Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Adam Aborts Masters of Horror: Pro-Life


Showtime's Masters of Horror series has been a mixed bag, but I really did enjoy John Carpenter's first outing Cigarette Burns.
When I heard his newest episode was called Pro-Life, I was extremely hopeful that it would surpass his original effort.
The subject of abortion is touchy at best. However, writers Drew McWeeney and Scott Swan (who also penned Cigarette Burns) have depoliticized the issue, focussing on the horror aspect of it. A girl (Caitlin Wachs) takes refuge in a remote abortion clinic, claiming to have been raped and wanting to have the child aborted.
Her father (Ron Perlman), a rabid pro-life activist, shows up at the gates of the clinic, demanding his child back. Perlman's character thinks of himself as a man of faith, and a voice has been telling him to "protect the baby".
What he doesn't know is that the voice ain't God's.
Speeding up considerably from the deliberate pacing of Cigarette Burns, Pro-Life moves at a nearly breakneck pace. The standoff occurs almost in real-time, with things going from bad to worse to downright fucking horrific at a lightning pace. Mistakes are made. Blood (a lot of it) is shed.
This episode is half action movie, half monster movie. Writing-wise, there are a lot of loose ends. Most of them don't really matter, but they do exist. For instance, once the invasion of the clinic starts, certain people just sort of disappear. One of their number might get killed, and then we don't see any more of them. Say, for instance, a pair of clinic employees watch the Father of the baby arrive at the clinic, and then we just don't see them for the rest of the movie. Or, hell, Ron Perlman's character faces the Father...and nothing. He just simply isn't around. No scream offscreen to denote he's dead. Not even a thumping sound effect. Am I to believe that the Father simply let him be?
Considering how good Cigarette Burns was, I'm disappointed with Pro-Life. The pacing was good, the dialogue was decent, but too many loose ends trip up the ending. A decent concept that just doesn't live up to my expectations, Pro-Life is more of a miscarriage than an abortion.

1 comment:

Adam said...

I had an interesting e-convo with Drew McWeeny, one of the writers.
Turns out, they didn't quite have the money or the time to do more kills (budgets and shooting schedules are a bitch). Given that the kills they did do were pretty fucking spectacular, they spent every penny they could.

I'm just saddened a little that it didn't quite fulfill the creator's visions of their own story. Ah, well. Someday Showtime will spend bundles of cash to make things right. And someday I might actually pull a rabbit out of my ass.