MASTERS OF HORROR Lucky McGee SICK GIRL Distributed by: Anchor Bay Entertainment Original Air Date: 13 January 2006 (Season 1, Episode 10) Film Length: 60 minutes Genre: Horror/Thriller Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Colour/B&W: Colour Audio: English 5.1 Surround English 2.0 Surround Subtitles: none Film Rating: not rated Release Date: June 27, 2006. Matt’s Rating: N/A Mike’s Rating: / Scare Factor: / Angela Bettis (Ida Teeter), Erin Brown/Misty Mundae (Misty Falls) Written by: Sean Hood Directed by: Lucky McGee HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone writes: Lucky McKee’s entry into the Masters of Horror series is a lot like his breakthrough film, May. Sick Girl is about a lonely quiet girl (played by May herself, Angela Bettis) who finally finds love in another quirky, nervous girl played by Erin Brown (also known as the soft-core/horror starlet Misty Mundae). Bettis’s Ida is an entomologist whose life revolves around bugs. As you might expect, this makes it difficult for her meet another girl [or other people for that matter, in this film Ida is a lesbian – Mike]. As she continually searches for a companion, she receives a mysterious package that contains an unidentifiable bug. Before too long, Ida finally meets someone in Brown’s wacky-chick Misty Falls. I won’t go into too much more detail, but as you might guess, someone turns into a giant bug. Thematically, the film is pretty interesting. It comes across as half romantic comedy/half 1950’s bug movie. In the end, the real horror aspect of the film is the nasty stuff that people can do or say to each other in a relationship. Much like May, the traditional horror elements (blood, gore, etc) are only one aspect of the overall theme. Bettis plays a character similar to May, but much less sheltered. She isn’t really forced to toe the line from villain to victim as she does in May, but she still breaks your heart. Erin Brown’s character actually gets to sink her teeth into the material more than Bettis. She goes through all of the motions from quiet to quirky to very intimidating. Overall, I don’t know if Sick Girl ends up being as much of a success as I had hoped. The acting is definitely solid, as is the relationship that drives the film, but some of the horror stuff was a little too schlocky at times. I guess I was hoping for something a little less humorous and a little more touching, but it’s still a worthy entry into the series. HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw comments: I agree with Matt’s evaluation on the acting – both Bettis and Brown/Mundae have solid acting no matter how awkward they seem to be on screen. The film takes its time to pace their growing relationship as well as the eroding relationship between Bettis’s landlord after she finds out about her “secret.” This film seems like something that would have been a comic book chapter in Creepshow with the end horror attempting to shock with frightening visuals. VIDEO QUALITY / HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: This short film is shot entirely indoors utilizing the same apartment and lab settings. The image is a little dim in these interiors but the film never suffers from it. Like the other Masters of Horror titles, the original image quality is pleasing to view except for that grittiness from compression artefacts. That “hazy” look is back again and I’m beginning to expect this on all Anchor Bay titles. Why it looks this way consistently is a question I put forward to them. Maybe they can’t see it on a 20” monitor but on an 8-foot screen it’s very noticeable. I hope they can clean up future releases. The aspect ratio is 1.77:1 and is enhanced for widescreen televisions. AUDIO QUALITY / HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: This episode is a missed opportunity for a great sound design. Aside from the dialogue scenes (and there are many in this film), the bug POV sequences could have sounded better than what it did. Of course, that is my own opinion, but I’ll tell you why it bothered me the way it was presented. When in the Point-of-View of the bug, the visuals on screen are all distorted and the sounds are also distorted too. But the sounds that the bug hears (also what we hear) are mostly restricted to the center channel and are recorded much louder than everything else. The result is a screechy centric sound that leaves the other four channels empty. Like Deer Woman, the other entry in this release, surround channel and LFE use is limited. TACTILE FUN!! / TRANSDUCER ON/OFF?: ON HTF DVD Reviewer Mike Osadciw writes: Again, very little LFE used for this release. Since these are horror films I find that even for the smallest bass moments it helps to intensify the eeriness. SPECIAL FEATURES / HTF DVD Reviewer Matt Stone Writes: Blood, Bugs And Romance (15:06): A brief look at Lucky McKee’s film-making history up through his Masters of Horror entry. I’m a huge May fan, so it was fun to learn a little more about him. Working With A Master – Lucky McKee (19:00): A more detailed look at McKee’s history. Aside from the commentary on May, I don’t recall any information on McKee’s past, so this was very interesting. There was also a lot more with Bettis and the others involved in McKee’s film-making career. I can’t wait until I can finally get my hands on The Woods. Like Eli Roth, this guy is going to be a big part of horror in the future. On Set – An Interview with Angela Bettis (7:52): An interview with the film’s lead. She’s obviously a smart person, so it was interesting listening to her take on the film and her character. On Set – An Interview with Erin Brown (5:33): A brief interview with Erin Brown. She gives some quick thoughts about her character and the story. She definitely has a star quality about her, and I hope she makes more mainstream stuff in the future. On Set – An Interview with Brad MacDonald (7:47): A fun little interview with the film’s bug-wrangler. He obviously didn’t know much about the actual film, but his commentary on the bugs was interesting to say the least. It looks like everyone had a fun time playing with the bugs. Behind the Scenes – The Making of Sick Girl (5:08): Another annoying non-narrated look at behind-the-scenes clips. Commentary: The lone commentary features Lucky McKee, Angela Bettis, Jesse Hlubic, and Jaye Barnes Luckett (who scored the film). Like the May commentaries, Lucky goes into very good detail on the film-making process. Everyone is pretty interesting, but McKee definitely runs the show. The DVD also features trailers, a still gallery, a Lucky McKee bio, and one Easter egg. IN THE END... This is a “different” film then the rest of the series so far focussing more on relationships between people and leaving horror as a side element. It’s effective and a pleasing hour to spend. I recommend checking it out. For more information on this series you can visit www.mastersofhorror.net. Reviewed by: Matt Stone & Mike Osadciw July 18, 2006.