Release Date: June 27, 2006.
Matt’s Rating: /
Mike’s Rating: /
Scare Factor: /
Brian Benben (Dwight Faraday), Anthony Griffith (Officer Jacob Reed), Cinthia Moura (The Deer Woman)
Written by: Max Landis & John Landis
Directed by: John Landis
HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone writes: Deer Woman is John Landis’s entry into Showtime’s excellent Masters of Horror collection. I’m much more familiar with Landis’s comedy work (Trading Places is still one of my all-time favourites), and I’ve only seen An American Werewolf in London a couple of times (and not for a good long while), but you can see his skill on display here. The film’s opening scene is moderately cliché for the horror genre, but his crafty use of visual storytelling really sells it. I was definitely sucked in from the start.
The film’s main character is police detective Dwight Faraday (played by Brian Benben). Apparently the expert in “weird stuff” (and with a similar clichéd “dark past”), Dwight is assigned to the case of a dead (and heavily mutilated) trucker. I know what you’re thinking…you’re thinking, “Hey, I bet the Deer Woman did it!” And you know what…BINGO, you’re right! The rest of the film is devoted to discovering this fact in its gory details.
Benben is really solid as the lead. He’s done mostly B-level stuff in the past (I can’t see him without thinking of “I Come in Peace” or NBC’s Kingpin). He’s able to play the straight man and have nearly impeccable comedic timing at the same time. Cinthia Moura is sexy yet off-putting as the film’s antagonist (or “Deer Woman” if you will ). The film was shot and edited very effectively. It never rally stumbles past B-grade horror, but it’s put together very well. Landis’s sense of humour is definitely present during the film (he co-wrote the movie with his son). It’s obviously short and to the point, but doesn’t move too fast (as some other Masters of Horror entries have). Overall, Landis’s entry places toward the top of the already-released Masters of Horror titles. It’s far from grade-A horror, but the tongue-in-cheek tone makes it a very fun film to watch. A little cheesy at times, yes, but I’d still rank it second behind Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns. Definitely worth a watch if you’re into the horror-comedy thing.
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw comments: Out of the current Masters of Horror titles available, this is my favourite title of them all. It’s a perfect blend of jumps and humour that makes John Landis’s work so amusing. It makes me want to watch An American Werewolf in London again…
VIDEO QUALITY /
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: like all other Masters of Horror titles, this title is presented in 1.77:1 anamorphic widescreen. There is good colour in the picture showing the differences in skin tones between each character. The rough unshaven face of Faraday to the silky smooth cheeks (and other parts) of the Deer Woman are displayed well on screen. Contrast is good, but like many Anchor Bay discs, it suffers from a minor amount of artefacts…a digital haze…or compression artefacts are present throughout giving it a gritty look.
AUDIO QUALITY /
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: The use of 5.1 surround is limited to the front channels. There are a few instances of surround use but the effects aren’t that directional or noticeable. The surrounds are used mainly to make the front soundstage sound wider. The LFE channel is used minimally and all bass comes from the front channels. The sound design is good enough, I guess, with dialogue never sounding too forward and effects integrated nicely. The quality of the recording is good, although with 448kbps Dolby Digital we are missing a lot of the original recording.
TACTILE FUN!! /
TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON
HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: Since there is very little LFE I’d have a tough time recommending the transducer. There is one effective moment though…and it involves a deer kick to the chest…that gave me a good wallop on the sofa!
SPECIAL FEATURES /
HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone Writes:
Animal Hooves (26:10): A fun look at John Landis’s career through Deer Woman (I’m assuming the title is supposed to be a half-assed reference at Landis’s classic, Animal House). The featurette is essentially Landis speaking about his past and experience working on Deer Woman. This was very fun to watch, primarily because Landis is such an interesting guy.
Working With A Master – John Landis (22:30): A more detailed look at Landis’s past comprised of interviews with people that he’s worked with. Like many of the other
On Set – An Interview with Brian Benben (6:44): A quick interview with lead actor, Brian Benben. As I mentioned in my review, I really liked his performance/character and found Benben to be a very interesting guy.
On Set – An Interview with Anthony Griffith (4:14): Another quick interview with the actor that played Dwight Faraday’s partner.
On Set – An Interview with Cinthia Moura (5:04): A third quick interview with the Deer Woman herself, Brazilian model Cinthia Moura.
Behind the Scenes – The Making of Deer Woman (9:37): A short look behind the scenes on Deer Woman. If you’ve watched through the other Masters of Horror DVDs, you’re already familiar with these annoying behind-the-scenes featurettes that feature absolutely no voice-over narration.
Feature Film Festival – Mick Garris Interviews John Landis (11:17): Here’s an interesting featurette. Mick Garris ran an interview program during the mid-to-late seventies and this features an interview between Garris and John Landis. You may recall another instance of this program on Garris’s Chocolate disc (with uber-producer/director Roger Corman).
Commentary: The commentary features actors Brian Benben and Anthony Griffith. I was hoping that Landis would be on the commentary, but oh well. Without a writer/director/etc to drive the commentary, it’s a little bland. That being said, Benben is a pretty funny guy. You will probably want to skip this one. It’s a shame too, because with someone to really keep the discussion moving, this could have been a pretty good track.
The DVD also features trailers, a still gallery, a John Landis bio, and a short Easter-egg.
IN THE END...
This is a highly recommended release of the Masters of Horror titles from Anchor Bay. There are still many more titles to come, but for now, this one is a gem. For more information on this series you can visit www.mastersofhorror.net.
Reviewed by: Matt Stone & Mike Osadciw
July 18, 2006.