Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Fear Itself The Complete First Season|
Actors: Niall Matter, Margherita Donato, Valerie Womack, Marie Zydek
Genres: Horror, Television
Studio: Lions Gate Home Ent. Release Date: 09/15/2009 Rating: Nr
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Member Movie Reviews
Chad B. (abrnt1) from CABERY, IL
Reviewed on 5/26/2011...
This series was a let down. I enjoyed Masters of Horror and was curious about how Fear Itself would turn out. I knew it would have problems (the transition from Showtime to network tv ment the subject matter had to be somewhat watered down), but I remained hopeful. This series fails on almost every level. The directors responsible for the most memorable episodes (Carpenter, Hooper, Argento) were no longer involved. The episodes were weak and seemed very cliched.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Mark Turner | 09/09/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A few years ago Showtime came across an idea that seemed to bear mixed fruit. The series was called MASTERS OF HORROR and what it did was take some of the top directors in the horror genre (including John Carpenter, John Landis and Stuart Gordon) and give them the opportunity to make an hour long horror piece of their choosing. Some resulted in truly inspired takes while others fell flat, like most episodes.
After a two year run the makers of the series took it to network TV at NBC and changed the name to FEAR ITSELF. The gore quotient dropped and of course most of the nudity as well, but the same idea and some of the same directors continued on. As with most anthology series, the episodes went up and down, good and bad. But for the most part, each and every participant delivered the goods.
This week Lionsgate is releasing the entire series of FEAR ITSELF on DVD. The series comes in an appropriate box shaped like a tombstone and the four discs included have some great things to offer scare fans. Consider it an early Halloween present.
The 13 episodes should find something for everyone from atmospheric pieces to out and out blood curdling, scream inducing chills. Directors include Stuart Gordon (THE RE-ANIMATOR), Mary Harron (AMERICAN PSHCHO), John Landis (AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) and several others. Rather than discuss each one, here is the best and the worst.
Of the 13 the weakest was an entry called CHANCE starring Ethan Embry. It tells the tale of a man driven by failure and poverty to make a decision that results in catastrophe. When Chance (the character's name) tries to sell an antique pot to a dealer, he discovers he's been had having paid much more than the dealer is willing to offer. As he is driven to the edge of sanity, he continues to see himself but separate from his own body. The doppelganger lives out his wildest dreams of revenge, killing the dealer and taking Chance down a road he shouldn't travel.
As the episode unfolds, Chance has a hard time differentiating between reality and fantasy, never quite sure who is pulling the strings. Is it the double he sees committing these heinous acts or is it really Chance, his mind twisted by desperation? The answer is not quite satisfying and the episode feels like it takes too long to go nowhere. But most episodes aren't of this quality.
Instead they're like the best one, SKIN AND BONES, directed by Larry Fessenden (THE LAST WINTER) and starring Ball State grad Doug Jones (Abe Sapien from the HELLBOY films). The story opens with an angry teen about to head out to the mountains in search of his father whose been missing since he left 10 days earlier with a group of friends. When his uncle and lead ranch hand tells him to stay the pair has words and the uncle decides to head out. But there's no need when the man returns, beaten and frostbitten.
But the man isn't the same as when he left. Hollowed out cheeks and razor sharp teeth as well as an uncontrollable hunger for meat make everyone wonder what happened. His wife, brother, two children and an Indian who helps on the ranch all look at him differently. The Indian begins to tell his brother about his uncle who did the same thing. Returning from the mountains a rage had overcome him and he was possessed by the "wendigo", a spirit who takes over its host and lives on rage and destruction.
Come on! You know this thing is in him and an eventual showdown between various characters is bound to take place. But Fessenden builds the suspense and offers a few extreme jumps to the mix, giving us a taste of gore but counting more on the slow unfolding of the story to drawn us in and releases our adrenaline for a rush only a scare film can muster.
The rest of the pieces offered here are all quite well made and involving in their own right. Sad to say, the show wasn't picked up after this season and another anthology series bit the dust. But DVD comes to the rescue again so that you can watch it over and over or just discover what you may have missed when it first aired.
As for the other episodes, here is the press release version of each:
Rookie cop Danny Benderman spends the night in an isolated precinct guarding a serial killer who eats his victims and is intent on making her his next "meal".
THE SACRIFICE-Dir:Breck Eisner
Two brothers, along with some friends, end up stranded at an old fort and slowly discover that the three sisters who reside there are hiding a deadly secret.
A chilling tale about a young married couple who move into a seemingly perfect, planned community only to find out the hard way that their neighbors will go to any lengths to preserve their twisted sense of perfection.
IN SICKNESS & IN HEALTH-Dir:John Landis
A young bride-to-be receives a shocking note on her wedding day that reads "the person you are marrying is a serial killer".
While on a stake-out in a haunted house, a private eye hired by a mysterious woman is forced to confront the demons of his past.
THE FAMILY MAN-Dir:Ronny Yu
The tale of a likeable family man who switches bodies with a serial killer after a near-death experience. Now he must fight from behind bars to keep the murderer from adding his wife and kids to the long list of victims.
NEW YEAR'S DAY-Dir:Lynn Bousman
Gruesome tale of a young woman who wakes up in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by horrifying zombies and struggles to survive the day.
SOMETHING WITH BITE:Dir-Ernest Dickerson
When a veterinarian is bitten by a large, strange animal brought into his clinic, he begins to see the world and his stale life differently.
THE SPIRIT BOX:Dir-Rob Schmidt
Two suburban high school girls who try to contact a dead classmate via a board game and receive an unexpected message from beyond the grave.
Steven, an affable, good natured young man, moves into an apartment where he believes he once lived...88 years ago in a past life. As memories appear to him like ghosts, he begins to believe that in this previous life he was a sadistic murderer. Or can he just be imagining things?
THE CIRCLE:Dir-Eduardo Rodriguez
A group of people meet every Halloween to tell horror stories and suddenly discover that they're living one.
With Halloween only a month or so away, this would be a great one to have on hand that most of the family could watch. But a word to the wise, watch each episode and decide for yourself which ones your child can handle. And remind them that the only thing they have to fear is...FEAR ITSELF."
Some might call this "MASTERS OF HORROR - SEASON THREE"
Saint Thomas | Kent, Ohio | 09/28/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yeah! You remember MASTERS OF HORROR right!?! Don't 'ya!?! It was a Horror show that ran on Showtime for about two seasons before is was cancelled. I never had Showtime but I sure as heck bought tons of the MASTERS OF HORROR movies (each one had it's own DVD release) when they came out. Yet, the show was given the axe before it could really take off. Sometimes it seems like every Horror show gets cancelled before it can build any steam. I guess audience members these days want reality shows, not psycho killers and monsters anymore.
Eventually series creator Mick Garris decided to shift the series to the TV network NBC and renamed it "Fear Itself." Thank goodness too because it's a little different. Naturally, some changes were made to the series that couldn't have carried over from the late night adult themed MASTERS OF HORROR show. The first and most obvious one was the lack of gore. Some of the episodes do actually push the envelope in terms of blood shed. People are stabbed, chopped and hacked like any other Horror movie, they just don't show the action shot like you would in an unrated film.
Some of my favorite episodes are "The Sacrifice", "Eater", "Skin & Bones" and "New Year's Day." All of which are really creepy, bloody and well done for regular television. Some of the other episodes come close to being great but don't quite match up to the better ones. Stories like "Community", "Spooked", "Echoes", "Family Man" and "Chance" are all equally weird and enjoyable, if not a little off base compared to my first four choices.
Then there are the real duds like "The Spirit Box" (an awful story about two teenage "goth" witches) and the strangely off the mark episode directed by John Landis "In Sickness And In Health." The episode "Something With Bite" starts off really horrible but actually has an interesting twist by the end. So I guess you could say it's half good. The same can be said about the last story "The Circle", which had an EVIL DEAD vibe to it but then dashed it all with bad CGI effects.
Over all this was a pretty good Horror series. It's not better than MASTERS OF HORROR but then again, it isn't the samething. This is FEAR ITSELF and nothing more. It's a little more risky with the blood and gore than your usual television show. Some of the episodes are amazing, others are just down right awful. Thats what happens with any anthology series. You gotta' take the bad with the good.
This is for fans of TALES FROM THE CRYPT, CREEPSHOW, THE X-FILES and TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE.
I hope I've been helpful."
Excellent series but beware of packaging
Donald J. Wurzelbacher | Cincinnati, OH | 10/14/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
""Fear Itself" aired on NBC for a short time and did not finish its 13 episode run but it is very well written and I was sorry not to have seen every episode yet. But it does make it fun to watch the DVD set now. The main thing I want to let everyone know is to beware of the packaging it comes in. First of all these are four double-sided disks. I never liked double disks because they scratch very easily, it's difficult to tell which side you're on, and it's easy to put finger prints on them. Also, they are more likely to have problems playing on a DVD player. Simply put, they are very cheap. Secondly is that they packaged in such a way that the double sided disks actually are placed on top of each other with nothing at all protecting them. That is extremely irresponsible of the manufacturer and shows how little they care for their customers. Upon receiving my set I immediately rectified the problem myself, hoping that it's not too late already considering that they could already be scratched. I put each of the four disks in their own slimline DVD case and then got on the computer and made my own DVD label for the series. Then I put the four cases in the bottom cardboard part of the original set because they fit perfectly inside of it. I strongly recommend that everyone do the same. I think you may be sorry if you don't. Although I enjoy the series, I am giving it only 2 stars because the packaging is horrendous and inexcusable. I've never yet seen packaging this bad and I've bought many DVD sets in my time.
As for the show itself, it's actually season 3 of "Masters of Horror" just moved from SHOWTIME to NBC so the stories had to be shortened for commerecials and the nudity was taken out and the blood and gore was lessened. But that's fine with me. Horror does not mean lots of splattered blood. Horror should give you some chills, give you an unexpected shock. That's what some of these stories do. If you enjoy horror I think you should try this out."