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TELEVISION & RADIO

Showtime gives us the creeps

October 28, 2005|From Associated Press

In Don Coscarelli's "Incident On and Off a Mountain Road," a seemingly defenseless woman gets to practice her survival skills against a serial killer. In Mick Garris' "Chocolate," a man experiences life through the eyes of a mysterious lady. And in Joe Dante's "Homecoming," deceased U.S. soldiers in Iraq rise from the grave to vote out the politicians who sent them there.

All are pieces of Showtime's "Masters of Horror" series, premiering at 10 tonight -- 13 original stories helmed by noted creep show directors, including John Landis ("An American Werewolf in London"), John Carpenter ("Halloween"), Tobe Hooper ("The Texas Chain Saw Massacre"), and Guillermo del Toro ("Hellboy").

"I had always thought it would be great to get the guys who know the most about making horror effectively to do an anthology series," says show creator Garris, director of such screamers as Stephen King's "The Stand" and King's upcoming "Desperation" miniseries.

The concept grew out of a series of dinners that the directors attended, organized by Garris.

"We all had known each other for years," recalls Landis. "I knew John Carpenter when he was a film student at USC and Joe Dante when he was cutting movie trailers for Roger Corman [another veteran of low-budget horror]."

Garris' goal with the Showtime series was to provide a venue for directors to make, essentially, one-hour horror movies for television -- with no studio interference. "We wanted these filmmakers to do their movies, their way," he says.

"The idea was to pull these people together, who founded this genre, and let them do the shows they've always wanted to do, with no restrictions, no second-guessing," confirms executive producer John Hyde.

The directors could either bring in their own stories for their episodes, or work from scripts developed by Garris and his team. Hooper's "Dance of the Dead," about life after World War III, came from a short story by acclaimed fantasy writer Richard Matheson, with the screenplay written by Matheson's son, Richard Christian Matheson.

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