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Masters of Horror: Fair Haired Child, The (DVD)

Masters of Horror: The Fair Haired Child DVD (click for larger image)Starring Jesse Haddock, Lori Petty, Walter Phelan, Lindsay Pulsipher, William Samples

Directed by William Malone

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment


Finally. That’s the word that comes to mind when thinking about completing the collection of Anchor Bay’s stellar DVD treatments of Showtime’s Masters of Horror series. Yep, kids, it’s a wrap! With the release of William (House on Haunted Hill) Malone’s entry, “The Fair Haired Child,” every single episode of the Emmy Award winning show is now available on DVD. This latest release is again packed to the gills with features, interviews, and other goodies so let’s take a look at what we get, shall we?

It’s been said that there’s no greater agony on the planet than losing a child. Life can be pretty unfair at times. What if there was a way to make things right, or at least right-ish? How far would you go? What price would you agree to pay? For Judith and Anton (Petty and Samples) the answer to that question was crystal clear: Do whatever it takes.

After their son, Johnny (Haddock), drowns, the grieving folks make a pact with a demon to have their son be reborn. The price is both costly and grave — sacrifice twelve children, and Johnny will be fully restored to the family. So where do you get kids to kill? Better yet, where do you get kids to kill that no one will miss? Easy — the local high school. Anton and Judith scope out their prospects and pick the kids who are considered outcasts amongst their peers.

Masters of Horror: The Fair Haired Child DVD (click for larger image)Meet Tara (Pulsipher). After being knocked off of her bike by a van (a scene which you’re sure to rewind over and over again for laughs), she’s kidnapped and locked in the basement of an out-of-the-way house. There she meets a very much drugged Johnny. Not realizing that her cell mate is the very reason why she is there, Tara tries to convince Johnny to help her fight and eventually escape. Things don’t end up exactly as the misguided teen plans, and before you can say dead is better, the demon is out, about, and ready to cash in on its debt.

“The Fair Haired Child” is without question one of the best episodes of Season One. It’s visually arresting, has great characters, and best of all — sports one of the oddest and most terrifying beasties to grace the screen in quite some time. If you only intend to buy a few of the Masters of Horror DVD’s, do yourself a favor and nab this one. It’s a fine example of what makes this series great. For more about “The Fair Haired Child,” check out my esteemed colleague Johnny Butane’s far more in-depth review of the episode itself right here.

Let’s talk about all the supplemental goodness instead, shall we?

The festivities start off (as every one before this one has) with an interview with the director himself, William Malone, entitled The Face of Fear. After watching and listening to this man, it’s impossible not to relate. He’s living the horror fan’s version of the American dream. After developing a talent for making homemade movie monster masks, Bill started making movies by age 13. As he grew older, he landed a gig at Don Post Studios sculpting (and helping to sculpt) masks which include The Shape’s mask from the original Halloween. After that he made a couple of movies which … well … sucked. Does any one even remember Scared to Death (a.k.a. Syngenor) or Creature? *shudder* I’m a firm believer that hard work pays off. Bill kept at it, and what do you know? All these years later he’s showcasing his work side-by-side with genre vets like Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter. Not too shabby.

Masters of Horror: The Fair Haired Child DVD (click for larger image)From here we get the usual interview featurettes that include segments about what it was like to work with Malone in general and of course on “The Fair Haired Child.” There’s also a commentary with Malone and writer Matt Greenberg, which is an entertaining little trip from beginning to end, and then of course more of the usual bells and whistles like a lengthy text bio (I swear Anchor Bay does these better than anyone), a still gallery, some behind-the-scenes footage, and of course some extra DVD ROM features such as a screensaver and the screenplay.

Another thing common among the Masters of Horror discs is that there is always one feature unique to the DVD that’s not on any other editions. Here we get a chance to check out some scenes from thirteen-year-old Malone’s first film, Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. This is kind of a cool addition, but to be honest it’s way too short and could have easily been added to one of the disc’s other featurettes. Oh well. Nothing’s perfect, right?

With that, the circle is now complete. Masters of Horror has been a hell of a ride. Fear not, dear reader; with Season Two now well under way, it’s only a matter of time before we begin again. I would say let’s hope for the best, but with Anchor Bay steering the ship, I expect nothing less.

Special Features
The Face Of Fear: An Interview with William Malone featurette
Working With A Master: William Malone featurette
On Set: An Interview with Jesse Haddock featurette
On Set: An Interview with Lori Petty featurette
On Set: An Interview with Lindsay Pulsipher featurette
On Set: An Interview with William Samples featurette
Scene from William Malone’s first short film
Behind The Scenes: The Making-of Fair Haired Child featurette
Audio commentary with director William Malone and writer Matt Greenberg
Trailers
Still gallery
William Malone bio
Screenplay (DVD-ROM)
Screensaver (DVD-ROM)
Collectible trading card

Film

4 1/2 out of 5

Special Features

4 out of 5

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Steve Barton

You're such an inspiration for the ways that I will never, ever choose to be.