Horror. Worldview. Faith.

Pelts (Masters of Horror) – Review

Pelts (Masters of Horror) – Review

Jan 5, 2011

reviewed by hallo
directed by Dario Argento, 2006
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Pelts is one of the two entries by legendary Italian director Dario Argento (Suspiria) featured in the Masters of Horror series put on by Showtime television.  Running under an hour in length, these short-films feel a bit more like a Twilight Zone on steroids than an actual feature film.  They are a blast to watch when you don’t quite have time to sit down for a full 90 minutes.

Jake Feldman (Meatloaf) is a fur trader who is obsessed with an exotic stripper named Shanna.  After being denied his sexual advances time and again, he decides the way to her heart is to locate the greatest furs in the world and create the perfect coat.  He finally finds those furs after Jeb Jameson (John Saxon) stumbles across the all-time greatest catch of raccoons in what appears to be some kind of magical section of wilderness.  As he and his son are toting their treasure from the field, they are given an eerie prophecy by a local resident that the critters will have their revenge.  And boy, do they ever.

As best as I can tell, whenever anyone is touching the furs or is even near them, they end up going completely insane.  Jeb’s son crushes in his dad’s face with a baseball bat for no reason, followed by plunging his own face into one of the animal traps.  When Jake arrives at the scene to collect his furs, he is so impressed with them that he essentially overlooks the carnage at hand and gets to work making the best fur coat of all time.  Which he eventually gives to Shanna.  Unfortunately by this time, he has gone mad and decides there might just be a better coat than those luxurious furs; his own skin!  So, Jake makes incisions into his own body and “pulls off” his chest to proudly hand over to Shanna, who is rather disgusted by the gesture (big shock).  The film ends with Jake falling down an elevator shaft and Shanna dying due to blood loss.

This movie, apparently driven in part by Argento’s love for animals, has some visually effective and stunning scenes, which is not surprising considering it is Argento behind the camera.  As is typical for many Argento films, the lack of solid acting and narrative is more than made up by the stylish array of intense and bloody sequences.  Although fun to see Meatloaf in this role, he doesn’t really live up to the performance at hand.  The best role by far in the film is portrayed by John Saxon as the unfortunate fur trapper, and due to his untimely demise at the hand of his son, it is a brief role.  Still yet, it is easy to see how fast and deep the well of obsession can run and Pelts reminds us that the world of the grotesque is not too far removed from the common, ordinary, struggling life of the workingman.

This is a must see for the name Argento alone.  Take a look.

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