Friday, October 25, 2013

Horror Thoughts ‘13—Pelts (2006) **½

TV-MA, 58 min.
Director: Dario Argento
Writers: F. Paul Wilson, Matt Venne
Starring: Meat Loaf Aday, Ellen Ewusie, Link Baker, Emilio Salituro, Elsie Lew, John Saxon, Michal Suchanek, Brenda McDonald

Italian horror maestro Dario Argento’s second entry into the “Masters of Horror” television series, “Pelts”, is a better effort than his first. While “Jenifer” gave me the impression that Argento was pretty much just used as a hired hand, “Pelts” has more visual style that can be attributed to the Argento vision.

The plot still doesn’t seem to be on a subject that should interest Argento. It’s a typical cursed object horror plot, where whoever touches or affects the cursed object pays for it in horrible ways. In this case, the cursed objects are a bunch of sacred raccoon pelts that the main character uses to make a beautiful fur coat. That last part has a little bit of the Argento touch to it since he makes the coat for a stripper that is the object of his obsession.

The deaths are creative and I liked how all but one had something to do with the role that each victim played in the fate of the pelts. A seamstress sews her eyelids, mouth and nose shut. The material cutter takes the scissors to his own gut. The trappers dispatch themselves in the traditions of their trade. And the clothing maker creates a vest out of his own torso skin. I didn’t think the stripper’s death fit into the pattern, which is too bad since the pattern of death was so strong up to her death.

Argento’s sense of scenery and cinematography play a much heavier role this time around. Much of the lighting is filled with the vibrant colors that are a signature of his and there’s a dance sequence when we first meet the stripper that seems informed by the giallo cinema of which Argento was integral in popularizing. “Pelts” is a bit predictable for Argento, but it is sure to please in terms of gore factor.

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