Masters of Horror: Haeckel's Tale
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"If you are invited to stay the night at a stranger's house, never attempt to sleep with the homeowner's daughter or wife. This could cause some trouble." - Rufus' father
These were very wise words given to me by my father long ago. Placed in that situation numerous times, his wise advice kept me out of trouble on several occasions. Who would have thought though that this exact situation would be part of the Masters of Horror episode Haeckel's Tale? If only young Haeckel had a father like mine. Well, if he did then I guess we wouldn't be able to enjoy a fun period piece full of kinky fun and twisted death. Damn I love that combination!
Ernst Haeckel (Derek Cecil) is a medical student that believes that he can bring back the dead. Following a Dr. Frankenstein's medical writings he feels that this is within his grasp. Unfortunately, his little experiment doesn't go so well when he tries to show off in front of fellow classmates and his professor. As he cleans up the remains from his failed experiment the gravedigger enters to drop off another body. From speaking to him, Haeckel learns of the Necromancer that is in town. Curious to see him and to learn his skill, Haeckel heads out to the show. After watching Montesquino's (Jon Polito) death show and as a scientist not believing what he sees, he asks the snake oil salesman to teach him his skill. Sensing that Haeckel doesn't believe anything about necromancy and believes that he is a joke, Montesquino sends Haeckel off.
Distraught over not learning the secrets of the dead, Haeckel hears of his father's health dwindling. He sets out on a trip to be with his ailing father before his death. As he rests on the side of the road a kind old man invites him to stay the night at his house. He takes him up on the offer and sees that this old man has one smoking hot wife.
You see how I just tied everything in here? Brilliant!! Haeckel soon learns the secret of this gorgeous woman and her freaky-deak ways, and while on the depraved side, I would be lying if I didn't think it was still hot.
Now I wish I could go into the details of the horrific part, but I want you all to watch this one yourselves. While a sick minded person should be able to see the moment coming, it still had my laughing and smiling in sick glee. Also, just when you think the ending it complete you get another little twist. Kind of cryptic huh? Well, again this will be enjoyable if you watch it yourselves.
One problem that I had with this film was that Haeckel's tale was in a flashback story being told by some old Necromancer named Miz Carnation. A widow walks in requesting that she revive his recently dead wife. She says no, and after much bothering from the man to please do it, she tells him a tale to change his mind. The tale is sandwiched between what I can only describe as filler. These "filler" moments were the weakest of the whole movie. Instead of ending strongly, we get some of the "present" time filler with the Miz. This completely took away from the strong ending of the flashback. End it there and this would have been golden.
The other problem that I had was a bit with the tale itself. Haeckel wants to solve the riddle of life, only to get sidetracked and forget about it to visit his dieing father, only to get sidetracked by the homeowner's wife. Instead of a overall plot, the story just kind of followed Haeckel along to the end. Almost like a day in the life of ADD ridden Ernst Haeckel.
John McNaughton does a great job with the camera and all actor's involved were impressive. If you like nudity, a little gore and period pieces then you should definitely enjoy Haeckel's Tale. Hell, it came from a short by Clive Barker. If you know Barker's work in books and film then you should have a good idea of what you are getting into. Gotta love the freaky-deak!
I enjoyed this one emenselly. If we lost the very beggining and the lame final ending and if Haeckel had a gradual arch of story instead of moments becoming obsolete after they pass then this then this could have been a perfect episode for me. Even with these issues though, I can still give this one a strong 4 cans of kinky fun.
Added: Tuesday, December 26, 2006
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