Italian horror scribe Dario Argento’s second season “Masters of Horror” is a short film called “PELTS”. The short film is based on the short story by F. Paul Wilson with its teleplay written by Matt Venne. Dario Argento is a master of horror indeed, while this installment isn’t necessarily the best among the “Masters of Horror” series, it may well be one of the goriest.
Jake Feldman (Meatloaf Aday) is a short-tempered eccentric furrier struggling to build a small-time business in fur coats while being obsessed with a very sexy stripper (Ellen Ewusie). One day, a sadistic backwoods trapper (John Saxon) kills a strange group of raccoons and calls Jake to sell the “special” raccoon hide. Jake knows that quality pelts can help him make it big in the fur business. The problem is, these are no ordinary pelts; anyone who comes in contact with them are driven insane--to perform acts of self-mutilation and murder. Even if Jake does manage to possess both the fame and the sexy stripper he so covets, what is the price to be paid?
PELTS isn’t really a scary short film. The film’s plot is so severely underdeveloped and fails to induce a decent scare. Instead of creating a spooky atmosphere, with the characters being fleshed out (or in this case “fleshed off”) so you can form an attachment to them, the film goes into a different direction. The film goes for a gross-out experience that really tries to push the envelope. The film does provide a lot of fun in terms of blood and gore. Argento relies on some CGI effects but most of the film’s key sequences are done in the old-school way; using prosthetics and a lot of red ink. There is one REAL memorable gore scene that was just well…“GORE-TACULAR“. The gore scenes are actually a lot of fun to watch, but with the film’s lack of an enthralling storyline, the film fails to enthrall.
The film has a lot of holes in its script and the so-proclaimed curse of the pelts needed a lot of (ahem) development. The curse itself just doesn’t read a needed impact on the narrative. To Argento’s credit, the film is nicely paced and the performances seem solid enough. Greed, selfishness and lust all play into our main characters. The mutilation and death sequences are inventive enough to give me an unsettling “grossed out” feeling. The film also has subtle injections of commentary against animal cruelty and such.
The performances of the cast is quite acceptable. Meat Loaf Aday has a very specific talent in playing an unlikable character and the role fits him to a ‘T’. Together with Ellen Ewusie as a gold-digging stripper, the two does have a certain amount of chemistry between them--an odd one, honestly, but chemistry nonetheless. The two does manage to make the most of whatever small material they have to work with.
PELTS is a decent entry in the “Masters of Horror” series and I had a lot of fun watching it. Gorehounds will have a reason to rejoice and as with most entries in the series, the film does have an abundance in female nudity and sex. The weakness in its story makes it rather difficult to look past the gore elements, but whatever little key elements it does have sure provide a lot of fun. Dario Argento is definitely capable of better outings but at least, “Pelts” isn’t the let down I feared.
Recommended to horror/gore fans, and a good rental to everybody else. [3 Out of 5 Stars]
'Pelts' is based on a short story by F. Paul Wilson, and is one of the Masters Of Horror series. Jake Feldman (played by Meat Loaf, perfect for the role) is a nasty tempered fur trader obsessed with a stripper named Shana (Ellen Ewusie). Animal trappers Pa and Jr Jameson trap some raccoons at an old sacred site, an animal in every trap. They've hit pay dirt. The raccoons are odd, strangely docile, and are wearing the most beautiful pelts the trappers have ever seen. But the … more