Masters of Horror: Pro-Life
Oh, baby, baby. How was I supposed to know?
Abortion is a very serious and personal issue. It's also one of the most divisive issues in the United States. There are plenty of horror movies based around Satanic pregnancies, Rosemary's Baby being the most well-known. I don't believe any of these movies ever focused on abortion, though. They may have been mentioned briefly or in passing, but it was never the entire basis of the movie. There's probably a good reason for that because most movies don't want to make the audience angry, one way or the other. Whatever you feel on the subject (Personally, I quote Jay from Dogma, “A woman's body her own fucking business.”), it's a very strong catalyst for a horror movie. With John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) in the director's chair, maybe he can avoid the minefield while creating a fun and scary movie.
"This orange is gigantic!"
Masters of Horror: Pro-Life stars Caitlin Wachs (The Legend of Bloody Mary, My Dog Skip) as Angelique and Ron Perlman (Hellboy, 5ive Girls) as her father Dwayne. Angelique is running in the woods when she crosses onto a road and is almost hit by Alex (Mark Feuerstein, Royal Pains, Defiance) and Kim (Emmanuelle Vaugier, Saw II, Smallville). They take her to the clinic they work at to make sure she is ok. Her father Dwayne pulls up to the clinic and is prevented from going inside due to a court order keeping him at least 500 feet from the facility. Abortions are performed at the clinic and Dwayne has made it his religious mission to stalk and harass the doctors. Angelique informs Alex that she is, in fact, pregnant. She says it happened last week, but she is much further along and Alex believes that her father raped her. She explains that something from under the ground grabbed her, pulled her down, and impregnated her. She wants an abortion, but is too far along in the pregnancy now. Dwayne is joined by his three sons and prays to God for guidance. He here's a voice telling him to protect the baby. All four arms themselves and break into the clinic. The kill the security guard and shoot it out with the head doctor who is fed up with being harassed. He kills one of the sons, but is shot and tortured by Dwayne. Meanwhile, Angelique goes into labor and gives birth to a monstrous demonic baby. Will Dwayne protect the baby when his real father comes for him and will Alex and Kim survive?
This is what awesome looks like
The story of a demonic pregnancy and baby is nothing new, but setting the story in a clinic is certainly different. The movie focuses a bit too much on the political back and forth between Dwayne and the clinic and not enough on horror. Believe me, I like social commentary, and the episode does it well, it's just too much for an hour long episode. Ron Perlman is awesome as always, so I don't mind him getting ample screen time. He is the real villain of the movie anyway. The entire “demon impregnating Angelique” story is very rushed and not given much thought. When the demon father is revealed, his look is a little disappointing. Derek Mears (Friday the 13th, Predators) plays the demon and does these goofy poses. If you've ever seen the SyFy show “Face Off” you've probably seen the models do the same pose; bent at the knees, arms low and slight bent up, head arched back and moving around in a roaring motion. It comes off as silly and not scary. The demon baby, though, is extra creepy looking, sort of a mix between a spider, a crab, and a Cabbage Patch doll.
Even though John Carpenter was the director, you'd never know it. This easily could have been directed by just about anyone. Beyond some real good background music, there is nothing Carpentery (that should be a word) about Pro-Life. The baby does remind me of some of The Thing, but maybe because it is so horrifying. The movie has plenty of violence and a few scenes that will make you wince or cover your eyes. There is a decent amount of blood and enough action to keep things interesting. The acting is good throughout, though Caitlin Wachs is a bit annoying at times. Her screams were particularly grating and she does that for a good chunk of the movie.
"I'm a demon! RAAAWWWR..um...RAAAWRR"
Masters of Horror: Pro-Life takes a tried and true horror genre and tries to put it in a different location. It's an interesting, if controversial, idea, but it doesn't really come off well. It's not very scary, more unsettling than anything. The acting is good for the most part, but the directing isn't special. There is lots of action and violence, but they really missed out on the entire demon portion of the story. I fell the hour-long format hurt the finer parts of the story and made everything feel rushed. While not the worst Masters of Horror, Pro-Life could have been a lot better.