Masters of Horror Emmy hopefuls

I’m here to confess that, if Showtime’s MASTERS OF HORROR loses any Emmy Awards by one vote, I may be partially to blame. A friend of mine (who is an Emmy voter) recently received a package of DVDs from Showtime, promoting their Emmy hopefuls, including MOH. Since I had never seen any of the episodes, I asked to borrow the MOH disc when he was through; he took one look at the gory images on the cover and gave it to me without another glance.

Oh well, Showtime’s Emmy loss is my gain. According to the DVD’s back cover, Showtime is submitting the MASTERS OF HORROR show “For Your Emmy Consideration” in theses categories:

  • Outstanding Drama Series
  • OUtstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series
  • Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music
  • Outstanding Main title Design
  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)
  • And all other categories…

Besides general categories that apply to the entire series, Showtime is also pushing three individual episodes: THE BLACK CAT, SOUNDS LIKE, and FAMILY, which are being submitted in these categories:

  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Stuart Gordon for “The Black Cat,” Brad Anderson for “Sounds Like,” and John Landis for “Family”
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Dennis Paoli & Stuart Gordon for “The Black Cat,” based on the story by Poe; Brand Anderson for “Sounds Like,” based on the short story by Mike O’Driscoll; and Brent Hanley for “Family”
  • Outstanding Makeup for a Series, Miniseires, Movie, or Special: Gregory Ncotero & Howard Berger for all three episodes
  • Outstanding Stunt Coordination: Jim Dun for all three episodes.
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: George Wendt for “Family”

Truth by told, I doubt their Emmy aspirations for MOH are much within the realm of liklihood. Although I enjoyed all three episodes to some degree, none of them strike me as fabulous; they’re a tad run-of-the-mill, and it’s discouraging to think that these are being held up as the best the series has to offer.

Not that they’re bad, but all three seem to suffer from a common syndrome that afflicts one-hour anthologies: that’s just not a good length for horror stories. Nifty little stories with a sting in the tail work best at one-half hour; what we get is poised somewhere between a short subject and a feature, and it feels compromised – neither this nor that.

In addition, there is a tendancy to emphasize grizzly effects, whether or not they enhance the story (the series might have been better titled “Mastes of Gore”). I wouldn’t say the amount of bloodshed is necessarily excessive; it just sometimes seems obligatory – even a small amount can be too much, when it’s out of place.

Of the three, I think “Family” comes off the best, because the plot twist has a darkly comic edge that makes the grizzly story more palatable. Still, I’m not quite sure George Wendt’s fine performance is such a stand-out that it warrants Emmy consideration; Jeffrey Combs is at least as good in “The Black Cat,” playing author Edgar A. Poe himself, and the role gives him a lot more range.

In any case, I was glad to finally sample some of what MASTERS OF HORROR has to offer. I’m curious to view more, but I don’t think I’ll be runing out to buy a box set of the entire series any time soon.