Mar 8, 2008

Fair-Haired Child

I recently acquired a free lot of Masters of Horror episodes on DVD. The horror series has become quite a fun way to spend my free time. It brings me back to my childhood days of watching nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?. The majority of Masters of Horror episodes (which are really just low budget and practically full length films) are better than a majority of the contributing director’s films. The reason for this is most likely due to the more concrete and collected approach taken by the director. The episodes use simple yet effective stories (fairytale like in nature) to produce engaging hour long thrill rides (like Are You Afraid of the Dark? did).

William Malone is possibly one of the worst horror directors ever. Malone’s FeardotCOM is a “film” that I can’t even remember one aspect of. The film is evidence that the Hollywood film industry is about who you know and not about what talent you may or may not possess (Malone is more than lacking). William Malone acted as one of the “Masters of Horror” directors. He happened to direct the episode Fair-Haired Child. This episode is by far the lacking director’s single greatest moving picture achievement. With a small scale budget, it seems Malone actually had to put effort into the creative aspects of film.

Fair-Haired Child story looks to be made up from various source materials. In the beginning of the episode, we are introduced to high school aged social outcast by the name of Tara. Like Carrie from Brain De Palma’s film of the same name, Tara is the object of ridicule by her fellow female classmates. From the get go, we know she is someone that thinks and acts independently due to necessity. Fair-Haired Child also owes credit to Wes Craven’s People Under the Stairs. Tara is captured by a sadistic and highly educated white couple. Like the young boy in People Under the Stairs, Tara is trapped in a basement from hell. The boy she meets in his basement also lacks the ability to talk (like in the Wes Craven film). Finally (if I didn’t miss any other influences), the film borrows the young boy drowning situation found in overrated slasher Friday the 13th. The teenage boy’s parents are the people responsible for Tara’s kidnapping. I won’t go into why the sadistic kidnapped the loner girl.

A fetus looking demon appears in Fair-Haired Child as the killer of teenagers. The demon does so in attempts to fully resurrect the drowned teenage boy. Despite Fair-Haired Child’s simple and contrived plot, it offers an entertaining one hour spent. I can also say the same about the other handful of Masters of Horror episodes that I have watched. Maybe mainstream horror directors should stick to television.

-Ty E

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