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Masters of Horror Takes Over the Comic Con

Showtime’s horror anthology Masters of Horror not only blew us away at their panel, but made sure we left the convention hyped as hell for their debut. Flyers and bags were everywhere and they even hosted “the” party with CFQ Magazine. Inside you’ll find a report courtesy of David Ehrlich about what transpired at the panel on Friday July 15th at the Comic Con…
COMIC-CON 2005
Masters of Horror Panel
Friday, July 15
By David Ehrlich

Away from the capes, spandex and superhero clang ’n’ buzz of the main floor at Comic-Con 2005, horror fans gathered in a cavernous presentation hall to catch a preview of the forthcoming “Masters of Horror” anthology series, premiering this October on Showtime. The series features an amazing lineup of some of the greatest names in modern horror, including George Romero, Dario Argento, Tobe Hooper, John Carpenter and Joe Dante, among others.

Co-creator and Executive Producer Mick Garris opened the panel by explaining that the idea for the series grew out of discussions with John Landis, with both directors wondering why there wasn’t a modern horror anthology television series currently being produced. While a number of the Masters contributed their own screenplays to the first season, the series will also features stories from both legendary and current horror scribes, including H.P. Lovecraft, Joe Lansdale, Richard C. Matheson and Steve Niles.

Present for the panel discussion were directors John Landis (“An American Werewolf in London), Don Coscarelli (“Phantasm) and Stuart Gordon (“Re-Animator). Coscarelli will direct “Incident On and Off A Mountain Road,” adapted by Coscarelli and Stephen Romano from a story by Joe Lansdale, and Gordon is heading up a version of the H.P. Lovecraft classic, “Dreams in the Witch House”. “Masters of Horror” looks to offer up fans an eclectic assortment of scares, from the creepy psychosexual mind**** of Garris’ segment, “Chocolate”, to the gruesome dark comedy of Landis’ “Deer Woman” (featuring a screenplay written by the director’s 19-year old son, Max). “Their styles, modes and expressions are all entirely different from one another,” said Garris of the first season’s directors.

Screened at the presentation was Showtime’s brief promo trailer for the series; Garris then led a discussion about the making of the episodes, remarking that “Masters of Horror” was unique in that it was “the only television series in history that is director-driven”. Having lined up an international collection of such renown talents, Garris then instructed the creators to “cut it your way, and do it your way”. With no commercial interruptions and without the constraints of network censors, the masters were given the chance to bring their visions to the screen in all their grisly glory.

The series is international in scope, with both Japan’s Takashi Miike and Italy’s Dario Argento being included in the first season’s line-up of directors. Unfortunately, Roger Corman, slated to contribute an installment for the premiere season, has had to postpone his involvement until Season Two, due to health reasons.