Masters of Horror: Sick Girl (Television)

Episode 10
Starring Angela Bettis, Erin Brown, Marcia Bennett, Jesse Hlubik

Directed by Lucky McKee

Airdate: January 13, 2006

Being that tonight is Friday the 13th, a day of delight and celebration for horror fans all over the world, this week’s episode of Masters of Horror had big shoes to fill. Lucky for us, they chose Lucky. Okay, bad pun… but I couldn’t resist. Writer/director Lucky McKee, who helmed the touching horror film May (also starring Angela Bettis) in 2002, directed this episode based on a script which he co-wrote with Sean Hood, who penned Halloween: Resurrection, Cube 2: Hypercube, and The Crow: Wicked Prayer – and apparently has an affinity for titles with colons.

Tonight’s special installment, titled Sick Girl, stars Bettis in another role as a lonely and awkward young woman, Ida Teeter. Ida is an entomologist who both looks and acts as if she’s stepped right out of the 50’s. She’s very gawky and stiff, though sweet, and her only friends are her bugs… of which she has many. And while the bugs are her buddies, they are also a bone of contention in her life, a fact which is evidenced by the opening shot when we hear the voice of a woman on her answering machine, standing her up because “the bug thing freaks the crap” out of her.

Ida’s only human friend is her coworker, Max, who’s both a big chauvinist pig who asks Ida to call him with all the sexy details of her lesbian encounters because they’re “shower material for the morning” and a good buddy to Ida, coming to her aid when she calls. It’s Max who urges her to talk to the strange young woman who sits in the lobby of their building every day and sketches pixies. Misty Falls, played delightfully sweet, sexy, and at times down and dirty by a surprisingly talented Erin Brown (formerly known as Misty Mundae), is just as awkward and dorky as Ida… so they’re a perfect match.

The story that follows is one of the most bizarre love stories you’ll ever see. One of Ida’s “pets,” a mysterious bug she received in the mail apparently from Brazil, has escaped and is causing trouble in her apartment building, much to the chagrin of her beastly landlady Miss Lana Beasley and the detriment of a little dog named Pumpkin. On the night of their first date, it even bites Misty on the ear from the shelter of Ida’s pillow.

As Misty and Ida’s relationship blossoms, Ida has to contend with the missing bug, strange letters from the man who sent her the bug warning dire consequences, the disapproval of her small-minded landlady, and Misty’s ever increasingly bizarre behavior. I won’t give anything else away because it’s delightful enough for you to discover on your own. Suffice to say that there are some genuinely gross shots for the gorehounds out there, strong dialogue (my favorite line was delivered by Ms. Mundae to the bitchy landlady and involved a virus… that’s all I’m saying), and an endearingly adorable bug hunt. Aside from a few instances of somewhat questionable bug effects, the whole thing is really very cohesive.

I don’t know if McKee qualified as a “master of horror” when he signed on for this episode, given that May is really his only other released project, but this definitely proves he’s well on his way.

4 out of 5 Mugs O’ Blood

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Jon Condit

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