Happy Horrorthon! There’s a Half-Deer woman (DeerTaur?) on the loose and only Martin Tupper…I mean Detective Dwight Faraday can stop her…maybe. Many of you don’t remember Dream On from the late 80s-early 90s on HBO, but it was awesome. Benben played this kinda cranky book editor Martin Tupper who always thought in movie clips and seeing him act again was like being a wee kid again who quietly watched Dream On after his parents fell asleep. Dream On BTW was hilarious and created by John Landis- Check it Out! Yes, The American Werewolf in London director and he did Thriller.
Well, in the early 2000s Mick Garris got a lot of the greats from the 80s and 90s to do short horror films and Deer Woman was one of them. In Deer Woman, Drunk dudes are getting trampled to death and Detective Faraday is assigned to the case.
Faraday is a down and out detective who no one respects. Martin Tupper was a down and editor who no one respected. Faraday is actually not a terrible detective. He follows up leads and sees where they go. He checks with the coroner and sees that the bodies are riddled with hoof prints. You know what makes hoof prints? Deer-Taurs!!!!
Also, men are really portrayed as dumb and horny. The Deer-Taur picks her next victim up at a hotel bar without speaking a word, but the dudes don’t seem to mind. Once the seduction is on, she tramples him with her hooves! Yes, hooves. I love this show!
What’s not to like?! Deer-Taurs, Detectives, and hooves! There’s also a great dream sequence when Faraday imagines how the kill went down where a Deer in flannel carries off a victim Creature from Black Lagoon style. It’s hilarious. This is what’s great about Landis; his horror is always interspersed with great comic relief.
Anywho, bodies keep dropping and they’re so beat up that their arms are found on rooftops! AWESOME!!! Does Detective Faraday stop the Deer-Taur? Who Cares?! It’s got Deer-Taurs and Brian Benben! I would definitely recommend finding this show however you can. Pretty much all of the Masters of Horror episodes are great. Cheers!
It is hard to categorize John Landis’ contribution to the Showtime horror anthology series, The Masters of Horror. Landis made a name for himself in the horror genre as the director of the classic early 80’s werewolf film, An American Werewolf In London, and the cult classic vampire-noir film, Innocent Blood. With his “Deer Woman” episode, John Landis reaches back to his past work and comes up with an episode that mixes horror, absurd situations and a healthy dose of black comedy.
“Deer Woman” has something in common with An American Werewolf In London in that this episode deals with a creature born out of folklore and myth. This time around its a creature from Native American folklore. The creature in question is the Deer Woman. A legendary creature who takes the form of a beautiful woman from the waist up and that of a deer from the waist down. The Deer Woman will then go on a spree of seducing random men then trampling them to mincemeat. In this respect she has a bit of the mythical succubus mixed in with the shapeshifting. It is during the aftermath of one of her killings that we’re introduced to the main player in this horrifically absurd little tale. Detective Faraday (masterfully played with a dry wit and comedic timing by Brian Benben) gets called in to the scene thinking it is an animal attack, but the crime scene leaves him confused, perplexed and a tad more than intrigued by the case after it’s unceremoniously taken away from him.
We learn through the length of the hour-long episode that Faraday is a disgraced cop due to an incident in the past that’s made him a pariah in his own department. Faraday’s sidekick in his hunt to solving the murders and thus finding the Deer Woman is a beat cop played by Anthony Griffin. Former Brazilian, and still smoking hot and stunning, Cinthia Moura does duty as the abovementioned Deer Woman. She goes through the entire episode without uttering one line. Her eyes, expressions and body language conveying whatever motivations and thoughts may be in her head. She did pretty well and it didn’t hurt she looked very natural baring it all on the screen.
The dialogue in the episode was where the absurdity of the moments in the story shone through to give “Deer Woman” its black-comedy. The characters in the film react to murders and the clues leading to what might be their only suspect with incredulity, denial and dismissal. Yet, no matter how much the characters of Faraday and his partner try to deny what they know in their mind is the real killer, they inevitably see the truth of the matter dangerously up close and personal. The teleplay for the episode was primarily written by Max Landis (the director’s son) with some brief rewrites and treatments by John himself. They both run with a very absurd situation and run with it fult-tilt and non-stop. They both know how silly the story sounds and its that silliness that makes this episode memorable. In fact, if I really had to categorize this episode I would call it a comedy with small bits of horror slipped in (horror and gore effectively done — once again — by the master effects people from KNB EFX.
Despite “Deer Woman” being closer to a comedy-horror than a straight-up horror tale, I found the episode to be very entertaining and worth the viewing. John Landis stuck to his guns in crafting an absurd tale and making it believable to his audience. With shades and hints of An American Werewolf In London, Landis’ contribution to The Masters of Horror marks a bright spot in the an uneven series, so far. Landis’ has once again shown that horror and comedy are more intertwined than most people would think.