InsidePulse DVD Review – Masters of Horror: John Landis – Deer Woman


(Credit: Amazon.com)

Directed by
John Landis

Cast:
Steve Archer …. Business Man
Brian Benben …. Dwight Faraday
Sonja Bennett …. Dana
Zoltan Buday …. Pawnshop Guy
Lisa Marie Caruk …. Theoretical Girl
Julian Christopher …. Chief Einhron
Ben Cotton …. Theoretical Trucker
John Bear Curtis …. Truckstop Owner
John B. Destry …. Trucker Witness
Travis Dugas …. Casino Manager
Anthony Griffith …. Officer Jacob Reed
Walter High …. Pool Player
Maxine Miller …. Dog Lady
Cinthia Moura …. The Deer Woman
Michael P. Northey …. Peeing Trucker
John R. Taylor …. Dead Monkey Man
Andy Thompson …. Bill
Don Thompson …. Detective Fuches
Edmond Kato Wong …. Desk Cop
Alex Zahara …. Detective Patterson

The Show:

Showtime’s Masters of Horror is just simply a great idea for an anthology series. Take some of the greatest Horror directors of the past few decades and just let them run wild for an hour on TV, sort of like a classier Tales from the Crypt. While most directors, such as John Carpenter and Dario Argento, simply took the opportunity to scare the crap out of people, John Landis wanted to take another route. He decided that an intense Horror-fest really wasn’t his forte, so instead he decided to make something really goofy. On those terms, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t succeed. Unfortunately, the results could have just been more satisfying if he had put in a few more scares.

Landis’ claim to fame in this genre was of course his 1981 Horror/Comedy An American Werewolf in London. In that film, he was able to tip-toe the line between the genres to craft a picture that made you laugh as much as you wanted to scream. In Deer Woman, Landis’ Masters of Horror entry, the director wanders into similar territory, with mixed results.

A rash of horrible attacks on men looks as the victims have been trampled to death while they were sexually aroused. Detective Dwight Faraday (Brian Benben) is the first officer on the scene when the initial attack is called in, but is baffled by the crime. The site is damned peculiar, and everyone is perplexed as to whether the murder was the work of a deranged killer or a really brilliant animal. Of course, we as the audience know it was the work of the Deer Woman, a beautiful succubus leading men to secluded spots where she has their way with men, and then gruesomely kills them.

Written by Landis and his son Max, the movie is based on an old Native American myth of a half woman, half animal who mates with unsuspecting victims and then kills them. If you think that sounds silly, Landis seems to think so too. The director lets you in on the joke, putting together some hysterical sequences, especially when Benben’s Faraday is trying to go over the crime in his head. One flashback has a beautiful woman bludgeoning a poor trucker with a deer leg. Another has a huge “Deer Man” in a purposefully horrible costume beating the crap out of the same victim. Those looking for serious horror are in the wrong place.

Unfortunately, except for Brian Benben, the acting really isn’t up to par. If you’re used to low budget Horror schlock, this probably won’t bother you all that much, but it is noticeable. Also, the episode isn’t terribly scary, as most of the gruesome stuff takes place off-screen. The finale is decently exciting, but by then if you’ve tuned out to the story, it’ll be too little, too late.

Overall, Deer Woman is a joking, fun entry into the series, but a bit of a disappointment considering its pedigree. Landis has done better work, and hopefully will again. A line referencing An American Werewolf in London seems to only make you wish this was as good. Deer Woman isn’t as good as it should be, but it keeps you mildly entertaining for the hour it’s on.

Score: 6.0 /10

The DVD:

The Video

The DVD print looks fine. You always get a pretty decent picture throughout which is a plus when you’re watching Cinthia Moura’s The Deer Woman. The episode is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1.

The Audio

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is also fine, with no noticeable flaws and has a good balance.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary, Featurettes, Interviews, and Trailers.

Animal Hooves: An Interview with John Landis – This runs about a half an hour and has Landis recalling his early days with film and through his golden years of directing when he was doing work such as Animal House and The Blues Brothers. Landis is actually so jovial and entertaining that this is well worth your time to watch this. I kind of wish they would have maybe touched upon the tragedies that occurred during Twilight Zone: The Movie, but I can understand why it wasn’t mentioned.

Working with a Master: John Landis – Also a great look into the man’s career is this Featurette which contains interviews with Rick Baker, Dan Ankroyd, Max Landis, Don Rickles, and others. Each give tons of little tidbits about personal moments with the director and also have some fun at his expense. Of all the features, this is probably the best one as it’s a nice little retrospective without turning into a “love fest”. Rickles is absolutely hilarious here.

Audio Commentary with Actors Brian Benben and Anthony Griffith – This is an entertaining enough commentary as both guys are pretty funny and don’t take the proceedings too seriously.

On Set: An Interview With Anthony Griffith – This interview with Anthony Griffith runs about 4 minutes, its not terribly insightful, but not offensive.

On Set: An Interview With Brian Benben – This is actually kind of entertaining as Benben is able to bring up some memories working with Landis on Dream On.

On Set: An Interview With Cinthia Moura – Moura’s pretty easy on the eyes as she talks about being discovered and how much fun she’s having on this project.

Behind the Scenes: The Making of Deer Woman -This is pretty standard stuff as it just shows everyone working on the film and occasionally goofing off. Landis seems to have a pretty loose set and that really comes across on film.

Fantasy Film Festival: Mick Garris Interviews John Landis – This is an old school interview that shows Landis looking REALLY young with long hair.

Trailers – You get a ton of trailers here, most for other Masters of Horror entries. You also get trailers for other Anchor Bay releases such as Room 6 and Demon Hunters.

Still Gallery

John Landis Bio

Score: 8.0 /10

InsidePulse’s Ratings for Deer Woman
CATEGORY
RATING
(OUT OF 10)
THE SHOW

6
THE VIDEO

8
THE AUDIO

8
THE EXTRAS

8
REPLAY VALUE

7
OVERALL
8.5
(NOT AN AVERAGE)