‘Masters of Horror: Dance of the Dead’ Screened!!

Today our reporter who has been covering the International Horror/Sci-Fi Film Festival 2005 in Phoenix submitted his day 2 report from the fest. The report was his experience seeing Tobe Hooper’s Masters of Horror entry entitled Dance of the Dead, which is one of the 13 one-hour episodes Showtime will be showing starting tomorrow! You can read part one by clicking here or read on for his thoughts on Tobe Hooper’s film…
International Horror/Sci-Fi Film Festival 2005
Day 2 by: Michael Tank
A Tribute to Tobe Hooper

The main event on evening 2 of the fest was a tribute to the legendary Tobe Hooper, and yes, the man himself was there to receive the festival’s 1st ever Hall Of Fame award. If I have to list off his credits and tell you a little bit about him, then we don’t want you on this website.

Anyway, before coming out to receive this honor and chat with the many fans in attendance about his career and his status as a genre icon, we were treated to a screening of his segment from the upcoming Showtime anthology series “Masters Of Horror”, entitled “Dance Of The Dead”.

1st off, the intro to “Masters” that we’ll be seeing each week (which I hadn’t seen yet), was terrific. It’s got a great pulsing score, with the right amount of creepy visuals, that’s sure to put you in the right mood for a great new terror tale each week. I was instantly jazzed and primed for a good time. I had to try my hardest not to make geeky fanboy sounds and embarrass myself in front of the crowd and Mr. Hooper. (Can’t believe I just admitted that).

“Dance” is based on a story by brilliant horror novelist extraordinaire Richard Matheson, and was adapted for “Masters” by his son Richard Christian Matheson. The source material (as Tobe was quick to point out) was a major factor in how effectively this tale unfolded. It tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic landscape run pretty much exclusively by street thugs and degenerates, who spend a lot of their time getting their kicks at a place called The Doom Club, which features a ghoulishly fun stage show, the main attraction of which is…well, take another look at the title.

The nightly proceedings are hosted by a demented, lascivious, grinning chap known only as the MC, played here by the one and only Robert Englund. Now, I know that I don’t have to go on and on to whoever’s reading this by saying “Breaking News! Robert Englund is terrific in this!” We all know what he’s done, we all know how brilliant he can be, we all grew up worshipping every thespian bone in Sir Freddy’s body. But folks, let me say it here anyway: Robert Englund is FANTASTIC in this. Aided by truly inventive macabre dialogue, he is incredibly entertaining up there as that MC, veering just this side of over-the-top, but never going too far, which proves mighty effective later when he’s offstage, in scenes where the dark charm is dropped, and the true menace of his character seeps out. He’s a lot of fun in this.

The rest of “Dance Of The Dead” (I keep wanting to call it Dead Can Dance, cause I’m a dork) is fun too, ending with a nice dark gothic twist that’ll leave you with a mile-wide wicked grin on your face. And the scenes featuring the title mambo will make your skin crawl. Based on this entry alone, I for one CANNOT F-ING WAIT for the show to premiere this Friday.

After that little gift, it was time for the man himself to get his due, and, man, not to get all geeky on y’all (I know, it’s way too late for that), but what a thrill it was to see him in person. There was a brief 10 minute clip reel highlighting some of the finer moments in his work, wherein every fan in the house worth their bloody popcorn got chills (I know I did) seeing some of these great scare moments from horror history on the big screen (especially those of us who were too damn young to get into these films when they came out). This was followed by a nice, long Q&A session, wherein Mr. Hooper proved himself the real deal, as an intelligent, surprisingly soft-spoken, and, yeah, very funny all-around nice guy. Kinda weird for a man who made his name with the most notoriously disturbing and intense (and Christian-right-panty-twisting) horror film of all time.

After a nice standing ovation (to which he was very gracious), he was cool enough to hang out and talk to us one on one and sign our goodies (and this is ALWAYS the best part of meeting someone like this, as a fan, when they’re this approachable and warm). When I mentioned how much I enjoyed “Dance”, he said that it was great to get to do something for once with complete free reign and not have to worry about toning anything down for the Almighty Ratings Board. And when I said that films like “Dance” are refreshing to see in this day of PG-13 “horror”, he glanced at me at with a look that made very clear that he was definitely not a fan of that particular rating. “Yeah”, he said, “how often in a movie do you get to see a corpse have an orgasm?” referring to a rather nice little bit from “Dance”.

If THAT isn’t reason enough for you to check out “Masters Of Horror”, then, I’m sorry brother, there’s no hope for you.

Source: Michael Tank