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HTF REVIEW: Masters of Horror - Don Coscarelli: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road
3 replies to this topic
Posted May 08 2006 - 03:58 PM
Release Date: May 9, 2006.
Matt’s Rating: /
Mike’s Rating: /
Scare Factor: /
Bree Turner (Ellen), John De Santis (Moonface), Ethan Embry (Bruce), Angus Scrimm (Buddy), Heather Feeney (Young Woman)
Short story by: Joe R. Lansdale
Written by: Don Coscarelli & Stephan Romano
Directed by: Don Coscarelli
HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone writes: Incident On and Off a Mountain Road comes from Phantasm director Don Coscarelli, and from what I understand it was the first episode to air on Showtime. In it, Ellen (a young woman played by Bree Turner) is forced to rely on her instincts after her car careens of the road in the middle of the night. As Ellen investigates the accident, she stumbles onto a backwoods psychopath named ironically named Moonface (hey, who hasn’t been there?) She’s forced to fall back on her survivalist intuition instilled into her by her militiaman ex-husband (played expertly by Ethan Embry in flashback.) I’m used to him playing the goofy love interest, so this out of character work was a little shocking at first. Keep your eyes open, because there’s also a small part for Angus “The Tall Man” Scrimm.
Coscarelli tells the story by interweaving flashbacks through the main plot. In the end, we know that Ethan Embry’s Bruce is a bad guy, but his lessons come in handy considering Ellen’s predicament. The editing highlights character moments over plot and really makes a mediocre story a lot more interesting. The flashback sequences are light much warmer and more naturally than the high-contrast night scenes. Moonface’s white face accentuates this choice. Since the movie inter-cuts the action with the character development, it holds a very brisk pace.
This episode is far from great, but is a close second to Carpenter’s entry in the first release. Coscarelli’s directorial choices made the short film much more interesting than it could have been. This movie is good example of how structure and editing can change the impact of the material. I’m a huge fan of Coscarelli’s Phantasm, and was hoping for something a little more mind-bending, but I’m far from disappointed with Incident. Solid performances and great direction make this a very fun watch.
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw comments: It’s no surprise that this title was the first to kick off the Masters of Horror series. It’s brutal and shocking for a one-hour episode and is sure to make some people’s stomach turn. ”The Eyes are always the first to go…” This episode is fast paced and has crafty editing to keep viewers intrigued. There is also a good dose of gore and rotting corpses to stink up the room. Saying the title Incident on and Off a Mountain Road difficult to memorize, but the visuals aren’t while you still have your eyes…
VIDEO QUALITY /
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: Viewed on the Mitsubishi HC3000 DLP projector, the image has an intentional graininess that can be easily confused for digital artefacting. At 1.78:1, the image is soft like the other title in this series and exhibits a very warm picture during the flashback scenes. In the present day, when Ellen is trying to escape Moonface in the forest, the DVD displays excellent contrast as lightning flashes in the dark of the night. I didn’t see any compression artefacts and there is no intentional edge enhancement.
AUDIO QUALITY /
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: The thunderstorm that shatters the soundtrack throughout the film has good fidelity and a moderate amount of dynamic range. It utilizes all five channels and the subwoofer to surround the viewer. This soundtrack is pumped to keep the viewer engaged. I think this is a pleasant recording and is very effective, although the music is recorded at different levels at the beginning (quiet) and end of the film (louder). Sound effects are not restricted to the main channels but are also spread out; the haunting breathing of Moonface comes out of all five channels to make you feel like he’s coming after you, like he’s in your head and you can’t escape. The sounds of the sirens in Moonface’s basement echoes throughout the room, and of course, the grizzly sound of the drill that’s about to enter the head of the victims strapped to the table…all very chilling stuff…gross, horrific, effective – just what a horror flick should be. We’re all insane…!
TACTILE FUN!! /
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: I liked having the tactile transducer turned on. The rumbling of thunder kept me in the film and every time it stopped I had to remind myself it was only a short movie! Transducers are great for horror flicks and I highly recommend keeping it turned on for this one!
SPECIAL FEATURES /
HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone Writes: Commentaries – This DVD features two feature-length audio commentaries. The first features Don Coscarelli, writer Stephen Romano, and DVD Producer Perry Martin. The second features Mr. Coscarelli and Author Joe R. Lansdale. Like Chocolate, I wasn’t able to listen to both of these in their entirety, but I did sample them. Also like Chocolate, the first commentary is more interview based with Perry Martin prompting Coscarelli and Romano for answers. Coscarelli is an interesting guy and covers the production very well with little down time. Joe Lansdale wrote the short story that was the basis for Incident (as well as the short story Bubba Ho-tep). The second commentary contains more information on the adaptation and development of the story. I’ll definitely revisit this commentary in the near future.
Predators and Prey (23:52) – Like the main featurette on the Chocolate disc, this introduces Don Coscarelli and goes on to describe his work on this Masters of Horror entry. I’m pretty familiar with Coscarelli, so some of the material was repetitious, but Don’s an interesting guy, so this was a fun featurette.
Working With a Master: Don Coscarelli (20:42) – A much more in-depth look at Don’s film-making career. Some of the material is a little redundant with the first featurette, but it’s still very interesting. Like the Mick Garris featurette (and all of the MoH “Working With a Master” extras), it’s filled with interviews and anecdotes from Don’s past.
On Set: An Interview with John De Santis (5:52) – De Santis plays Moonface, the chief villain of Incident On and Off a Mountain Road. In this featurette, he details his thoughts on the character and the film. De Santis is a pretty interesting guy, and ironically reminds me of someone I work with. I’ll never look at him the same
On Set: An Interview with Ethan Embry (3:51) – A short interview with co-star Ethan Embry. I’ve always thought he was an under-rated actor, so it was fun to listen to his thoughts on the character and movie.
Behind the Scenes: The Making of Incident On and Off a Mountain Road (6:40) – Another loose group of behind-the-scenes footage with no logical grouping or narration. Maybe there’s a treasure here, but it’s a little cumbersome to watch.
The DVD also features Trailers, a still gallery, a Don Coscarelli Bio, a DVD-ROM screenplay and screensaver as well as an Easter egg.
IN THE END...
Anchor Bay, IDT, and Showtime have once again shown us their devotion to the horror genre. Incident On and Off a Mountain Road specifically showcases this love of the genre and provides an excellent value for those seeking to purchase these DVDs. I'd recommend picking up the two-pack as they're relatively inexpensive and are both worth at least one watch. I'm anxiously awaiting the press release for Anchor Bay's next batch of Masters of Horror titles. For more information on this series you can visit www.mastersofhorror.net.
Reviewed by: Matt Stone & Mike Osadciw
May 8, 2006.
Warner Bros. Blu-ray Reviewer
Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment Blu-ray Reviewer
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Posted May 08 2006 - 09:15 PM
Thanks for the Review... I already have this on Pre-Order (as well as Garris').... hopefully they will ship today. I didn't get to watch any of these on Showtime so I can't wait to check it out!
Posted May 10 2006 - 07:55 AM
I picked this one up yesterday along with chocolate... havent gotten the chance to watch either of them but I can't wait. This one has been getting really great reviews.
Posted May 12 2006 - 05:29 AM
I don't like the sound of 'fast editing', always turns me off, I guess the director thought since he only had an hour he'd better do something/a lot with that time.