Season 1, Episode 10
Directed by Lucky McKee
Written by Sean Hood and Lucky McKee
Masters of Horror is an anthology TV series created by Mick Garris which first aired on the Showtime network in 2005. Each episode is a stand alone one hour film, directed by a master horror director. Masters of Horror ran for two seasons, and is available on DVD. In Fear & Loathing Vivid Scribe takes a look at each episode in this series.
When curious and quirky entomologist, Ida Teeter (Angela Bettis) gets dumped again because of her pet insects, she thinks her chances of ever finding love are dashed forever. It’s the bugs or the babes, says her fellow entomologist, Max Grubb (Jesse Hlubik) and Ida is beginning to think he’s right. Ida is determined to find a girlfriend, so when she meets Misty Falls (Misty Mundae as Erin Brown) – an equally quirky artist who hangs around the natural history museum where Ida works – she attempts to hide all evidence of her many insect pets. Misty however turns out to be just as fond of bugs as Ida is, and the pair quickly fall in love.
Meanwhile, a mysterious someone has sent Ida an unidentified species of insect – an aggressive thing that looks like a cross between a stick insect, some kind of horned dragon, and a gremlin. The critter gets loose and a neighbour’s Pomeranian goes missing…. Misty doesn’t seem like herself…. and Ida soon discovers a sinister threat….
‘Sick Girl’ is an altogether different style of Masters of Horror than any other before it. ‘Sick Girl’ is so much more of a love story than a horror story – but y’know, the kind of love story you’d expect in a horror anthology series. It’s weird and oddly funny and not that much of a horror story at all. Sure, there are creepy parasitic bugs that possess people’s bodies, a few shots of icky gelatinous infections and one particularly gory evisceration scene (not to mention the poor little Pomeranian), but these horror aspects are minimal and it’s to the total advantage to the overall story.
Stylistically, my only complaint is the several scenes taken from the point of view of the insect.These are shot with an obscured, blurry view and really jagged camera work. There are only a few of them, and most take place in the opening quarter. I found them distracting and to no real purpose for the overall story or effect.
Lucky McKee has only a few features to his credit, and only one – May (2002) – before ‘Sick Girl’ so I’m not sure how much credibility he has as a ‘master’ of horror. Apparently Roger Corman was set to direct this before McKee stepped in.
Not having seen any of Mckee’s films before or after this episode, I can’t comment on how ‘Sick Girl’ fits into his overall body of work, but it has certainly spurred my interest in checking out some of his stuff.
Angela Bettis is a curious on screen presence. She’s overly animated and has a strange artificiality about her, but at the same time comes across as completely natural. Battis also worked with McKee as the lead in May, so I’m doubly interested in checking that out.
Word on the web has it this episode features lighting fast cameos from both Winona Ryder and Jim Carrey. After going frame by frame through the few scenes where anyone besides the central characters appear, if anyone could confirm where these are, I’d be so grateful.
While ‘Sick Girl’ might not be up there as a great work of traditional horror, it is certainly entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable with its own very unique sense of creepiness and will be a Masters episode I’ll remember for a long time.