Said ‘masters’ are a bunch of horror directors who occasionally break bread together. Then Mick Garris (Riding The Bullet) suggested they all make an hour-long chiller – the first two of which debut here. And schlocky episodes from some hammy horror TV show, they ain’t. These are essentially mini-movies in their own right, shot and edited with more finesse than your average telly fare.
Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns echoes 1994’s In The Mouth Of Madness, with shades of Polanski’s ropey Satanic shocker The Ninth Gate, as it concerns a rare movie – Le Film Absolute Du Monde – that sends its viewers into rampages of murder and arson. It’s a creepy, effective concept with echoes of Ringu, but there’s a sense that Carpenter has had to check his rawer instincts for the TV format.
Re-Animator director Stuart Gordon treads familiar territory with Dreams In The Witch- House, torn from the pages of long-time posthumous collaborator HP Lovecraft. We’re talking parallel universes, haggard witches, rodents with human faces, lashings of gore and a touch of T&A here. It wavers between stark European Gothic and just plain risible, often raising more unintentional guffaws than back-of-the-neck hairs.
Both discs are stuffed with superb extras, including yak-tracks from Carpenter (a languid, cosy affair) and writers Drew McWeeny and Scott Swan (from the Ain’t It Cool website, hence their chatty and excitable spiel). Gordon, actor Ezra Godden and DVD producer Perry Martin are more detailed, taking in every fathomable aspect of the production for anyone who’s interested. There are also interviews with both directors and a host of FX featurettes exploring the set-pieces (the best being Burns’ nasty decapitation).