of the group in jest when he told a nearby diner celebrating her birthday that the “Masters of Horror” wished her a happy birthday.

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Subsequently, Garris organized regular dinners with the group and invited other horror and genre directors to attend, including Dario Argento, Eli Roth, David Cronenberg, Tim Sullivan, Rob Zombie, Bryan Singer, Fred Dekker, William Lustig, Lucky McKee, Ernest Dickerson, Kat O’Shea, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, James Gunn, Mary Lambert, Tom Holland, Peter Medak, Ti West, Lloyd Kaufman, and others.

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In 2005, Garris created and produced an original anthology television series of one-hour movies, written and directed by many of the “masters,” which was originally broadcast in the U.S. on the Showtime cable network. In several international territories, the films were released theatrically.

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The series debuted to excellent reviews in the U.S. on October 28, 2005 with the premiere episode “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road,” co-written and directed by Don Coscarelli, based on the short story by Joe R. Lansdale.

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The show followed an anthology series format, with each episode featuring a one-hour film directed by a well-known horror film director.

Season 1 (2005 – 2006)

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
1 1 “Incident On and Off a Mountain Road” Don Coscarelli Short Story by: Joe R. Lansdale
Teleplay by: Don Coscarelli & Stephen Romano
October 28, 2005
A young woman matches wits with a deformed and sadistic serial killer on and off a remote mountain road. Based on the short story by Joe R. Lansdale
2 2 “H. P. Lovecraft’s Dreams in the Witch-House” Stuart Gordon Short Story by: H. P. Lovecraft
Teleplay by: Dennis Paoli & Stuart Gordon
November 4, 2005
A college student renting an old room in a boarding house discovers a plot by sinister, otherworldly forces to sacrifice his neighbour’s infant. Based on the short story by H. P. Lovecraft
3 3 “Dance of the Dead” Tobe Hooper Short Story by: Richard Matheson
Teleplay by: Richard Matheson
November 11, 2005
A teenage girl living in a post-apocalyptic village befriends a group of rough punks who hang out at a sinister bar where reanimated corpses dance on stage.
4 4 “Jenifer” Dario Argento Short Story by: Bruce Jones
Teleplay by: Steven Weber
November 18, 2005
A police officer saves the life of a hideously deformed young woman, only to find himself drawn into a web of murder and self-destruction from which he finds it hard to break away.
5 5 “Chocolate” Mick Garris Short Story by: Mick Garris
Teleplay by: Mick Garris
November 25, 2005
A recently divorced young man begins experiencing the world through the senses of a woman he’s never met after eating a sample of chocolate. But his quest to meet her face-to-face leads to drastic consequences.
6 6 “Homecoming” Joe Dante Short Story by: Dale Bailey
Teleplay by: Sam Hamm
December 2, 2005
Political satire in which the reanimated corpses of soldiers killed in Iraq return in an attempt to sway the presidential election.
7 7 “Deer Woman” John Landis Max Landis and John Landis December 9, 2005
In this horror comedy, a police detective investigates a series of brutal murders which are committed by an ancient creature from Native American mythology.
8 8 “Cigarette Burns” John Carpenter Drew McWeeny & Scott Swan December 16, 2005
A man searches for the last surviving print of a rare film which allegedly drove the only audience that ever viewed it into a fit of homicidal frenzy.
9 9 “Fair-Haired Child” William Malone Matt Greenberg January 6, 2006
A teenage outcast is kidnapped by a strange couple and locked in a basement with their son, who has a dark secret.
10 10 “Sick Girl” Lucky McKee Story by: Sean Hood
Teleplay by: Sean Hood and Lucky McKee
January 13, 2006
A horror comedy in which a lesbian entomologist starts a relationship with another woman, but then also finds herself involved with a rather predatory and aggressive insect.
11 11 “Pick Me Up” Larry Cohen Short Story by: David J. Schow
Teleplay by: David J. Schow
January 20, 2006
Two serial killers (one who kills hitchhikers, another who kills anyone who gives him a ride) clash over their latest victim.
12 12 “Haeckel’s Tale” John McNaughton Short Story by: Clive Barker
Teleplay by: Mick Garris
January 27, 2006
In the 1850s, a man on his way to his sick father in upstate New York, seeks shelter in a secluded cabin owned by a mysterious couple where he becomes involved in a grotesque orgy of the undead.
13 13 “Imprint” Takashi Miike Novel “Bokkê, kyôtê” by: Shimako Iwai
Teleplay by: Daisuke Tengan
February 25, 2006
A 19th century American tourist gets much more than he bargained for while searching for a Japanese prostitute he fell in love with years earlier.

Season 2 (2006 – 2007)

No. in
series
No. in
season
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
14 1 “The Damned Thing” Tobe Hooper Short Story by: Ambrose Bierce
Teleplay by: Richard Matheson
October 27, 2006
The apocalyptic tale of a monstrous, unseen force that devastates Sheriff Kevin Reddle’s family and terrorizes their small Texas community. Based on the short story of the same title by Ambrose Bierce.
15 2 “Family” John Landis Brent Hanley November 3, 2006
Tells the story of a young couple who move to a new city and soon find out that their neighbor is not what he seems.
16 3 “The V Word” Ernest Dickerson Mick Garris November 10, 2006
This vampire film reveals the punishment visited upon two teenage boys who make the very poor decision to break into a mortuary and encounter a real vampire.
17 4 “Sounds Like” Brad Anderson Short Story by: Mike O’Driscoll
Teleplay by: Brad Anderson
November 17, 2006
The story of Larry Pearce, an ordinary man blessed with gift/curse of extraordinary hearing that drives him to the brink of insanity, and forces him to take violent action to silence the horrific cacophony in his head.
18 5 “Pro-Life” John Carpenter Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan November 24, 2006
Pro-Life tells the story of a young pregnant girl trapped inside an abortion clinic by her murderous family, who soon discovers the only thing more dangerous than her pursuers is the demonic secret that she carries within her.
19 6 “Pelts” Dario Argento Short Story by: F. Paul Wilson
Teleplay by: Matt Venne
December 1, 2006
Fur trader Jake Feldman knows that you cannot make a coat without breaking a few animals’ necks. In his pursuit to make the perfect fur coat to win over a woman, Feldman steals supernatural raccoon pelts that violently turn against those that covet them.
20 7 “The Screwfly Solution” Joe Dante Short Story by: James Tiptree, Jr.
Teleplay by: Sam Hamm
December 8, 2006
A nightmarish plague spreads across the globe, transforming men into killers who attack every woman that crosses their paths.
21 8 “Valerie on the Stairs” Mick Garris Short Story by: Clive Barker
Teleplay by: Mick Garris
December 29, 2006
A novelist rents a room in a flophouse to write a novel and discovers there are fates worse than literary anonymity when he encounters a mysterious woman and a stalking demon spawned from the imagination of three tenants.
22 9 “Right to Die” Rob Schmidt John Esposito January 5, 2007
After walking away from an auto accident that leaves his wife in a coma and on life support, a man must decide to let his wife die. But the situation becomes more nightmarish when her vengeful spirit threatens to expose a dirty secret of his own.
23 10 “We All Scream for Ice Cream” Tom Holland Short Story by: John Farris
Teleplay by: David J. Schow
January 12, 2007
In the 1950s, an ice cream man in clown makeup is accidentally killed during a childhood prank gone wrong. Now, years later after the kids have grown up, his ghost returns for revenge.
24 11 “The Black Cat” Stuart Gordon Short Story by: Edgar Allan Poe
Teleplay by: Dennis Paoli & Stuart Gordon
January 19, 2007
In 1841 Philadelphia, Edgar Allan Poe, suffering from writer’s block and short on cash, is tormented by his wife’s black cat that will either destroy his life or inspire him to write one of his most famous stories.
25 12 “The Washingtonians” Peter Medak Short Story by: Bentley Little
Teleplay by: Richard Chizmar & Johnathon Schaech
January 26, 2007
A man finds his family in danger after he discovers a shocking secret about the United States of America’s founding fathers, in which a secret society is hell-bent on keeping a secret at any cost.
26 13 “Dream Cruise” Norio Tsuruta Short Story by: Kôji Suzuki
Teleplay by: Naoya Takayama & Norio Tsuruta
February 2, 2007
Jack, an American lawyer working in Tokyo, has fallen in love with the wife of his most valued client, Eiji. Despite Jack’s deep-rooted fear of the sea, he reluctantly accepts Eiji’s invitation to join the couple for a day trip on the Tokyo Bay. Pleasure slowly turns to terror as they discover the watery destiny in store for each of them.

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