Masters of Horror: Dario Argento's Jenifer
I don’t know anyone else who actually watches this show, but basically the concept is to get together a bunch of great horror directors and also some bad ones and some unknowns and give them a terrible budget and tell them to make a good horror short. Sounds like a great way to produce a film, if you ask me, and the results are never scary and are most often hilarious. Plus it’s on Showtime so it borders on soft-core porn. Hats off to you, Showtime. My sister and I only discovered Masters of Horror when we found we could stream it off of Netflix. I couldn’t believe there was something horror-related that I had not yet heard of. And our favorite episode happens to be from the great Italian horror director Dario Argento. It’s called Jenifer, and oh boy is it swell.
Overall, I think the appeal of a movie like Jenifer is not the fear (because there is none) or the impressive cast (that guy from Wings!), or the sex scenes, although those happen to be some of the funniest parts of the whole show. I think the real appeal here is expecting fear and getting something completely different. You almost feel sorry for the director, because he’s being advertised as a “Master of Horror,�? and yet he only has the resources to produce a Tales-from-the-Crypt-style creepshow. Or maybe even worse than that. It’s like expecting Michelangelo to make David and only giving him Play Dough to work with.
The story, in and of itself, is actually not bad. A disappointing and predictable ending, but what can you do? Man saves girl, girl has hideous, deformed face but sexy body, man leaves wife for ugly/hot girl and they do it several times in his car. That old fairytale, we’ve all heard it. But Jenifer’s make-up is so over-the-top ridiculous that you just have to laugh every time you see her. Especially when she’s clapping, crying, having sex, or eating people’s intestines straight out of their stomachs. Yes, as you may have guessed, Jenifer is a cannibal and feasts upon the flesh of: a cat, the neighbor girl, a circus ringmaster, and a grocery boy. It’s hard to say which one was best, but it was a little unnerving to see that the grocery boy was still alive when she started eating him. The guy from Wings, who inexplicably falls in love with Jenifer, moves away after she eats through the neighborhood and lives in a cabin in the woods with her, presumably brown-bagging her face every night and hoping she doesn’t eat the woodland creatures. Wings Guy seems mostly bewildered throughout the movie, perhaps just happy he’s getting a paycheck. And the girl who plays Jenifer, with her fake ugly face and real hot body, isn’t even really that pretty in real life. Wings Guy has a dream sequence about her with her normal face, and let me tell you, I almost prefer the big horse eyes and gaping mouth. But maybe I’m just mean.
Basically, this movie could have been decent. Argento has proven himself to be a talented director, but in this medium, who can blame him for making this terrible tragedy of a film? I’m sure the budget was awful, and the acting wasn’t any better. You can’t go by name alone, you have to have a talented writer, good idea, good cast, good budget, etc. in order to make a good horror film, or any film for that matter. But I suppose if you can't have good horror, you might as well watch the bad horror and make fun of it.
P.S. It’s been pointed out to me that I made a small spelling error, which I have now corrected. My sincerest apologies, but I never proofread. I’m too good for it.